[Makerspace] A CNC machine :)

Greg Hall greghall at brushbox.info
Sun Aug 20 18:17:34 AEST 2017

I've been keen on a flat-bed CNC router for quite some time.

A quick look around reveals some very affordable kits, some with the 
precision to route PCBs, which I expect would be popular. Is there 
already an accessible such tool in Newy? Do I hear that there's already 
one that can be loaned to the 'space? That would be a good way to test 
the enthusiasm, at least before launching into a larger or more 
specialised project.

Looking up the scale to working in plywood or MDF for furniture or (one 
of my favorites) the production of 'Raised Relief' maps would require a 
larger home than we have now, but with persistence (and good 
housekeeping), we might get to use half of the left-hand side garage.


Another wild thing we might build could be: http://www.maslowcnc.com/ 
brings a full sheet of plywood and an electric router to the hanging 


There's a (probably biased) review of machines at 
http://www.scan2cad.com/cnc/best-cnc-kits-beginners/ and a homebuild 
that looks OK at http://woodworkerb.com/home/diy-cnc-machine/

woodworkerb points us to http://www.autoleveller.co.uk/ which seems like 
a very good way to get better Z-axis accuracy out of these simpler machines.

I'd welcome pointers to reviews and designs that we can trust.


Of Raised Relief maps, we have bought a few over the years from the (now 
sadly closed) map shop in Castlereagh St, Sydney, and they are much 
loved. Ours were made by Litografia Artistica Cartografica but the 
artist retired and it's a very different company now.

The technique is described at 
http://www.terrainmodels.com/thermoplastic.html & 
http://www.terrainmodels.com/computer.html & a nice article at 

The map we have at home measures 70 x 90 cm, which would be a nice size. 
Plaster is the usual material for the master, but Hebel aerated cement 
could save drilling the thousands of tiny airways, should we wish to 
reproduce them using vacuum forming. Either way, fairly abrasive dust to 
be handled by a decent extractor system. I wouldn't want to do this to a 
good CNC. This work shouldn't need any more accuracy that can be had 
using toothed belts for positioning. We _might_ get away with a 
succession of vacuum cleaners;) I suspect this would be a 'take it 
outside and do it there' type of job.

On the other hand, if there's a smaller machine to be borrowed, I'm sure 
I could constrain myself to friendlier materials like MDF, and make 
tiles to fit together until (if) there's sufficient enthusiasm for a 
large, dedicated machine. The model of Mt. Kosciusko on the map of NSW 
that we have measures only ~27mm high, so pre-laminated MDF or plywood 
would be OK.


One of the other projects that I daydream of is smartening up the 
building management systems of Pachamama House. Seems to me that the 
world could really use an integrated, easy to use and open-source 
building control system (temp & air quality control, keyless entry, 
power consumption and activity monitoring, etc.) I know that I'd need to 
be in Newy a lot more for these to be acheived in any practical 
timeframe. I've played a little with OpenHab, now version 2. It's 
probably the way to go, but again, advice gratefully received.


On 17/08/2017 8:20 PM, ned haughton wrote:
> Building and tuning a CNC machine? :P
> Gus?
> On 17/08/17 17:57, Felix Sheldon wrote:
>> Maybe we could organise a group project?
>> Wednesday, August 23, 2017
>> 7:00 PM
>> Newcastle Makerspace
>> Rear of 21 Gordon Ave, Hamilton, NSW (edit map)
>> Group project: It will probably be hard to find something to suit 
>> everybody, but as long as it's not too expensive or complicated it 
>> could be just for fun.
> _______________________________________________
> Makerspace mailing list
> Makerspace at newcastlelug.org
> http://newcastlelug.org/mailman/listinfo/makerspace_newcastlelug.org

Greg Hall
0265 504 481

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