A little yada-yada from Denmark

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Jan 11, 2021
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Hello to You all, around the the World.

My name is Sven, I'm Danish, and I have no education in machining, whatsoever.

I did have the luck to spend 8-9 years in the 70-80'ties doing service & maintenance on machines in production halls, where the noise and smoke was a barrier that only seldom was breached by a machinist - much less a toolmaker ;-)

And I loved that job, but when the PC-boom hit, I went for the money. Didn't actually find them, but had fun chasing them, up till my recent retirement.

My hobbies have always been technical design & craft of some sort. Most often wood, electronics & programming, but 12-13 years ago I left that wife, that big house and consequently: my workshops, and moved to a 3.rd floor city appartment. I had to give up my attempts at cabinetmaking, but still had room for playing with some microcontroller projects ... small robots, "Internet of Things" and such-like.

But: I've become old - I'm no longer fascinated by the constant and rapid evolution. You spend half a year getting aquainted with a microcontroller, and just as you're ready to put it to the test in a project, next generation is released, with more memory, more speed, etc.

So, one day, I came across a guy who had bought a cnc-router but never managed to get anything else but a whiff of smoke out of it.

But I have always had a week spot for proces equipment, so I bought a cheap 3D-printer and swapped with him.

That's 4 years ago now, and the router has become my primary hobby. It has all I need: it requires programming (I prefer to write my own gcode), it likes my soldering iron (the VFD and stepper control system is cheap eastern stuff that begs attention), and it evolves ... so much actually, that I call it my little "CNC-mill", when we're alone;-)

It began as a chinese 'cnc2040' - a 4-axis machine , 200x400x100 mm (8"x16"x4"), with a water-cooled 800W spindle with ER11 collet (1/4" bits). Original design is quite flimsy for anything more challenging than hardwood, but after reading a lot about the principles, I threw in a couple of supporting 1/2"x4" alu beams, doubled the linear guide rods on x & y, and upgraded the steppers.

And then I spend half a year of mechanical calibration based on trial&error principle - that's when you appreciate the low prices on bits from China.

So what's the result?

Well, I don't know how you professionals would specify it, but my amateur observations are:

- I can mill alu, brass and mild steel
- precision is +/-0.01mm (a half thou) within a 100x100x75 mm (4"x4"x3") block for one operation, and double that (accumulated) for 8 consecutive operations (haven't done more in one setup).

OK - you professionals would probably get frustrated with the 1/4" bit size, no fly-cutter, etc., but to me, it's sooting as meditation to watch it do a face in 2mm strips per run.

Anyhow, sorry it took me so long to get to the point, but: I decided a couple of months ago to make a steam engine, and since then, I've done quite a lot of surfing, and you guys appear to me to be the best place to seek information and advice. I've read many threads, and I've learned a lot already, so thanks very much to you all!
 

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