Pictures of Solsylva™ machines shared by builders.
"After some degree of trial and error cutting plastic, I was able to complete this piece of art.
The plastic was Gravoply 3c. The two cap layers (black and red) are .001 thick. So, the tolerance on the machine was exceptionally tight. I lowered the bit into the material at .0005 increments.
Also, I milled an 'engraving' table to keep the table as level to the bit as possible.
Still, the red areas in the photo were each cut individually with a different depth adjustment for each.
Another key success factor was to use bits that are specifically intended for cutting plastic. With wood bits, the plastic would melt on the end of the bit, blob up and create a path of destruction. The bits made for plastic don't do that."
"The 'Egyptian' bird was done by machining the pattern down to about 3/16", spray painting the pattern, and then milling off about an 1/8" of the surface in order to remove the over-spray.
This method could be improved by sealing the surface first. The paint penetrates into the wood an amazing distance!"
"Thanks for taking the time to put together the plans for machines. You have done a wonderful job."
"This was the first woodworking project I've done since high school (about 20 years ago) so I was a little nervous about whether I'd be able to pull it off. Your plans were easy to follow, and the machine is working very well for me."
"The work (above) is made of HDPE and is about 12" x 5". The finish pass was done with a 1/8" bit, which was just small enough to fit into the plunged letters."
Jay built the 24X48 machine and shares these pictures of his work.
"Building the machine was a satisfying challenge and thoroughly enjoyable.
Your plans were absolutely terrific!"
The piece below is 23.5 inches. It was cut with a 36 degree veining bit. It was spray painted flat black and then sanded to remove the surface paint.
Click for a higher resolution photo.
Mike writes, "I make rockets, www.binderdesign.com.
My machine is very accurate and is a production machine running up to 16 hours a day. I've got almost 2,000 hours on it. It is primarily machining aluminum lately.
I'm using the HobbyCNC EZdriver, and a superpid router controller.
The total cost to build my machine was less than $500 including electronics. Most of the materials came from dumpsters. The chrome pipes were clothing rods from Macy's that I found in the trash.
The X rail supports and gantry beam are laminated plywood reinforced with angle iron. The Z pipes were replaced with solid rod. Just some small deviations to the plans yielded a super rigid machine that can even mill steel plate.
I also built a larger version of your rotomolder. I've been rotomolding rocket nose-cones with it."
Rich writes, "I built mostly as-designed. Electronics are HobbyCNC's EZ Driver and motors. I added the cable chains because I preferred the tidy look and think I'll be less likely to get tangled in something this way.
I am using a full-sized router -- a Hitachi M12VC -- but it doesn't seem to have any trouble with the extra weight. The instructions were great and the build was very easy. I've been doing both woodworking and electronics forever, but this is my first foray into CNC. So far, I love it. I started the project to help me make better jigs and parts for luthrie. Now that I have it, I'm sure I'll do a lot more."
Here is a link to a YouTube video, there are more on Rich's channel.
Dave built this 10x9 to cut PCBs, plastic, wood and aluminum.
He used a precision spindle from Wolfgang Engineering WA. 12v 20 amps with speed control: 8-20,000 rpm.
The leadscrews are Acme 3/8-10 2 start with X and Y anti-backlash nuts. These are the V90 upgrade kit from Probotix. There was enough rod left for the Z axis. The brass couplers are also from Probotix. The rod clamps and Z leadnut are from DumpsterCNC. Using these components resolved international shipping problems he had with Mcmaster.
Gary built the aluminum and leadscrew version of the 24x48. He emails, "Thought you might like to see how my build of the 24x48 is going."
His build log is here: www.liming.org/cnc
After building his Solsylva 24x48 double leadscrew machine, he now scans the feet with a 3D scanner and CNC carves the positives.
This process saves hundreds of dollars per month in materials and labor.
Mike followed the plans as presented but altered the spindle mount. The router is offset from the carriage with plastic cutting board and is held in place with 3-1/4" muffler hangers that are covered with hose.
Contact info: Mike Hosford, C.Ped.
Hosford Orthopedic Lab
Mike is now a rep for the Vismach scanner in the US.
John B. built a 24x48 leadscrew machine. He writes, "I got creative and added a shelf on the front of the gantry and mounted a fluorescent light under it which I wired to the power switch for the control panel. Since I took the pictures I also added a bit holder block to it which I made on the CNC machine."
"I decided to try some 3d work and got the free Vector Art 3d Machinist and tried some of their free samples, and the machine works great for it."
He has since reported that the orders for his boxes have continued to arrive, so he is in the process of upgrading to the more robust aluminum version of the machine.
"The electronics are from Probotix. Leadscrews are Enco single turn 3/8-12 Acme rod, which were on sale for $7/6ft. As you can see from the link above, I also made my own mounts for the Acme thread nuts. Mostly done pictures here."
"So far I have cut out a few things...a router holder with vacuum attachment and a random gear...and etched a couple of more things."
"Also here are some videos....you might want to mute the volume."
"I keep yelling 'Tea, Earl Grey, Hot!' at it, but so far it hasn't managed to respond satisfactorily."
Greg L. writes that the robotics club, which meets after school at Montpelier High School in Montpelier, OH, won the silver metal at the National Robotics Challenge in Marion, OH, in the industrial work cell category. Their machine was based on plans from Solsylva.
Felipe from Chile built this hybrid of the 18x24 and 24x48 and says it was faster to build than his original 24x48. He uses the Gecko 540 drive instead of the Toshiba drive he used originally, which he does not recommend.
"I wish to thank you for doing such a good work with the plans. Thank you very much for making them available for all the people that love to do things like I do!"
Ralph built his 24x48 from aluminum with a steel framed table bed.
He used ballscrews instead of Acme rods, and upgraded the rails from pipe.
The fan over the stepper helps to keep things cooler.
Emmanuel writes, "Thank you for the plans, they are well made and the best hobby plans I have used so far. Building the 25X25 at first was not easy because here in The Netherlands we use the metric.
But finally I was able to make a model of it in Sketchup using the available parts we have here. Together with my friend at work we built two!!
As you might have noticed I named the machine “Bender” (Futurama). "
Richard writes, "Had to send a pictures because I'm so pleased with the way it turned out. Love the plans!
Went with acme 3/8-10, 2 start on the x and y axis.
Made it mostly out of premium pine with some parts out of maple. Dyed it orange with Keda wood dyes. Light parts are whitewashed.
Power supply and electronics are mounted on a panel on the back.
Ran y motor wires through the y pipe.
The Synthetos gShield on Arduino with grbl v.8c handle the steppers. gCodesender on Windows and Linux send to the controller.
The little machine is straight and rigid as can be. I also plan to retrofit it for 3d printing later.
Thanks so much!"
Here is a short video he posted on YouTube.
Keith writes, "I made the 10x9 a number of years ago (2012 ish) and it has been better than I expected.
I've managed to make some amazing things, including these pendants; keep in mind the coin next to them is just over an inch in diameter (Canadian dollar).
The dragon was carved with a 0.015 " carbide bit.
Thanks again, this has been a blast to build and modify."
Bruce is currently building an 18x24. Here is a picture of his partially completed machine. The next steps are the motors and limit switches.
Jean in France built this 10x9 machine.
The machine is currently being used as a plotter but will be making chips soon.
He is using HeeksCAD which is an open source program.
Mr. Nicholes of Volectar built this 13x13. He writes "For highly replicable and precisely cut pickguards, a CNC router table is desirable. We built this solsylva.com 13x13 table, equipped with a HobbyCNC.com controller kit and stepper motors, and drive it with LinuxCNC."
His FaceBook page is https://www.facebook.com/Volectar-joystick-guitars-422091631204144 and his sites are volector.com and volectar.com
For increased router support he replaced the wooden router mount with a metal bar.
"A sand table is a nice way to test CNC programs. In this picture, I just tested the program that will cut a new pick guard. It's looking good. I will remove the sand table and stick down some acrylic stock with double-sided "Wow!" tape."
These plans do give directions for deriving the Step per Inch values that are needed to configure the software for these machines.
Mach3 and TurboCNC are popular controller software options. Other software and motor suppliers can be used.
The above vendors work with the Do It Yourself market and have help forums and documentation.
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