CNC mill – metal fabrication

With the CAD design more or less complete it’s time to make some parts. I generated some 2D views of the various parts and plotted them at full scale, then spray-mounted them to some sheet metal, most of which I had cut to size beforehand.

fabricating parts for the custom CNC controller box

As a result, most of the fabrication involved simply drilling and tapping the right sized holes in the steel:

fabricating parts for the custom CNC controller box

But some of the more complicated parts required cutting out larger areas of material. I did most of this very slowly with the jig saw and a metal-cutting blade. But some of the rectangular areas allowed me to use the mill!

fabricating parts for the custom CNC controller box

I quickly realized that this machine will be challenged by steel, as even this thin material caused the whole column/head to flex as I cranked on the wheels. I think it will be possible to machine steel, but the feeds will need to be very slow and it will definitely require copious amounts of coolant.

Here’s the “lower cabinet assembly”–the part that will house the motor drivers and their power supply–welded up and primed:

fabricating parts for the custom CNC controller box

The front panel of the controller box required extensive modification, done entirely with the jig saw and drill bits (the large holes were made with a step drill). I couldn’t wait to dry-fit the assembly onto the mounting arm:

fabricating a custom CNC controller box

The front panel also required a fair amount of welded parts on the back side, for mounting the monitor and keyboard. Notice how the thin sheet metal warped after welding:

fabricating a custom CNC controller box

Final fitting before priming and painting:

fabricating a custom CNC controller box

Next step, assembly…

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