Hey Everybody! Just a quick post about some excitement I've had the last couple of weeks and thought I'd share it :)

A few weeks ago I was doing a job - probably one of the biggest jobs I've done on the CNC machine in 10 years! So I set it up, as I normally do, and watched it for a few minutes to make sure everything was working as it should and then went inside to finish my coffee.

So I go out to the garage a few minutes later to check on things and upon opening the door I immediately smell it... You know it - that "Fried Electronics" smell - the magic smoke!

I round the corner to where the CNC machine it - and sure enough, there's my CNC controller board - on fire!

So I shut everything down, make sure power is removed from the whole system, and start to check things out...

Turns out one of my wires (The Y axis I think) got caught on the hold down clamp, pulled taught and broke - that blew THAT driver I assume and that caused the X axis driver to blow up too somehow... Here's a shot of the poor board!

This was a Hobby CNC pro board and has worked flawlessly for like ten years! It was a very sad moment when I realized that *I* killed it.

 So... Wiping tears... moving on...

I had a cheap 5 axis driver board I'd gotten off eBay a few years ago, it's the TB6560 board. So I wired it all up and got it all set up in Mach3 and went to tune the motors.

Now, with the HobbyCNC board I could get about 60IPM out of the machine with only the occasional stall, so I would cut at 40IPM to be safe... I could ony get 20IPM out of this TB6560 board! I tried everything - wiring the motors bipolar then Unipolar, tried another power supply, etc... It sucked, but I had to get this job done (which was already going to take 6 hours, now it'll be more like 20 hours!)

Find Zero again... Start the job... Let it go for like 8 hours, no problems... Paused the job and set the router at zero and took the rest of the night off... Next day I start up the job again, watch it for like an hour - no problems... Went inside for like 5 minutes to get a drink and sure enough, don't ya know it, when I came back out there had been a stall and the router had routed right through the piece! Here's a picture of that nonsense!

To add to that, the accuracy totally stunk because (hopefully you can see) the ridges on the finish? it's supposed to be smooth, so the Z Axis was not returning to the same spot every time at all! So at that point I was totally frustrated, something like 10 hours down the tubes! 

Turns out though that the guy I am making this for is going to use it to make a mold and cast them, so he didn't care if it was filled with wood filler - whew!

Still though, I wasn't going to mess around anymore - I jumped online and ordered all new motors (figured I'd upgrade them too) and all new driver boards, power supply, the works! I ordered from Automation Technologies, and they shipped the same day and I got everything a few days later - very pleased with them!

I Took Friday off to wire everything up and get back in business and I made a little video of the results - I finished cutting out that piece at like 100IPM and could consistently get 120IPM on the X Axis (which is my tightest one) - very happy with the results! Here's a pic of the final piece...

Oh and I also used some PVC pipe to construct and overhead wire harness thing (the X Axis wires are actually running THROUGH the PVC) - so no more chance that the wires will catch on anything!

Here's a shot of the new electronics wired up for testing

and finally - here's the video that shows some movement off the new stuff! - Thanks for checking out the post and I'll try to post more - I promise! :)