Computing stuff tied to the physical world


In Hardware on Nov 16, 2009 at 00:01

Heh, heh. Some crazy stuff is about to happen in the Jee Labs…

I’ve received a CNC router kit, i.e. the subtractive way to create 2D and 3D shapes. This one:

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It’s one of the simplest CNC units available, from what I can tell. The work area is about 30 x 45 cm (A3).

Got various ideas to try out – from one-off pcb’s to front-panels. And more.

CNC routers can be very noisy and dusty, so this thing will be placed in a corner of the garage. A trusty ol’ Dell Inspiron 5000 laptop will sit next to it, running EMC and driving it all via the parallel port.

I’ve also ordered an extruder-type machine, i.e. the additive way to create 3D shapes. This one:


I don’t expect any of this to be a time saver – on the contrary, getting all the details right for CNC is going to take a huge amount of time and effort. But if it helps me try out ideas and explore new avenues, then so be it.

Yeah. Totally. Crazy. I know…

  1. Very nice, congratulations. It would be interesting to read how you came to select the FireBall, among the dozens out there (comparisons, criteria etc). (I also plan to play with my own CNC machine when I grow up.) Thanks.

  2. I’d like to have something like this, but my volume doesn’t justify it.

    Safety note: PCB fiberglass dust is very very bad for you. You don’t want it on your skin, and most certainly not in your lungs (think “asbestos”) I hope you are planning a vacuum system to pull the dust out of your workspace and catch it in some sort of filter outside.

  3. Now I’m really jealous. When can we expect pictures of Jee-Fab in action?

  4. Great! I can’t wait to see you adapt it to place SMD components or place solder paste ;-) I’m sure that’s one of your ideas, I’m I right?

  5. Wow – quite an interest! I should have added that my daughter is studying at the Design Academy in Eindhoven, and this sort of thing is bound to become massively important for her IMO. So one could say that I’m doing this all for her – although that’s not quite true ;)

    @F I picked the V90 mostly on price. Didn’t want to spend all my time figuring out how to build one from scratch, and this one should be able to handle acrylic and thin aluminum plate. Plus, I already had a Dremel and this thing comes with a mount for that – good enough at least for learning. It’s twice as large as what I was looking for, but ok.

    @SF Thanks for the fiberglass warning. I’m still thinking about some sort of enclosure to keep the dust out of the garage – that’s the big drawback of the subtractive process: a lot of debris & waste!

    @S I’ll post my progress. Still lots of assembly to do, and then the big task of figuring out how to create and transfer designs to actual material. Hope to have some object by the end of the month.

    @PF Heh. Pick-and-place would be a very ambitious / big project. First challenge would be how to pick up and align parts – I have no idea. Solder paste is less complex, but I need to figure out how to apply paste. I’m actually thinking of using the V90 to create a smaller and much lighter X-Y axis platform to experiment with solder paste on my desktop. The V90 needs to move to the garage before the dusty part starts, and that’s going to be a pretty cold place in the winter months ahead.

  6. Welcome to the CNC club!

  7. You can use the cnc to cut the “paper”(stencil?!) where you aplly the solder paste. ;)

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