The "Strat-Vamp" Milling Machine


         The V-Bee came out of the OPT project. It uses Open Rail V-Rails and my V-Slides. Then one of my customers started work on a machine to make guitars. It uses MakerSlides. So I bought some more 1" square aluminum and started doing more testing. Below is some pictures of that project.

        The "Build" starts out with my Trusty $9 Harbor Freight miter box mounted to the bench. Each piece of aluminum tubing is cut to length and then touched up using a cheap HF belt sander.

        The parts for the frames are cut and drilled using a cheap HF drill press. Open Rail is fitted on the Z axis. Notice the 1" right angle brackets cut on the miter box and dilled out.

        Now I have the design built twice as big as I need it! Why? Testing testing and more Testing. How big of a machine can I build using 1" tubing from Lowes and Open Rail? How much will it flex? I just had to know! At this point the frame is bolted to the bench and I am laying into it to test for flexing!

        Now we add a Bed with four V-Slides. More testing and more flexing! How well does it slide on the Open Rail? How hard is it to align the two Rails? Only building and testing has the answers!!!

        Now we add the Z axis and figure a way to keep it close to the other axis. Make it easy to mount with adjustment points!

        With a few quick clamps the Z axis is kept from moving. The ACID TEST has arrived! With the Z axis all the way down I flex the Z bed at it's lowest point. I then add a Dremel with a 1/8" bit. I grab the bit and do more flexing. The design is good!

        I down sized the design which becomes the Strat-Vamp. No booklet to follow since there is no interest in my latest designs. All orders have been Brute-7th and Phoenix. Brave souls seem to have left this hobby. This thread for reference only!

        I am back on this project. This machine will be perfect for milling some pcboards. I sold off all of my Brutes in order to pay my taxes in NJ. That was a bad move! The Strat-Vamp will have it's supply and driver board mounted on the back of the unit. It just got it's Z-axis Home switch.

        Micro switch added to Z-axis. Notice I use a button micro not one with a lever. This gives me a more accurate Home position. All my GCodes work from 0-0-0.

        I want this machine to be movable just like a 3D printer. I got the idea to have the driver circuit hang off the back of the machine. What you see is a Piker 3X controller and an old computer supply. The resistors are on the other side of the board. This old driver board is from 2001. It makes no noise while standing still. As configured it only moves the machine at 14 inches per minute. Slow by modern standards but still fast enough to mill out my circuit boards for other project. A slow CNC is better than no CNC.

        I have the driver circuit set up so I can lift it off the frame in order to adjust the machine. There is enough cable on the motors to allow this to happen. I now have to setup a computer. The space in my Man Cave is limited. I need to buy another small monitor so the system will fit in the area I have free.

        All wired up and working. I got real lucky! My Harbor Freight Dial Indicator bolted right on the Dremel holder. The bed is within the thickness of a sheet of paper. (.003) I want to mill boards for discreet component audio amps.

        All final testing and "Acid Test"completed. The "Acid Test" is simple. Put a 1/8" bit in the Dremel. With the Dremel off grab the tip of the bit with your thumb and index finger. Now flex the bit. You may need to open up your Dremel and shim the front bearing. With all things adjusted you will see the bit flex before the machine. Other designs will break your heart. When a machine is built tooooo big it flexes like a hang glider! I over design all my machines. I design and test them. I realize that some people will not build them perfectly so I put in a lot of adjustment points. Accuracy is around .003 measured on the finished part! Others give you theoretic accuracy based on stepper and belt accuracy. Do lots of reading. Watch out for shills and parrots. This machine is only a test! I wanted to see how aluminum stacks up to MDF?

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