I first built my machine around the January timeframe. Not being the patient type, I took a few shortcuts that later turned into ahem… “valuable lessons”.
Valuable lesson #1 - it will take longer than you think: Take your time estimate for how long it’s going to take, double it, and convert it to the next higher time unit (ie, 2 hours = 4 days, 2 days = 4 weeks, etc… you get the picture). I rushed the printing, and then I rushed the build. As a result, the machine was running poorly and ended up being getting abandoned for a while. When I finally started over I found cracked parts, and a couple of missing bearings which I just forgot to include (no wonder it was wobbling). There were screws that were tensioned insufficiently, and others too much, resulting in an out-of-square build.
Valuable lesson #2 - budget higher: I was trying to save money and decided to use an el-cheapo Harbor Freight trim router and some Dremel bits I already had. I quickly found this was not a very good idea, and I needed some proper bits to do any real work. Also, I ordered the Mini-Rambo board, and now I wish I had ordered the regular Rambo so I can handle auto-squaring and have room to grow. I may end up buying the Rambo later on and use the Mini for either a second MPCNC build or to rebuild my 3D printer.
Valuable lesson #3 - cable management: the first attempt was a cable mess. On the rebuild, I took the time to print out cable chains and brackets to have all the cables running out of the way. I also printed a case for the electronics. I plugged everything into a dedicated power strip that is easily accessible in case I need to turn everything off in a hurry.
Valuable lesson #4 - dust collection: when I started to try the MPCNC on wood, my shed workshop filled with dust. In part, this was caused by the cheap router that blew air into the work piece, but on my 2nd attempt, I rebuilt my dust separator (which was falling apart as a result of taking some shortcuts on that too, but that’s another story), then took the time to figure out a good dust shoe setup (I used this excellent one from Thingiverse: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2597409 and modified it to use a 6ft. 1 1/8 ID bilge/discharge hose from HD - works like a champ).
Valuagle lesson #5 - ear protection! on my first successful run, I monitored the machine closely, but the shop vac plus the DW660 make considerable noise, and my ears were ringing when I left the shed. For now I am using ear plugs when the machine is running, but I have ordered some proper ear protection on Amazon (I suggest getting more than one pair in case you have guests).
I’m happy with the initial results. The dust collection is working beautifully, and the machine appears to be reasonably square/flat. Next steps:
- Fine-tune the squaring/flatness and resurface the wasteboard
- Work through some projects to learn to use the software properly and gradually progress to more challenging projects and materials
- Get a Rambo board and add auto-squaring and 3D printing capabilities