Minnesota Lowrider: Full-sized fun in the Twin Cities - or - How I convinced the wife to let me build a CNC table

I’ve been eyeing the MPCNC for a year or so now, but only recently got my first 3D printer back in March to print PPE and the like. This, of course, led to teaching myself Fusion 360, designing some custom LED light stands and lamps that I could print, and the motivation to begin printing the parts for the Lowrider that I have wanted to build for a while now.

My day job is an IT Systems Engineer, and with the whole Covid thing, I haven’t adjusted well to the forced isolation that my new mandatory working from home role has required of me. I’m on the autism spectrum and am normally pretty introverted, but the isolation has been pretty hard on me. When I started talking to my wife about a CNC, she told me to build it for my mental health, and now here we are.

The parts:
Hardware kit and Flats for the Lowrider v2 from Ryan’s shop
BTT SKR Pro v1.2
TMC 2209 Stepper Sticks
BTT TFT35-E3 V3.0
Home-printed PLA+ (Inland) in True Red with some alternative/upgrade pieces such as the belt tensioners, etc.

I’ll post photos of my table build as I go this weekend. The plan is to lay out just a super basic wood structure for the gantry to run on in order to cut all of the pieces out for the table itself.

All of the hardware arrived today, and it took about six hours to bolt the entire gantry together and get it ready to set on top of the frame I build tomorrow night and Saturday to start dialing things in.

Please forgive the mess in the pictures. Too many pets and the robovac can’t keep up. I also realized by looking at these that I have the upper hose brackets on the wrong ends and need to reverse the covers so the X-axis belt mounts are in the right place.


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Awesome! Look forward to seeing it.

Good, we all want pics of your building progress…enjoy it !!!

Table supplies purchased today. The garage I am converting to a wood shop has historically been storage more than anything else. I get to clean it tomorrow so I can start framing the table.

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We better see it getting dirty

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The garage has been storage for our Pontiac Fieros and all sorts of other junk for the last several years. Today we shoveled out about 60% of it and started framing a table.

I have not performed any leveling or squaring of the table yet. It is going to double as a full workbench frame, hold downs and all.

For now, the table height with both surface and spoil board will bring the workbench surface up to 39.5 inches, which is just perfect for my nearly 6’5" frame.

The white primed MDF boards you see will provide both a track surface and table skirt around the top edge for the aluminum corner to fit over. This will provide a flat and smooth surface for the Lowrider wheels to run on.

Everything is piled on top as we needed to get the snowblower and other stuff back in out of the rain that just started. Calling it a night, and will get the edges finished up tomorrow for the gantry.

Welcome to the forum! I built the burly last year, when I was going through a rough time. Great activity to keep my mind on something else! My wife sometimes asked me in the evenings: “is everything okay?”, where I answered that I’m just contemplating about how to layout the table :nerd_face: now things are better, but I still enjoy the hobby, and hoping to earn a little from it, to continue expanding the toy, ehrm, I mean TOOL collection.

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Waiting for the parts and working on the assembly of the system, as well as tinkering with the board and mapping pins, etc in the firmware has been a pretty solid distraction for me. It’s been therapeutic. It helps that I recognized the signs of the slump I was in and started talking to someone again. When I told her I was working on this project, she was pretty interested, and I went full-on 8 year old Aspie explanation about the technical workings, the way the mechanism works, etc. At the end she told me “It sounds like you needed a project like this…”

Yes. I believe I did. Watching the table come together today was exciting. Tomorrow will be nice, about 75, a little rainy, but no reason I can’t kick a fan on in the garage and just work at getting the gantry moving under its own power.

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Right now I’m at a moment where I have to carefully restrain myself from suffocating my wife with Primo upgrading details. She’s always very polite, but I can see in her glass-like stare that she’s heard more than enough, for a long while…

Glad your wife is supportive, hope it lasts!

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You and I both know it won’t… She’ll always be supportive of me, but it will quickly go from “that’s neat” with real interest to “that’s neat” with the deadpan tone… :stuck_out_tongue:

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My wife turns around when she sees something she likes out of it, like a MPCNC cut baby yoda sticker.

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I. uh… I need that. I assume this is what a drag knife is for?

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@vicious1 deserves all the credit for sure but still there’s something about putting something like this together and seeing it actually do what you imagined it would that is great for the spirit.

It looks as though you are on a path to success, hope to see some more photos as you move along.

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Correct you are

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Tinkering with the SKR Pro tonight, teaching myself pin (re)mappings and the like. @ByronM’s documentation was incredibly helpful for me as it helped me understand what the changes I was making did, and how they worked.

I remapped the Heater 0 output to be the new Spindle M3/M5 control, disabled the PWM function, and connected a solid state 40 amp relay to the Heater 0 output. M3 engages the relay, M5 disengages it now. Next steps are to configure the E-Stop trigger so I can mount a button on the table, sort out the Z-Probe connection and possibly move it to a new pin for consistency with connections, and finish crimping the Hitachi locking connector to Dupont connectors to ensure a solid mechanical and electrical connection at the board.

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It’s alive and moving under its own power.
Bench testing all of the control components ahead of time allowed me to document all of the connections and plug orientations in advance. It was as simple as plugging it in and turning the power on.

Up next, end stops, router plate for the Makita, cable management, and pen mount.

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Printing out the new X-axis gantry plate. I assume 75% infill for a lightweight router like the Makita RT0701C router should be stiff enough with 5 perimeters and 4 bottom/top layers. We’ll find out. :slight_smile:

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New plate is printed and mounted, and the router base is mounted in place. The end stop brackets are printing now and should be done in the morning. E-chain is in the print queue. With any luck and some work in the evening, I should be able to have this drawing within the next two days.

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My E-chain experiments were failures, and I was unable to find a good quality unit that worked the way I wanted, so I mocked up a design tonight, along with the pen holder.

The pen holder is designed to mount to the vacuum shoe using some zip ties around the base of the hose or fitting on the vac shoe. It is 12mm in inside diameter with a hole designed for a 4mm socket head bolt to fit snugly in and pinch the pen. Two zip ties will hold this in place, and it can be a permanent fitting around the vacuum port or hose/pipe attached to the port.

The E-chain I designed has a chamfered pin structure at 9.25mm in diameter, and slots into a 10mm opening on the next link in the chain. It has 20mm of width, 15mm of depth, and the inside face has reinforced slots on either side that support a zip tie to hold the cabling inside the E-chain.

The pen mount is printing now along with some endstop bracket designs I drew up to mount the Creality Ender 3 limit switches I picked up to the Y plate. The E-chain print job will start in about an hour or so, and I’ll run off a print bed full to see how they work out. If this works, I can then design the chain mounts to tie one end to the router and the other end to the aluminum angle. I’ll release everything on Thingiverse once I know it works the way I want.

Y-axis end stop plates. The angled piece sits against the edge of the Y-plate allowing the mount to sit parallel to the floor. This does not need to be adjustable front to rear, only up or down along the sloped edge of the Y-plate.

Tolerances were too tight for a printed part for the E-chain, so I revised the links to add some space, soften the edges to eliminate some minor over-extrusion problems I have in corners and edges that I have not yet solved, and allowed a tighter bend radius for the chain links.