Evan's Build

After sitting on the vitamins package from Vicious for a week, I’ve gotten around to printing the rest of my parts and building the beast.

I printed all my parts on my Folgertech 2020 i3 with a E3D Volcano/.8 nozzle/.4 layer heights. This was awesome for speed (cut my print time in 3 easily) but I had to drill out most holes and file down the spots for bearings.

I built it last night and today, minutes ago I sent it on it’s first ghost runs. Bit late to be running a spindle (I live in an apartment with a child across the hall) so the first cuts will have to wait till tomorrow. I plan on starting with foam and then moving to MDF. All I have for a cutter right now is a 1/8" 2 flute dremel “general purpose” thing that seems like a pretty long endmill, I didn’t want to pony up $20 for a meh looking 1/4" router bit at Lowes for instant gratification. Decent selection of carbide 1/16-1/4" end/ball mills coming this week, hopefully Wednesday. Also ordered an optical hand tach to give me a better idea of the spindle speeds I’m getting. Using a router speed control for that. I am using Fusion 360 since it’s free and seems powerful, bit awkward but I am stumbling my way around.

Gotta finish the rest of the enclosure (5 sided closed cell foam box to slip over that 4" MDF skirt, hinged top and window on the front), do cable management (have chains, need longer bolts to run them) and get a dust shoe going. I am definitely concerned about making a mess. I live in a carpeted apartment and this is my living room. I am hoping the 4" skirt will prevent anything from getting swept off the table and the enclosure/dust shoe to shop vac will help with the rest. Done some (but not a ton) of machining/routing work before so I have half an idea of what I’m getting into mess wise.

My thoughts on the kit/build in general: First off, fantastic work designing all this stuff. There were a few moments while putting it together I had to smile a bit at your design work. Also the middle assembly is a work of art! Excellent design work for a “for fun” project. The kit was really excellent as well for the most part. It would be nice to include a few extra parts though, I wouldn’t have minded paying a bit extra for a couple bearings, #6 screws/nuts, bit of extra shielded wire/etc. One of my bearings was missing a seal and I had a couple misforged screws. No big deal as I had spares laying around, but I wouldn’t mind paying the negligible difference for peace of mind. The contents were very exact though, I only ended up with 1 5/16" nut and a couple .5" #6 screws left over!

I went with the standard size listed in the assembly instructions, seems easy enough to change if the need arises. I had some problems with temps dropping partway through a print that I did not realize until my feet delaminated like crazy, had to redo some parts. The combined high flow rate of plastic and a blower shroud was just too much for the heater. I wrapped the block in kapton and all is fine now. Still using some of the crappy parts, I can replace them if needed.


How am I supposed to run the lower belts? I can’t find any documentation on that stuff in general. The way mine are right now depending on which way it travels the belt rubs on the motor plate, not acceptable in the long term.

My XY axes are a bit jittery when making linear moves. I think the rails just need to smooth out, I will make it run squares around the build volume for a while. Anything else I should do to improve this?

How far off is bad when checking the diagonals? I had it within 1/16" when I marked it, unfortunately the skirt I have made it tough to accurately clamp and drill and now things are just under 1/8" out of square.

What should I start with for VREFS?

Video of first moves uploading

Edit: Video with special guest appearance

It looks good! I just wired my steppers up but haven’t put the belts on yet. It must be a challenge to do this in an apartment.


Looking good! :slight_smile:
Is the skirt just for dust? I live in an apartment too and am still wondering how big of a mess it’s going to be haha.

@ztbex yeah the skirt is really just there for dust and to align the top part of my enclosure. I think things will be ok between all that and a good dust shoe.

@ Dave yup, bit tough for some things but I’ve gotta work with what I’ve got! On the plus side I have the most manufacturing capabilities of any apartment I’ve seen :smiley: (printer, router, solid workbench full of hand tools/etc in my bedroom)

Praised be bachelor life, no way this stuff would fly in my living room if the lady lived here lol.

Edit: It lives!!

Dimensions are way off though… That was supposed to be a 50mm square, measuring 45 on the x and 40 on the y. Z is on point at 10mm. Object made in Solidworks, brought an IGES to Fusion (I really don’t like the CAD side of it) and cuts made with a facing pass and 2D pocket.

When you get around to working with wood, do yourself a favor and pick up a dust deputy for your vacuum. I’ve added one to my shop vac for when I’m running my table saw or router. Almost nothing makes it to the vac! I did find really light stuff will make it. Things like leaves, or candy bar wrappers won’t fallboit of the cyclone, so they make it through. Your foam might not separate out, but it might.

Thanks for the tip! $60 seems a bit steep for a bit of injection molded plastic. I think I saw someone with one made from printed parts and an empty bottle, I’ll have to try something like that.

Fusion 360 is a great program, but I too find the cam side of it a little confusing. I’m following some tutorials right now, but I’ve seen easier programs.

I’m just kinda stumbling around till I figure out what works. Definitely not as easy as many of the other Autodesk products. If I had no background knowledge on this stuff (not that I’m massively experienced though) I would be so lost.

If you have solidworks, you can add the cam portion (HSM) from fusion 360 to it. We use it at work inside of solidworks for basic prototyping with a haas vf1 mill. It is way faster than mastercam once you get used to it.

Thanks, I will have to look into that.

I just tried to face my spoilboard. For some reason about halfway through it paused and did not resume, coincided with when I went to turn my shop vac on and clean things up a little. Didn’t have any issues with the vac on my other tests. Unfortunately it dwelling in one spot (or issues with my cut settings for MDF) seems to have cooked my end mill, looking a bit golden at the tips… I hope I get my ebay order soon! Video pending, taking forever to upload on my phone.

That is a nice looking build!

Strange about stopping when you turned on the vacuum. You know how lights dim when you turn one on? Maybe combined with the dw660 it pulled too much power and the controller lost power long enough to stop the cut.

Facing the entire board with a 1/8th bit seems like a lot of work on the bit especially without any sort of cooling.

Side note: did you buy the electronics/hardware kit or did you buy everything separate? If the first, where did you find the conduit lengths to use the belt included in the kit? How big is your actual work area?

Thanks! I’m quite pleased with how it is looking. I just need more foam for the top and some longer bolts to add Camar0’s rigid middle and underslung cable chains. I have a LCD coming from China at some point and some left over LED strip I will add. 3/4" foam is a decent enclosure material, easy to work with (2 passes with a razor and snap it) hot glue bonds it quite well and it’s reasonably cheap but stiff enough to make a box out of. I only have two chains so I will probably end up printing some for the z axis eventually. With this enclosure I don’t think dust will be a massive issue, even without the shop vac going constantly things weren’t too messy after my facing attempt.

The power draw could definitely be an issue, when I turn the vac on the router very noticeably drops RPM. I will try running the shop vac off an extension cord to another breaker.

I bought the hardware kit, I priced everything out and it didn’t seem worth buying separately. Conduit lengths are listed here. My work area is about 19 inches square. Might be able to squeeze another inch out of it if I run the belts better. If I knew about my work area size I probably would have added 5 inches for a proper 24x24" work space, there should be enough belt for it. I ended up with two sections of spare belt, about a foot long each.

Might start calling the CNC “fat man” and printer “little boy” with both on the same table in similar foam boxes. No disrespect to that whole scenario though.

Brothers from different mothers

New end mills coming expected Tuesday, can’t wait! Also looking forward to my optical tach so I can properly calculate feeds and speeds. Looking forward to dialing things in and doing some real work with the machine. Hoping to cut Garolite/CF/aluminum sheets eventually. I plan on making a bolt on water bath table of some sort to cut composites in to avoid the dust. I will probably try aluminum in that as well.

Given my penchant for naming builds based on their color scheme, I was going to call yours the ikea build (for the colors, not to imply cheap), but now that you’ve got that enclosure, I think I’ll call it the microwave build!

Looks really great! I like the enclosure, and that it’s easy to remove - or at least I assume it is.

You’ll want to avoid a big dust shoe like PCFlyer’s with such a small build, I think. The shoe greatly reduces your x axis. One like I’m using now might work better, or some other design with a smaller footprint. I’ll be posting the one I’m using now to thingiverse soon. I posted pics of it recently in another thread.

Early on I had lots of problems with the router, vac, and ramps tripping the breaker when running together, or if I turned on another tool on the bench. Now those three things are powered from different outlets.

Thanks for the sizing info. I will probably go for the slightly larger size to get the 24x24. I run a 24x24 cnc plasma cutter and actually having it be 24x24 has been extremely helpful in the few things I have done so far.

Are you the one with the Folgertech 2020? How do you like it. My friend has one but he didn’t put it together quite right and it sounds terrible right now. New bearings on the way to hopefully fix that and this time we will get it all back together correctly.

I am very pleased with my 2020 i3. 2020 extrusion is a great build material and it is a good kit. Best value in a cheap kit without skimping too much, IMO. Couple small hardware/build guide issues but negligible in the face of the kit’s value. I had one y axis bearing seize up after about 2 months but replaced it with a spare in the kit and it has been running fine ever since. I have an E3D volcano on it now, mostly using large nozzles for functional prints like this. Huge fan of the Volcano, big lines and layers are a game changer when time is a factor.

Karl- Call it whatever you like, microwave build works for me. Enclosure is pretty good, I will add a hinged top yet and some weather strip along the bottom MDF, top and front door to keep it sealed better. It would be easy to remove but I have a layer of packing tape around the bottom to seal it up. Once I add weather strip I will remove that. The whole front is a door, need to print some brackets for it as now it hinges on gorilla tape. I embedded some round 10x4mm magnets to latch it, they work great! Without the packing tape you just grab the sides and lift it up to take it off. Might embed magnets in the base as well.

Thanks for the input on dust shoes- I will probably hold off for yours or design my own at some point. Still might play with PCFyer’s just for fun.

Can anyone with properly run belts please post pics of their lower belts?

You could almost just put a box fan on one end of your enclosure and put the vacuum with some sort of tapered thing (maybe made of foam) to guide the dust into the hose. No extra load on the x, y, or z axis and the vacuum doesn’t need to run the full time. But the major drawback would be that dust can get in places that may interfere with the functionality/accuracy of the machine. This is why it is not recommended to clean off any sort of mill/lathe with compressed air. Getting dust in the airflow of the dw660 could potentially be a fire hazard and generally just be bad for the tool.

Wow I missed this whole thread. Nice!

I went AWOL for a while but I’m back with some progress!!

I added Camar0’s rigid Z mod which seemed to help things out a bit. With that and shimming my spoil board up with 2x4’s I’m cutting MDF with a .25" bit at 1000mm/min with 3mm DOC and everything sounds good.

I made my first cuts in aluminum tonight! I was scared but everything went very well. Cut settings in the video description. Looking forward to doing something functional with it tomorrow and maybe trying some metal engraving. I like working with aluminum, the chips are heavy enough to not ruin the air quality in my apartment.

Does anyone have any tips or tricks to getting the spindle perfectly square with the spoil board? Mine is definitely off a bit- facing my spoil board resulted in a bunch of small ridges and the bottom of my aluminum test pocket could certainly look better.

One more thing- all my cuts are a tiny bit small. My 20mm aluminum pocket was 19.7mm and my spoil board slots were a bit small as well, I had to file down the nuts. Weird because I did a single slot a while ago and the nuts drop in perfectly.