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Question #: 7970

Question: What is the best way to calibrate my machine?

Current Solution

In Mach3, go to the Settings Tab, and select "Set Steps Per Unit". It will ask you how far to move the machine. Before you do this, make a mark on the table exactly where the end mill is resting. You can do this by lowering the end mill until it touches the material, then spinning it by hand to cut a small dimple in the material. Then, raise the end mill to clear the material, and assign a distance to move the machine. Once the machine moves and stops, measure the exact distance that it actually traveled with a tape measure, and enter this value into the dialog box that asks how far it moved. Mach3 will automatically adjust your steps per unit for that axis to be more accurate. Do this for all axes often to ensure you are cutting accurately. The longer distances you use calibrate, and the more precise you are with your measurements, the better.

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Other Possible Solutions to this Question

• What is the best way to determine speeds and feeds for machine and bit longevity?

The speeds and feeds are generally based on the amount of flutes that are being used per pass and how hot the end mill is getting when milling.  You want to use as much of the flutes as possible on single cuts.  Make the deepest cuts you can to increase the life of the tool.  For instance, if a tool that is 1 inch in cut length and the depth per pass is 1/4", then only that 1/4" is being used for the cutting.  The 1/4" tip of that tool will wear faster.
Make sure the feedrate is as fast as possible without a cost to the edge finish.  This will keep the end mill cool since there will be minimal friction as you are always cutting into fresh cooler material.
Use the end mill manufacturer's chip load for the tool to determine the starting feed rate.

Feedrate (IPM - Inches/Min) = Spindle RPM x # of Flutes x Chip Load
See each end mill for the chip load value.

If your machine cannot achieve these feed rates, reduce the spindle RPM using this formula:
Speed (RPM) = Feed Rate (IPM) / (# of Flutes x Chip Load)

What is the best way to determine speeds and feeds for machine and bit longevity?

• I'm building my own machine using your motors and drivers. What is the best dip switch settings for the 3.0 amp drivers powering the 425 oz motors

The settings that you will use for your 3.0 amp driver to properly power and turn your 425 oz-in stepper motor will cheifly depend on your application and the mechanical parts you are using on your machine. In all circumstances, the amp setting for the stepper motor (according to the datasheet) should be 2.8 amps. Use the closest setting on the driver without going over.

Here is a good rule of thumb for the microstepping which will correspond to the resolution, but wil also affect torque. You always want to try to achieve the best torque and resolution for the axis you are moving but go with the lowest microstepping possible. In cases where there is mechanical advantage, like a lead screw scenario, where for each motor revolution, the axis move a very small amount, you will want a very low microstep value. This is because the mechanical configuration will provide most of the finer resolution and you will not need the microstepping to assist in this. Increase the microstepping only in conditions where the axis is not moving smooth enough, or where there is a mechanical disadvantage. A mechanical disadvantage would be where the stepper motor is causing a great amount of movement in the axis and the resolutions suffers from this condition. Increase the microstep value up to your desired resolution, but don't go over since the torque of the motor will decrease.

• WHAT IS THE SHIPPING COST OF MACHINE TO 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)
- 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.

WHAT IS THE SHIPPING COST OF MACHINE TO AUSTRALIA?

• How do I calibrate my machine with mach3

In Mach3, go to the Settings Tab, and select "Set Steps Per Unit". It will ask you how far to move the machine. Before you do this, make a mark on the table exactly where the end mill is resting. You can do this by lowering the end mill until it touches the material, then spinning it by hand to cut a small dimple in the material. Then, raise the end mill to clear the material, and assign a distance to move the machine. Once the machine moves and stops, measure the exact distance that it actually traveled with a tape measure, and enter this value into the dialog box that asks how far it moved. Mach3 will automatically adjust your steps per unit for that axis to be more accurate. Do this for all axes often to ensure you are cutting accurately. The longer distances you use calibrate, and the more precise you are with your measurements, the better.

How do I calibrate my machine with mach3

• What are some good ways to control the vertical laser from a Linux machine?

There really isn't any good way to use Linux when using a traditional Laser Controller. If LaserCAD worked under the Linux OS, then that would work.

Would you like to know an alternative to use Linux using maybe LinuxCNC? There are ways to do it, but you will find yourself deep in g-code and out of the box wiring configurations, most likely.

Alternatively, you can create a dual boot scenario and put Window on the other part of the hard drive. This way, you would be able to run LaserCAD.

You can also "attempt" to use LaserCAD in the wine environment, but I have a feeling that will probably not work.

We're a small family-owned electronics and hardware manufacturer, using LinuxCNC already for milling. Dual-boot into Windows isn't a sensible option -- it would greatly reduce the utility of the machine. I have more information about our use case in https://buildyourcnc.com/FAQ/13985.

Ok, fair enough. Then let's get into the details on how you can use LinuxCNC to operate a Laser machine.

Do you have an idea what controller you will be using? Parallel?

My first inclination was to use LinuCNC with the parallel interface board. Of that's the answer, then we might want to just add to the LinuxCNC discussion that's starting to firm up at https://buildyourcnc.com/FAQ/13985 rather than duplicate the information here.

I'm open to other alternatives and am happy to hack; we make PCBs and cable harnesses as a business, so that's not a limitation either. One answer might be to use one of the open source controllers that are starting to show up.

My turn for phone typos. ;-) I meant to say "If that's the answer, then..."

Good idea. Thanks.

When a direct solution is realized on buildyourtools, I will post it here.

What are some good ways to control the vertical laser from a Linux machine?

• What is the footprint size of the Blacktooth laser machine?

The footprint of the blackTooth laser machine is:
Length: 37"/ 939.8mm
Width: 33"-3/4"/ 857.25mm
Height: 11"-1/8"/ 282.575mm

The height will change with the doors that open to retrieve your material/project the highest point will be 28"-1/4"/ 717.55mm

what is the maximum cutting depth of the blacktooth laser on plywood

What is the footprint size of the Blacktooth laser machine?

• HOW DO I CALIBRATE MY MACHINE?

In Mach3, go to the Settings Tab, and select "Set Steps Per Unit". It will ask you how far to move the machine. Before you do this, make a mark on the table exactly where the end mill is resting. You can do this by lowering the end mill until it touches the material, then spinning it by hand to cut a small dimple in the material. Then, raise the end mill to clear the material, and assign a distance to move the machine. Once the machine moves and stops, measure the exact distance that it actually traveled with a tape measure, and enter this value into the dialog box that asks how far it moved. Mach3 will automatically adjust your steps per unit for that axis to be more accurate. Do this for all axes often to ensure you are cutting accurately. The longer distances you use calibrate, and the more precise you are with your measurements, the better.

HOW DO I CALIBRATE MY MACHINE?

• what is the blacktoe machine?

The blacktoe machine is the one shown here: http://www.buildyourcnc.com/Item/cnc-machine-blacktoe-v4-2x4

what is the blacktoe machine?

• I need a machine to cut guitar bodies. The bodies are 12" x 16" and 1.5" thick. What would work best?

I would recommend using the blackToe CNC machine kit. The overall travel dimensions are 24" x 48" x 6". This will provide a bit of space on the sides as wiggle room if your guitar bodies are at the extremes of the 12". Also, if you are manufacturing may of these, the larger routing area, the more guitar bodies you will be able to cut at one time.

I need a machine to cut guitar bodies. The bodies are 12" x 16" and 1.5" thick. What would work best?

• What size motor is powering the y axis on the greenLean CNC machine?

For our greenLean CNC vertical machine, was built and controlled using 2 651-oz in motors/425 oz-in motor.
The 651-oz motors runs both the x/y axis, as our 425-oz motor controls the z axis.

What size motor is powering the y axis on the greenLean CNC machine?

• WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE IN A 2.5 AXIS MACHINE?

An axis is a direction of motion controlled by the CNC machine control. It can be linear (motion along a straight line) or circular (a rotary motion). The number of axes a machine has determines it's machining capabilities. A 2.5 axis machine really has three moving axes, but only two axes can move together (most machines sold today are full three axis machines). For machining centers, a three axis machine will have three linear axes. A four or five axis machine will have three linear axes as well as one or two rotary axes.

Note that 2.5 versus 3 axis has yet another context. 2.5 axis machining requires that the machine have three axes, but only two axes must be moving simultaneously at any one time. (Simple operations, like drilling and most milling, fall into this category). On the other hand 3-axis machining requires that all three axes be moving at the same time (More complex operations, like the machining of sculptured surfaces required in molds and airfoils, fall into this category.)

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE IN A 2.5 AXIS MACHINE?

• What is the price of the machines complete?

Yes, we have fully assembled machines that come complete with the spindle (and laser if needed) with sizes ranging from 1'x2' all the way up to 6'x12' or longer. We can also make custom fully assembled machines with other sizes. All of these machines are perfect for very intricate detailed work including but definitely not limited to sign making, bas relief, cabinetry, architectural model making, engraving, machine parts, automotive, custom sound enclosures (automotive or other), and other scientific application which we have delivered machine for many types of these applications.

Our machines are as follows (in order by size, larger at top):

The Fabricator Pro (although stated on the website at 4'x8') can be provided up to a 6'x12' (or longer) size. Call us for the price above the 4'x8' size.
https://www.buildyourcnc.com/item/cnc-machine-fabricator-pro-milling

The greenBull 4x, 5x or 6x CNC Machine is available fully assembled; however, you are responsible for building the table on this machine, but the price is considerably lower. The 4x, 5x, and 6x is a width specification and the length is determined by your table length.
4x: https://www.buildyourcnc.com/item/cnc-machine-greenBull-v4-4X-milling-hybrid
5x: https://www.buildyourcnc.com/item/cnc-machine-greenBull-v4-5X-milling-hybrid
6x: https://www.buildyourcnc.com/item/cnc-machine-greenBull-v4-6X-milling-hybrid

The 4'x8' greenLean CNC Router (Table bed is vertically oriented with a slant) fully assembled:
This machine is fully assembled with the overall frame. The customer would need to fasten the frame to the wall and affix a spoilboard to the bed.
https://www.buildyourcnc.com/item/cnc-machine-greenLean-v1-milling

The 4'x8' Vertical Laser XL Laser Cutter and Engraver fully assembled:
https://www.buildyourcnc.com/item/cnc-machine-vertical-laser-xl-laser-cutter

The 4'x8' blackFoot CNC Router:
This machine requires a table to be built by the customer.
https://www.buildyourcnc.com/item/cnc-machine-blackFoot-v4-milling

The 2'x4' blackToe CNC router fully assembled complete with table:
https://www.buildyourcnc.com/item/cnc-machine-blacktoe-v4-2x4-milling

The blueChick CNC Router fully assembled completel with table:
https://www.buildyourcnc.com/item/cnc-machine-bluechick-v4-milling

What is the price of the machines complete?

• WHAT IS THE PRICE OF ASSEMBLED MACHINES COMPLETE?

Yes, we have fully assembled machines that come complete with the spindle (and laser if needed) with sizes ranging from 1'x2' all the way up to 6'x12' or longer. We can also make custom fully assembled machines with other sizes. All of these machines are perfect for very intricate detailed work including but definitely not limited to sign making, bas relief, cabinetry, architectural model making, engraving, machine parts, automotive, custom sound enclosures (automotive or other), and other scientific application which we have delivered machine for many types of these applications.

Our machines are as follows (in order by size, larger at top):

The Fabricator Pro (although stated on the website at 4'x8') can be provided up to a 6'x12' (or longer) size. Call us for the price above the 4'x8' size.
https://www.buildyourcnc.com/item/cnc-machine-fabricator-pro-milling

The greenBull 4x, 5x or 6x CNC Machine is available fully assembled; however, you are responsible for building the table on this machine, but the price is considerably lower. The 4x, 5x, and 6x is a width specification and the length is determined by your table length.
4x: https://www.buildyourcnc.com/item/cnc-machine-greenBull-v4-4X-milling-hybrid
5x: https://www.buildyourcnc.com/item/cnc-machine-greenBull-v4-5X-milling-hybrid
6x: https://www.buildyourcnc.com/item/cnc-machine-greenBull-v4-6X-milling-hybrid

The 4'x8' greenLean CNC Router (Table bed is vertically oriented with a slant) fully assembled:
This machine is fully assembled with the overall frame. The customer would need to fasten the frame to the wall and affix a spoilboard to the bed.
https://www.buildyourcnc.com/item/cnc-machine-greenLean-v1-milling

The 4'x8' Vertical Laser XL Laser Cutter and Engraver fully assembled:
https://www.buildyourcnc.com/item/cnc-machine-vertical-laser-xl-laser-cutter

The 4'x8' blackFoot CNC Router:
This machine requires a table to be built by the customer.
https://www.buildyourcnc.com/item/cnc-machine-blackFoot-v4-milling

The 2'x4' blackToe CNC router fully assembled complete with table:
https://www.buildyourcnc.com/item/cnc-machine-blacktoe-v4-2x4-milling

The blueChick CNC Router fully assembled completel with table:
https://www.buildyourcnc.com/item/cnc-machine-bluechick-v4-milling

WHAT IS THE PRICE OF ASSEMBLED MACHINES COMPLETE?

• WHAT IS THE PRICE OF ASSEMBLED MACHINES COMPLETE?

Yes, we have fully assembled machines that come complete with the spindle (and laser if needed) with sizes ranging from 1'x2' all the way up to 6'x12' or longer. We can also make custom fully assembled machines with other sizes. All of these machines are perfect for very intricate detailed work including but definitely not limited to sign making, bas relief, cabinetry, architectural model making, engraving, machine parts, automotive, custom sound enclosures (automotive or other), and other scientific application which we have delivered machine for many types of these applications.

Our machines are as follows (in order by size, larger at top):

The Fabricator Pro (although stated on the website at 4'x8') can be provided up to a 6'x12' (or longer) size. Call us for the price above the 4'x8' size.
https://www.buildyourcnc.com/item/cnc-machine-fabricator-pro-milling

The greenBull 4x, 5x or 6x CNC Machine is available fully assembled; however, you are responsible for building the table on this machine, but the price is considerably lower. The 4x, 5x, and 6x is a width specification and the length is determined by your table length.
4x: https://www.buildyourcnc.com/item/cnc-machine-greenBull-v4-4X-milling-hybrid
5x: https://www.buildyourcnc.com/item/cnc-machine-greenBull-v4-5X-milling-hybrid
6x: https://www.buildyourcnc.com/item/cnc-machine-greenBull-v4-6X-milling-hybrid

The 4'x8' greenLean CNC Router (Table bed is vertically oriented with a slant) fully assembled:
This machine is fully assembled with the overall frame. The customer would need to fasten the frame to the wall and affix a spoilboard to the bed.
https://www.buildyourcnc.com/item/cnc-machine-greenLean-v1-milling

The 4'x8' Vertical Laser XL Laser Cutter and Engraver fully assembled:
https://www.buildyourcnc.com/item/cnc-machine-vertical-laser-xl-laser-cutter

The 4'x8' blackFoot CNC Router:
This machine requires a table to be built by the customer.
https://www.buildyourcnc.com/item/cnc-machine-blackFoot-v4-milling

The 2'x4' blackToe CNC router fully assembled complete with table:
https://www.buildyourcnc.com/item/cnc-machine-blacktoe-v4-2x4-milling

The blueChick CNC Router fully assembled completel with table:
https://www.buildyourcnc.com/item/cnc-machine-bluechick-v4-milling

WHAT IS THE PRICE OF ASSEMBLED MACHINES COMPLETE?

• What cnc machine does the plans refer to?

The plans refer to the scratch build machine: http://www.buildyourcnc.com/cnckitintro.aspx and the one in the book "Build Your Own CNC Machine": http://www.buildyourcnc.com/Book.aspx

What cnc machine does the plans refer to?

• What are the tolerances of your machines?

The tolerance of our machines, like any machine, depends on several variables. The major variables include the manufacturing tolerance, the type of machine control used, the precision of assembly, the thoroughness of maintenance, and the initial and ongoing calibration of the machine. Because we sell kits only most of these variables are outside our control. Therefore, we are hesitant to guarantee a certain level of tolerance for an end user. However, in our experience, tolerances of .001" are readily achievable with our machines.

What is the likely tolerance one could achieve without continual frustration and months of tinkering?

We actually do very little tinkering with our production machine. The wood has a very small coefficient of linear expansion as compared to metals and plastic, so calibration is reduced to a very infrequent state.

As with all machines, the determination of backlash in all parts of the machine is important, managing the tightening of these points of adjustment is necessary, but are still done infrequently.

What are the tolerances of your machines?

• 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)
- 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.

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

• WHAT LEAD TIME CAN EXPECT FOR THE BLACKTOE MACHINE?

You can expect a one week lead time for our machines.

WHAT LEAD TIME CAN EXPECT FOR THE BLACKTOE MACHINE?

• What is the z-axis travel for your largest machine?

The largest CNC machine we make at this time (12/04/2015) is the GreenBull 6'x12' model. This model has 2 options for Z-axis travel.

The short-z option has a total Z travel of 5.75 inches. From that you would subtract the length of the end mill used and the thickness of the spoil board to determine the maximum material thickness. (Example: If the end mill extends 1.25" from the collet and the spoil board is .75", then the material could be up to 5.75 - 1.25 - 0.75 = 3.75 inches in thickness). This is good for most sheet-type materials.

The long-z option, used mainly for large 3D carvings, requires a custom frame and allows for up to 36" of travel.

What is the z-axis travel for your largest machine?

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