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WorkBee CNC Machine

Discussion in 'CNC Mills/Routers' started by Ryan Lock, Sep 21, 2017.

  1. stannersc

    stannersc New
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    @Chillimonster Thanks for the help. I have the supports flat on the WorkBee. If I were going to cut MDF I probably would just screw it down as you say, but other materials I would like the option of not having to screw through. Also aluminum for example couldn't just be screwed down so would need an alternative available.

    On another note I have seen the Vinyl stickers on your work. Are you printing these yourself? If so are you using an eco solvent printer? I have looked at them in the past but they are crazy expensive. I just wondered if there was a cheaper alternative.

    Cheers
     
  2. JustinTime

    JustinTime Journeyman
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    There is not much you can do about the buckling of the thin material. Only three things come to mind. A vacuum table or screwing the part down in place where it will not be in the way of the cutting bit. From these two options the first one may be a safer way to go. The third option will be double sided tape probably the easiest of them all.

    When you design the parts add some tabs to it so that when the part is cut it will not be free from the main sheet. That will prevent the part moving. You will still have to clamp/screw the whole sheet down in three or four (maybe more) places but that goes without saying (unless you use the double sided tape).
     
  3. Ryan Lock

    Ryan Lock Veteran
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    @Cloudbase Engineering I think it will be ok cutting it in multiple passes if you have settings right. You want it actually cutting, not forcing its way through. If super thin, use a downcut end mill, so it doesn't pull the sheet up. We physically don't stock screws for a 1500x1500mm. We have also stopped doing custom machines outside of the options you see on our site, as doing a custom machine would completely mess up our production line and hold other machines up. In the US there is Spark Concepts and CNC Kit Company

    @stannersc We actually have a video coming out very soon which should answer most your questions. But you want your bolt heads inset, so when you surface your machine you don't catch the heads. For an 18mm board, something like 12mm bolts.
     
  4. Ryan Lock

    Ryan Lock Veteran
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    Also if anyone is interested we have been working on a short video of the WorkBee in action:



    Ryan
     
  5. Yellers

    Yellers New
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    Hey folks,

    I hope all is well with your workbees.

    I am new to CNC and the Workbee is my first machine but have been reading up on it for ages now. I did my first 'cut' in the form of drawing shapes with a sharpie on my WorkBee the other night, delighted with the outcome. I am now looking to do start the real thing. I have the DeWalt router and I am looking for a feeds and speeds starting guide for this machine. I was thinking something like the Shapeoko 3 settings would be a good starting point and then working out my own tolerances from there, any thoughts?
     
  6. Mark Carew

    Mark Carew OpenBuilds Team
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    Awesome video Ryan. Super pro looking. I really like the focus fades! Keep up the the great work my friend. :thumbsup:
     
    Ryan Lock likes this.
  7. Philclem

    Philclem New
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    Here's a video of our 1500 x 1500 Workbee doing what it should, rather well!


    Note the round holes!
     
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  8. Ryan Lock

    Ryan Lock Veteran
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    Glad you like the video, we have lots more coming! Thanks for the video @Philclem glad it is working out for you.

    That would be a good starting point. Or take a look at the GWizard app, i think they do a 30 day free trial to get you started.

    Ryan
     
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  9. Cloudbase Engineering

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    Hello Ryan,

    Wow looks great cutting aluminum. What size and drive system (belt, screw or combo) do you have on your machine. I am considering either a 1000mm x 1500mm (leadscrew & belt combo) or 1500mm x 1500mm (belt driven) and will be cutting .025" to .035" aluminum mostly as well as wood and mdf. Im just worried about boom flex and rigidity when cutting aluminum. I have seen some Shapeoko's cutting like crazy with the proper endmill but I like the size of the Workbee better and curious if it is as rigid as the Shapeoko.

    Marc
     
  10. halfshavedyaks

    halfshavedyaks Well-Known
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    I'm thinking of buying a workbee - 750x750 or 1000 screw driven. It would be my first CNC machine though I have some experience with 3D printing and woodworking with hand held tools.

    I've been doing 3D printing but I've been getting frustrated with the inherent limitations of plastic so CNC seems like the next step.

    I would be using it primarily for 3D carving - at least 2 sided. Not just relief work but fully 3D objects, mostly musical instrument parts.

    I have some questions:

    * What keeps the two Y axis screws in sync? Obviously they will stay in sync when the machine is on, but when it is off, what stops one side moving without the other if it is bumped? The reason I ask is because I have a CR10 3D printer with dual Z axis screws and it gave me lots of sync problems of this sort until I modded it with an extra belt purely to keep the two Z screws in sync when the machine is off.

    * The Xpro board seems kind of expensive and basic for an 8 bit board - whilst I don't doubt it works fine I wonder about getting a 32bit board such as a smoothie board instead rather than finding I want to upgrade later. Does anyone have any thoughts or comments on whether that is actually useful?

    * Does anyone have any particular tricks for carving 2 sided and keeping the piece well located when flipped?

    * is anyone else here making musical instruments with a workbee?

    * what are the prospects and pitfalls of increasing the Z travel on a workbee? has anyone done it?

    * Not strictly a workbee question - but what is the best software for taking a 3D model in stl format (from openSCAD) and generating gcode toolpaths from it for 2 sided 3D carving on the workbee? I've looked at the demo of vectric Vcarve and it seems sort of adequate but expensive for what it is and not really all that impressive. Yet I haven't found anything better, and it's windows only and I suspect the DRM is oppressive.

    My software criteria are:

    * takes a stl file as input and generates gcode compatible with the workbee
    * excellent 3D carving toolpath generation with final part visualisation.
    * tabs, and location functions for 2 or more sided carving.
    * No internet based surveillance-and-lock-in-ware like Fusion360
    * No really invasive and fragile DRM that will break leaving me unable to use the software.
    * must work reliably without an internet connection.
    * FLOSS software would be great but I'm quite happy to pay for good software that takes a respectful attitude to it's users.
    * Would much prefer linux, or failing that mac based, but I'll use windows if I have to.

    I've done quite a bit of searching, but so far I'm not finding software that I like much. Vcarve seems the least bad. I hope I'm missing something and someone here can point me in the right direction.

    If it is thought more appropriate I can make a separate thread for the software questions- but I'm obviously most interested in responses from people using the workbee since that's what i plan to use.

    thanks!

    Thet
     
  11. GrayUK

    GrayUK Openbuilds Team Elder
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    Hi halfshavedyak.
    Welcome to the Forum.
    I suggest you have a look at:
    Estlcam 2.5D here on our site, and check it out on Youtube. It is an excellent program, free to start with and quite cheap to buy if you wish.
    Likewise you should check out SketchUp with the Sketchucam addon applied. Free once again.
    Give them a try.
    Gray
     
  12. CNCKitCompany

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    Hi @halfshavedyaks

    I'll answer a couple questions:

    xPro vs other. Like you, I'm inclined to go with other controller boards. For those new to any machine like this (CNC, 3D Printing, laser, etc.) the xPro is fairly simple to use and well supported and not too complicated. I'd recommend it to beginners because of the support that Ooznest and the community can provider. Those that are more technically inclined or have more experience may want to consider a Smoothie or even the Acorn DIY kit (a bit more expensive once you consider the drivers and computer). I'm considering the Smoothie for the next build.

    For two sided work I've seen several ideas on YouTube and other articles online. Method could include locator pins or flip jigs. Generally speaking, for locator pins, you would first machine a couple holes in the spoil board. Then you would machine the stock to an outline of the block you need and also add the same through holes. Next add the locator pins in the spoil board and mount the stock. Machine the one side. When done, flip it over.

    The more you increase the Z-axis height, the more play there could be in the tool tip. Another option is to lower the spoil board/table, to get a little bit more depths. What depths are you thinking you need?
     
  13. Ryan Lock

    Ryan Lock Veteran
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    @Cloudbase Engineering This a fully screw driven machine, but we have milled aluminium just as easily on a belt driven machine. I haven't seen the shapeoko in person so couldn't compare, but i would say they are about the same. The screw drive system would put it a step above though.

    @halfshavedyaks I will answer your questions below:

    1. There isn't anything keeping the motors in sync with the machine turned off. So when off you would have to be careful not knock it, however even when off, it does require a fair amount of force to move the axis with a screw driven machine.

    2. You could use a smoothieboard, there is a low current level with them. Another option would be a duet board.

    3. Locating pins i would say is the best method to achieve this

    4. There is a video here of one of our customers making a guitar:



    5. I have tried most CAM software, and would say the products by Vectric are the easiest to use and generate great results, i'm not just saying that because we sell them, but it is the reason we sell them with the machine. In my opinion the next best option would be Fusion360.
     
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  14. Cloudbase Engineering

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    Thank you Ryan,

    I was also feeling that the leadscrew driven machine had an edge on the Shapeoko. However they really tout their extrusions rigidity and show videos of flex tests in comparison to Xcarve and Shapeoko and their extrusion is very rigid? How much flex is there in the main extrusions on the Workbee? Would be cool to see a video of someone putting their weight on them as can be seen on other machines. This is a big selling point on their machines and if you could show yours is just as rigid I thin t would really give people confidence in the machine.

    In my previous post you replied saying for thin sheet metal to use a down cutting bit and curious if you have any videos of a Workbee cutting thin Alumnimum sheet? I cant seem to find any?

    I will also have a need to do some 3D profile carving and will import geometry from a Solidworks model; likely a Step file. I had a look at the Vectric software and see Vcarve Desktop and Vcarve pro. If I have a need for 3D profiling do I need to order the Pro?

    Thanks again,

    Marc
     
  15. halfshavedyaks

    halfshavedyaks Well-Known
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    thanks for the responses!

    Estlcam does indeed look like it might be sufficient from the videos I have seen so far. I will try it. Has anyone tried both Estlcam and Vcarve and if so can you say what Vcarve can do that Estlcam can't?

    Smoothieboard 1.1 has 2A drivers Xpro has 2.5A - is the difference significant?

    What are the real-world benefits of going 32bit? are there more complex toolpaths or clever speed management or something that become possible? If there's no actual benefit then I won't bother, but I'd rather learn the right board once...

    What does easy to use actually mean for a controller board? On my 3D printer I've done a bit of configuring Marlin and it was quite necessary to enable features and fine tune the printer. Do you update firmware or tweak features regularly?

    as far as Z height goes a standard workbee will pretty much do what I currently have in mind if machined from both sides, as I'd be working on pieces up to about 60mm tall, usually more like 45-50mm. I can imagine I might want to go just a bit taller sometimes though. Taller would also give more scope for 3 or 4 sided machining if I find myself needing that for some parts. Tool length might become an issue - I would usually need to machine past the halfway point on both sides of the piece.

    has anyone experienced knocking the Y axes out of sync when the machine is off? it is surprisingly easy to do on my printer Z axis, though of course a printer is super sensitive to inaccuracies in the Z axis. If the Y axes on a workbee were 0.5mm out of sync creating a slight angle would you even notice?

    I'm thinking if it is a problem then it could be solved the same way I did with my printer, which is fitting a belt between the 2 synchronized screws - but that would require a bit of extra screw length to fit the pulleys at one end or the other I think.
     
    #345 halfshavedyaks, Apr 10, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2018
  16. halfshavedyaks

    halfshavedyaks Well-Known
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    I've been perusing the forum looking for spindle/router recommendations, but i haven't found anything very conclusive. I was going to buy the dewalt 26200 with the kit, but ooznest are out of stock as are most other suppliers so I'm considering other options.

    I'd really like to get a relatively quiet one if possible since my workshop is in the house. Relative loudness is not something it's easy to get info on though.

    Any recommendations?
     
  17. Ryan Lock

    Ryan Lock Veteran
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    @Cloudbase Engineering Could you point me in the direction of shapeokos flex tests? I will see if we can set something up similar to compare :duh: I know i have stood on top of the X Gantry of ours before!

    I don't know of any cutting thin aluminum sheet. But we have a video coming up soon of cutting 1mm carbon fibre sheet. We have had really good results.

    You don't need the Pro for 3D Carving. The Pro gives you unlimited size limit, and some extra operation for bulk operations.

    @halfshavedyaks To be honest i haven't tried ESTL CAM Yet, but its on my list.

    We do have a 2.0A version of the motors we supply on the WorkBee so you can use a smoothieboard. If you used 2.8A the maximum torque would be reduced.

    32Bit will provide a smoother machine, also 32 bit boards have better motion planning. Most also have other features like wifi interface, software current control, higher microstepping.

    So with the xPro we use GRBL firmware which is maintained by them. We don't update the firmware, unless GRBL push an update.

    For the Z Height if you wanted to mill a 60mm piece, you could only mill 34mm into it. Just wanted to make sure you was aware of this. The cut depth is worked out by taking the Clearance 94mm minus material thickness.

    With a screw drive machine you would have trouble knocking it out of sync even with the machine off. On a belt drive yes this would be possible. We haven't done the math on how much of an issue this would cause.
     
  18. Ryan Lock

    Ryan Lock Veteran
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    Also here is another video we put together on surfacing your spoilerboard. This is my first time in front of the Camera so go easy :thumbsup:. Any suggestions for improvement are welcome, we are going to be regularly releasing videos like these.

     
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  19. Cloudbase Engineering

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    Hello Ryan,

    In this video an independent reviewer looks at the Vcarve and Shapeoko 3 and near the 10 minute mark it shows him putting his weight on the extrusions of each and you will see the Shapeoko 3 is considerably stronger and flexes much less. Unsure what size machine size he is reviewing so maybe watch all 3 of his videos and see what size and perhaps you could do a similar test. Flex is more my fear, but I do need the large travel as I will use this to cut parts for a home built airplane. If the rigidity is there on your machine I would choose the workbee since I can get a larger size. I would prefer to buy than build the machine I designed years ago as I dont want 2 projects. I am thinking 1000mm x 1500mm.

    Also thanks for the info on the software. I do need to cut large parts but those parts are flat sheets so my 3D profiling needs might be fine with the lesser version of Vcarve and when I do need to cut large items I use some other 2D cutting software.

     
  20. halfshavedyaks

    halfshavedyaks Well-Known
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    So the 2A and 2.8A motors have the same max torque, but the 2A does it with less current - how does that work?
     
  21. halfshavedyaks

    halfshavedyaks Well-Known
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  22. Ryan Lock

    Ryan Lock Veteran
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    @Cloudbase Engineering Thanks for the video, i will see what we can sort out. Looks like two 1000x1000mm machines to me.

    So the 2.0A motors have higher inductance. This has the effect of reducing the torque performance at higher speeds.
     
  23. halfshavedyaks

    halfshavedyaks Well-Known
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    I am aware of this limitation, yes, but I admit I'm having great difficulty visualising *why* this is the case. Is there a graphic or a video that shows this?
     
  24. halfshavedyaks

    halfshavedyaks Well-Known
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    The way I'm visualising it if I try to cut say a 90mm piece all the way through straight down then I will hit the bottom of the Z axis extrusion on the top of the work-piece after 4mm, or if that were avoided by mounting the spindle lower then I'd hit the collet on the top of the workpiece at some later point, but if I were to machine a sufficiently wide shallow cone to accommodate the spindle and mounting then what stops it going all the way down?
     
  25. Cloudbase Engineering

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    Ok so here is what I want to emulate. The sheet is laid out on the table. Holes are drilled though the sheet and waste board. After hole is drilled a Cleco is installed to hold the sheet down. All the needed clecos to hold parts down as they are routed are installed. Then change bit and route out the parts. So my worry is when the machine jogs between parts how do I ensure the bit does not hit the cleco. Only way I can think of is the Z is lifted high enough it clears always, but unsure if there is enough Z for this in the Workbee. There are low profile clecos I can buy to help if needed.

    Thoughts on doing this with a Workbee? I can get by with a 1000 x 1500 machine or possibly a 1500 x 1500. Any chance I could buy longer extrusions and build up a 1500 x 3000mm machine or 1000mm x 2000mm.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  26. Scotty Orr

    Scotty Orr Journeyman
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  27. CNCKitCompany

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  28. Ryan Lock

    Ryan Lock Veteran
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    @halfshavedyaks Yup i think you understand. So yes if you machine you a big enough pocket to accommodate the router and extrusion you could go deeper. We say the above for simplicity.

    @Cloudbase Engineering So yes you could have a Z Safe height clear them. Or make the code so it misses them. You could raise the machine up to gain the extra heigh.
     
  29. Cloudbase Engineering

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    Hey Scotty and CNCKitCompany,

    Thanks for the suggestiions but I am thinking you have never used a Cleco because they are the bet thing since sliced bread for sheet metal work holding. I Use them in so many places that they were never intended otbe used since they are so veritle. There are many types and worth a look.

    Anyhow here is a video that explains it all:


    Marc
     
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  30. Scotty Orr

    Scotty Orr Journeyman
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    I have :) . (I actually have a "mostly-built" airplane sitting in my garage...built pre-CNC days, I'm afraid.) They are handy, but I can see the clearance problems they would present for work holding. I was just trying to suggest something that was equally handy. I think if I were doing it, I would just use screws. An electric drill with short screws wouldn't take that much longer. Installing clecos is still a manual operation.
     
    #360 Scotty Orr, Apr 13, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2018

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