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      Micro-Mark Discount code for IGMA   01/29/2017

      Great News for miniature artists!!!! In support of IGMA and the world of fine miniatures,  Micro-Mark the small tool specialists, have offered IGMA a 10% discount on all their purchases.  Buyer gets 10% off all purchases and in support of the Guild Micro-Mark will donate 5% of your purchased price to IGMA Be sure to enter Promo code IGMASAVE16 www.micromark.com Can be used on sale merchandise, but cannot be combined with another offer.  For example if an item is in the close-out section on the Micromark website, the discount will apply. If they discount some items in an email (a special promotion) the 10% will not be able to be combined with that offer.  Time to go shopping!!!      

5 axis desktop CNC
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15 posts in this topic

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karincorbin    30
karincorbin

I am keeping my eye out on the development phase of this little 5 axis CNC machine.

http://www.pocketnc.com/products/

 

They have fully funded their kickstarter and are hoping to deliver the first units at the end of 2015.

 

There is nothing else available like it in a desktop size. 5 axis really is a big deal! No tool changer on this unit. Too bad about that because if you have ever worked with one you are quickly spoiled rotten by having that ability.

 

My friend Don's observation is they need to create a cover over the wire run in the middle to keep the chips out of that area.

 

 

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WeekendMiniaturist    215
WeekendMiniaturist

$3500 for the first one and $2600 for the second- both prices seem reasonable...

 

Wouldn't it be fun to test drive both machines and then give us all a complete report? 

 

Tamra

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jackofalltrades    21
jackofalltrades

Very cool little machine!   BUT, you still have to write the G code for it to run!   Normally the G-code is written using CAM software which is usually 3 or 4 axes.   Software to write code for a 5 axis machine might be beyond the means of most of us :)  Still an amazing bit of technology!

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oz9ny    28
oz9ny

CNC-toolkit is free open-source CAM that can make g-codes for 5 axis machines. I have played a little with CNC-toolkit for 4 axes but the learning curve is very steep.

 

Using 3d-printing combined with lost plastic (wax) casting you can do the same as with 5 axis milling.

 

/Niels

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WeekendMiniaturist    215
WeekendMiniaturist

Chris reminded me in the past about www.Carterstools.com.  He has some great reviews on software and equipment.

 

I haven't read all of them - I think sometimes it is an educated guess for software and of course a price point of affordability.  

 

5 axis are just left, right, up, down and angles correct?

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jackofalltrades    21
jackofalltrades

CNC tool kit is a plug in rather than stand alone but I am not familiar with what it plugs into?   Programing with all axes moving simultaneously seems impossible to get one's head around much less develop a CAM software for!

 

Agreed! 3D printing is a lot easier than machining.  I've used it for patterns for Vulcanized and RTV silicone rubber molds and some of the patterns would be difficult or impossible to machine from the solid let alone do it in a reasonable amount of time.

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karincorbin    30
karincorbin

Very cool little machine!   BUT, you still have to write the G code for it to run!   Normally the G-code is written using CAM software which is usually 3 or 4 axes.   Software to write code for a 5 axis machine might be beyond the means of most of us :)  Still an amazing bit of technology!

The software to run the machine is open source. You don't have to buy it and you don't have to write it, all you have to do is download it and follow the tutorials on using it. The days when you have to buy software or write G code yourself are over unless you really want to do it. It can be fun to write G code but you don't have to do so.

 

I know how to write G code, I studied CNC machining at my local college. I enjoy writing it, its really only a matter of "be the tool" in your head. In other words mentally turn yourself into an end mill moving up, down, back and forth, etc rather like doing a dance routine where you always hit the exact mark on a floor where your feet need to land. But I don't feel compelled to write G code, I just let software handle that function as it is not as prone to making those frustrating typos where you forget to put in a period character and then have to go back and hunt out the error.

 

This technology is not all that recent but it seems new to many because it is just recently gaining more attention as desktop machines and the software to run them are becoming more affordable. Also because the open source software to run the machines has been around long enough to become of good quality and stable performance. Things are changing rapidly (because of kickstarter funding) in terms of what is affordable and that means if you have an interest in the subject it is good to keep up on the new developments of what is available and how things are being done.

 

The coming trend is all-in-one hobbiest desktop CNC. These are machines that can do 4 axis milling, 3D printing, laser, vinyl cutting, hot wire cutting etc. You just change out the heads and holding fixtures for the operation you want. Why is that possible? Because all of those functions are based off the same CNC ability of controlling movements. Seems like a dream of the future? No its not, its already here. Stepcraft, a company from Europe that has expanded to sell in the USA. The website where they sell them.

A video about the latest machine.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0iep06fudDQ

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karincorbin    30
karincorbin
5 axis are just left, right, up, down and angles correct?

No, what you are describing is 4 axis. I am fortunate to have the use of a 4 axis machine. It does have X, Y and Z movement as well as having a rotary axis that will increment to the various angles. An easy way to understand 4 axis is think of the combination machines that have a milling head over a lathe but instead of the lathe freely spinning around and around with no control other than on and off or a speed change the movement can controlled by designating a degree of rotation. For instance if you wanted to mill a hexagonal area onto a round rod. For that you need to control up and down (Z axis) as well as the X and Y movements and also have the rotary movement shift in specific degrees of change without spinning. That is how you make flats on a round rod. Of course you are not limited to working with round shapes. That fourth axis allows you to turn an object for presentation to the cutting bits of the other surfaces of the object you are machining.

 

On a 5 axis machine you get one more additional axis of rotation. So now instead of just incrementing degrees of change around a single axis you can also tilt that axis you are also rotating. Now instead of making an 8 sided shape you can create objects such as a polyhedron.

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WeekendMiniaturist    215
WeekendMiniaturist

Thank you Karin for your review of this technology.  How many semesters of G-Code Programming did you take at your local college?  I looked into machine technology recently.  I have not been able to confirm that I will benefit from learning to program a 5 axis CNC, but I do agree that if you are selling miniatures this is surely a way to increase profitability and decrease your cost of goods sold... I think, for me, I would prefer to know that I can program a CNC before I made the acquisition to purchase the equipment.

 

On the other side of that debate is whether or not the collector wishes for products that are made with the old technology.

 

I think I understand the 5 axis better... I do understand a polyhedron.  It would be fun to watch a machine create one. 

 

Tamra

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karincorbin    30
karincorbin

Tamra, the point I was trying to make is you don't need to know how to write G code to run a CNC machine. That simply is not necessary, there are programs that automatically do all of that code writing. You just load your 3D model into the program and that CAM program generates the G code.

 

As far as taking a class to learn G code you can learn the basics in a couple of weeks. In a CNC course at a trade school or college that is only a very small fraction of the knowledge you will be covering. Those course all have prerequisites of taking lessons on manual mills and lathes so you understand the basics of machining. You also have to learn the properties of metals and things such as speed, feed, types of cutters, etc. If you go out in industry to work, which is the point of such classes, you will rarely be writing G code unless you are working on archaic equipment for a shop that can't support the purchase of modern equipment and software programs. The machine operator rarely does the coding, that is done by someone who sits in an office and creates it using a CAD CAM program. 

 

So who does write G code and why do you hear about it so much? It is done by the people building their own CNC equipment or people who own really old equipment that won't run on modern CAM software programs. People who had to build things back in the days when there were no affordable desktop machines. People who had no choice but to write G code because there were no quality free open source programs around. There are also the type of people who simply love to make their machines from stock components and then write their own code.  I say absolutely go for it if that is what lights up your pleasure receptors.

 

There is not a lot of G code to learn for a basic desktop machine where you are the one who manually switches the spindle off and on. Most often on basic machines you have to manually set the speed control yourself with a dial and there is no automated tool changer or automated cooling fluid pump. Its mostly just commands to move it up, down and sideways and how fast the machine moves in those directions.   Therefore the amount of G code you need to learn is probably going to be minimal and you don't need a college course for that. You can learn it from an online tutorial or a book. If you do opt to use G code you are going to have a list of the commonly used commands to cut and paste from that are specific to the program you are running. Cutting and pasting reduces typos.

 

The best learning method for desktop CNC machining is to go hang out with someone who has one and get some hands on time. But nowadays there are Maker Shops popping up all over the place and they typically hold short classes in how to use them and the software too including 3D CAD design programs. There are also Meetup user groups around where you might find a personal mentor.

 

I don't write G code to run  machines, I use the program that communicates to the machine to write the code for me as that is part of what the program does. Most of what I have run at our workshop for making miniatures was done on a Roland MDX 650 or MDX 20 and I use the software that came with those machines.

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WeekendMiniaturist    215
WeekendMiniaturist

Thanks to the encouragement of the members in the forum, I discovered we have a makerspace locally - no CNC mills,  but they do have a laser cutter and a 3D printer, some kilns (so I could probably work on enameling or do some china painting... oh the possibilities!

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karincorbin    30
karincorbin

There is a mini Maker Fair in Seattle this coming weekend September 19 and 20, 2015. I am hoping I will feel good enough to pop into it for a while. I have been meaning to go for several years. I will take the bus to it since it is a good bargain compared to finding parking and only a short walk from the bus stop.

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WeekendMiniaturist    215
WeekendMiniaturist

This sounds like a fun even Karin.  I hope all of you with maker communities will share with the forum what you observe.  But thinking about it, our miniature makers, locally have been organized for more then 35 years through our NAME club - I am amazed how organized miniaturists can be. 

 

Our Makespace seems to be closed on Sunday, so it is an evening or Saturday adventure for me...but we can use the space per hour, so If it is a quick little project it may be less to pay by the hour.

 

Tamra

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WeekendMiniaturist    215
WeekendMiniaturist

It has been a couple of years since anyone has posted to this thread?  Do any of our contributors have new updates on the advancements in technology?

 

 

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