Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I Told You I'd Find A Use For My Plastic!

  In my last post I was having trouble trying to do some engraving on plastic that was to soft for my machine to engrave.  So now I have a good supply of plastic to do other things with.  Today I succeeded in doing something with the plastic that I have been eager to try ever since I got my CNC up and running.  

Make Gears!  This was my first attempt and this little gear I cranked out on my CNC in about five minutes. The gear here is just shy of four inches in diameter and 1/4 inch thick acrylic plastic.  It was cut using a 1/4 inch bit for plastic running at 15 inches per minute.  Each pass was at .125 inch depth and it went through the plastic smoothly and without flaw. I am still experimenting with the software to create the gears but this one was worth the effort and frustration that I was going through over the past week learning what not to do while trying to engrave parts.

As with almost all the parts I try to make I run a test piece first in styrofoam.  You can learn a lot about what is going on with your design and make corrections easily without wasting valuable material.  This styrofoam gear was close but not quite what I was shooting for so I redesigned the part and the process of how it was cut.  The acrylic gear is the proof that I got it right. I also am learning how to edit the Gcode for the CNC so that the parts cut in the sequence that I want. 
  Now I will have to make another gear to mate up with this first one and get that process worked out.  Being able to cut gears opens up all kinds of possibilities for future projects.  Nice to know my CNC is capable of doing exactly what I anticipated it could do.  Puts a smile on my face!

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