Monday, July 14, 2008

Starting off

Last Saturday a subset of the robotics team got together at my house and made a determined effort to get the school milling machine back into working order, after years of neglect by the tech department. We decided to take it apart and see what makes it tick inside (Kayla and Mike).


Luckily, the rails and screws were well enough lubricated to survive without any visible damage. However, they were grimy/dirty, so we wiped them down and reapplied 10W motor oil to the guide rails, and lithium grease to the drive screws. Jim Troy, the attendant expert, lead us through this process. Kayla is the one actually applying the grease.


Meanwhile, the programmers downstairs were busy configuring a spare computer to run EMC2, as well as trying to determine/guess at the pinouts for the parallel port on the proprietary electronics that came with the machine. If we can't get the standard board to work we'll order 3rd-party ones, possibly from probotix, but it would be much nicer on the team finances if we could avoid this. Peter B. took the board home to look at, and has applied to Altium for an educational license for their circuit-design software to facilitate reverse-engineering the board, and we'll see how that turns out (Sean and Peter B).


Finally, we got the machine back in one piece. Mechanically, it seems to be in excellent condition, except for the unfortunate (but superficial) rust damage to the bed.



Sean spent some time looking through the old RepRap extruder parts I ordered about a year ago. Hopefully, we'll be able to follow nophead's lead and form a mill/RepStrap combo. However, we've opted to get the milling functionality down first, as this will probably be easier to accomplish.



The reassembled machine's first "milled" test piece. Spindle works! :D



My workshop - it's more cluttered than usual just now, really! (Tiffany, Elyse and Rachel)

3 comments:

brendanjerwin said...

Good luck there! I'll get with you soon about the software. I've got a git repo set up with the stuff in it, but I kinda stalled on the development. (I need to get some hardware done for mine...)

BTW, you might be able to save some money using the stepper drivers from rrrf. I think they would work just fine with EMC2. If you end up needing them that is.

Also, be sure to hit up the folks at #emc on freenode. I'm sure someone has already retrofitted one of those mills.

Peter Loron said...

Kyle, very cool. I'm in Issaquah and would like to take a look at things when you have a chance.

Eventually I'd love to build a RepRap, but I've got too many other irons in the fire now...

Kyle C said...

Thanks guys.

Brendan, I'm going to stick with the probotix ones because they're rated to 3A, as opposed to the RRRF ones that are only good to 2A.

While the steppers currently in the machine are only 1.8A and would work with the RRRF boards, I'd like to keep the option to upgrade to slightly beefier motors open in case that proves necessary in order to obtain acceptable acceleration curves with this relatively heavy hardware.