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Thought experiment: what would you make with a small CNC mill?


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I just bought a tiny CNC mill DM2800 at auction that's pretty similar to the Tormach 440 in build quality and capacity (8x6x7 tool path). I'll probably have some retrofit work to do to this 1990's mill, I'm most likely going to put an Acorn control system in it.

Anyways in the mean time to kill some time, what would you guys make with a tiny CNC mill? 

My immediate thoughts are to work my CNC fixturing skills up enough to where I can cut bevels into folding knifes and mess around with those for a while. I know it's kind of unrelated to this forum, but I think I would get a lot of use building robotics projects too. In addition to 3D printing, I think this little CNC mill can really be a game changer to make conceptual designs reality.

I don't have any good pictures of my mill as of yet but here's the model I'll be working with:

DM2800 axis capabilities

IMAG0203.jpg

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  • setlab changed the title to Thought experiment: what would you make with a small CNC mill?

Bronze D&D Characters, monsters and props? 

My rifle has a scope with a focus knob but that one speaks to me, if it were only bronze, it'd make a nice steam punk hunting scope. Yeah, that's the ticket I could steam punkify all my mundane stuff. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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It's going to be really interesting to see what my speeds and feeds can be on steel with this little guy. I'll probably never make big widget things for the sole purpose of resale, this is mainly a way to teach myself CNC with my limited space at the moment. I could see myself doing small batches of parts though, like that scope wheel, as a production project. A big motivator to paying way to much money for this mill was to boost my resume, this kind of stuff lines up pretty well with the industry I'm trying to get my foot in the door at.

Steam punk guns would be pretty cool! Along those similar lines I've had a vision to build a beat up looking post apocoliptic AR or AK with some random repurposed things. Like making a beat to hell rough forging of an AK receiver and then milling it out keeping the outside raw look to it. Or just pulling random parts from my scrap yard that kind of have the same outside dimensions and machining the insides to spec. Even though I have a bunch of cheapo Anderson lowers I just can't bring myself to messing one up in trying to junkify the outside of it lol.

I've been looking at Saunders machine fixture plates as of late. Having extremely accurate dowel pin locators for quick vice and fixture swaps and having an overhang from the milling machines bed is defiantly the way to go. I think I'm going to draw one up and take it to a local machine shop to see if they can compete in price. With a piece of hardened 4140, I almost think the only way to accurately make a parallel fixture plate would be to hardened the material, send it to the surface grinder, then drill/tap/ream holes in the hardened ground material? I'm not extremely knowlegble about the processes industrial heat treatment facilities use, but I'm fairly certain that if the machining process above was done in reverse to bring down tool costs the heat treat process would most likely cause very minute changes to hole dimensions and flatness.

440_Steel_Plate_7_1200x.jpg

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Interesting texturing dies. I'd like ones that'll make a lizard scale texture. I'm trying to recall the dinosaur that left a skin cast of a pebbly with wrinkles, hide. You could personalize damascus patterns, either by incising the billet or making texturing dies.

Last summer I gazed lustfully upon a 3D printer that was happy to make wax patterns. Now if the guy didn't want about 75% new price I might've tried to sneak it past Deb. I have a friend who is THE go to bronze caster in this half of the state and teaches. A boy could have a good time making bronze fancies.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Frosty Have you looked at the ender 3? I have a cr-10 which is essentially the same but a little bigger and am pretty impressed with it, found it as an Amazon warehouse deal at a pretty nice price. I've seen ender 3s occasionally on sale for around $150 and they can print lost wax. Actually you can print normal PLA plastic and melt it out of your molds prior to pour. On YouTube there a channel, I think it's called myfordboy, he has a few really good aluminum casting videos using the 3d printed lost PLA method. 

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Cool, I'll take a look I might put one on my Christmas wish list. I have enough underwear for a while.:) Yes, I AM old enough that getting clothes for Christmas is a happy thing. 

Thanks,

Frosty The Lucky.

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Did a little monitor shopping and the Ender 3s look pretty affordable. The used unit I eyeballed at a yard sale had an asking price of $1,500 and it was way smaller. New prices then were completely off my radar. 

A couple hundred bucks is reasonable enough. and they have a pretty large model library. Heck, I might have to learn to draw some models, I keep thinking of how beautiful Theo's knife hilts are with the printed lost wax components. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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Oh wow, ya 3d printing has come a long way in the last handful of years. There's actually a few really big databases of free print files too. Odds are if you think you want to design something someone already has and posted it online.  Link removed per TOS is a pretty good one. 

For a slicer I use cura, its free and is pretty easy to use. As far a printing goes, it's as simple as downloading your xxxx file, opening it in cura, clicking slice, then moving that file to your printer with a thumb drive. 

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