Thursday, October 11, 2018

Crudely Consolidating CNC Components

For a while now I've been running my CNC machine off a very messy setup, with spread out components and nasty wiring. I've been working on pulling everything together into a single control box; not only would that be neater and more convenient, it would also increase my machine's capabilities by allowing me to wire in some additional components. Well, due to various problems it ended up taking a very long time, but it's finally done... mostly.

It was designed to contain a BeagleBone Black wireless, but I've been having a rough time getting that set up, so I haven't actually put that in yet; for now it has to be wired directly to a computer. But the idea is that the monitor on the front runs off the BeagleBone, which connects to the USB port (mainly for loading memory sticks as I planned to run it off bluetooth peripherals).

On the front, there's a bunch of air holes; these have air filter foam pressed on from behind by 3D printed grills, so the inside of the machine should stay relatively dust free. The left red switch is for the spindle, which runs off a 48V power supply and is controlled by PWM speed controller, and a second is for a similar setup (24V power supply and speed controller) that I wanted to use to power a fan motor. The spindle controller is wired into the TinyG, so using the selector I can switch between manual and software control. I don't think the TinyG can control two PWM boards, so the fan is currently manual control only. The E-Stop button isn't wired up yet as I haven't decided on the best way to do it.

Around back we have the power switch to the whole shebang. Underneath it is an HDMI port and mini USB port for the BeagleBone, and a printer port for the TinyG. Above the extractor fan vents are a couple of holes I'm planning on using to attach a small square of cloth that will hang over the vents to prevent dust from getting in while the fan is off. On the other side of the fan are four ports for the four stepper motor controllers on the TinyG, two ports for the spindle and fan, and then four smaller ports, currently unused, which I am hoping to use someday for wiring up limit switches. Someday.

As I'm sure is obvious by now, it's not actually done yet. The whole thing is only screwed together and not glued though, so I can take it apart to make changes, additions or replacements. It already works better than my old setup ever did though; in fact I already used it to cut out something new. A mounting plate for the articulated hose that I wanted to run off the 24V fan:

I 3D printed the mounting bracket and screwed the whole thing in place, and so far it's looking good:

I'm really happy that the whole thing has finally come together. Yes, there's more work to do, but it can wait; I want to actually work on some projects right now that aren't just more add-ons for the machine itself. What a novelty that would be!

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