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Read on an I’ll give you my simple-to-follow strategies that avoid the worst and most expensive mistakes DIY CNC builders make.
Turn that CNC router you’ve always wanted into a reality.
I wasn’t always an expert in CNC Router Design, I was pushed into it by circumstances
Dave Field – KAL CNC Strategies
Professional Product Designer
Howard had asked me to cut a few aluminum machine parts for one of his clients.
It was a test of my maker abilities and I jumped at the chance.
All I would need was a small 3-axis CNC router to cut the parts and it needed to be rigid to cut aluminum.
All I really needed was a rigid table-top machine because the parts weren’t huge so it made good sense for me to build my own CNC router in-house.
Plus, I really needed to have one in my shop.
I started researching the best ways to design and build a CNC machine. But I found a huge amount of conflicting information and 10,000 different opinions existed. All the so-called EXPERTS were telling me something completely different.
I was expected to blindly accept what they were telling me, and just hope that it all turned out well.
It was a huge leap of faith, which made me really uncomfortable, but I needed to start producing parts quite quickly.
So, I made some wild educated guesses and got to work on my design.
It took me about 4 weeks to complete my drawings and all the detailed parts list.
It had taken me much longer than I had estimated, because I had to design some parts over and over to get them to work.
Then I ordered all the expensive expert-recommended parts that I could afford, and started my build.
It took a lot of fiddling and back and forth to get the frame together so it was close to straight and level.
Too late, I discovered all those expensive components I had bought needed to be mounted really accurately too.
The mounting surfaces needed to be machined completely flat, which I couldn’t do.
I ended up buying a bunch of expensive tools to try get the mounting surfaces flat but never really managed to get them right.
Finally, after a lot of back and forth, I finished the mechanical build.
Things seemed to be coming along well and I started to wire the machine up.
I struggled to find a reliable wiring diagram anywhere. I looked everywhere but no two diagrams I found matched.
I had to design my own wiring diagrams from scratch.
It turned into a real nightmare to get it working and doubts about my abilities started creeping in.
To this day I’m not sure how I managed to get it to run properly. A lot of guessing and testing.
After a super stressful build, I was finally able set up and cut the first batch of parts.
My family hadn’t seen me for weeks!
When I took the first parts off the machine, I realized that things were really BAD! I knew I was in real trouble.
That beautiful machine I had bet my business future on was flexing, chattering and vibrating horribly when it cut the aluminum.
I tried different feeds and speeds but no matter what I did, it wasn’t rigid enough to cut the aluminum properly.
There was no simple fix, because of the complicated way I had designed the machine. I would need start all over again, and now I was out of time and really low on money.
So, with my back to the wall, I sent the job out to a machine shop.
A week later, they shipped the parts directly to Howard’s client. I had a bad feeling about rushing the machine shop.
Howard called me the next day and my heart…
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