Having the ability to move a tool piece in three dimensions is essential the the definition of a Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machine. The tools that are presently supported include a laser, thermal inkjet printer, camera, vacuum pickup, spindle motor for milling, plastic FDM printer, ceramic printer via a paristaltic pump, Electrode Discharge Machine (EDM), profile scanner, 450 nm blue laser, piezo inkjet printer, and drag knife. The working volume is over 1-1/2 cubic feet.
Truthfully, sometimes I wish I'd not started this project. Cost goes as the cube of size. This is a huge machine! On the other hand, I very much doubt that there is anything it can't do. Bring it On!
It's amazing how much better things look when they are powder coated. The 400 Watt spindle motor should make short work of FR4 and similar materials. The other seven (7) positions are available, a drag knife will be next.
The similarity between the long bed and the machine in the movie Tron is unmistakable. So, from here on, I'll try to call it that.
Getting to here, where Tron is hanging on it's mount has been a huge effort. It is certainly not trivial that it's big enough that it requires a gantry and winch to wrestle it onto it's mount. Overall, I'm pleased that it's finally found it's home and appears ready to be aligned.
As you may know I'm a big fan of trailer hitches. Uh, large optical mounts.
Other than being very precise, it affords one very important feature that should be considered. It is a blind mount. Frequently we find ourselves working alone. When working alone it's very helpful that close enough +- 2 inches is close enough! Once the hitch is on the ball, your troubles are over. From there it's just a matter of fine adjustment +- a mil for roll, pitch and yaw.
Just before the "big lift", I mounted two Unistruts to give mechanical support to the bottom legs. They proved useful when transitioning from horizontal to vertical and as legs when the rigging was changed and the assembly was resting on its own weight unsupported by a table or fixture.. Things would have gone smoother if I'd removed them once the assembly was on the wench. The winch and gantry worked however, tension on the cable must always be present otherwise the cable will unspool and cause no end of problems.
I had thought before I went through the process that I'll just hang Tron for a picture, and then I can dismount it and continue mounting all the other hardware. Now I think that is a BAD idea. I think I'll learn to work with the assembly hanging as is.
So, this is a banner kind of day. I think it must be almost 3 years to get here from the starting point, when I made my first purchase of Acme screws and linear bearings and a $300 sheet of Mic 6 aluminum plate.