Inventables X-Carve Large Crop

2017 NEW X-Carve From Inventables – Review and 1st Project

By | CNC, DIY, Software | No Comments

If you’ve followed me for any length of time you’ve probably seen me talk about some of the CNC machines from Inventables. I’ve reviewed the Shapeoko 2, X-Carve version 1 and now the X-Carve version 2 (or 2017 model). I’ve really enjoyed getting to see the transformation and maturing of this product over the years. They send me these machines to get me to do an honest review (seriously). That’s the only way I do it. I’m a straight shooter (sometimes to a fault some would say).

When Inventables reached out to me for the latest version I agreed to do the review as they’ve made some enhancements to the platform. Plus, they’ve created several new options for it. Options like a very versatile and reasonably priced clamping set and a thoughtful and complete dust collection solution.

Shipping

All the components arrived in great packaging and were undamaged with the exception of the large MDF table surface.  It suffered a minor bump about mid way down the right edge.  It was purely cosmetic so no issue really.  The corners were very well protected by high density foam but as usual the shipper found a way to leave their mark.  There were 4 boxes in total with the largest being the table.

Assembly

Assembly was a much different experience this time.  I believe my more pleasant experience this time is the result of two things.  First, this isn’t my first rodeo so to speak.  I’ve had some experience in assembly with the first version X-Carve.  Secondly, Inventables made the assembly process easier.  This fact is most evident in the X axis bridge.  Instead of 2 lineals that make up the bridge, there is just one double sized lineal.  This eliminates the trouble of having to space the lineals correctly so that the X axis carriage rides smoothly.  Also making the assembly process easier is that all the stepper motors now connect to the wiring with a plug instead of the old screw terminal connection.  The wires are also labels very well.  The total number of pieces seems to be less overall.

Every tool you needed was supplied in the optional tool kit with the exception of 2 things, a pair of scissors or wire cutters and a 5mm hex driver bit.  Most people have scissors but I didn’t have 5mm hex driver for my drill.  I was able to make one by cutting off a length of a cheap hex key I had laying around.  You need the hex driver to install the threaded inserts into the X-Carve table or at least to do it in an easier way.  A standard 5mm hex driver could work but it would take a considerable longer time.

The online instructions do a good job of walking you through the assembly.  I was able to put the entire unit together, by myself, in a few hours.

New Standard and Options

The old standard DC spindle has been replaced by the, once optional, DeWalt 611 router.  The 611 has a lot of power for it’s size and it’s not to loud.  There’s also the added benefit of being able to get precision collets for it as well.

The clamp set is a great option.  It’s very complete and allows you to easily secure your materials to the table for cutting. There are 5 different length plastic straps, 5 different length color coordinated hold down bolts, 5 short step blocks, 5 tall step blocks, and 5 riser blocks all with 5 of each.  A great value in my opinion.

The dust collection System.  As great as the clamp set is, I’m most impressed with the dust collection system.  It’s very well thought out and works great.  The systems main components consist of a dust shoe, side mount brackets, hose, and grounding wire.  It’s super easy to install and comes with a generous length of hose.  The grounding strap is a nice add to help dissipate the static charge the could develop when using the system.  The removable dust shoe is securely held on with magnets.  Yet you can still remove it with relative ease when needed.

There are also several different bits that you can add in various types and sizes.  I show two different packs and detailed picture of each bit further down in the blog post.

Another advantage ti the DeWalt 611 router being standard is that you can add the optional precision collet set.  It is made to a higher standard the your typical factory collet and will have less run-out which translates to a better surface finish on your parts.

Use

As with the previous Inventables CNC machines, using it is very straightforward and easy.  The Easel software is very intuitive and walks you through the process by leading you through a series of questions.  Questions like how thick is your material and what size bit will you be using.  There’s an enormous amount of information for Easel online and the basic account is free so you can be using it right away.  Even before you buy an X-Carve.

Hard Drive Ring Trivet?

My first project with the latest X-Carve was something that popped in my head.  It accomplished a several things for me.  Firstly,  It’s a good project for the X-Carve,  Second, I get to use some beautiful Black Walnut wood that Inventables sent me. Third, I get to make use of some hard drive platter spacer rings I’ve had laying around for a while.  I use 9 of these rings and press fit them into a square of the Black Walnut to make a unique trivet.  The contrast between the shiny aluminum rings and the beautifully grained Black Walnut couldn’t have been better.   I created the design and CAM job in Fusion360, then imported the file into Easel and had the X-Carve do it’s thing.  After a few goofs on my CAMing job, I finally got it right.  I think the results speak for themselves and I’m pleased how it turned out.

Final Thoughts

This version of the X-Carve is better (as it should be) than the previous versions.  Inventables is listening to feedback and making improvements to the X-Carve platform.  They’re offering additional solutions with the options they’ve brought to market.  DIY CNC is fun, but it’s not for everybody.  It takes multiple disciplines to bring a functional and accurate machine together.  If you want to concentrate on making things with a CNC machine then you should buy one in my opinion.  The X-Carve is a good starting place for a new user of for a small business that needs to cut out shapes, art, etc.  Like the home signs I mentioned or the wooden shapes the a lot of these “paint n pour” type places allow you to paint things with a group of friends.  (sometimes I do feel like a free business consultant 🙂

Be sure to sign up for a free Easel account.  It’s free and easy to use.

Saw front with pusher arm control box and shuttle

Arduino / ClearPatch Servo Controlled Chop Saw Stop

By | 3D Printing, DIY, How-To, Non-CNC, Start to Finish | No Comments
Make Sign
This project has been rolling around in my head for a long time.  More than a year in fact.  With the help of the ClearPath “pulse burst mode” servo from Teknic it is now a reality.  I hadn’t heard of this mode of operation until talking with Teknic but it turned out to be a perfect fit.  I’ve used the Clearpath “step and direction” servos on my 2 CNC machines for a few years, ever since one of my viewers turned me onto them (thanks Anthony:)

This project turned out better than I could have hoped. It’s simple to use and extremely precise, like 0.00067 inches precise.  That’s 0.017mm for the rest of the world. I dare say, for woodworking…   it’s spot on.  The wood will move on it’s own more than that amount.

This project isn’t very complicated.  I’d love to see others build it and see how they do it differently.  I’ve included a list of all the main components that went into this build. The digital resouces, like Arduino code, libraries and part files will be available via the link at the bottom of the page.

If there’s something I missed or you need more detail, let me know.

Project Pictures

Project Videos

Links and Sources

Teknic ClearPath Servo and Power Supply Details

ClearPath servo from Teknic as built – Model CPM-MCPV-3432S-ELN after proof of concept, could have used CPM-MCPV-3411S-ELN (still pulse burst mode type)

Teknic ClearPath controller cable and IPC-5 power cable (if used) – Cables

Teknic 75vdc power supply – Model IPC-5 (a 48vdc power supply could also have been used)

 

Items from Amazon – Using these links helps support the channel and doesn’t cost you any more.  Thanks for your support!

Generic DC Barrel Jack 5.5×2.1mm 12V Panel Mount for Wall Supplies (pack of 10 – you need 1) http://amzn.to/2gZ68Li

BUD Industries NBF-32016 Plastic ABS NEMA INDOOR USE 11-51/64″ L x 7-55/64″ W x 5-7/64″ H, Light Gray Finish (for power supply) http://amzn.to/2xsGzZQ

BUD Industries NBX-32916-PL ABS Plastic Internal Panel, 10-1/2″ L x 6-11/16″ W x 1/8″ Thick, for NBF Series Boxes (for power supply) http://amzn.to/2wWPKjJ

BUD Industries NBF-32012 Plastic ABS NEMA Economy Box, 7-55/64″ L x 5-57/64″ W x 3-59/64″ H, Light Gray Finish (for Arduino) http://amzn.to/2gYLyqH

Electronics-Salon Nylon Round Spacer Assortment Kit, for M3 Screws, Plastic http://amzn.to/2wWI156

Adafruit Proto Shield for Arduino Kit – Stackable Version R3 http://amzn.to/2y153Gy

4×4 16 Key Matrix Membrane Switch Keypad Keyboard 76x69x0.8mm http://amzn.to/2y0Xfop

2x Switch 6a/250v 10a/125v Black Kcd1-105 Spst On-off Panel Round Rocker A8 http://amzn.to/2y168hA

RGB LCD Shield Kit with 16×2 Character Negative Display-Uses Only 2 Pins http://amzn.to/2xsBy3k

Arduino A000067 Dev Board, ATMEGA2560, Arduino MEGA 2560 R3 http://amzn.to/2h0SKCm

80/20 Inc., 2020, 10 Series, 2″ x 2″ T-Slotted Extrusion x 97″ http://amzn.to/2f1fTI5

80/20 Inc., 6724, 10 Series, 4″ Double Flange Linear Bearing http://amzn.to/2jk4dSf

RAM Mount 2-1/2″ Diameter Base w/1.5″ Ball (you need 1) http://amzn.to/2f1IUn5

RAM Mounts (RAM-103U) 1.5 Inch Ball Double Socket Arm with 2.5 Inch Round Base http://amzn.to/2w3k1P0

 

Additional Hardware

Onvio pulleys and mount plate – pulley part# OV107843 (AT5, 22 teeth, Dual Flange, 0.5in Bore), AT5 clamp plate Part# 5005092

Gates Mectrol – Belting AT5 / 32mm wide, polyurethane with steel tension members, Approximately 12 feet needed as shown in video

Icotek cable pass through – Used on power supply enclosure – Model KEL-ER product page 

1/2 motor coupler halve (you need 2) from McMaster-Carr https://www.mcmaster.com/#9845t2/=19hitwp

Coupling spider for motor coupler from McMaster https://www.mcmaster.com/#9845t14/=19hiubb

1/2 inch nylon plastic spacers from McMaster https://www.mcmaster.com/#90295a492/=19hiv2q

Loc-Tite 648 from McMaster-Carr (clean parts with alcohol before assembly) https://www.mcmaster.com/#91458a801/=19hit9b

2 inch long aluminum spacer from McMaster-Carr (you need 6) https://www.mcmaster.com/#92511a085/=19hishb

0.5 inch shafting from McMaster-Carr https://www.mcmaster.com/#1346k17/=19hiru9

Leveling feet from McMaster-Carr https://www.mcmaster.com/#2531k61/=19hiqsq

(Pack of 2) Flanged Ball Bearings Precision Sealed 1/2″ ID x 1-3/8″ OD G8 http://amzn.to/2wlTLe9

 

Additional Video Resources from Teknic

ClearPath servo overview

Connecting a ClearPath servo to Arduino 

Using the MSP software with ClearPath Servos

Auto tuning the Clearpath servo

 

Fusion 360 Design Files

Neo7CNC keypad and LCD template http://a360.co/2xz9GJW

NEMA34 motor mount plate http://a360.co/2jXhoIO

Free end pulley bracket as seen in video http://a360.co/2xz4rdc

Servo end pulley bracket as seen in video http://a360.co/2jVRIfH

[Better Version – You’ll need 2] Pulley bracket LEFT http://a360.co/2xumxLy 

[Better Version – You’ll need 2] Pulley bracket RIGHT http://a360.co/2wQtMf7

Enclosure air filter frame – SMALL http://a360.co/2wQwqS3

Enclosure air filter frame – LARGE http://a360.co/2wQbiex

 

Download Link for Source Code and Technical Instructions

Neo7CNC-Arduino-Clearpath-Chop-Saw-Stop.zip

GearBest Creality CR-10 3D Printer

Creality CR-10 3D Printer Review and Where 3D Printing Fits In My Design Style

By | 3D Printing, DIY | One Comment

GearBest recently contacted me and asked if I wanted to review a 3d printer for them. I naturally said yes as my existing 3D printer is not so good.  I also said yes, as I was planning to do a video on the subject of 3D printing and where it fits in my design style anyway.  Two birds with one stone right? They sent me the Creality CR-10 3D printer.  It arrived from China in about a week, well packed and intact.

Assembly was very easy and only required me to install install 4 bolts, 2 ‘T’ shaped support brackets, connect the wires that are nicely labeled and install a limit switch.  I had it up and running in about 30 minutes.  The paper instructions weren’t very clear but there were better instructions on the provided micro SD card.  As a plus, EVERY tool I needed was provided with the printer along with plenty of spare parts. Also supplied with the printer is a USB and power cable, micro SD to USB adapter, generous roll of PLA filament and a roll of masking tape.

My first print was a white PLA octopus.  I did that because I had printed one on my old printer so I thought it would make a good comparison. I then printed a corner cube for some series 10 80/20 aluminum extrusion.  The first one failed because I have the filament diameter set to 2.85 in Cura.  That starved the printer as the filament was actually 1.75mm.  The print turned out more like lace and was rather ghostly.  The next print was the white faceplate that I show in the video.  I tried 3 time to print it but they all failed.  I found out that there were 3 things keeping it from working.  The first was the supplied sample PLA.  It seemed a little more brittle than it should be.  I switched to some 1.75mm black PLA from Hatchbox.  The second issue was the tape.  It had a lot of bubbles in it so I removed all I could.  The third thing was a trick that I’ve never tried and that was to apply glue stick to the area of the bed that’s going to get printed on.  All printing done after these changes proved successful.

The printer is fast and the quality was great but the enormous build volume of 300mm x 300mm x 400mm (11.8in x 11.8in x 15.7in) is the real winner for this printer. I ran the printer for 8-9 days (and nights) straight much to the chagrin of my family. The printer make typical noise and didn’t bother me at night but I sleep pretty hard. The shortest print was about 1.5 hours and the longest was 27 hours.  The 27 hours print was the red “Lab Jack” that I show in the video.  It’s an impressive piece especially since it’s printed all in one and is fully functional once the support is removed.

There are many “hop up” parts on Thingiverse but the only one I’ve seen that is needed at this point is the strain relief for the wires that connect to the heated bed.

All in all this is a great printer to be in the sub $500 price range.  As I mention in the video below, this technology is rapidly evolving and the prices will continue to come down and features rise for these types of basic FDM printers.  Be sure to check out the photo gallery for the fine details of the prints and a better look at the printer.  Link to the GearBest printer and the review video is below.

GearBest Creality CR-10 3D Printer Use coupon: GBTE   get 10% discount!

Look at GearBest’s other printers during their Summer 3D Printer sale

KR33CNCv2 diy cnc machine

How do you connect a brake to a ClearPath DC servo – Neo7CNC

By | CNC, DIY, How-To | No Comments

I’ve been asked this question many times since I started using the ClearPath DC servo motors from Teknic. First, lets review the WHY you’d need to use one. Unlike standard stepper motors, most servos do not present any resistance to rotation when the aren’t powered or enabled. Meaning that if the servo motor encounters a fault condition or loses power, it can freely spin. On the X and Y axis of most vertical CNC machines this may not be an issue.  However, on the Z axis, you have all the weight of the spindle motor and brackets pulling down on it.  Gravity will take over if there is a fault or lose of power.  This could be catastrophic for the spindle, endmill, work piece or even the CNC machine itself.

To safeguard against the Z accidentally dropping, we can use an electro-mechanical brake between the shaft of the servo and the shaft of the ballscrew that moves the Z axis up and down. For this example, I’m using a brake from Inertia dynamics that I found on eBay.  It operates on 24vdc and when at rest (unpowered), it’s locked.  If you supply it with 24vdc it unlocks and it can rotate.

The overall setup is straightforward. The ClearPath servo has all the control we need already built in.  There is an output from the servo that is “ON” when the servo is powered AND enabled.  We’ll use this logic combined with a Crydon solid state relay to control the brake.  Wiring is also pretty simple.  We’ll also need power supplies to power the relay, brake and servo (servo power supply not pictured).  The Allen-Bradley 24vdc power supply is for the Inertia Dynamics brake and the 5vdc Mean-Well power supply is for the solid state relay. The relay will control power to the brake and the relay will be controlled by the output from the ClearPath servo. Pay close attention to the polarity on the solid state relay as it is polarity sensitive on the input and output unlike standard mechanical relays.

ClearPath DC servo motor: CPM-SDSK-2311S-EQN

Inertia Dynamics brake: 8923-2331 – purchased from eBay.

Solid state relay: Crydom DC60S3

Gene Haas Center

The Gene Haas Center for Manufacturing Innovation in Greenville SC.

By | 3D Printing, CNC, Software | No Comments

I had an opportunity to visit the Gene Haas Center for Manufacturing Innovation last week.  I loved it! I was like a kid in a candy store. This brand new center has areas for CNC (subtractive manufacturing), manual milling, lathe work and grinding, 3d printing (additive manufacturing), pneumatics, hydraulics, robots, mechatronics and more! I was there for a lunch and learn that featured 3d printing technology from HP and MarkForged and also 3D design software from Solidworks. This facility is used by Greenville Technical college, Clemson University and also by local industry.  They are also starting an business incubator very soon.  Watch the video below for more information.