CNCing a mini mill

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Auzzie53

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I've converted two mills to CNC, a micro mill (Sherline) and a 1 HP Grizzly G0704 mill.

I have to agree with the idea that learning to make some parts by hand is a good way to start. One reason is that it forces you to think of making straight cuts in X and Y - and coming up with ways to hold the part in a fixture. Holding the parts is critically important. Say you need to cut a part with a tapered side - with CNC you just tell it the start and stop points and it figures how to do it. With manual milling, you need to figure out how to do it in a straight X or Y cut.

The tradeoff is that if you're going to do a lot of parts manually, manual mills are much easier to use with Digital Read Outs - DROs - I get distracted very easily while counting rotations of the cranks. A good set of DROs will cost close to what it costs to convert to CNC.
Mate, what controller and setup did you use for the Mill
 
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Mind your own biz
I’m thing of going manual to start so I can learn basic milling skills. Almost all of my stuff willl be one off.

D65
Start slow grab a file and file a block,to print next do this in a manual mill. Do not forget back last or the amount of lose movement of axis s. I do all and agree with all here. I have a cnc 8 turret lathe and in front a 9x20 manual. Use the tools that work with you
 

joerom

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I have a manual mill and a CNC mill.. I use the manual mill constantly.. I have yet to use the CNC.. At least for me as a hobbyist, the manual mill is so easy to use.. I do not have a DRO on it, but they do make a big difference having used them before.. Maybe someday I will add a DRO to it..
Now to why the CNC.. I keep thinking of all the things I want to make using CNC, but there is a lot of learning with it such as drawing the part and toolpathing it.. Then you need software which also can be expensive, but I see what some guys are doing with it on here and would love to try it, but that learning thing keeps showing up.. So I also agree that you need 2 mills if you are a hobbyist like me and that IS expensive...........
 

RM-MN

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When I built my mini mill into a CNC, I kept the controls available to manual mill with it. There is a learning curve to setting up a project for CNC. The software, however, does not need to be expensive. FreeCAD is a package with CAD and CAM built in. The coltroller I use is an Arduino with GRBL and I drive it with bCNC, all free packages although they do have a way to donate to them.
 

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CFLBob

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Mate, what controller and setup did you use for the Mill
Both of these conversions were long ago, and don't seem to be available, at least not the exact same thing.

My G0704 conversion was done following the plans from a guy named Hoss, (Dan Kemp) at G0704.com. He sells a DVD of instructions, full of prints for everything and sources for parts. The stepper controllers were from Automation Technologies and the interface board from CNC4PC. Both companies are still there, but searching Automation Tech for the stepper controller model number (KL-6050) says it "nothing found". The box has four of those stepper controllers, power supply, fan and the parallel port interface board.

ControlBoxCovered.JPG

The plans are still available and the website still there, so it's possible he has new sources for things.

The controller for the Sherline mill isn't made anymore, but it's from a company called Xylotex. They have this one that seems pretty similar. I did that conversion around 15 years ago, and I don't have any written plans for it.
 

Bentwings

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I have a manual mill and a CNC mill.. I use the manual mill constantly.. I have yet to use the CNC.. At least for me as a hobbyist, the manual mill is so easy to use.. I do not have a DRO on it, but they do make a big difference having used them before.. Maybe someday I will add a DRO to it..
Now to why the CNC.. I keep thinking of all the things I want to make using CNC, but there is a lot of learning with it such as drawing the part and toolpathing it.. Then you need software which also can be expensive, but I see what some guys are doing with it on here and would love to try it, but that learning thing keeps showing up.. So I also agree that you need 2 mills if you are a hobbyist like me and that IS expensive...........
My life as mechanical engineer revolved around learning cadd then design for mfg. this involved getting to know the CBC process.

to go to CBC you eventually will need a cad program. This will be the forerunner to a cam program that can create tool path from the cadd models. You teals need a good understanding of matching process and tool capabilities. Obviously it starts getting complicated expensive and time consuming about here. Manual tool path programming will take for ever. I learned much of this in college and the tool and fie classes. I go back to the black paper tape days. There was a special typewriter that punched the paper tapes. One of my first projects out of school was to draw or create on cadd parts programmed on paper tapes. That was probably the most tedious thing I ever did. I created manual sketches then transferred them to cadd models. Once there things began taking shape then the company changed cadd systems. I don’t know how many cad systems I was involved with but but it was a bunch.
Currently my son grandson and I have a nice small lathe and mill. These work for our needs. I don’t have plans other than possibly going to the Fusion cadd. I don’t think we will do CBC. If we need, we can take cad models to a local shop and get more complicated parts made or 3dprinted.
Byron
 

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