Author Topic: "Best" Machine Configuration  (Read 2661 times)

Offline sparky961

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"Best" Machine Configuration
« on: November 14, 2015, 10:13:00 PM »
From time to time my mind wanders off on design tangents.  This is probably evident in my history of posts here.  Recently I've been thinking about what sort of configuration a person would want in a small CNC machining center.  The typical 3-axis Cartesian setup is by far the most popular but also very limiting.  Sure, you can make virtually anything with some creativity but what if you want the functionality of a 5-axis machine that can access almost all sides of the part in one setup?

Just to get the ball rolling, I'm thinking along the lines of a turning and milling setup.  Something like a small version of a CNC lathe with live tooling, but perhaps with more degrees of freedom for the milling tools.  Tool changers are really nice but to keep things simple I'd keep that manual but include automatic tool offset measurement.  Or does such a machine not appeal to you whatsoever?

Now I know that there's not going to be one "best" configuration.  But what comes to mind as a great design for a rigid small work envelope machine for home use?  Of course all of those terms are subjective.... so let's say work envelope of no larger than 8" all sides, and rigid meaning I can push a 1/2" carbide end mill to the point where it breaks before the machine starts to shake itself to death.  Maybe that's going to make the machine too big already?  Where does one draw the line?

You may disagree with the small work envelope but how many things do we work with at home that can't be measured with 8" calipers?  Sure, we all have those times where we find ourselves saying "I just need another @#$!^#% inch of travel!" but that's going to happen regardless of the machine size.  My thinking is that by minimizing the work envelope, the rigidity can be vastly improved over machines that try to maximize it while at the same time keeping the entire machine very compact.

These are mostly just my own musings, but I'm interested in adding your ideas to my own.  Until 3D printing with metal becomes much more accessible, there's still a big reason to carve away the parts we don't want.

Offline chipenter

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Re: "Best" Machine Configuration
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2015, 02:39:36 AM »
Came across this
the tool change is neat .
Jeff

Offline efrench

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Re: "Best" Machine Configuration
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2015, 04:48:50 AM »

Offline bp

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Re: "Best" Machine Configuration
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2015, 07:51:09 PM »
Have a look at the Mazak Integrex range, other manufacturers have similar machines.  Where I used to work we bought a small Integrex, one with twin spindles and it was an eye opener!!
cheers
Bill

Offline sparky961

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Re: "Best" Machine Configuration
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2015, 08:56:30 PM »
Have a look at the Mazak Integrex range, other manufacturers have similar machines.  Where I used to work we bought a small Integrex, one with twin spindles and it was an eye opener!!
cheers
Bill

That's definitely a sweet setup, Bill.  A bit bigger than I had in mind, however.  I'm thinking something with a size and work envelope that would fit in the corner of a home workshop or maybe (but not likely) on a desk or table.

Came across this
the tool change is neat .

The "Pocket NC" is similar to what I had in mind but my reservations are:
- The aluminum construction with steel linear bearings, inevitably resulting in problems due to different temperature expansion coefficients.
- It just doesn't seem like a rigid setup to do more than just "nibble away" at soft alloys.  No doubt its flexible (in the "multi-purpose" sense of the word) but I'd like to see how far you can push it before encountering problems.
- No turning capabilities.  Anything round would need to be milled, which mostly works but takes a heck of a lot longer.

Good suggestions so far.... plenty of ideas swimming in my head.

Offline sparky961

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Re: "Best" Machine Configuration
« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2015, 09:04:25 PM »
This is cool... check out the turning operation starting at 5:56



But ya... not quite what I was aiming for. ;)