Thursday, June 11, 2015
Time to Buy A CNC Mill?
One of the 3D printed parts I used to make parts for the Vixen VHAL tripods failed catastrophically.
It took several months, but the right solution is not ABS but aluminum. I have requested quotes from several CNC vendors, but in the meantime, I find myself wondering if I just need to buy a CNC mill. Ghost Gunner makes one primarily intended for machining AR-15 lowers from aluminum, but they are currently out of stock. I have an STL file for the part.
If I could get my cranky old vertical mill to work reliably, this is what I really need to make.
UPDATE: I bought this Sherline mill used, and the miles show. There are a lot of clever aspects to the Sherline products, but how the handwheels attach to the lead screws isn't one of them. They used a 10-32 setsccrew through the handwheel on to the end of the leadscrew, and only friction, and after a while, hope, holds them there. This one keeps working loose. It feels like the threads in the wheel are wrong, and tightening it down doesn't work. Until I got to cutting the notch above, it was going very well. I have been working on this all afternoon. (I was inspired to simplify the design diuring Bible study this morning.) This is the most productive burst of energy I have had in weeks!
UPDATE 2: With some assistance from my son, I got the vertical mill on end in the drill press, and retapped the end of the lead screw 6-32 (not 10-32), and now the bolt that connects the lead screw and handwheel coupler seems pretty secure. If it works loose again, I'll LocTite in.
UPDATE 3: Let me retract that criticism of the Sherline product. What I am fighting with is the A2Z monster mill upgrade of the Sherline.mill. The end of the Sherline lead screw is a solid piece of steel, not a composite like the A2Z replacement. Since I am about to buy the Sherline CNC upgrade, I will be converting it back to a standard Sherline 5000 mill.