Been a productive week in the man cave.

Well, I have managed to do so bits in my spare five minutes here and there, Between looking after son and trying to get him into a routine. So we can have some time to do things we would like. so far it’s working but just a bit erratic.

I have built a PC to run the CNC controller software out of an old HP computer I had kicking in my office its nothing fancy will be running windows 7 and mach3 software provided with the machine. will cover this more when I do a review and set up a blog post soon. Already working on a waste board will be the first project I will run with the milling machine once all set up.

Have been running upgraded printed parts on my Prusa Mk3:

  • Printed K40 laser pointer printed for 12mm laser crosshair diode to be added.
  • Printed Dust extraction addon for my CNC machine.
  • Printed Camara mount for Mk3 so can record some live-action / time lapses for future videos once I have some time to do some. family first.

Ordered parts:

  • MDF for enclosure of my CNC machine and for a Waste board.
  • Laminated Acrylic for the control panel for K40 Laser. (going to have to cut it down as size is a little larger than I thought. )
  • 12mm Laser diode crosshair.
  • New extraction fan for K40 laser exhaust as other one is less than strong enough and when I start cutting and engraving acrylic I don’t want to be breathing the fumes.

Parts I need to order in the near future:

  • Perspex sheet for the front of the enclosure of CNC machine.
  • rare earth magnets to hold the front door in place.
  • A hinging mechanism for the front door of the enclosure.
  • dust cyclone extractor for a vacuum system for CNC machine
  • Water container for CNC machine cooler
  • Vacuum cleaner to run the system

Upcoming projects:

CNC Enclosure will be using my racking and some MDF to make an enclosure with a perspex door.

Wast board  for CNC machine this will allow me to clamp and grip parts for milling it will also be a damaged board so I can cut out pieces without damaging CNC bed,

K40 Cohesion3D Mini Upgrade, as you might have seen I have been designing a new control panel for this upgrade will be doing this around easter I would think as next period of time that I will have some free time.

CNC Chinese 3040 mill Build and Review

When building a workshop this one of them tool everyone should have in a dream scenario.  I was browsing facebook and sore one for a great price way cheaper than I had seen it anywhere else so was a no-brainer clicked and bought one.

The Drama:

I thought was too good to be true and in this case, it was.  Lucky I had paid via PayPal and managed to get a refund of the 299 NZD.  Do not buy from buildotory.com its a con and there is a whole group of people who did lose their money on Facebook.

The second time around I found a smaller version for a reasonable price from a Chinese seller in Germany.

3 days later 1 box turned up was a little worried as I had read it comes in 3 boxes, I contacted the seller who assured me the all 3 had been sent.

the next day 2 more boxes turned up. heavey boxes at that a whacking 53kg in total so walking them from my office to the car was a dumb idea that I did.

The Build:

As the wife was out with our newborn or coming back from wales I unpacked the machine in the house.

As usual with most things you order from China, there was no instructions bar a 350 meg file download link. this contained mach3 set up guide. a video that shows him setting up the machine not building it.

Don’t panic! it’s not that hard to set up 4 large hex bolts to attach the gantry to the bed of the machine then some small bolts hold the wiring chain to the base and 6 screws to hold the 2-bed skirts and cable chain runner to the frame.

After this you will have to connect all the motors with there connectors then it’s as simple as running the wires to the controller box. these wires are labelled X, Y, Z and A if you have the 4th axis like I do.

you will also need to connect 2 hoses for water cooled spindle if your version is the 800w the low rated versions are air cooled.

Software set up:

I downloaded the file that I had been emailed via seller it came with pdf on settings for mach3 in chinglish, it also came with Mach3 software in English and Chinese with patch files,

I followed the instructions and plugged in the USB cable to my laptop for time being.

once installed and all settings adjusted I tested it out. It alive have spun up the 800watt spindle and controlled it on all axis bar A as not installed as yet.

Things to note:

According to the seller, this will not work with 64bit versions of windows it does and windows 10 think this disclaimer was written about parallel port versions of the board which this isn’t.

The Near Future:

its now gathering dust in the man cave until I have some moments to build an enclosure for it. being as I will mainly be using for wood it’s going to need one as I don’t want to get dust every ware in my small man cave. Update I have ordered the boards to make the enclosure so should be up and be running soon.

I will be building it a pc to run mach3 as a stand-alone machine with vnc viewer on it. This is so I can remote in from master pc in the man cave will make easier for live stream setups in the future. Update Built PC just need to test it with mach3.

I have already taken the control box apart to have a look at the controller board.

From looking in the box  I can see there are spare pins for touch probe and end stops will be adding them soon.

see wiring diagram I found on the mach3 controller installed in my control box.

I have also ordered a probe to install and connectors to wire it up will install it soon.

I will review the machine soon as I have had some free time to set it all up

The first Project:

I have already designed a waste board for it as teaching myself CNC/CAM design as it simple to pick up as I already know how to use fusion 360 which has a cam package as part of the software. there are also other great bits of software out there.

Designing a new Control panel for my K40 Laser cutter. Part one design and layout.

As I have been modifying my machine as I go. I will be implementing the upgrade of the controller board this board will have an LCD screen output it’s going to need a new control panel.

so I have put this together using Inkscape and some parts of other peoples designs.

this is version 5.2c yes I have been working on this for a while as toying with different ideas and controllers was going to you push button style laser controller but decided against it. 5.2d as some of the holes were off and undersized. so have resized them.

I have cut this to start off with plywood as prototyping will be made of acrylic once I get it perfected will be making up the wiring loom shorty.

Just waiting on come crimps. will be adding 24 power supply and lighting 5v PSU to power internal lights when done. I will be also removing the 2 back plugs from the machine and replacing them with IEC C-13 connectors panel I have seen, this will make it easier to have external air assist pump and have the water pump and exhaust fan as well. going to use this design off Thingiverse.  IEC C-13 Connector Panel.

I will post more on the wiring of this as make up the wiring loom.

This is mains voltage so all being done right and not to be attempted if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Prusa i3 Mk3 Review

Finally, have had five minutes to put together a short review of the Mk3

After a fair few months, my machine arrived all boxed up. the PSU was a little dented soon pulled straight with needle nose pliers but apart from that arrived in good shape.

I decided to build this indoors as the bad weather and space is a factor when dealing with 100s of parts.

this is not my first Prusa kit. the last one took well over 8hrs to build and I did this over to days and then there were a few hrs tinkering to make it print well.

after seeing a few live builds from some of the youtube celebrities. I started it took a lot less time to build than the last one think I had the machine build in around 4hrs. had to do this over a fair few days though as little one had a cold and was in need of daddy time. I blame this for me messing up a few steps. will talk about that later.  the manual is epic and very well documented. I would, however, recommend using the online manual for bigger pictures and comments from users are always helpful.

after the build, I flashed the firmware to the latest version as there updating and fixing stuff all the time.

turned on the machine was greeted with would I like to run the wizard to configure my printer.  said yes it runs through fans bed and got to x then failed with the axis being too short. this had me puzzled for a few days. changed belt tension made sure every this was aligned.

turns out that I had missed a step in extruder assembly and inserted 2 bolts the wrong way around and was missing a few square nuts. hence why I blame macs (my son) as he cannot answer back lol.

once this was corrected ran the self-test again and it flew through without issues.  then calibrated z without an issue.

first layer calibration was a little awkward but think this was down to a firmware issue. as I have now updated firmware and my issues with prints not sticking seems to have gone away.

I printed an exhaust vent for my k40 laser it took 16hr to print. I did this as my first print as wanting to get as much done in a weekend so I can keep articles coming on the website.

I have now printed several of the test prints on the sd card see the images below and as always floorless.

I am yet to test out all the functions of the printer like power panic and was having issues with stepper motor crashes so turned it off as was messing up prints. I have not tested any of the functions since last firmware update. will add my findings to the review once I have tested them out.

my thoughts on the printer so far.

  • price is mid-priced but worth the money for the support and the features
  • quality is great every part fitted and there are spare parts just in case you drop that vital screw or nut.
  • easy to put together great instructions if you read them all Doh.
  • advanced features crash detection power failure and filament sensor I am yet to test but autoload works well just wish that they would implement the self-heat option when inserting filament.

I would recommend this to any hobbyist who is not experienced with 3d printers who want to learn and have a printer that will work out of the box without having to fix issues from poor manufacturing. this printer will produce high-quality parts in a lot of materials.

 

New Exhaust ducting and fan For K40 Laser cutter

As i had a week end  moving stuff around in the man cave as family where away for the week end i have had some time to re jig things in the cave. It is far from perfect but will do for the short term.

Finally had time to build my Prusa i3 Mk3 as my other 2 printers are in need or repair.

I thought for the first print that i would make a new extractor for fumes as much as i love the smell of burning wood. it can smell quite pungent.  when i start cutting other materials like acrylic it will probably not good to inhale.

the reason for this is the one provided with the K40 is a bad  very cheaply manufactured device that i does not work very well as it dose not sit properly and leaks. also the fan is very badly made.

After looking on thingiverse i found a few designs that i like the look of but settled on this one  as would just fit on the MK3 print bed.  with the a glue stick i got it to print in 16 hrs using 0.2 layer height.

It turned out very nice. i brought some 100 mm tumble dryer vent tubing that might have to change as noticed yesterday that it already got holes in form dragging it around the man cave. will be cutting 100 mm hole in the wall to add a vent in the future or cracking a window to hang it out.

i then attached it to a inline fan and added more tubing the other end i am not convinced the fan i brought is powerful enough but will update this if i have to update the fan.

will be reviewing the Prusa i3 Mk3 soon after i have done some more prints.

 

 

Light Object Cutting head and air assist upgrade of new mirrors and adding led lights.

Be warned if you’re in the UK import tax is killer on USA imports atm. For mirrors and lens cutting head and the motorized bed had to pay a further £80 in tax.

You will need a cheap pump for this paid £15 for one-off amazon.

Removal of the old cutting head in my case just twisted and it came apart. Removed old cutting head.

Added new mirror and lens to light object cutting head and reinstalled.

Change other 2 mirrors as easy to remove and change you just need to unscrew the cover and replace with the new mirror.

Then realigned the mirrors for the new set up.

Took 2 weeks in the end to align lens and mirrors this was my own fault as I had used an angle girder to cut down my exhaust it had vibrated all mirrors out of alignment loosen mirror mounts.  I managed to bring it in from the man cave as son and wife were having some time with family in Wales.  The joys of dad life and before you ask I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Next up I  installed the cable chain I brought off Amazon,  to hold this on I used 2 cable ties through the laser carriage and shortened the other end of the chain I then stuck the other end down with 3M double sided foam tape.  I then run the silicon tube for air assist. in to control box part f the printer, there is a spare hole at the back of the enclosure I ran the silicon tubing through there.

i then have attached pump which is plugged into the mains i will be making this controllable of my custom control panel once i get some time to build it so probably over the next few weeks.

as i know the workings of this printer runs off 24 and 5 v i opted  to get a set of 5v led M3  light tape 200cm  white. i ran this around the inside of the enclosure and then through in to the control box area of the laser. i will be adding a on off switch to my custom control panel via a 5v power supply to control lights and laser focus tool

i will be adding laser focus tool soon i will also run the wiring for the cable through the chain at some point in the future.

Have more to add soon just posting in dribs and drabs as and when i have time to do stuff.

K40 Setup and review

I have wanted a Co2 Laser for some time for the man cave as it’s a useful bit of kit. For engraving and cutting materials.

I got a great deal on what is known as a K40 laser these lasers are from china so don’t expect good quality.  If you do your research, you will know what you’re getting in to before you buy.

It arrived. Well packed in massive 42kg box.

What was in the box.

1 x k40 laser cutter.

1 x extraction fan. (rubbish Quality binning and upgrading)

1 x extraction tube. (rubbish Quality binning and upgrading)

1 x water pump. (rubbish Quality binning and upgrading)

1 x usb dongle. (Never used as didn’t use the supplied software)

1 x cd with Chinese cutting software. (Never used as didn’t use the supplied software)

1 x tube of something think its silicon

1 x double sided tape. (meant for mirror alignment)

What you will need to get this working is a bucket and some distilled water as you will need to keep the laser water cooled.

The setup.

You will need at least 5L of distilled water connect pump to water inlet tube and place in bucket with distilled water place the out let tube in there as well. the pump is rubbish some times works some times does not so have to tap it with something heavy.

Install extractor fan and attach extraction tube. again rubbish will need to be upgraded will cover this in a later post once have printed a new exhaust adapter

There is a earth connection that I didn’t use as being in the uk our plugs are earthed.

Then plug it all and switch on.

Make sure you set the dial down before testing the laser as up can possibly blow the laser tube.

Placed some plywood down and hit the test button the gauge registered 5ish mA lifted the lid nothing no marks on the wood. Left lid open and did it again saw the glow of the tube. So knew it was working.

Figured the mirrors were not aligned. Spent the best part of an hour looking at youtube videos and webs sights that all talk about adjusting mirrors but don’t talk about what screw does what.

I decided to sleep on it oh and a have baby. A month later having some man time as wife was away with our son. I came back from a few days working in Amsterdam to the house I decided to bring the laser in the house and work on it as the cave is cramped to work on big stuff. After 40 mins with the aid of some 3d printed parts I got the lens and mirrors aligned at last.  Link to 3d printed parts off thingiverse.com. i also brought and added a 3d printed air-assist and laser pointer for showing were laser was pointing at on the materal got this off ebay.

 

Moved the laser back to the cave and ready to action.

Now I bypassed the Chinese software as had been able to do some research on the machine. I had invested in a 3d printed air assist and laser maker. I also had installed k40 whisper instead of the hacked version coral draw and coral laser.

Cuts and engraves like a dream. Well worth the money.

The future modifications.

As someone who like perfection I have dumped some money on my machine and over the next few months. I will be upgrading the machine.

List of upgrades

New mirrors all around as the quality of the Chinese mirrors are ok but not the best quality. (Done)

New light object air assist and cutting head and cutting lens. (Done)

New Control panel for more functions.

Adding Motorised adjustable bed (Built) wiring loom and board upgrade first.

3d Printed exhaust vent

New exhaust fan

New water cooler pump

Adding Flow and water temp meter.

New controller board and software.

Adding lcd screen

This will be done over the next few months as have limited amount time as family time comes first.

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