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Question #: 2365

Question: How feasible would a vacuum hold-down system be for a vertical CNC like the greenLean?

Current Solution

Building a vacuum table, for any CNC machine is possible but doing it right might take a adequate amount of information and extensive planning. Depending on the overall complexity you want to build.
Example, you want sections, and valves that can be operated to close sections of the table to allow vacuum to a specific spot of you material.
It is possible and would be a very precise method to hold down your material.


Additional Information:
Thanks. It may be something I'd like to try on my greenLean at some point. Dan Spangler wrote a nice article on building a "Universal" CNC vacuum table in the latest issue of Make magazine, volume 41.

Respond:

Other Possible Solutions to this Question

  • Can the vertical CNC router do about what a horizontal router can, like cutting out 3/4" cabinet doors from a 4'X8' formica clad sheet? If so, how do you hold it - with Vacuum? Is a vacuum system available?

    Our hold down method is screws. For a 4'x8' 3/4" sheet, we use 6 screws around the perimeter of the sheet. This provides sufficient hold down for milling. For the vertically oriented machine, the sheet also rests on a small ledge, making it easy for the board to maintain position while fastening.

    Click the link to respond:
    Can the vertical CNC router do about what a horizontal router can, like cutting out 3/4" cabinet doors from a 4'X8' formica clad sheet? If so, how do you hold it - with Vacuum? Is a vacuum system available?

  • i would like to purchase the Greenlean Vertical as a skratch kit.

    We do not provide scratch build kits for any of our machines due to copyright issues in the past. The only plans we make available for purchase are included with our basic scratch build CNC kit.

    Click the link to respond:
    i would like to purchase the Greenlean Vertical as a skratch kit.

  • I am looking at the greenLean cnc machine 4'x8' Vertically Oriented CNC. I am based in the UK. What sort of shipping costs would we be looking at?

    You can determine the cost of shipping the greenLean or any other product to your country by adding the greenLean option to the cart. In the cart, click on the calculate shipping button and the shipping costs will be presented directly from the carriers that we use. You will also see the number of packages and weights of the packages in the cart, under the items in smaller print. Make sure that your shipping address is entered in the form prior to clicking on the calculate shipping button.

    Click the link to respond:
    I am looking at the greenLean cnc machine 4'x8' Vertically Oriented CNC. I am based in the UK. What sort of shipping costs would we be looking at?

  • Hello  We would like to buy a greenLean Vertically Oriented CNC Machine we start from scratch and want to make sure that we get all the pieces, we need  hardware and software we have a PC and a Mac

    If you purchase the greenLean, you will get everything you need except a router, computer to operate the machine, and software to control the machine. You state that you have a computer. You can use this computer, but you will need to determine if it has a parallel port, or if you are going to need the USB controller option. As for the software, there are too many different options for you to choose from. We would not be able to tell you which to get, and how much it will cost you. This is a matter of preference. I can tell you, however, that you will need 3 types of software to complete a CNC project. You will need CAD software to design your design, CAM software to add tool paths and convert the design to g-code, and then control software to take the g-code and operate the machine.

    Additional Information:
    20

    Click the link to respond:
    Hello  We would like to buy a greenLean Vertically Oriented CNC Machine we start from scratch and want to make sure that we get all the pieces, we need  hardware and software we have a PC and a Mac

  • Hello  We would like to buy a greenLean Vertically Oriented CNC Machine we start from scratch and want to make sure that we get all the pieces, we need  hardware and software we have a PC and a Mac

    If you purchase the greenLean, you will get everything you need except a router, computer to operate the machine, and software to control the machine. You state that you have a computer. You can use this computer, but you will need to determine if it has a parallel port, or if you are going to need the USB controller option. As for the software, there are too many different options for you to choose from. We would not be able to tell you which to get, and how much it will cost you. This is a matter of preference. I can tell you, however, that you will need 3 types of software to complete a CNC project. You will need CAD software to design your design, CAM software to add tool paths and convert the design to g-code, and then control software to take the g-code and operate the machine.

    Additional Information:
    20

    Click the link to respond:
    Hello  We would like to buy a greenLean Vertically Oriented CNC Machine we start from scratch and want to make sure that we get all the pieces, we need  hardware and software we have a PC and a Mac

  • How would LinuxCNC be used with the vertical laser?

    It is possible to use LinuxCNC for laser cutters and engravers but not advisable. The efficiency and control with traditional CNC control programs cannot match that of Laser controllers. This is because laser controllers are very good at matching speed with power, especially with raster image burning. Moreover, controlling the laser tube while cutting and engraving is very built in with gcode. Special software can be used, but the processing and execution is not efficient.

    Laser controllers and associated software have matured well and can do cutting and engraving very well and is worth the extra expense.

    If you are still interested in getting LinuxCNC to work with the laser, let me know and we can discuss this in great detail on this FAQ.

    Additional Information:
    A better question might be "What are some good ways to control the vertical laser directly from a Linux machine without having to hop through Windows?" Let me know if you want me to post this as a separate question.

    If I were buying the blacktooth, I'd order the parallel port board for it and skip the anywells controller -- I notice that you don't show that as an option on the vertical, which is what's generating this question.

    Some background: All of our CAD/CAM is done in Linux (openscad, freecad, librecad, cadquery, blender, pycam, python gcode generators...), we use git and Makefiles and other automation scripts extensively, and we need to be able to avoid doing the double-hop from Linux via Windows to get files sent to the laser.

    An example use case is that of being able to say 'make' in a project's directory on any Linux machine on the network to ship the file to the laser, including power settings etc. Needing to ship it to Windows first, and then manually mouse around to set power etc. is what I want to avoid.

    With Epilogs, I used to always bypass the Windows/Coreldraw toolchain by using Gershenfeld's cam.py, sending PCL from Linux straight to the Epilog.

    Something equivalent to that -- being able to run a script in Linux to convert and ship the file straight to the laser -- is what I'm planning to do here. I mentioned LinuxCNC because it's what I'm already using for our mill, and I'm comfortable hacking on it. I'm not wedded to LinuxCNC for a laser, but I am looking for open-source flexibility and future-proofing.

    We don't even have any Windows machines any more -- we got rid of the last of them years ago, and I'd like to avoid going back.

    Additional Information:
    I've split the more general Linux use case out as a separate question at https://buildyourcnc.com/FAQ/13989

    Additional Information:
    Starting to find some answers -- forums have a thread which addresses some LinuxCNC questions at http://www.buildyourtools.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=3452 for instance.

    Additional Information:
    Example LinuxCNC config for the buildlog 2.X laser is at https://github.com/jv4779/2x_laser

    Additional Information:
    I'm going to need some time to digest this information. Curious, are you able to develop a program to change the g-code if need be? Will you be doing vector style cutting operations only? If so, the process may be pretty straight forward.

    Additional Information:
    Before we adapted the blackTooth laser to use the laser controller, we operated the machine using Mach3 and the z-axis direction signal was the chief mechanism to fire the laser (down=on, up=off). It worked like a charm. It would be better to use one of the output triggers to do this for safer operation; however.

    Additional Information:
    Blacktooth adaptation of the above buildlog config can be found at http://www.buildyourtools.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?p=18157#p18157

    Additional Information:
    Answering the earlier comment (is that you Patrick?) -- yes, we'd be doing vector primarily, though my wife (and CEO) is salivating over the potential for raster. I've got no problem writing a python script to massage gcode if that's what it would take to make things work. CAM is always a problem on Linux but I've been using a mix of things to generate gcode for milling (including just writing it by hand), and can get by as needed. Expect to spend this weekend looking around to see what others are doing.

    Additional Information:
    Yes. This isn’t Patrick. I manage the Customer Service section. I will try my best to help with this over the weekend and balance family time. Haha.

    I will check the links. If raster is a must, you can have two controllers controlling the machine using tri-state gates to the drivers. I did this for a customer a while ago to run CNC and laser with an external switch. You could use an external switch to switch between LinuxCNC operation and laser controller.

    Additional Information:
    This is Patrick. Auto correct on my phone turned the "is" to "isn't". Ha!

    Additional Information:
    The buildyourtools links doesn't really have much to do with LinuxCNC and the buildyourtools information on that thread (by MUK) implements a very similar configuration that I introduced when I first started selling the blackTooth (with the parallel control board). That style of configuration may work well with a LinuxCNC scenario.

    I would rather jump-in cold with the LinuxCNC solution and see if we can address each step. What CAM program will you be using? I ask this question because that program may have the ability to inject g-code at specific points where we can turn on and off the laser.

    Also, I'm going to merge the two FAQs once we pick the one we use the most often to figure this out. I'm also more comfortable using this Customer Service system to address the question for many reasons, one of which is I can tie these questions to the products directly to benefit many others.

    Additional Information:
    For laser CAM on Linux we have used cam.py in the past; it's just a python script, so modifying the gcode it generates is easy.

    I think we've reached a purchase decision; your responsiveness here has helped a lot with that, Patrick. It looks to me like we're going to be able to make this thing work, one way or another.

    Click the link to respond:
    How would LinuxCNC be used with the vertical laser?

  • Online sending options are very expensive for European customers (~50% of the material cost). Could you tell us the weight and size of the greenLean Vertical CNC Machine Kit, allowing us to find better options ?

    We are able to ship internationally but unfortunately we cannot control the shipping costs incurred for international customers. However, if you are associated with educational programs or Makerspaces and/or Fab Labs we do offer certain discounts in some cases. Please send an email to customer service for more information on receiving a quote.

    Click the link to respond:
    Online sending options are very expensive for European customers (~50% of the material cost). Could you tell us the weight and size of the greenLean Vertical CNC Machine Kit, allowing us to find better options ?

  • Do you have a wiring diagram for a 3 axis system using your compotents. It would be nice if it showed the estop, limit switches,relays...

    Depending on the Breakout board that was purchased with your electronics combo, either USB or Parallel:
    USB: https://buildyourcnc.com/item/electronicsAndMotors-electronic-component-USB-Controller-Breakout#prettyPhoto/2/
    Parallel: https://buildyourcnc.com/item/electronicsAndMotors-parallel-breakout-relay#prettyPhoto/2/

    These will have the inputs labeled on the board itself, for example:
    USB will have the inputs for all the axis from X, Y, Z, A, limit switches.
    Parallel there will be 4 inputs 10, 11, 12, 13, 16(relay). Which can be used as E-stop, Limits (for all axes if wired in a closed loop), and one relay for a spindle control on/off via mach 3 or mach 4 or a specific relay control that you desire.

    Click the link to respond:
    Do you have a wiring diagram for a 3 axis system using your compotents. It would be nice if it showed the estop, limit switches,relays...

  • When will 100W or 130W lasers be available for the vertical laser system? What will be the price point? Ballpark figures at least, please.

    100W and 130W lasers and power supplies can be equipped now, but we will have to special order them. Price point for the 100W will be estimated $150-$200 more than the 80W, and 130W $250-$300 more.

    Click the link to respond:
    When will 100W or 130W lasers be available for the vertical laser system? What will be the price point? Ballpark figures at least, please.

  • What is your shipping costs for the greenLean CNC machine to Perth Western Australia

    You can determine if the country is serviceable by:
    - selecting the items you want to purchase on the website
    - go to the cart (shopping cart top left of any webpage)
    - log in, or register
    - Enter the address and click on calculate shipping.

    The webpage will return the direct rates and whether your area is serviced or not. Feel free to enter any address as long as you are able to receive the package from that address.

    The shipping times are determined by the service you select in the shopping cart. If a machine is purchased, we generally have a one week lead time unless otherwise stated in the description of the machine's product page.

    Click the link to respond:
    What is your shipping costs for the greenLean CNC machine to Perth Western Australia

  • how much would your vertical laser kit cost without the wood components and door plastic shipped to Canada

    Good question. I will need to add up the cost. However, the complete kit with the wood components will cost in the range of $300 to $500 using freight.

    Additional Information:
    I will add a price option on the Vertical Laser XL page that shows the assembly price without the wood structural parts. Are you wanting the rails included in the price?

    Additional Information:
    Hi, I was expecting an email answer, I did not know that you answered. Also I am in Fiji, not Canada. There is a flaw with your question form, It would not accept Fiji because we have no postal codes, so I put in my old Canadian code so that it would accept my question.

    Yes we would need the rails and any mechanical and electrical components. Our plan is to build it against a wall in a shipping container.

    If you do not have a suitable freight forwarder I can ask at this end because people frequently receive shipping containers.

    Thank you,

    George

    Click the link to respond:
    how much would your vertical laser kit cost without the wood components and door plastic shipped to Canada

  • Hi I want to build a cnc laser table 13'x15' cuttting area. Is this feasible. Also would the 80watt laser be enough power to cut through carpet

    Yes, it is feasible to create a machine with a cutting area of 13'x15'. Your mechanical and structural systems will need to be able to span a bit more than the 13' if that will be the axis travel along the gantry.

    We have not cut carpet with our lasers, but I don't see why not. With that said, be extremely careful with the materials in the rug. Read the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) for the rug you intend to cut as some materials will emit corrosive and harmful gases and chemicals when lased.

    Click the link to respond:
    Hi I want to build a cnc laser table 13'x15' cuttting area. Is this feasible. Also would the 80watt laser be enough power to cut through carpet

  • Hello, I'm wondering if you could make a larger laser cnc if someone asks for it? Something like 36" x 52". And how much would it be?

    We are developing a 4 foot by 8 foot (48" x 96") laser with 80 watts of power. If you need a laser at 36" x 52", you could use the 4'x8' laser and just build a shorter table. We will have this machine available in the latter portion of 2015.

    Click the link to respond:
    Hello, I'm wondering if you could make a larger laser cnc if someone asks for it? Something like 36" x 52". And how much would it be?

  • Question about greenlean, is there a vacuum hookup available?

    Our greenLean machine has a vacuum hose mount that comes with the machines specified with standard diameter hoses from wet/dry vacuums available at local hardware stores.

    However if specifically speaking of a vacuum table, we do not have that implemented to our design.

    Click the link to respond:
    Question about greenlean, is there a vacuum hookup available?

  • I'm selecting a vacuum for dust collection (greenLean). What works well in terms of HP and gallons of bin capacity?

    We use the Ridgid wet/dry vacuums in our shop. If you get the larger capacity that also come with a 6.0 HP motor seem to be a good fit and is relatively quiet. We also use two vortex type mechanisms in-line before the vacuum to get the big chips (first one) and the dust (second one) so the filter does not get clogged in the vacuum. Since we have been using this system, the vacuum will not contain any chips or dust which will provide 100% of vacuum suction throughout the entire machining process.

    https://www.ridgid.com/us/en/wet-dry-vac

    Click the link to respond:
    I'm selecting a vacuum for dust collection (greenLean). What works well in terms of HP and gallons of bin capacity?

  • HAVE PORTER CABLE 7518 ROUTER ON MY CNC AND WOULD LIKE TO KNOW IF YOUR ER20 COLLET NUT, FOR THE CABLE, WILL FIT ROUTER.

    Yes, our porter cable collets and nuts will fit the porter cable 7518.

    Additional Information:

    Click the link to respond:
    HAVE PORTER CABLE 7518 ROUTER ON MY CNC AND WOULD LIKE TO KNOW IF YOUR ER20 COLLET NUT, FOR THE CABLE, WILL FIT ROUTER.

  • Is the Greenlean capable of cutting soft metals like aluminum or brass? Thanks

    Yes, the greenLean can cut metals such as aluminum and brass. The gantry and Y carriage was designed to be rigid enough to handle these types of metals. The typical metal cutting techniques should be used, such as high feedrates to reduce heat buildup at the end mill, or the use of cutting fluids or cold air used at the end mill as is necessary with most machines that cut similar metals. This is necessary since the aluminum has a rather low melting point and can clog the end mill.

    Additional Information:
    All of our machines are capable of cutting many metals, including steel and aluminum as long as the proper CNC machining operations are used like light fast passes, and if desired, using air cooling for better performance.

    Here is a video of one of our customer demonstrating aluminum cutting using air to cool the end mill.
    https://www.buildyourcnc.com/tutorials/tutorial-milling-cutting-metal-blacktoe-mark-gottschalk

    Additional Information:
    how do I hold down material on a greenlean

    Click the link to respond:
    Is the Greenlean capable of cutting soft metals like aluminum or brass? Thanks

  • I have a 4x8 CNC and would like to cut my own parts for the Blackfoot. What is the price for the plans and the electronics ?

    The available options for the blackFoot, is only structural components with hardware, and structure components/hardware with electronic components.
    However we currently do not have any plans available for public use/distribution.

    Click the link to respond:
    I have a 4x8 CNC and would like to cut my own parts for the Blackfoot. What is the price for the plans and the electronics ?

  • Would any of your CNC laser machines be appropriate for welding of thermoplastic materials?

    That is a good question. We have not tried to weld thermoplastics using our CO2 Lasers. It is possible since the laser outputs a heat source and at the right intensity and speed, the thermoplastic can be heated and melted rather than instantaneously vaporized and off gassed. I have done research to see if CO2 laser can weld thermoplastics with positive results.

    Our CO2 lasers are typical of other laser cutters on the market, so if their literature, or examples you have found, successfully weld thermoplastics, then ours will probably be able to as well.

    In some cutting test with different speeds and intensities, the kerf has welded back together; however, this was caused by an unintentional process rather than an intentional one.

    Click the link to respond:
    Would any of your CNC laser machines be appropriate for welding of thermoplastic materials?

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