This blog is for entertainment purposes only, and is not meant to teach you how to build anything. The author is not responsible for any accident, injury, or loss that occurs as a result of reading this blog. Read this blog at your own risk.

Monday, December 15, 2014

CNC mill conversion - part 19

Redefining the term… ugly

In my last blog post I promised a final solution to the chips and cutting oil cleanup madness that accompanies every cutting job.

This weekend, I decided to do something about it.

As my first aluminum fabrication project I figured I’d do something totally not critical, like the CNC mill motors’ covers. They don’t need to be good looking (although it wouldn’t hurt), all they need to do is keep metal chips, and cutting fluid (perhaps flood coolant in the future) away from the electric motors, and their mechanical couplings. 

I purchased some ⅛" 6000 series aluminum angle at SpeedyMetals.com, and went to work.

Speedy Metals commercial

1¼"  x 1¼" (3.2 cm) extruded aluminum angle 6061-T6 

Unfortunately the aluminum angles came up short (apparently I can no longer add fractions), and the fit up left me with 1/4” gap. 

Well, it turned out I just forgot to consider the material ⅛" thickness, twice! 


When 1¼ plus 1¼ does not equal 2½ 

With my clever plan in shambles, I quickly improvised by ripping some 1/2” strips with the table saw, in order to close the gap. 

Improvising is bad!

Have I mentioned these covers don’t need to look good?

The next best thing to an open gap

Welding aluminum seems to be hit or miss for me, I get some good runs, but sometimes I dig some craters. I don’t blame the machine for this, I’m sure it is 100% operator induced.

Well, at least it was a good practice session.

After the top pieces were done, I ripped 2 skirts out of some more angle,  then tacked and welded them.

Tacking one skirt

Finally, a straight run!

After doing both sides like this, I cut off the rear top corner (the one closer to the operator), welded a flat piece over the gap, then ground the welds smooth so that the coolant could flow over the edge then down into an eventual basin.

Fit & Finish... 1 out of 2 ain't that bad

Next, I drilled and tapped four 8-32 holes in the brackets. 

Let me tell you… spiral flutes taps ARE the way to go, I actually used them with a drill later on. See how they pull the chips backward by design? No  need to go back and forth with these babies.

Spiral flute tap in action. These taps are the bomb!

With the four bolts in place the cover became A LOT sturdier than I had anticipated. There is absolutely no wiggle, and I can actually move the mill around by pushing on the cover (not that I would need to).

This might actually work

Yes I know, it is one of the ugliest things to come out of the EZ shop to date, but then again, it doesn’t really have to go anywhere. 

Focusing on the positive… one good attribute is that, even with this enclosure, I can still operate the mill by hand with the crank wheel, just in case.

I'm still able to operate the Y axis manually

Although lately I have actually removed the wheels for a smaller profile, and since it takes less than a minute to put them back on, I’ll just keep them off to reduce the number of times my stomach hits the Y axis crank.

Since I don't use the mill in manual mode that often, I chose to reduce its footprint.

When I get back home from this trip, I’ll make the cover for the X axis, which I’m sure will turn out just as ugly, but perhaps, and more importantly, just as functional. 

No comments:

Post a Comment