When I lent my services to a collegue who was working on a film about 12 years ago, I was introduced to the world of cnc. I remember watching this huge machining centre milling out a slab of mdf and turning it into a fantastic set of gears. I knew that it would have taken me hours to achieve the same thing with traditional power tools. I decided then that I would invest in a cnc router for my own business Oxenham Design. At that time I could turn on a computer, but even to check email seemed like a crazy set of operations. I persevered and learned every piece of relevant software I could get my hands on. I am now fortunate enough to be using Vectric's ASPIRE software, and Techno cnc routers, which has helped us to create some amazing projects, both in part, or in full. I thought that this blog would be a great place to share "behind the scenes" adventures with the software, materials and equipment we use, as well as the projects we build.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Z-axis surgery!

I had great hopes this morning about starting the HDU test plug for the r/c cars. I got everything all ready to cut, but the z-axis on my Techno wasn't able to machine the mold the way I had planned for it to. There was no malfunction or anything, just the limits of cutter/ travel/ etc. I am running an RG series Techno, and it's far from a new machine, that's for sure! It runs the same speeds as the new ones, and runs the same software interface, but it's the old design for the Z-axis. On our RG machine, the whole Z -axis extrusion moves up and down with the spindle fixed to it. I can slide the spindle to different spots vertically, then lock it down, (which is what I have been doing sometimes) but for the truck mold, I don't want to have to re-position anything, which could lead to small offsets on the finished mold.

So I though "I bet I can flip that around!" That proved to be more work than I thought. The new Techno's have just the spindle mounted to a plate that rides up and down.

Long story short, it took all day. I ended up needing a 10" X8 5/8" plate of 5/16" aluminum to get the whole thing working properly. A plate I didn't have at 5:30 this evening, and nowhere to buy one :(
BUT.....the neighbor a few units down is a welder, so I thought "maybe, just maybe" he'd have one. He sure did, that and tons more. Good job he was working late!
I was back in action! I got the new plate drilled and tapped for the fasteners, and got the whole thing back together again. However, now it was to high from the table at the lowest point of travel. This is easy to solve with a Techno, as most of the extrusions used have C-channels that let everything be fully adjustable. I did have to take it all apart again to adjust it, but at least I didn't have to drill and tap new holes! By 8pm it was all back together.........again. I fired it up and...........the Z-axis movement was now reversed due to the part being on in reverse and the plate moving instead of the whole extrusion. I was a bit panicked that I was now going to face the possibility of re-wiring. Luckily the software interface that makes the Techno so powerful, lets you reverse all the axis by entering either a "+" or a "-" in the scaling section. So once I found the place to do this, I was back in business. Leave it to me to tear apart the most used machine in the shop, in the middle of using it!
Tomorrow I will get the mold plug machined, you know, unless I decide to take something else apart

1 comment:

  1. Sounds so familiar. I spend most of my time working on labor saving devises Dan