Lionkev's Aluminum Attempts

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This topic contains 103 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  Kevin Lopez 1 year, 3 months ago.

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  • #36946

    Kevin Lopez
    Participant

    Finally finished moving the machine into a garage. Had to make a new desk and clear out a ton of stuff. This build is primarily for milling aluminum. I took the size advice and lowered the z axis about as low as you can build it. I only have about 3cm of z travel. Still need to come up with a good clamping system. Everything is sitting on some osb particle board which I don’t want to use as a wasteboard just yet. I am probably going to put another board on top to move the workpiece closer to the gantry.

    There are some really early stage pics taken at night just now….kind of rushed. I am seeking advice from people who have had success with aluminum, particularly the feed rates.

    The 2 circle cuts are really basic test gcodes. They’re 20mm diameter circles with .2mm left over until I find a way to use the cut outs they have on estlcam. Currently I am using fusion360 w/ v10 post processor. I need a lot more learning of the cam, but I like the workflow from model to cam on autodesk.

    Currently I have tested with carbide 1/8 inch single flute endmills, the same ones Ryan sells on the site. I also ordered a double flute of the same type. My feedrate is 10mm/s and 2mm/s plunge. The DOC was .5mm. A little on the aggressive side compared to what I am seeing.

    As you can maybe see from the blurry picture of the test cuts, the edges are pretty burred. Is that normal to expect? The diameter was nominally 20mm but came out as 19.5mm. Little disappointed, I suspect it is from the really crummy surface finish. They were done conventional milling which from what I have read, seems pretty much worse in every way compared to climb milling. Does anybody ever climb mill aluminum? I tried climb milling and it was a complete disaster! The work came unclamped as the bit started burring itself into the workpiece, a common issue with climb milling. I don’t think I want to try it again seeing as it probably almost broke the bit. Then again I am curious to see if I can pull off a climb milling light finish pass.

    I appreciate all replies! 🙂

    #36950

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    Is the path from the middle out, it should be?
    Stepover looks high, speed is high, doc is high.

    Have you seen my most recent aluminum video? Start with those settings and work your way up.

    #36952

    Kevin Lopez
    Participant

    I used adaptive clearing on fusion. The bit spirals from the middle initially. I am going to try a lot more tests tomorrow. I have 72 of those sheets I picked up on ebay for this very reason so I have lots of test material. This has got me curious though on higher feeds https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_o5sBvN_VF8

    #36956

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    Stepover %? Less than 45 is a good place to start, yours looks like 80%. What kind of aluminum is it?

    Not saying you can’t cut fast but metal has very ideal settings once you find them, the only thing to vary is the depth usually. Depth will vary on the mpcnc depending on your builds rigidity. Wood is extremely forgiving, metal will eat your bits and crack parts.

    Adaptive and tricoidal help push this further. Start light, shallow, low step over and get a clean cut, good surface and edge finish then work your way up.

    #36957

    Kevin Lopez
    Participant

    I can’t find the percent, but there is an option for maximum engagement which seems to be stepover. I just started cam today so I am still a huge noob. It is 1.27mm, which out of 3.175mm is a 40% stepover. On the simulation it looks 40%. They are 6061 T6 plates, 1.55mm thick. I think I will keep a +5mm/s feedrate as I keep reading everywhere how these endmills especially at this speed will more rub that actually cut. What I will experiment with tomorrow is a finishing climb pass unless. First though I am taking your advice and doing some shallow depths and stepovers.

    #37114

    Kevin Lopez
    Participant

    Just did a second run today with brand new bits I ordered. Same Kyocera brand and size, but I also have a 2 flute I have not tried yet.

    The results are significantly better! My other endmill must of been really dull because the burring on my cuts are totally gone even though they’re the same bit and gcode. My tolerances are still a bit off. The ID of the big pocket on the Y was 19.7mm, the actual is 20mm. .3mm is pretty good but I know I can get better with more refining.

    Look at the chips 😀 They’re no longer dust but actual flakes. The aluminum sheet was only slightly warm after the cut so the chips are definitely carrying the heat and not being recut.

    From what I have seen on youtube, some people seem to be feeding too slow. Don’t want to jump to conclusions because I don’t know their settings but from my research and results, you want to feed faster than what I see on the MPCNC. With the 30,000rpm of the router, either you go single flute or you have to really amp up the feeds, otherwise you are rubbing and not cutting which worsens tool life and surface finish.

    I will do more tests later but I am feeling pretty confident in the rigidity. I accidentally plunged 1mm DOC 40% stepover at 8mm/s and I noticed no chatter even on my rubbish setup.

    1 user thanked author for this post.
    #37131

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    The cuts look great. There are always little things you can change, that’s the fun part. 0.3mm is pretty good, I would guess with aluminum you can make a much smaller finishing pass than wood and get that a little closer. At the same time if you’re outside cuts are a bit big and your inside cuts are a bit small it count just be the diameter of the bit is a little off, if that makes sense.

    I have been doing tons of cuts lately trying to keep up with the lowrider flat parts, so I keep testing lots of settings and bits. The single flute seem to work significantly better on all materials I have tried, they even drill/plunge better, they might be giving me odd shaped small holes though, or maybe it is something else. Next I want to try the single flat flute but they have not been delivered yet.

    1 user thanked author for this post.
    #37411

    Kevin Lopez
    Participant

    How perpendicular is enough would you say? Along a 100mm span from my collet, I raise about 1/16 inch on one side vs barely skinning the bed on the other. I tried putting tape on the mount and nothing seems to do much. I think I will just leave it as it is because I am getting .1mm tolerances with 1mm DOC 8.3mm/s just fine.

    #37419

    Barry
    Participant

    If you’re higher on one side than the other, your legs aren’t even.

    #37426

    Kevin Lopez
    Participant

    Remember I am talking about the z axis perpendicularity. I don’t believe my feet are off as if you see from my pic, they’re all as short as you can make them. That makes their overall length irrelevant from the conduit length which is often what varies. I can tell I need to change something about the perpendicularity because my bottom finishes all have end mill marks. They’re facing the x axis, and look like a ton of tiny crescent moons. I also get chatter at certain points 🙁 How do I shim properly?

    #37431

    Dui, ni shuo de dui
    Participant

    Remember I am talking about the z axis perpendicularity. I don’t believe my feet are off as if you see from my pic, they’re all as short as you can make them. That makes their overall length irrelevant from the conduit length which is often what varies. I can tell I need to change something about the perpendicularity because my bottom finishes all have end mill marks. They’re facing the x axis, and look like a ton of tiny crescent moons. I also get chatter at certain points ? How do I shim properly?

    It can very well be your bed being not flat

    #37433

    Kevin Lopez
    Participant

    Possibly, when I test it all the z axis height varies by about 1mm. It only chatters lightly on certain parts of the circle. My feed is aggressive and it just slices through, just need to fix this one issue and I am perfect.

    #37526

    Kevin Lopez
    Participant

    I notied something with my machine that may or may not be the same for others. When I lock the steppers and try to flex my gantry by pushing the bit, most of the flex is coming from my zip ties. This leads me to believe that I need to secure my belt more.

    My belt isn’t loose, it may even be too tight but I am convinced that I am losing rigidity due to the lack of hold my zip ties are giving to the belt. It is allowing the gantry some linear “allowance” due to the elasticity of the zip ties giving it. Maybe I need thicker/shorter zip ties but it is just something I noticed. I suppose this is somewhat of a downside of using belts vs ballscrews but they are a LOT cheaper and have very little backlash.

    Edit: I just tried to move the bit even more, and it is more severe than I thought. I would say around 80% of the deflection is caused by the whole gantry moving in respect to the outer rails due to the belt actually moving with it. Hardly any of it is z axis flex or conduit flex.

    #37528

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    one end of your belt should be basically zip tied directly to the mount, zero flex. The other end should be as close as possible and this will give extremely minimal flex. Sounds like you might have some big zip tie loops.

    Also see that you have them oriented like in the instructions, that helps as well. you should not be able to notice any movement do to the cable ties.

    #37531

    Kevin Lopez
    Participant

    Yeah those were my thoughts too. One end is tied like the instructions, but yes I would agree that the adjusting side is far too big…whoops. Now I gotta buy new belt, darn. At least now I know that I have still not maxed out the machine just yet, it’s got more rigidity in her 😀

    #37534

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    If you get the tension right it should be too bad, you can also try zip tie to close the loop, around it perpendicular. The size shouldnt matter too much don’t buy new belt.

    #37537

    Kevin Lopez
    Participant

    Lol, the order was just placed. There goes my $8. 5m of 6mm wide. I am just gonna cut the belt a little too long on each axis on purpose, then trial and error the length until the tension is proper and each side looks like the fully locked down side. With such a short z axis combined with all my cutter load being pretty much radial, this new arrangement should hep immensely.

    #37790

    Kevin Lopez
    Participant

    I am thinking about getting an air compressor type thing to put on the gantry to maybe add some air cooling. My endmills are not lasting very long 🙁 I have went through about 5, thing is only 1 has snapped and only because of a crash. My Kyocera single flutes keep chipping. My only double flute died in a collision, poor guy didn’t even have a chance 🙁

    I think the issue mostly due to our machines only being able to be rigid enough to do a DOC on 100% full radial engagement (like a slot) of the very tips. The rest of the flute length is totally wasted, I feel like I am just wasting endmills I shouldn’t be.

    Also, they tend to get molten aluminum coated on them, but only a very thin coat. Perhaps cooling is the answer, didn’t think it was needed since my MRR is so low.

    Whatever, video up soon. I am beginning to mill up some electric longboard motor mounts.

    #37791

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    Tricoidal milling, you can do full depth of cut even on a slot.

    #37792

    Kevin Lopez
    Participant

    I suppose so, but adaptive clearing only works when the slot is above the cutter diameter. My way of cutting out parts is to do a contour around them, so I guess now I have to sort of make an oversized pocket around it, maybe 4 or 5mm wide and try that. Kind of a weird way of doing things imo, but I have adaptive cleared at 2mm doc with no chatter at all. I’ll try this out

    #37800

    Barry
    Participant

    Do you have any dust collection going? That really helps too.

    #37870

    Kevin Lopez
    Participant

    When you take off the bottom lock for the dw660, the internal fan’s air flows down and near the collet. It blows the chips out of my cuts, but I plan on getting an actual air blast.

    #38050

    Kevin Lopez
    Participant

    I am sorry Ryan, I can not let go of my zip tie issue. D: The issue is that my zipties are creating almost a form of backlash. More like just play but you get the idea.
    It is a shame because it is probably not an issue for anyone but me and dui. I just redid all my belts as short as you pretty much can. I used zip ties that are so thick they barely even fit in the slot on the corner mounts. In my opinion, something about the design should change, or at least some sort of upgrade if there is a v2 or pro version. It may even be more important than new feet, just one persons point of view.

    Maybe some thicker belt like htd3m would help a little. It is not the slippage or torque capability, it is just the sheer stiffness and ability to be fastened I need.

    May make a short video to show what I am talking about here. Even at maximum zip tie stiffness, when putting lateral force on my end mill, almost all of the deflection linear to the gantry, not flex in any way. The actual gantry pushes with the end mill, and the steppers move with it as well.

    On big machines this becomes less and less important, because conduit flex actually becomes a thing. Tall z axis also overpowers my point here. But for short and relatively small work areas, it is becoming an issue.

    I think this is why when I tried 4mm DOC .5mm stepover 10mm/s, I got an undersized pocket. I wasen’t chattering as much as I thought, maybe a tiny bit. Surface finish was great but the lateral force on the cutter is causing the overall cut to shrink. Solved a little with a really light finish pass, but still, I feel like this zip tie thing is giving up a lot of rigidity. Shame for me to have almost unflexable everything, then see my gantry can move due to the belt fixture.

    Don’t want to come off as too negative, don’t get me wrong I am really enjoying my mpcnc. I am practically nit picking at this point but I really want to see where I can push this design for science!

    #38051

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    I appreciate constructive criticism, don’t feel bad about it.

    I would love to see what is going on. I have been testing belt stretch, but from what I can tell the belt moves much more than the zipties, and that’s only on the 9.5′ of lowrider belt and it is very very little over the entire distance with the load of the giant gantry on it.

    In the morning I will show you a picture of how I use zip ties on mine.

    I am guessing your large zipties are actually the problem. They are so large they are acting like springs. The zipties I recommend, 40lb ones, actually get hard square corners and are pulled taught. On top of that if you have a longer one there is another way to constrain them from bounce. They have to be weak enough to have some plastic deformation occur, if they are too strong they will only elastically deform and will forever be a spring.

    Bigger isn’t always better.

    #38052

    Kevin Lopez
    Participant

    So you’re saying I have to like…strain harden my zip ties. Never knew the zip ties were so in depth lol. Yeah probably true they are a little springy. I used the el cheapo clear zip ties. The female end of them is too big to sit flush with lock corners. I’ll get some of the ones you originally shipped me. I have probably wasted a pound of zip ties by now…oh well. When I get this solved though I feel my machine will be a lot more stiff. I will upload a vid tomorrow of what I am experiencing.

    #38053

    Barry
    Participant

    I’ve been playing with mine. Have a piece of 1/8th inch thick 2″ aluminum flat stock attached to my bed. Started out with a 1/8th inch 2 flute end mill. Full depth of cut, 15mm/s 10% trochoidal. Started okay, but eventually started chattering and then pulling the bit around. Changed to 5mm/s, got a little farther, but eventually started doing the same thing. Then I had to go to dinner. This is with the chinese spindle, which I really think with the collet holder, the bit sticks way too far down. My eventual goal is to make some property tags for our work ladders, then rivet them in place.

    #38072

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    Barry, how far can you get an endmill in the collet? I never even thought about that part I just didn’t like the collet on a shaft setup those things have, never stopped to think about the shaft stopping you from properly choking up on the bit. That is a pretty big deal breaker, I have just received some “stubby bits” but it turns out they are the same overall length just the flutes are shorter for what I assume is a slightly more rigid bit. I think I am going to put an experimental bit pack up for sale to get me eyes on these things to see which ones are worth buying more of.
    IMG_20170712_092505

    Kevin, I am not totally against doing the zip tie method a different way. The main reason I didn’t start that way is if it has a screw, most people will overtighten it. The zip tie in my opinion is the most efficient, where anything else means more print time and more hardware, and more tech support for over tightened belts stalling out machines. The first versions of the machine the motor mounts were easily bent by the tension of the belt, the new version can take enough tension to stall the motor. I will keep an eye on this for sure, but I have really been beating up the Lowrider and I have those belts super tight with zip ties. I will to engage the motors and use a dial indicator to get some real numbers on this issue.

    IMG_20170712_091954
    As close as possible, you are right best would be a hard mount on one side. No argument there.

    IMG_20170712_092018
    As short as possible on this side would be best but I found that adding this little gem takes out all flex I can see with my eye instead of rebelting.

    Another little tip is using some needle nosed pliers to square off the corners of your zipties if they are round, force them to comply. A straight line can’t flex.

    #38107

    Kevin Lopez
    Participant

    Not a Hollywood director as you can see. Couldn’t get a shot of my belts because filming with 1 hand while pushing something came out terrible. As you can see, the whole gantry actually moves. You can see the bearings actually rotating. Little of it is gantry flex, a tiny portion is the x aligned rail because it is about 32″ long. May switch to screws, or hell maybe I can try to tie them with another loop of belt itself, it is rather stiff lol

    #38115

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    Can you get a shot of the zipties as you do that? That is pretty bad. Legs, rail flex, zip ties, a complete shot of the whole thing might help but that can’t be just zipties.

    #38119

    Odacir Cristofolini
    Participant

    Kevin,

    Check the pulleys if one, do not come loose.

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