I have not been very active with this project for a while now. My son graduated from high school and getting him through the end of school, graduation, hosting a party and finalizing college plans has sucked up most of my free time. Things are slowing down again and I want to get back into this project. I thought the best way forward was to make a plan, so here are some thoughts on what I want to tackle next.
Test out my small drag knife. I have some plugins to try, I just need to go out and do it.
- Make a large 3D printed drag knife based on a utility knife blade.
Do a shootout between drag knife and laserand work out what one is best in what situation. Square up my system, I checked for square when I built the system, but I have not really payed any attention to dialing this in perfectly. Level the spoiler board, for some reason I never did this and it is time. Create a removable spoiler board system.
- Create more advanced hold downs than just wood screws into the base.
- Create a replaceable drag knife base that is very level and easy to change out.
- Create a replaceable laser base out of metal or some other non flammable material.
- Come up with a routine for making double sided carves with a high degree of registration.
- Test depth of focus on laser cuts. I'm not sure that I'm using the optimal focus height.
- Test milling aluminum.
- Test milling a pcb board.
- Design a 4th axis rotary jig. This needs to serve many purposes so it may be tricky to design one device that can handle everything. Ideally it would meet the following goals.
- Support any diameter material from 1 mm to the max height of my rig (75 mm?). I don't want to waste working height by having rollers under the object, so this points towards a 3 jaw chuck or other rotary clamp rather than using rollers.
- Swappable face, a 3 jaw chuck is probably the most versatile, but we should support a wood face that can have objects screwed directly to it, as well as a pair of cones to help hold objects with centering holes on them.
- Support any length object from 1 mm to the max of the bed. We need some sort of a low profile rail system so we can add in supports quickly and easily to the jig.
- Hold pens, rods, cylinders (cups), wood, aluminum, etc.
- Handle material that has a slope to its surface (like a tumbler). We probably need to angle the chuck relative to the table to make this work. It is best if the center of rotation is near the face of the chuck so we don't loose much depth. This could also be used to engrave the inside of rings or other objects.
- Have a reasonable level of resolution on the Rotation axis. Need to do the math to ensure we have a reasonable resolution on the surface no matter the diameter of the object.
- Handle laser and milling, this is a tall order, lasers don't need much support but milling is going to require a lot of support.
- Ideally support 4 axis movements, that is letting the Y axis move side to side while still supporting the X, Z and Rotation axis. This allows us to mill large flats onto a round object. This will probably require moving off of GRBL and onto a more powerful controller. This also puts a much stronger load on our rotary motor, it may be more of a pipe dream than a reality for a 3D printed rig.
- If we don't support a true 4th axis then we need to come up with a way to lock out the Y axis while we run the Rotation axis. I'm not sure how to do this yet, it will take some experimentation.