Since I am interested in RC models and computer technology it was only matter of time to get idea to create computer controlled milling machine. In RC hobby there is a lot of work with hand saw to create several parts of future plane. All these parts have to be very accurate. Each deviation – even few tenths of millimeter – can be problematic. So it usually takes quite a lot of time just to manufacture plane parts. I think I am not alone who is getting bored while making 30th same wing rib. In that case a machine that does the work for me automatically would be handy. The solutions is CNC mill/router. The cheapest one are however quite expensive machines especially for hobby use. I was wondering if there is possibility to achieve similar results using cheap homemade stuff. I mean “How hard can it be?”.
First attempt to realize the idea showed that it can be quite hard. It was during my high school studies. I over estimated my knowledge and experience and that led to failure of whole project. When I think about this attempt to build CNC router today I realize that almost every choice and design aspect was completely wrong. As example of how things should not be done I will present some information about this first version of my CNC router.
Mechanical construction was designed in so bad way that and it didn’t work even after several tries to improve. It wasn’t tough enough, had too much backslash and there was too much friction under stress. These problems itselves would be too serious for any real use, but there were more flaws – too weak stepper motors and motor drivers. So even if the mechanics was all right the project would fail on the axis propulsion. Finally there were one more bad decision – developing own machine controlling software on PC side and controlling hardware on machine side. This task is so complex that I can’t even imagine to successfully complete it in reasonable time even now when I am much more experienced in related topics. The machine finally started to move and first results of drawing on paper looked well but with actual milling I wasn’t so successful. After many more tries I realized that CNC router in this form can’t work well enough and abandoned the project for several years.