Modifications for milling 1/8" aluminum

Post Reply
monkey123
Posts: 35
Joined: Sun Sep 08, 2013 3:36 am

Modifications for milling 1/8" aluminum

Post by monkey123 » Tue Sep 10, 2013 2:30 am

Hello! I'm planning to build a shapeoko soon and am looking for any pointers on modifications I'd need to mill 1/8" thick die-cast aluminum boxes.

The boxes are about 5x5x2". I'd need to be able to machine any of the 5 box sides (excluding a lid). I am so far planning on the Z-Axis ACME upgrade and Dual Drive Y-Axis upgrade. I will likely get the Dewalt DW660 rotary tool, but am definitely open to a lower power tool if it sucks less power and is quieter, but will still get the job done!

Will the stock NEMA 17 motors be sufficient? What is the best method for clamping the parts down if I'm machining much of the surface? I'm planning to build an 80/20 T-Slot table to position some sort of clamps, but I'm wondering what the best clamps are that won't get in the way of the machining surface.

Thanks for any help!!

twforeman
Posts: 1347
Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2013 4:51 pm
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Contact:

Re: Modifications for milling 1/8" aluminum

Post by twforeman » Wed Sep 11, 2013 2:44 pm

I can't answer your questions about milling aluminum, but for clamping you could get some toe grip clamps like these: http://www.mscdirect.com/product/73153579?fromRR=Y
Ender 3 3D Printer
ShapeOko v3 serial #0004 - upgrade thread
All of my ShapeOko related blog posts

Will Winder
Posts: 435
Joined: Fri Apr 20, 2012 2:40 pm
Location: Hudson, MA
Contact:

Re: Modifications for milling 1/8" aluminum

Post by Will Winder » Wed Sep 11, 2013 3:17 pm

The bare minimum modification is to get yourself a dual Y-Axis drive upgrade, either with a second motor or a drive shaft.
After that upgrading the dw660 will give you a cleaner more accurate cut.
Then consider doubling up the X-Axis to allow you to cut a little faster.

You can use the same clamping solutions that people use for other materials. There are a bunch of DIY methods you can find on the forum.
Some people drill holes in their material and just screw it right into the bed of their machine.
Others use T-track systems like this: http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=22010
Last edited by Will Winder on Wed Sep 11, 2013 5:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
ShapeOko #367: Dual-Y drive, Belt on outside, 1000mm Y-Axis, DW660 Spindle, Nema-23 X/Y motors.

Primary developer on Universal Gcode Sender.

WillAdams
Posts: 8528
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2012 6:11 pm
Location: Pennsylvania --- south of the Turnpike, East of US-15
Contact:

Re: Modifications for milling 1/8" aluminum

Post by WillAdams » Wed Sep 11, 2013 3:28 pm

In addition to Will's response, there are a couple of forum links in the wiki Materials page in the aluminum section:

http://www.shapeoko.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=1549 --- DW660 Dual X axis, Dual Y Drive y axis extended to 1000mm, ACME z axis upgrade
http://shapeoko.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=171 --- ?
http://www.shapeoko.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=693 --- dual y-axis motors, DW600 spindle
http://www.shapeoko.com/forum/viewtopic ... t=10#p3852 --- Proxon spindle, otherwise stock
http://www.shapeoko.com/forum/viewtopic ... 171&p=1288 --- interesting for suggesting using isopropyl alcohol for cooling

I'm confident that my machine will be able to cut aluminum when I get around to it --- still debating on upgrading the spindle --- I found that doubling up the X-axis improved the machine's stability a lot and made for a nicer, smoother cut.

William
Shapeoko 3XL #0006 w/Makita RT0701 Router w/0.125″ and ¼″ Elaire precision collets
Nomad 883 Pro #596 (bamboo)

monkey123
Posts: 35
Joined: Sun Sep 08, 2013 3:36 am

Re: Modifications for milling 1/8" aluminum

Post by monkey123 » Wed Sep 11, 2013 5:31 pm

If I have a double X-axis and double Y-axis (5 motors total), how would I connect them if I only have a 4 driver shield?

Instead of doubling up the X-axis, could it help to get a beefier motor? Is it worth upgrading all of the motors to help with speed and rigidity? I can upgrade to some NEMA 23 185 oz/in. motors for under $30 each.

bjbsquared
Posts: 102
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2012 10:48 am

Re: Modifications for milling 1/8" aluminum

Post by bjbsquared » Wed Sep 11, 2013 5:52 pm

Doulbling the X axis usually refers to 2 X makerslide to aid in the carriage stiffness. However if you are really wanting 2 X motors it can be done. I have two motors on the Y. Hook them up to to same driver but with phase swapped this way they turn in opposite directions.

.... 1.... 2.....3.... 4....Driver Board Terminals
RED GRN BLU BLK (motor 1 wires)
BLU BLK RED GRN (motor 2 wires)
#1016 - 1M x 1M Y: Dual Motor Drive w/Looped Belts, X:Dual Rail with wlanfox blocks, Z: Stock, Spindle:DW660

WillAdams
Posts: 8528
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2012 6:11 pm
Location: Pennsylvania --- south of the Turnpike, East of US-15
Contact:

Re: Modifications for milling 1/8" aluminum

Post by WillAdams » Wed Sep 11, 2013 6:00 pm

Unless you have a really large machine, or really heavy spindle, I question the need for larger / more powerful motors --- cvoinescu wrote up a bit on at what point upgrading to NEMA 23 made sense, but I'm not finding it....
Shapeoko 3XL #0006 w/Makita RT0701 Router w/0.125″ and ¼″ Elaire precision collets
Nomad 883 Pro #596 (bamboo)

Improbable Construct
Posts: 997
Joined: Tue Apr 10, 2012 3:21 am
Location: Fairhope, AL
Contact:

Re: Modifications for milling 1/8" aluminum

Post by Improbable Construct » Wed Sep 11, 2013 6:11 pm

Double X and double Y are, while named pretty much the same, compleatly different things.
For the Y you are doubling up the drive motors. Putting one on each side of the gantry. You could also use a drive shaft but it becomes less practical at wider distances.
For the X you are adding a second piece of makerslide to stiffen the Z axis by moveing the axial loads on the v wheels to radial loads.
You should only need 4 motors. I would stick with what you have, unless you find you need bigger motors.
Also make sure you get good quality motors. The ones I got cheap on ebay were not very good and ended up being a waste of money.
Shapeoko #Classified some of the bolts may be original parts.
Shapeoko 1 # ???? Stainless plates, still in the box.
Shapeoko 2 # 3926 not stock
Shapeoko 3 # 0003
Store:
http://ImprobableConstruct.com
Twitter:
https://twitter.com/ImprblConstruct

Post Reply