After seeing what Rich did to his machine in Upgrades on stiffness. I have been working on plans to update my machine with some aluminum components. Not because I had any problems with the 3D printed parts, mainly because I could and I have easy access to all sorts of aluminum scrap. I also don’t have a 3D printer so modifications to 3D parts have been limited.
I tried and tried to get good cuts using single flute endmills. After trying all sorts of feeds and speeds in my test cuts I said screw it, I don’t know what else to try and tossed in a 2 flute Kyoerca (I think) high quality endmill and it worked fantastic. On thin material (3/16") I was able to trench cut no problem, no air, no lubricant. I had an IR thermometer that I used to ensure my bit or aluminum was not getting warm, I only ever saw a 3 degree rise in temp.
I machined a square edge onto the table as a reference point, then made some hold down clamps and created some G code in cnc.js so I could use the bit to touch off on the same datum as the part rotated.
Makita router just a hair over “2”
Left 0.4mm on the first run, then added another full depth tool path to do two more passes to clean up to final size which was bang on.
I didn’t drill the holes for the fasteners as I was too chicken and didn’t want to drill that deep with an endmill so I just marked them with the machine and drilled them with a drill press.
I also didn’t do the fancy triangle cutouts, mainly because I didn’t want to risk an error during the operation.
On the actual 0.25" thick material, I did use a little bit of WD40 on the deeper trench cuts.
A friend owed me a favor and had cut me some XY plates a while back out of 0.25" aluminum. My wood plates have some features that are handy for limit switches and mounting my electronics so I decided to use the aluminum plates as doublers on the inside. This really stiffened everything up and i’m excited to see how that will help with gantry flex. I will also make a small cover panel for that Y motor opening and it will really help keep chips away from the Z screws. One could easily make this out of wood or MDF and get awesome results in rigidity.
Now as it currently sits as I need to grab some slightly longer X tubes. Luckily this material is used at work so hopefully I can find some “off cuts” this week.