The "Steely" Heart of steel cutting Milling Machine


         Welcome to my latest project. It is Memorial Day 2015. I am now 63 years old and I think this is my last CNC machine build. After building (SOB) The Son of Brute, that uses Trim Channel found at your local home center, I turned my thoughts to other materials found at Lowes. They used to have steel "U" channel. After doing some drawing I went over to Lowes to find they no longer carry the steel channel. I went looking online. I bought some pieces of steel channel. Most did not match their posted profiles. Sides were not 90 degrees. One size was as drawn. I then went back to Lowes and bought some steel angle. Using the steel "U" from online and the Lowes angle I was able to make a WAY! The goal is to build a steel cutting mill!!!

       Here we have a piece of steel "U" channel and some steel angle iron. Parts are cut with a hacksaw and touched up with a file or belt sander.

        The parts are clamped together at this point. I wanted to know how accurate the angle iron and "U" are going to be used together. The steel is cold rolled. Here is where the project might have stopped. I knew going into this project there might be some problems!

        I did some drawings in order to figure out where to put the bolt holes that hold the angle iron to the "U" channel. This needs to be carfully done. A hole in the wrong case can bit you in the ass down the road!

        With the angle iron bolted to the "U" channel we now have a Steel WAY! A WAY is used on both Milling Machines and Lathes. Yes! I have thought of a Lathe. The WOODTURTLE is my first Lathe project. See it in the PLANS section. Moving on! Now we only need a way to mount the motor and end bearing. Not to worry I have designs lots of them to draw from!

        Adding two pieces of angle we suddenly have a motor mount! Boy that was quick! Like I said I have the designs and I have the experence! This machine might be number 40 or 50. I lost count years ago. Onward!


          Here I add the mounting holes for the motor. This is just a fitting to see where I want to go next with this build. I constantly fit parts and keep my drawing up to date with the build.


         It is at this point I take the assembly apart and lightly sand the steel. Out comes the Krylon paint and then the parts are bolted together. You can see the four motor mounting holes and how slick this design is!!!


         Now it is time to make the RotoZip holder and the End Bearing. Again I have the designs and drawings done! I am using 1/2" PVC instead of aluminum or steel. If the design is correct PVC is just as good as steel. Hand Drills used to be all steel. Correctly designed a hand drill can be lighter and cheaper built using some plastic parts. A plastic knee lasts longer than a steel knee and you don't get metal poisoning!!! The old farts at the park found that out!


          The motor is now mounted using some joiner nuts as I ponder this project. I need to keep things simple! I am not real happy with the way the motor mount looks. I need to make it so a builder can have more options. So Be It!


          The Rotozip mount is also the Z-Bed. It uses my V-Slides that ride on the lips of the angle iron! Yea! Yea! Yea! I could use steel V-Wheels, I know I have them! A real milling machine uses Gibs and Gibs. My V-Slides have more surface touching the angle iron than a V-Wheel. No Flex no Play!


          I now have all the parts made for the Z-Axis. I will take the unit aparts and calibrate and adjust the parts. I can then do the Acid Test! With any CNC machine you test the flex of the tip of the bit on the Z-Axis. My machines are tighter than the rest. Why? I uses Gibs and Jib type linear designs. I don't use bushings or V-Wheels. I don't build the machine big just get more customers. I am in this hobby because I am a builder. Others are in it for the money. Beginners always want a bigger machine with a giant router. Fools!


          I had all the parts made! I was doing calibration on the X-Axis. Something was wrong! I got out my calipers and did some measuring. Everything seemed perfect but it was not! I got out my reference straight edge. Oh the horror!!! The steel angle had a slight curve in it from being rolled. So I went online and order higher quality metal. It showed up undersized, rusted and it was pure garbage. I was wondering how this happened? I went back to my Z-Axis. It was perfect! Somehow I got a perfect piece of 1" angle from Lowes. The next two pieces I bought there had a rolling curve to them. I thought by buying online quality I would get quality! I went through this a few years ago. You can examine materials at Lowes before you buy. Online guys can't measure or cut straight. I have tried five different online guys. I will not mention them! They have all switched to selling crap!!!

Email: John a quick question

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