CNCCookbook: Be a Better CNC'er

Want to be a better CNC'er?

Get our weekly newsletter plus a package of greatest hits, special tips, and more, all for free.

I'm Ready to Be a Better CNC'er, Hook Me Up!

CNC Workshop Projects

 

Disc Sander
    

Disc Sander

 

 

 

 

Tapping Arm
    

More Workshop Projects

- Tapping Arm

- Toolholder Rack

- Air Tool Rack

 

 

Workshop Project Wish List

Turned File Handles and Rack

I came across these beautiful turned file handles on the Lathemaster Yahoo Group. A fellow named Marv Stovall did them. I thought they were really nice, and immediately wanted a set for myself. This will make a good project to try my CNC Lathe on when I get done converting it.

At the same time, I'd love some kind of rack to make it easy to organize the files. You need a collection of different styles, shapes, and sizes, and it's hard to keep them all neat. According to Guy Lautard, he knows a guy that keeps his in pipes filled with heavy cutting oil. I have found that the heavy oil works as good or better than chalk to keep files from loading up, and it would surely protect them.

BTW, I like Nicholson files. For filing on the lathe, there's nothing like their lathe pattern file either. makes for some really smooth work.

In the meanwhile, I bought a box of cheap wooden handles off eBay for my files, which are way better than nothing.

 

 

 

Lathe QCTP Toolholder Rack

So many great ideas I started an Idea Notebook page for this one. Here is a typical sample from the Lathe Tooling Organization page:

 

 

 

Bearing Greaser

Here's a neat little bearing greaser Bogstandard showed over on the HMEM boards:

Zerk for grease gun is on top. Just use the hand gun, not a pneumatic or there is a danger of bending the shield!

I had an idea for some fixtures to help with preloading bearings. Perhaps a multi-purpose fixture could be created, I'll have to ponder that.

 

 

 

 

Bench Tapping Fixture

Bench Tapper

A bench tapping fixture...

This little gadget would be handy to have around for precision tapping a hole straight up and down and would not be hard to make. I'm saving it for an early CNC project once my machines are converted.

 

 

 

Harbor Freight Tool Grinder and Goodies

Lots of folks feel this inexpensive tool and carbide grinder is a great buy and a must-have for the home shop. Mine has performed extremely well right out of the box. I even went quite a ways with the relatively low quality wheels that came with it.

I've included some pictures and comments about accessories people have made for it as well:

 

A diamond dressing attachment...

A mitre attachment...

Recommended wheels:

The wheels for this grinder are 6" diameter and 1 1/4" arbor.

Diamond 220 grit from Enco: Got it just the other day!

Aluminum Oxide 46 Grit from J&L: I'm gonna run the wheels that came with the grinder for a little while and see how they do.

More Attachments and Tune Ups

These are from Jim Hubbell. Balancing new wheels:

XY Table with sensitive feed and lathe tool universal vise:

 

 

 

 

Tool and Cutter Grinder

I've been keeping my nose to the ground looking for ideas on a tool and cutter grinder. It's ridiculously easy to dull a cutter, and while they're reasonably cheap on eBay (say $10 for a nice US Made 1/2" endmill), it's even cheaper to sharpen them. Not to mention drill bits need constant sharpening, and custom cutters are easily made with the right grinder. I've looked a little bit at the Deckel's and their clones that come up on eBay, but they want an awful lot of money for one. Then there are a variety of cutter grinders that various HSM's have made over the years. These look like fascinating projects that would be great fun to undertake!

Here is my take on how to create a Deckel clone from an inexpensive Harbor Freight Tool Grinder and a "Universal Vise" acquired on eBay:

I call it the "Beijing Deckel"...

 

 

 

 

Sheet Metal Fabrication Tools

In fact, the whole sheet metal tool arsenal would be handy to have at hand. An English wheel, slip rolls, etc., etc.. I did come across some photos of this beautiful pan and box brake, which was built based on an article in "Projects in Metal." I ordered their book so that I would have these plans available when I'm ready to jump in. The article in the book is excellent, and there are a number of other projects to covet there as well (like the precision cutter grinder and tilting table for milling). Order "Metalworking, Book Two, The Best of Projects in Metal." This particular brake was designed by Glenn Wilson.

Very nice, eh?

There's a fellow on one of the boards who has an interesting wrinkle on this stuff. He's built a hydraulic press with a tubing bending attachment that is CNC controlled. Basically, you enter an angle, step on the pedal, and the machine bends the tubing to that angle. You could imagine that the electronics involved must be simple. A PIC controller, an encoder for shaft position (to measure how many degrees we have gone), and some sort of solenoid valve for the hydraulic cylinder. It's interesting to consider whether some of these other bending tools could be so equipped in order to make it easy to produce repeatable operations to a particular design spec. I'd have to think it is very possible. The same fellow suggests that the expensive part in all of this is the hydraulic pump, and that if one were to build such tools one should use quick disconnects to share that pump with several machines and thereby lower the overall costs. Good idea!

Update: I have now purchased a 45 ton air-over-hydraullic press, so I'll likely look to make a press brake attachment.

One more possibility is to build an electromagnetic sheet metal brake, similar to a MagnaBrake. Check out my page for ideas.

 

 

 

 

 

Shop Cranes

Warning: Heavy lifting is inherently a very dangerous business. Injuries and property damage are common. Make sure you know exactly what you're doing before attempting something like this!

This one seems endlessly useful around the shop. There's always something big and heavy to be moved or repositioned. By making it out of aluminum, it becomes much easier for one person to assemble and disassemble or move around:

Using an aluminum gantry crane to move a mill into position...

Close-up of the I-Beam Support...

Travelling gantry would be very helpful building my Texas Smoker!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Machinery Dollys

An alternative to the Gantry Crane would be a machinery dolly system like this one. Slide the toe under and jack it up and you are ready to move. I could envision making it so that one could attach a platform between two dollies as well. Those pictured are very similar to a product called "Rol-A-Lift" that one could buy or rent if you didn't want to invest in making a dolly system.

Moving in a Shaper...

 

 

 

 

 

Heat Treating Oven

I have been interested in heat treating metals for a long time, and finally sat down to do a little web research on how to build a heat treat furnace. Industrial PID controllers are readily available on eBay cheap, and the rest of the materials required are not expensive either. Here is one example of a shop made oven:

Shopmade Heat Treat Oven...

It's also possible to convert a ceramic kiln to this purpose. The ovens are typically lined with fire brick, although I have also heard of some people using thermal ceramic fiber blocks from a company called Vesuvius, and also a material that comes in board form called "Marinite". Other useful materials to know about include high temp sodium silicate firebrick cement and refractory mortar (found by yours truly while reading about pizza ovens).

Links about making your own furnace:

The Shopmade Heat Treat Oven Pictured Above: A nice project with lots of photos.

http://www.knifeforums.com/forums/showtopic.php?tid/752668/post/775813/hl//: Not much on pix, but some good tips and techniques. For example, there is a high temperature mortar/calk available at Home Depot to seal the bricks that is good to 2000 degrees. You want a "K" type thermocouple for this kind of project.

HSM Thread on Materials: OhioDeere has built some commercial heat treating ovens and has some sage remarks there as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Featured Articles

Step-By-Step Guide to Making CNC Parts

CNC Router Cutter Types

Why Use a Single Flute Endmill?

Step and Servo Motor Sizing

The Truth About Tool Deflection

10 TIps for Router Aluminum Cutting

2 Tools for Calculating Cut Depth and Stepover

CNC Machine Hourly Rate Calculator

Special Purpose CNC Calculators

Feeds and Speeds Guide

CNC Cutter Guide

Feeds and Speeds By Material

G-Code Tutorial

  Feed Rate Calculator

Sales, and Special Deals

 

GCode is complicated.
G-Wizard Editor
makes it easy.

Try It!

 

Feeds and Speeds:
Made Easy.

Try G-Wizard

 

 

Do you want to be a better CNC'er in 37 Seconds?

Get Better Tool Life, Surface Finish, and Material Removal Rates Fast.

It's that easy. You can install and get results in a matter of minutes.

 

Start Now, It's Free!