Progress on the CNC Wood Lathe Project

I’m not happy with the way the initial rails turned out for my CNC wood lathe-mill project. The long rails are held to the short cross-rails with screws and nuts and small L-brackets. I just can’t seem to get them to hold together as tightly as I would like, and I am afraid the vibration of the final machine will shake the screw/nut combinations apart too quickly.

So, I’ve scrapped the original design and I’ve begun making a new design for the side pieces of the railbed using plywood. I laminated the hardwood-plywood up to 1" thick, and then I used the hollow-chisel mortiser to cut 1" square openings for the long square rails. Seems like it will work, but we’ll see tonight. I’m still working out the best way to secure the rails to the plywood ends with the adjustable-accuracy and a minimum of movement that I want. I’m over-building the rails a bit because my plan is to modify John Kleinbauer’s design (after I have it working as John did) to allow for several different tools to ride on the tool-sled. Also, I intend to install a 3rd stepper motor on the lathe’s axis through the lathe’s hollow handwheel to allow for rotary motion. Will it work??? Maybe…I am sure it can be done, the question is whether "I" can do it. I’m a woodworker, not a machinist. Software to operate the rotary motion may be the hard part. Rube Goldberg, watch out!

I also made the anti-backlash nut according to John K’s instructions, and I really like his design. It is simple, sturdy and I think it will work very well. I made it out of the plastic from an old router table insert that I had laying around that doesn’t fit my current router table. The antibacklash-nut is ready to be mounted to the rail assembly as soon as I complete the new rails.

The stepper motors and Economy FET-3 controller board arrived from over the weekend and the parts look good. Now I need to get the old computer that I have stored somewhere in the basement functional again to drive it. According to all I have read, any old computer will do, no real computing power needed. This is good, because the old computer that I intend to use is at least 8 years old, maybe more. It hasn’t even been turned on in at least 3 years.

To keep them straight in my head, I’m calling the CNC Lathe attachment that I am currently making the "Mark 2" as the "Mark 1" was the machine that I built last year with unsatisfactory results (too much vibration and wiggle in the cutter head). The "Mark 1" was not CNC, it used a fixed template for guidance. The "Mark 2" is largely a clone of John K’s Wood Turtle CNC. After I have the Mark 2 operational to the point that John K took it, I will build a new tool sled for it of my own design. This will be the "Mark 3" and is my ultimate goal.

About mattsanf

Matt Sanfilippo is the Chief Partnership Officer (CPO) for the College of Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and Co-Director of its Engineering Research Accelerator. In this role, Matt coordinates and enables strategic and sponsored research opportunities across the college, and stewards the development of proposals for major research opportunities along strategic themes. Additionally, he enables collaboration among the college's research institute/center executive directors, and industrial and government relations personnel in the pursuit of opportunities with industry, federal and state governments. Before becoming CPO for the College, Matt was the Senior Executive Director for Research Initiatives, the Executive Director of CMU's SII (Smart Infrastructure Institute) and ICES (Institute for Complex Engineered Systems), and Associate Director of PITA (Pennsylvania Infrastructure Technology Alliance) and RAMP (Research for Advanced Manufacturing in Pennsylvania). Before CMU, Matt was Managing Director of Applied Technology for Michael Baker Corporation, an engineering and energy services firm. Matt managed Baker's technology division including Geographic Information System (GIS), software and web development, multimedia, virtual reality, visualization, Global Positioning System (GPS), mapping and surveying services. Before joining Baker, Matt was an Innovation Director for Redleaf Group, a Venture Capital/Operating Company focused on information security, supply chain and mobility solutions. While at Redleaf, Matt managed technical due diligence for seed-stage investments and coordinated relationships between Redleaf and their partner companies. Prior to Redleaf, Matt was CIO of GZA GeoEnvironmental Technologies, an infrastructure engineering firm, and operations manager for their Internet start-up that focused on web-technologies for health and safety and manufacturing metrics. Matt is on the board of Larson Design Group (LDG), past Chairman of the Board for the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden, current board member of the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation (PHLF), current Vice President of the Sewickley Heights Gun Club (SHGC) and former member of the Information Sciences and Technology Advisory Board for the Pennsylvania State University Beaver. Matt is also former Vice President of the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Association of Internet Professionals and former Vice President of the Board of Trustees for Baker Combined Charity of Pennsylvania.

Posted on July 18, 2005, in CNC, Woodturning. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Progress on the CNC Wood Lathe Project.

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