The MD001-CNC machine is not just a CNC converted manual mill... I have removed all the negatives you would normally get when converting a manual milling machine with a bolt on kit. The final result is a CNC machine that has all the features of any other dedicated vertical CNC machine but at a substantially reduced price.
Producing a high quality CNC mill with a large work envelope and having all the features of a much higher class CNC mill while still keeping the price at an affordable level. There is a large gap in available equipment. There are hobby(ish) CNC mills that are under the $10K price range but are limited by features and accessories that reflect the price. Such as stepper motors, low quality ball screws, small work envelope and poor quality spindle and bearings. On the other end of the spectrum there are higher quality VMC's with all the features that you would expect to make the machine perform at its best. However, the price for mills like this can easily exceed $25K.
There are of course machines available at both ends of the spectrum. Some even start off with an attractive price but quickly grow beyond your budget after only adding minimal accessories and shipping costs.
High accuracy can be achieved with a design based on an existing foundation. I have redesigned the castings to accommodate linear guide bearings. The design also includes a wealth of other features not typically available on lower end hobby style stepper machines...
The features I am incorporating into the design are...
- Custom Castings
- Linear Guide Bearings
- Ground ball screws
- Industrial CNC Controller
- One Shot Oiler
- Z-Axis Counter weight
- Full size enclosed cabinet
- Industrial grade servo motors
- Custom dual speed head with cartridge spindle
The prototype is just about completed. The only remaining tasks are to install some way covers to protect the bearings and balls screws as well as mount the coolant nozzle. The video on my Youtube channel shows some of the initial axis movements and spindle movement.
Summary and further work
Te overall project is slightly more expensive then a hobby grade stepper CNC mill but when all the features are compared, the cost is easily worth the extra expense. When coupled with my 300mm CNC rotary table, the combination will dramatically improve my machining capability. Building this machine has been quite an experience and will help immensely when further improving the design to reduce costs and improve efficiency.