Mill Calibration


Following Michal Zalewski’s advice I have made two Squares. One with outside cut and the other with inside cut. I used google Sketchup to make two 1″ squares. I used Phlatboyz Plugin to add an outside and inside cut.

SquareTest Source Files

Square with outside cut:
X = .935
Y = .931

Square with inside cut:
X = .993
Y = .995

Endmill diameter at end across flutes: .1230

Endmill diameter at chuck side: .1235

I’m supposing this suggest I need to make a small change in Mach3?

CNC router/mill Testing

Okay, my CNC has arrived and I am in the process of configuring it. The manual shows how to configure with Mach III but I want to use EMC2.

I went through each setting in the manual for Mach III and then went to the corresponding place in EMC2 and changed the setting. cnc manual.

The spindle works great but when I operate the steppers they are rough in one direction. Actually the Z axis only works in one direction. I’m pretty sure it’s the settings in EMC2. The defaults are probably different than the Mach III defaults and the machine prefers the Mach III defaults.

Also, when I received the machine the spindle shaft was bent. I was able to correct this by slapping it with a hammer. I suspect that this was caused during shipping. I have opened an investigation with the courier company. They said they will come and inspect it and also the packaging to see if they are at fault or not.

January 1st, 2011 update:

I found a better manual. CNC 6040 Router Engraver System Installation Manual

This manual is for a similar machine. It has EMC2 directions in it as well.

I followed the directions in this manual and here’s the outcome:

X) Moves both ways. Very rough in one direction.

Y) Moves both ways. Rough in one direction as well.

Z) Moves in one direction smoothly.

My controller is a little different than the one in the manual. Mine doesn’t seem to have limit/home switches.

I don’t think there is a problem with the bearings or anything mechanical. All the axis move very freely and smoothly. Also, if I move plug the Z motor into the X axis it works exactly like the X axis motor.

Still a little stumped.

Janyary 1st, 2001 Second Update:

I don’t believe there are any mechanical issues. The screws are really easy to turn in both directions. I am keeping one of the motors disengaged from the mechanical of the machine as to make sure I’m sure. Earlier when I had the motors running with EMC2, when I changed the motors around from axis to axis, any problems stayed with the axis (rather than moving around with the motor).

I grabbed one of backup computers that has Windows and installed Mach III. I then used the manual that came with the router (cnc manual) since it talks about Mack III.

I went through all the step and now I can’t move any motors at all.

I know the parallel port is working since I am able to press the panic button and that comes up in the Mach III software when I press it.

I try to press the “RESET” button and also make sure the manual jog is enabled. I then press the cursor keys and PgUp and PgDn keys. The X, Y and Z numbers on the screen change but the motors just sit there.

So I’m guessing that I still have something missing from the Mach III configuration since I can no longer move the steppers.

January 2nd (just after midnight of the 1st)

I received this message from cncZone user Lanthan:

Re: 6040 from China
Hi Darcy,

I use my 6040 (from the pics in your site I can confirm it is identical to the one you got) exclusively with EMC2/Axis, and it works perfectly.
Just get your hands on the configuration manual prepared by DIYCNC, launch stepconf and copy the settings.
Just in case, here is a link to my copy of that manual. CNC 6040 Router Engraver System Installation Manual-ebay

This manual looks just like one of the ones I already have (the software configuration portion that is).

I think I already tried all those settings since they look the same as one of the other manuals I have.

January 3rd update

Okay, after spending a lot of time fooling around with software (assuming the machine was manufactured okay) I finally started to look at the electrical. I knew the mechanical was sound.

I phoned Micheal Grant and he suggested changing the motors around a bit and the pin configuration and we were able to isolate the issue to one of the three stepper controllers. I then took a multimeter to start to verify the connections going from the breakout board to the controller and found a bad wire. Jackpot!

“Make your CNC” book basec CNC

I’m just in from my friend Benoit who made a CNC router. Benoit, Guy and I met up to have a Google Sketchup lab. Benoit gave is a brief walk-through on how to use Sketchup. He also showed us how to use the Phlatboyz Sketchup plugin to generate g-code from a Sketchup file.

I’m pretty excited as it looks very promising for 2d work!

We had a chance to run his router a bit and jog the motors around.

Turns out Benoit is into painting! Here’s a quick video of jogging his cnc router and some pictures.

CNC Router, Milling, Engraving

I’ve been wanting to get a CNC mill or router since I started the laser project. I’ve done a lot of research and contemplation about what I want and need. Here’s a great article on CNC:

I’ve been borrowing my friend Guy’s (from the Ottawa Robotics group) a bit and I have other offers from guys like Micheal in Smiths Falls.

I initially thought of building one thinking it could save money. Micheal (also of Ottawa Robotics) was helpful in finding some parts online and with local suppliers. Guy has been successful at building one of his own.

I decided after shopping around that it might be a good idea to get a small one to start with. At least if I want to make one I can use the CNC mill to help. 🙂

Here’s what I’m looking at:

XYZ axis: 60x40x6.5cm
Driving Units: 1605 Ball Screws (20, 16, 13mm)
Machine Weight: 60KG

Here’s what the supplier quoted:

Power: 110V
Working area: 580mmX400mmX60mm
Max thickness of the material: 790mm (distance between Z axis and bottom of work station)
Work station: 750*480mm
Dimension: 900*650*450mm
6061 aluminum alloy + 6063 Industrial aluminum
Slide unit: X axis 20mm Chrome circular orbit, Y axis 16mm supporting rail, Z axis 13mm Chrome circular orbit
Stepper motor: New 2.8A two-phase 57 stepper motor
Drive unit: 1605 ball bearing linear + cased muff coupling
Spindle motor: C57 300W DC motor, used, from USA, super-low noise, speed 3000-9000, ER11 3.175 collet
Spindle accuracy: radial runout 0.03mm
Engraving accuracy: better than 0.04mm, has been tested
Resetting accuracy: better than 0.03mm
Idle load speed: 0-5000mm/min
Engraving speed: 0-2500mm/min
Control box (electrical): 3977 3-axis control box with the power supply + spindle speed regulator
Weight: 60KG

It comes with a spindle and spindle controller. I had the supplier strip all electrical so I will use my own. This saves on shipping and I was able to get it cheaper.

I realize that’s a pretty low powered spindle but I think it’s a great starting point for a hobby shmuck like me. 🙂

I may use my own steppers and controllers. I have already acquired all the parts and am starting assembly now. If I do that, I will take the electrical off this and use it with my Mantis project.

Here’s a video of the 6040.

Here’s another option:

Mantis CNC router build

Toronto hack lab are interested in building this CNC router. I managed to come up with 5 people in Ottawa Artengine and OttawaRobotics so we will be making 10 of these!

Apparently the Mantis can be made for less than 100 bucks not including the controllers and steppers and such. I think this is a great project because it can do all sorts of cool stuff like cutting PCB circuit boards, cutting plastics and wood. What a great platform for learning about CAD, CAM, CNC and such. Not to mention going to town cutting things.

For steppers and control I have a 30V 5A power supply I picked up on the cheap on ebay (used). Also, I managed to find some nice Nema 23 stepper motors from an Ottawa Robotics member. The same member also sold me three controllers. The wiring came from the generosity of Guy of Ottawa Robotics. This configuration might be overkill for the project but I was already building a CNC mill so I have this stuff on hand. (The 4-axis controller you see in the background of the stepper detail is the controller for my CNC laser cutter).

I’m thinking of extending one of the axis of the machine. That might be interesting for cutting larger wood and platic parts.

Here is the BOM for one supplier McMaster-Carr according to Leigh who is championing this project:

1 Machine:   $170.74
2 Machines: $221.17 [$110.59 ea]
3 Machines: $271.60 [$90.53 ea]
4 Machines: $322.03 [$80.51 ea]
5 Machines: $372.46 [$74.49 ea]

The incremental cost per machine is $50.43, for any number from 2-5

Here is a breakdown of the BOM For the shared, and unshared portions

Unshared parts:
Part#        Description                            Qty    Price      Ext
60355K503    R4 .25" ID .625" OD bearing              2     4.71     9.42
2868T17      .625x.75x1" bronze bushing               1     0.93     0.93
9414T6       .25" shaft collar                        1     0.58     0.58
6061K108     .375x10" precision rod                   4     4.86    19.44
6061K422     .375x7" precision rod                    2     4.17     8.34
2868T72      .375x.5x.625" 863 bronze bushings       12     0.56     6.72
98935A817    3/8-12 lead screw 36" 2G                 1     5.00     5.00

Shared Parts: [for up to 5 units]
Part#        Description                                 Qty    Price      Ext
5234K72      Nylon/silicone tubing - 1ft                   1     1.01     1.01
94639A189    .09x.25x.3125" spacer [100pcs]            1/100     7.99     7.99
1817T13      5/8 O.D.-1/4 I.D. Delrin AF tubing - 1ft      1    14.60    14.60
90283A112    4-40x.625" flat pan head screws [100pcs]  8/100     1.56     1.56
92949A199    8-32x1" screws allen button head [100pcs] 7/100     8.05     8.05
90975A012    8-32 tee nuts [100pcs]                    7/100     6.74     6.74
90126A512    8-32 washer [100pcs]                      7/100     1.29     1.29
90252A104    #6x.75" plywood screw phillips [100pcs]  17/100     6.66     6.66
25345A42     ACME 3/8-12 Tap                               1    72.41    72.41

Whups… I forgot, there is an error in my BOM. The R4 bearing is incorrect. The bearings are supposed to be shielded. The proper part should be: 60355K43 [replaces 60355K503] They are only slightly more at $5.10 ea from the 4.71 ea in the BOM.

Tom Burns (Dec 6) of Ottawa found a nice independent build log at

There is a much better BOM: bom-9

Tom Burns (Dec 8th) sent this link:

Project Update: I think the Mantis project isn’t really attractive enough for people to get over the time it takes to make it. The Toronto group didn’t actually do the bulk order for parts that they talked about. The Ottawa group isn’t really hot on it either.  I decided to just do this on my own but not follow the Mantis plans. Instead, I’ll go to a slightly larger cutting area and a few other improvements. I’ve already ordered a pair of Nema 17, 3-axes systems with motors. They came without power supplies but I’ve already bought a supply for one of them. I’m still shopping for the second supply. I’m now working on some ideas for the linear bearings. I ordered 150 bearings from VXB to try some of the ideas I use on my laser cutter. I have a telephone meeting with a linear bearing sales person on Wednesday. They have some plastic bearings. I will consider that. I think I’ll publish the plans and have pinged around for a name for the project. Any ideas? Feb 6, 2011