Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Mills Available Now and Other Ramblings

I got 2 mills ready to ship bare bones.  No stepper motors, or control boards.  Steel frame and will handle aluminum and plastic.  To finish it out You will prob have maybe $1500 in it tops counting shipping and ebay parts.

They come from one of my manufacturers in the Philippines.  Its made at a job shop owned by a Chinese guy whose family fled the commies back in the day.

They have some pretty good equipment there even by US standards.  He is not as cheap as China but on the other hand I don't have to worry bout my stuff getting sold on Ali Express before I get to sell it.

It is not a super duty production machine. It is a entry level machine, that in the hands of a experienced guy can tune it up to some very tight tolerances.

My personal business model with these little machines are the super entry level grade. 

Little CNC machines that if you are a guy who is starting out, or a student, or a third world shop, the ability to get one of these little machines and make stuff.

It can be used to fabricate a even better machine for example.

Right now I have prototyped with this machine and one of my plywood mills with a cheap trim router as the spindle.  I started off with the Dremel, as it was all I could find without going to China or spending $200 on a Bosch motor until this one recently came on the market.

As someone who has spent a lot of cash sending stuff out to machine shops to get made and ended up with parts that did not work because they were prototypes;  I have found that these little machines have saved me a ton of cash and time the last few months.

My ultimate goal is a sub $400 machine. 

So far I am getting closer to this goal.  It may not be super fast or 5 micron accuracy, but then again it will make useful stuff.

The plywood mill was prototype one of this series of machines.  Next machine I am making from half inch acrylic. 

The end goal is a China price beater in the entry level market and selling them by the container load on eBay.

The other machine I am looking at is a sub $400 CNC router.  Something for sign making and furniture making.

I had a breakthru the other day in the design of that one.

Basically my entire goal of that project is to use as little or no China parts as possible.  This means no China timing belt, No China linear guides, no China electronics. 

My inspiration for this comes from the Shapoko CNC Router that starts at $600.  Based on the measurements I am getting from the stock stainless tubing my supplier has, the material is straight enough to use as a linear guide. 

I have been toying around with bushings on it, but I have come up a design that uses roller bearings with delrin wheels that roll on the tubing.  Basically the Shapoko machine concept that does not use the extruded aluminum that will require a substantial investment.

The entire design can be made on a 2D CNC machine like my small CNC router, although for real production I would send it out to a laser shop for most of the parts and ship as a kit that fits in a small box.

Machine working area is a tentative 2x2 feet and uses open source electronics. 

If anyone wants to get one of the CNC routers or the acrylic mills as a beta tester (and get them at a big discount) let me know via the contact form.

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