4ft x 4ft cutting area with a waterbed. End cost, about $3,000
Some might consider it overkill but with a large tank of water sitting on it I wanted all the strength I could have.
I takes awhile to cut everything before beginning to weld.
I made the gantry out of aluminum because you don't want bearings riding on a painted surface and with all that water unpainted steel would rust.
The place where I bought the steel also had end caps which is lucky because I originally planned to weld all the ends shut to keep out water. these easily shave 40 hours off the project.
Much like any good CNC machine it is important everything is as square as possible.
This is the center of the bed, everything is based around this piece.
It's starting to show it's true size here.
The double sides are to support the weight on the legs and to hold the gantry arms.
The pieces needed to make all the joining plates for each axis
Welding up the pieces for the X and Y axis.
Making sure everything is going according to plan based on my brain blueprint. first I spot weld everything then go back and fill in the welds.
Here you can see how the motor drops in next to the side of the aluminum arm.
Red isn't my favorite color but I wanted a strong bold color since these pieces move the most and are the closest to the human which is made of tender and delicious flesh.
This is what the motor engage against.
I love this stuff. VHB "Very High Bond" This is what I used to attach the rack gear to the aluminum side so the gear on the motor could engage it.
Motor mounts, axis tied together, drag chain mounted, lacing bars, end stops, painted.
Now you can see how it is going to move along each axis.
When in a metal shop I always grab some of each kind, they save you tons of time making your own.
I made a mount out of welding tabs since my welder won't handle aluminum.
Drag chain installed and it's really beginning to look like the final product.
I needed a Z-axis and I found this used linear rail on eBay for $30. Major score!
It's cheap, there will be a waterbed on top, save a buck where you can.
After this project was done she liked sleeping under it.
The default test pattern in Mach3 is a roadrunner. So I taped a sharpie to the side to see how the machine was responding.
This is galvanized steel. Seriously, never weld this stuff without a full oxygen mask, it's some serious poison.
Now when I want to change out the water in the bed I can hook up the hose and let gravity do the rest.
I needed a way to hold the slats up in the water bed so I took some welding tabs and made these rails to hold them
Bought some flat bar stock and just cut it down and drop it in, cheapest material bed I've ever made.
Checking for leaks
This has a contact closure that I use to make the computer turn the plasma on and off with Gcode.
Low end controller but for a budget project it can handle everything for under $100
OK, now I'm just showing off. I figured out how to drive the CNC with a PS3 controller.
I got one working, why not the other?
I'm very happy with the final product.