Posts for Tag: 5axis

Home Workspace | New tools

Before I make the new clamp system (see the previous post), I needed a drill press for getting holes in the bar stock to attach to the vice. I've wanted to get a drill press for some time as it's super handy to have around, and I had to do some unfavorable hand drill setups, which I won't go into as it would send shivers down your spine.

I looked at local for sale places like Facebook marketplace and craigslist but couldn't find any in my price range ($50-90). I only needed a pretty small tabletop one, so I looked at harbor fright, I was amazed to find they had one for under $60 and perfect for my worktable! It's got a 5-speed system with a 2" drilling height.

While I was there, I also decided to pick up some other tools. I ended up getting a set of small files for deburring, a small hack-saw, and a metric threading kit, which was on clearance as the box was open (only found one part missing) for $50!

I was planning on threading the base plate that I would be getting from Design The Everything to attach my new clamp system. After buying it, I found they didn't have the specific threading tool for the screw that I'd be using, so I went to ace hardware to pick it up. I kind of regret buying the whole threading kit as it has tools primarily for larger sizes I would rarely if ever use. 

Home Workspace | Voice Over Recording | Premiere Pro

I finally faced my fear and put together the voice over for my unboxing and setup of the Pocket NC.

Before making the video, I was talking to Winston Moy, and he said that pretty much no matter what I did, the first videos would be incredibly cringy.

I used premiere pro to do the recording and initially wasn't going to use a script to read from, but after stumbling over my words and not knowing what to say, I decided just to make one as I went. Quite a bit of the information I originally had in it was pointless as you could see it in the video, so I only kept what was not as obvious, and that seemed to work out pretty well. I recorded in mini segment clips with a blue snowball microphone, and I didn't think about background noise, so the recording quality isn't the greatest. 

I am going to try and challenge myself to put out two videos a month, if not once a week, to get used to recording myself. I believe that video content making will have some part in my future, and I figured I might as well start early. One thing I keep telling myself is, "you can only go up from here" and "you have to do it sometime, so get it over with now." Also, I kind of realize that next to no one will ever see the video anyway, so that's somewhat comforting.

Overall I'm pretty pleased with what I came up with; I committed to myself that I would get it done today, so there is a ton of room for improvement. 

Home Workshop | Wood Knight Chess Piece| Pocket NC

Last week I posted about making a bishop chess piece for someone on Instagram. I wasn't able to finish it due to the finishing passes not aligning correctly, so I would have to redo them. I have finally gotten around to doing it again, this time, the knight chess piece for verity. 

The wood here is walnut, which I picked up from eBay. The whole machining process was straightforward and only took about 30 minutes to make all the tool paths for it. I used four 3D adaptive clearing operations with a 1/8" four flute square endmill each from a different side of the block and a total of 54 minutes of machine time. 

Next up was the morphed spiral finishing toolpath. I used a 1/8" four flute ball endmill with a 0.008" stepover on each of the four sides of the stock. After doing that I needed to cut the chess piece off the block, and I did this with the same 1/8" ball bit with adaptive clearing and limited it to the very bottom of the knight; this would allow me to simultaneously cut off the part from the base of the stock and finish it. 

Halfway through, I realized there was a gap under the horse's head in the 3D model, and it didn't pick up that detail with the ball endmill. To fix this, I took a 1/16" ball tool to remove the material under the head; unfortunately, it was smaller than the tip was so I took the 1/32" vee bit ball-tipped endmill and did the operation again, this time it worked. The total machine time was 103 minutes, with only minor changes from the original setup. I think I can cut this time down by 20+ minutes with some cleaning up of the code, but overall, I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. 

I filmed the entire process and will edit and upload it to youtube sometime next week.

Home Workspace | Pendant Project Part 2 | Pocket NC

After my last post, I started working on machining the pendant in aluminum.

The stock I was using was 3" x 2" x 0.6," which I had quite a time trying to figure out how to set it in the vice. I may re-design and machine out the vice @winston_moy created that allows you to attach stock like that directly to a low profile clamp, which is perfect for bar-stock. Since the stock was so tall and thin, I had to clamp it as close to the center of rotation as I could; I was able to do this by taking a scrap piece of wax and adding it to the side of the aluminum stock. I did get some pretty bad vibrations though I am not entirely sure if that was due to the way I secured it or from the tooling, which I will get into in a minute. In addition to this, the Pocket NC couldn't reach the top half-inch of the bar stock, so I had to cut out the middle of it and let the upper stock fall on its own after. 

The whole setup was a bit of a challenge in and of itself because I had to figure out how I wanted to keep some sort of lead or peg attaching the stock to the pendant while doing the finishing operations. I ended up adding two legs to the bottom of the necklace, which seemed to work decently well. 

I didn't start very well due to the bits I was using; only more recently have I been doing proper speeds and feeds. Unfortunately, that means before I tore them up pretty bad from taking too massive cuts. They weren't entirely unusable, but the sounds it was making were pretty bad, and the aluminum ended up overheating a few times, so I had to let it rest and spray cold air on it. Since it got so hot, the entire project took me nearly three times as long as it would have. I had to switch out bits every so often due to chip welding and swap them out with other worn endmills, overall, not a great experience. 

After I got the bulk of the material removed, I was able to start working on the finishing passes. For this, I used a 1/8" ball endmill, 1/16" ball mill, and a 1/32" vee bit ball endmill. I started with the 1/8" tool and made my way down using adaptive clearing operations to ensure I wasn't removing more material than the bit could handle. Since the pendant has many small details, if I were to do a standard finishing pass, the tools may dig in areas where other endmills couldn't get to and dive into it, possibly snapping the endmill.  

I messed up pretty bad on the top of the necklace where you would attach a chain and accidentally dove the 1/32" vee bit into it when I forgot the set the tool length. It was right after I spent six hours on the project and had to leave the project for a few hours so as not to go insane. 

After a lot of thought, I ended up finishing the pendant even though I would have to figure out another way of attaching a hoop to pass a chain through. I guess I was pretty frustrated because I ended up making another mistake and setting the ball endmill to cut farther into the pendant than it should, so the front isn't as lovely as it could be. Finally came the point to take it off its pegs that attached to the stock; this proved to be more comfortable than I thought, I just did two adaptive clearings with the 1/8" ball endmill and have very small step-downs on each side until it parted off. 

I ended up taking a Dremel to it and shave off the top loop and just poke a hole through the top of the musical note. I used the same tool to also clean the bottom from the leftover bits from the cut off operation. 

It's not the cleanest work I've done, and I am still a bit peeved at the mistake I made by ruining the top of the necklace. It has been a roller coaster of an experience, and I may attempt it again when I get new endmills. The entire project took about 8 hours, which I am not super happy with, and on a second attempt, I think I can cut that in half or more. 

Home Workspace | Pocket NC Unboxing and Startup | Pocket NC

The Pocket NC arrived yesterday and is fantastic! The box the machine came in very well packaged with no wiggle room for the machining to move around during shipping.  It had a few tools like Allen keys and a wrench to change endmills, it also came with a single flute 1/8" carbide bit for cutting soft plastics, and even came with two 2" cubes of wax.

The startup manual was very clear and straightforward, which can't always be said for other machines. However, when I was setting up the bed I ran into a slight issue, the brace that holds the camp system was a very tight fit without any hardware/locating pins and I ended up having to use a rubber mallet to tap it into place. I first tried to put it together myself without instruction, but when it didn't fit I thought maybe I didn't install it correctly, I found a tutorial page that described what I was already doing. 

Other than the clamp system, the whole machine was straightforward to set up and took under an hour to get it all hooked up with the user interface and ready to start an operation. Before doing any test cuts, I installed the single flute 1/8" endmill it came with and went to the tooling section of the interface. Setting the tool was very easy and took under 30 seconds to do. Compared to the v1 model, which would require you to measure the distance, the endmill came out of the holder and then entered that into an equation that you would put the results into the tool table. 

I then went to Fusion360 and setup the CAM end of it, which consisted of downloading the table and vice and setting the origin height according to the specific machine offset found in the manual. When Pocket NC builds its machines, there are slight discrepancies between each Pocket NC; this doesn't mean there is any functional difference. There just might be a couple of thousands of an inch farther away or closer to the center origin of the machine bed. 

One slight downside to setting up the machine was the information was kind of scattered around a few different pages, it wasn't hard to find it just would have been more comfortable in one location. 

For the first cut, I set it to surface the wax cube it came with to ensure it all lined up correctly. Uploading the g-code to the machine was so easy compared to their v1 model, and the speed it read the information and was ready to run was terrific, what would typically take 1-3 minutes for uploading a facing operation to the v1 model it did it in under a second for the v2. After the file uploaded, it was all ready to start; I love how the button on the machine blinks green when it's ready to start. I almost jumped when I pressed the cycle start because the machine moved so quickly, I was expecting it to be pretty similar to their v1 model, but it ran much more smoothly and with speed. The facing operation took off maybe 0.001" of stock from the top, which is better than I was expecting for the first operation to be so accurate. 

Overall I am super pleased with the V2-10, and it is night and day difference between this and the old Pocket NC model.

I recorded myself taking it all out and setting it up and will be editing that and posting it to Youtube with a voiceover. 

Oneshop Redding | More Machine Errors and Broken Endmill | Pocket NC

After cleaning the Pocket NC, I ran the same operation that failed last time. I was able to complete it without fail, however, when I went in for another side milling job the b-table (the bed the clamp is attached to) wouldn't rotate. I attempted to re-home the machine, but it would keep giving me this error:

"Home switch inactive before the start of backoff move." I completely unplugged the Pocket NC and restarted it, again the same issue. I Then took the vacuum I'd been using and clearing away all the chips once more, thinking it must be something to do with chips flying and touching exposed wires. I also took the air compressor and did a quick once overall around the machine. Again same error, finally, I decide to unplug and plug back in the motor that rotates the b-table; this fixed the issue. I'm not entirely sure why but I think it may not have been plugged in all the way, thus allowing it to work when in the right position occasionally. I also had the same issue with the z height motor and the same solution.

Unfortunately, since I was playing it a bit safe with the toolpaths the run time for the last operation was 21 minutes and had already run through about 18 minutes. I really didn't want to sit there and watch it cut air for that long so I decided to do something a bit risky and stupid. I edited the code and removed about 60% of the lines to get it to start toward the end. However, I neglected to realize that it would go the shortest possible path from its starting point to the next line in the code. I ended up snapping my 1/8" endmill because it attempted to chew through 1/4" of aluminum at 34 inches per minute. I was very tired when I did this and if I thought about it I would have realized that would have happened and so decided to call it a day and head home.