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Question #: 1001

Question: how can I convert the whiteAnt from the 3D printer mode to the CNC milling mode?

Current Solution

To convert the whiteAnt to a CNC machine, you will want to lower the upper structure to the lowest position to create the most rigidity overall. You will see that there are many holes below the sides of the upper structure that are evenly spaced. This is so you can adjust this lower. You will also want to fasten the lower sides to a substrate (piece of wood, or something) with l-brackets or something that has a bit of adjustment capability. This will keep the sides more rigid as well. Use a Dremel for the spindle. If you want to use a another spindle, let me know and we can product a mount for that spindle since the Dremel has poor runout (TIR). This is important if you are wanting really precise milling.

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Other Possible Solutions to this Question

  • What power supply would be adequate for the whiteAnt 3D printer?

    The whiteAnt will work with a 6 amp 12 volt power supply. If you add more peripherals to the machine, like heating bed, you will want higher current. Each motor draws 3.0 amps at full torque. Most of the time, only the x and y axes are moving at the same time, and the drivers are only allowing a max of 2.5 amps and they should be set for about 2.0 amps so they don't overheat (they have overheat protection and the LED will light up, so you will be fine if it does overheat, but your model may suffer). The remaining current will be enough to keep the hot end heated.

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    What power supply would be adequate for the whiteAnt 3D printer?

  • HAVE 3D PRINTER THAT WANT TO MAKE CNC ROUTER ,IS THERE ANY GUIDES SHOW ME THE WAY

    What 3d printer do you have?

    Additional Information:
    whiteant

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    HAVE 3D PRINTER THAT WANT TO MAKE CNC ROUTER ,IS THERE ANY GUIDES SHOW ME THE WAY

  • The firmware for the whiteant I bought from you is not responding. How can I reload? Which firmware should I reload?

    The first step would be to reinstall the required files. You can find detailed instructions for the software/firmware installation process here. https://www.buildyourcnc.com/whiteAnt3DPrinterandCNCMachine.aspx

    If that doesn't work, you should send an email to techsupport@buildyourcnc.com giving your purchase information and the system you are running so we can provide more detailed support.

    Click the link to respond:
    The firmware for the whiteant I bought from you is not responding. How can I reload? Which firmware should I reload?

  • Please share what versions of ReplicatorG, Python, Java, Firmware and the Arduino drivers you are currently using for the whiteAnt 3d printer.

    We use the version 0024 of replicatorG which works quite well. The firmware is specified on the videos as you perform the installation. You can find the videos on this page: https://www.buildyourcnc.com/whiteAnt3DPrinterandCNCMachine.aspx

    Click the link to respond:
    Please share what versions of ReplicatorG, Python, Java, Firmware and the Arduino drivers you are currently using for the whiteAnt 3d printer.

  • What would be needed to convert my blackfoot 4x8 into a 3d printer ?

    To convert our CNC machine into a 3D printer, an extruder would need to be attached to the z-axis. The extruder could be added next to the spindle, or the spindle can be removed and the extruder replace the spindle.

    The former would be an interesting combination where you would be able to extrude plastic and then run the spindle afterwards to do some finishing passes; however, the weight of the spindle would reduce the performance. Without the spindle, the z-axis will move with reduced inertia.

    The electronics would be mostly the same with the addition of an extruder controller and a main controller board to control the existing drivers.

    You can find all of the 3D printer parts here:
    https://buildyourcnc.com/3DPrinterComponents.aspx

    If you need help with fashioning a mount for the FDM extruder, please let us know.



    User response:
    Yes what type of mount would I need for the FDM extruder ? Thanks Gary

    User response:
    Could you be a little more specific on what type of main board I'll need to purchase the board I'm using now for my router is a serial port interface purchased from you. Thanks Gary

    BYCNC response:

    The 3d printing board we sell works with an Arduino Mega 2560. We sell the Arduino here:

    https://buildyourcnc.com/Item/3D-Printer-Component-electronicsAndMotors-electronic-component-arduino-mega-2560-FDMElectronics

    and the board here:

    https://buildyourcnc.com/Item/3D-Printer-Component-electronicsAndMotors-3d-printer-mainboard-FDMElectronics-3dprintermainboard

    We sell the extruder itself here:

    https://buildyourcnc.com/item/3D-Printer-Component-extruder

    You can manufacture the mount yourself using the BlackFoot, or you can contact us directly with your requirements and we would be happy to prepare a custom quote.

    Click the link to respond:
    What would be needed to convert my blackfoot 4x8 into a 3d printer ?

  • The plans available for download for the "whiteAnt 3D Plastic Printer" do not have dimensions. Are the dimensions shown in the book? Is there a DWG file available?

    The plans for the whiteAnt 3D Printer will have the dimesions, and the dimensions will be on the individual pieces(cut to spec). The machine is relatively small, so maybe you expected the size(dimensions) to be larger.

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    The plans available for download for the "whiteAnt 3D Plastic Printer" do not have dimensions. Are the dimensions shown in the book? Is there a DWG file available?

  • Can you convert a 3D print file to a file that can be ran on my cnc rounter and how would it have to be converted ?

    Converting a 3D file to be used with a CNC machine will depend on the capability of the software you are using for developing machine operations (CAM software). For instance, if you use CAMBAM and the operation will consider a typical 3 axis CNC machine without a 4th axis, you would simply load the 3D file (.3ds or .stl) and apply a 3D profile machining operation on the 3D object. No conversion is necessary.

    Check the capabilities of the CAM software you are using. You may just be able to load up the 3D file and start using it.

    If you don't have your 3D file in the specified format (i.e. .3ds or .stl) then you will need to find a converter to convert the file into the file format that is compatible with your CAM software which should be relatively easy to find on the internet for free.

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    Can you convert a 3D print file to a file that can be ran on my cnc rounter and how would it have to be converted ?

  • HOW CAN MOUNT THE EXTRUDER TO WHITEANT

    Mounting the extruder to the whiteAnt can be done a couple of ways. One is to take the 4 mounting holes located at the lower portion of the z-axis rail support and use long screws protruding out. Take a thinner material and drill the four holes matching the locations of the 4 screws and screw on nuts to hold it in place. The other option would be to use the metal bracket and fasten to the edge of the rail support.

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    HOW CAN MOUNT THE EXTRUDER TO WHITEANT

  • How can I convert from Xylotex to yours, four axis with limit switches. Have parallel PC and steppers on machine.

    Sure, the USB interface has a place for 4 axes of limit switches.

    Each axis can have two limit switches: one for the ++ (positive) end and one for the -- (negative) end. The positive end would be the limit switch at the end of the machine that, say the machine has a 4'x8' area, reaches a bit after the 8 foot mark. The negative end would be the limit switch behind the 0 foot location behind the origin. If the origin is in the middle, the negative would be at a little more than the -4 foot end and the positive would be at a bit more than the +4 foot end. Note that you can have more than one switch on each pin where the NC is connected in serial fashion and the NO is connected in parallel fashion (this can be seen on the diagram in the multiple limits switch section). The software configurations for the limits switches are under File -> Settings -> Limit.

    A typical limit switch has three connections on it. These connections consist of COM (common), NC (normally closed) and NO (normally open). The COM would generally go to GND and the NC or the NO would go to the pin. If the NC is used, then the the switch is constantly connected until the switch is pushed (engaged) then the connection from the pin to gnd is broken (open). Use the settings in software to set whether in NC or NO configuration.

    Let me know if this information was helpful (or not) by adding information to this question. Thanks.

    User response:
    Thank you very much for this helpful information. I'm still a little fuzzy on how the 6 limit switches physically connect to each other and to the USB breakout board. You've stated one switch (home) goes to positive and another switch (limit) goes to negative. Are all the GND prongs from all 6 switches connected to each other and going to GND on the breakout board, or no? And the NC prongs, how exactly are they connected to each other? And to the board? There has to be a diagram somewhere shows this visually, no? I don't know how to wire the switches in series or in parallel. I have already physically installed all the switches on the machine and ran the wires to where the board is. Now I just need to know where to plug these wires into the board. Also, taking into consideration that I'm using the Planet CNC software, the only settings I have pertaining to limit switches is "Enable/Disable" for each axis, and the actual limit for each axis. Nothing about NC or NO. Is that only in Mach3?
    Thank you.

    buildyourcnc response:
    On the USB interface, the COM on the switch connects to GND and the NC or NO connects to the input pin (i.e. x++, y--, etc.)

    Limit switch configuration is rather difficult to understand, especially with series and parallel. You can think of series as a single wire going from GND to the axis letter input terminal (i.e. X++ or X--). If the wire is broken, then the circuit is open (or the switch is engaged in a normally closed scenario). Normally closed is like an actual wire, and when engaged, the switch "opens" (breaks the wire). This is why we recommend in some systems that you can put many switches in series on a single pin. When one of the switches is engaged (breaking the connection) then the entire circuit of switches is broken and the machine stops.

    In a parallel scenario, the state of the circuit is always broken until the one of the switches is engaged and the circuit is then closed or connected. The topology looks like a ladder. All the switches connect to both sides of the ladder and the switches are like the runs of the ladder (the horizontal bars that the feet are placed while climbing). Imagine all of the switches broken in this scenario (normally open). It would be like the ladder could be split in two, but if one of the ladder runs (switches) is closed by engaging it, then that run would connect both sides of the ladder and the two sides of the ladder would have a connection.

    There is a diagram on the USB page of the various limit switch configurations. If you need more information (visual and/or otherwise), please let us know and we will immediately add that information to benefit everyone.

    Click the link to respond:
    How can I convert from Xylotex to yours, four axis with limit switches. Have parallel PC and steppers on machine.

  • 3d printer motors not moving fast enough. How should I configure the motor drivers?

    This will depend on the 3D printer that you are using and the mechanics involved. Specifically regarding the motor drivers, software is really what determines the speed of the motor. If the computer is not able to product the high number of pulses that is required for faster motion, then you can reduce the microstepping and configure the software appropriately for the new microstepping so the resolution is corrected (steps/inch or steps/mm).

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    3d printer motors not moving fast enough. How should I configure the motor drivers?

  • Do you have a model of the Fabricator pro that can be inclined line the lean?

    Yes, you can use Mach4 wtih the Fabricator Pro CNC machine.

    We have not designed a metal machine like the Fabricator Pro to lean more in the vertical orientation. Unfortunately, we haven't gotten any requests for that style of machine, and the greenLean, although a great machine and space saver, has not been our best seller.

    If we get more interest in this type of machine, we would have no problem designing a machine like this.

    Click the link to respond:
    Do you have a model of the Fabricator pro that can be inclined line the lean?

  • Hi, wanted to know if the whiteAnt can produce PCBs? If so, wich is the precision?

    It is best to use a subtractive fabrication method, or a chemical method to product pcbs. The subtractive method generally requires the use of a CNC router with a pcb isolation routing end mill that generally has a very sharp point to remove the copper material. The chemically etching method is where an acid is used (ferric chloride, or another acid) to dissolve copper where needed.

    If there is a method where a highly conductive material, mixed with a plastic that maintains a conductive property after the mix, and can use the standard deposition extruder, then the whiteAnt will be able to make PCBs.

    Click the link to respond:
    Hi, wanted to know if the whiteAnt can produce PCBs? If so, wich is the precision?

  • What is the Max thickness of wood that can be placed in the 4x8 cnc milling machine?

    Tricky question. That depends on the way the table is built. If the table is built with a step down area, you can put as thick a material as you want. If the table is flat, the clearance is 6 inches. Now, the thickness depends on the size end mill you insert into the collet. If you use an end mill that has a 2 inch cutting length, then your material thickness is 4 inches without a spoilboard. If you need to mill thick material, I would suggest that you fashion the table accordingly so the table can accomodate any thickness you desire. That's one of the great aspects of the buildyourcnc machines, adaptability.

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    What is the Max thickness of wood that can be placed in the 4x8 cnc milling machine?

  • Do you have the data sheets for the motors so that I can use the dimensions in my model?

    You can find the datasheets to our motors be going to the the stepping motor category page https://www.buildyourcnc.com/category/nema and selecting the motor. This will bring you to the product page for the motor and all of the motor information will be found there.

    Click the link to respond:
    Do you have the data sheets for the motors so that I can use the dimensions in my model?

  • what parts would i need from you to convert my cnc plasma table into a laser cutter? price?

    First, you would need a laser tube, laser power supply, laser controller and a lens holder. You may need mirrors and mirror holders if you plan on orienting the laser tube in a direction other than directly towards the work surface.

    You can find these items and prices here: https://www.buildyourcnc.com/LaserComponents.aspx

    You will need to mount the laser tube and power supply. We recommend mounting the tube and power supply to the gantry, or directly to the axis that moves across the gantry for reduced power loss and to eliminate slight drift from mirror alignment error.

    The controller will need to be connected to your existing motor drivers. If you wish to still use your plasma table for plasma cutting work, you will need to have a switch and transistor circuit to switch which controller has precedence to control the drivers (having both controllers connected to the drivers, but having a TTL circuit using buffer/gates chips that is controlled by a single switch. We can assembly this circuit for you for a fee.

    If this is a machine that we did not manufacture, you will need to create the mounts for the laser tube. We can provide guidance for a fee if needed.

    Additional Information:
    Will my existing controller not work for controlling both? What would I need to make the laser cut when the table moves. The table has a thc and enable disable circuit. Also when will the mirror mounting head assembly be in stock again?

    Additional Information:
    I'm not familiar with the controller that you use for plasma cutting. The principle is probably the same. There is two main axes for movement and a trigger signal to start the plasma cutting. Not sure if your plasma table contains a z-axis that follows closely to the work surface to get the most efficient arcing. That function could be helpful, but not necessary for the laser.

    If your controller has a standard digital level trigger control, then that would be fine.

    Laser controller have the ability to create raster style engraving. If you don't need this functionality, then a laser controller may not be needed.

    Click the link to respond:
    what parts would i need from you to convert my cnc plasma table into a laser cutter? price?

  • how can I convert my orinary drill press to a servo drill press?

    There may be many ways to do this. My recommendation would be is to add an encoder to the shaft of the existing motor and connect that to a servo controller so you have closed loop control. This way, you have the torque from the pulleys in the top of the drill press.

    Click the link to respond:
    how can I convert my orinary drill press to a servo drill press?

  • How do I connect a heated bed to the whiteant

    Connecting a heater bed to the whiteAnt is currently unavailable with our current version electronics, as we have tried to get around that issue here! We do not have the available slot for another thermocouple, so reading the temperature will not be possible for the heater bed. Also doubling the heater bed and extruder is not recommended, in which our current electronics will not be able to work with the additional heater bed.

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    How do I connect a heated bed to the whiteant

  • Can you supply a "KIT" to convert my 4060Z CNC to a Laser Cutter? What is the difference capabilities between the 40Watt and 80Watt?

    We can supply all of the laser components, but you will need to determine how to mount the components.

    Additional Information:
    Alternatively, you can purchase our greenBull machine that has the laser/spindle combo head. You can see the laser/spindle head here: https://www.buildyourcnc.com/item/cnc-machine-laser-spindle-combo-head

    Click the link to respond:
    Can you supply a "KIT" to convert my 4060Z CNC to a Laser Cutter? What is the difference capabilities between the 40Watt and 80Watt?

  • Can you supply a "KIT" to convert my 4060Z CNC to a Laser Cutter? What is the difference capabilities between the 40Watt and 80Watt?

    We can supply all of the laser components, but you will need to determine how to mount the components.

    Additional Information:
    Alternatively, you can purchase our greenBull machine that has the laser/spindle combo head. You can see the laser/spindle head here: https://www.buildyourcnc.com/item/cnc-machine-laser-spindle-combo-head

    Click the link to respond:
    Can you supply a "KIT" to convert my 4060Z CNC to a Laser Cutter? What is the difference capabilities between the 40Watt and 80Watt?

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