Archive for December, 2009
In preparation for a long term project I am working on I created a 3D model of a 3-axis CNC machine in Google Sketchup and rendered it in Kerkythea.
This took quite a bit of tweaking to get exactly the look that I wanted, which is the appearance of the CNC machine inside a large light tent, reducing shadows and a distracting background. I.e. the typical look used for product photos.
I played around with my Sketchup model a bit and vastly improved the flutes on the end mills. Here is a Kerkythea render
Google Sketchup is pretty nice. I’ve tried 3D CAD programs in the past but never really invested the time to climb the steep (for me) learning curve. There was a bit of a learning curve with Sketchup, but once I got into the “right” way of thinking it became easy to use. Now I use Sketchup all the time, from drawing diagrams for my CNC hobby, to modeling home projects.
The one problem with Google Sketchup is, well, the output looks like a sketch. But now I’ve found a free renderer that not only has a plugin for Google Sketchup, but is just as easy to use as Sketchup. It’s called Kerkythea.
Install, run, and follow the quick start tutorial and you will be rendering your Sketchup models in less than a hour.
I recently decided to try and model and render some sprial up-cut and down-cut end mills in Sketchup. The results are below.
I have made Christmas presents for this year, so now it’s time for some upgrades to my CNC machine. The first upgrade is to replace my poor Dremel with a small router.
Small palm routers or laminate routers are typically around 3lb in weight, which is small enough to fit on my hobby CNC machine. I liked the DeWalt laminate trimmer, but it doesn’t have variable speed built in. Next choice was the Bosch Colt, but I have heard some stories of how several hours of use can melt the plastic around the bearings, ruining them. My final selection was the Ridgid R2400 laminate router. Nothing but praise and easy to mount.
Note that the R2401 is quite different (and heavier) than the R2400. It seems that places like Home Depot and Lowes now stock the R2401 instead of the R2400.
A big reason for replacing the Dremel with a router is better performance under load and larger shank size. Larger bit = faster and deeper cutting. My Dremel has run for probably over 130 hours on my CNC machine and it’s showing the signs. It can still cut accurately but there is now a problem with the power, and it is starting to become a bit unreliable.
The first problem is how to mount the R2400 to my CNC machine. The solution I came up with is to press my Dremel into service one last time to cut some 1/4″ MDF. I will sandwich the parts together to create a holder that is 1″ thick with a back plate of 1/2″
The design was done in Google Sketchup:
I then rendered it in Kerkythea for fun:
Now to start cutting…