After several weeks of putting up with even more cold winter weather, shoveling more snow, the ever present tax man, and hassles with my home loan company I am finally getting back to getting another post out about a new project that again is long over due. Life is just to short to not have fun and so I hopefully will have better times ahead with this project and other projects that I have planned.
This project that I have been designing will involve making an enclosure for my CNC machine in the workshop. I have used the machine in the old Tinker's Workshop with some great projects but have always had to hassle with the cleanup of the machine afterwards. The CNC machine is a great tool to have in the shop but it tends to throw dust and chips of material everywhere while it is doing it's thing. This got to be old really quick but with the old shop I was not able to make an enclosure for it simple because it would not fit into such a small space. The new Tinker's Workshop is more than twice the size of the old shop so this is not a problem.
I have been spending a lot of time on my computer designing the enclosure for the CNC machine and still have a ways to go before I can start construction. Lots of drawings still need to be created of all the parts that go into the enclosure. So for the time being at least I can show you what I have in mind for this project.
The enclosure for the machine is quite large as you can see from this computer image. It is four feet square and stands six foot two inches tall! This is a big enclosure to be sure. The base is made out of 2 x 4 lumber and 1 x 4's for the base platform.
In this image you can see the CNC machine inside the enclosure with the two front doors opened. The sides of the enclosure will open up in the same way that the front doors do so that cleaning or maintenance of the CNC machine can be done easier. All of the panels that make up the doors are exactly alike so it's just a matter of duplicating the parts for eight door panels over and over again until you have all that you will need. The back panels for the enclosure will not need to be able to open up but could be just the same. It might be a good idea should I need to replace the belt that drives the two side shafts that run the gantry on the X-Axis of the CNC machine. It would be easy enough to allow for this and the cost is just a couple dollars more to add this feature.
The big expense of the enclosure is not the wood to make it but rather the lexan (plexi-glass) windows for the project. I priced out the cost for the twelve lexan 1/8th inch windows and I am looking at around $250 just for this part of the project. Expensive to say the least. Unless I can find a cheaper price or something else that will fill the bill I have no other choice but to go with this material. I suspect that the entire enclosure will run close to $350 once it is completed. Not a cheap piece to make due to the cost of the windows. But like anything else in the long run the CNC machine will be safer to run and easier to clean because of the enclosure. Hopefully it will also cut down on some of the noise of the CNC machine makes while running. I will have to see how my budget looks when I finally get the drawings for the enclosure completed. Hopefully by then my old home will be sold and that will free up my cash flow once again for this project. In the mean time it does not cost me anything to at least get the drawings ready for the project so when I can find the cash to put this big box together I can tear into it without delay. I'll post more about this project once I start putting it all together.