Travel CNC/3d printer/vector cutter combination

There are people who have a travel toothbrush.
There are people who have a travel hair dryer.
For years I had a travel 3d printer.
So why can't I have a travel CNC? ;)
So why can't we have CNC mill, 4th axis, 3d printer, vector knife and resin casting and a work table in a single, mobile, quiet, clean tool?

Here's the plan:
  1. disassembly my old, unreliable Thing-o-Matic to reuse the (non-original) toolhead and extruder controller.
  2. mount it onto a not-too-small (400x300), very quitet, 4 axis CNC milling machine
  3. make sure I can swap between CNC spindle, 3d printer and mounting the 4th axis to orient a vector knife
  4. put everything into a custom made stage box including locks, cooling-grills and properly sunk cable holes and a low enough side wall to reach the part you're working on easily
  5. sound proof the box
  6. Fit drawers for small parts, legs to make the box-lit a table, light and enough power sockets.
  7. win!
Sounds easy enough, doesn't it?
I have the CNC right here (awaiting a conversion to USB while converting my large CNC machine from USB to Ethernet and from 4 to 5/6 axis), ordered foam and box and am 3D printing the adapter to use the 3D printing head and all other alternative Makerbox heads I have.


 Prepared a metal XL timing belt pulley for the 4th axis to replace the 3d printed one.
  The portal height extension is coming along nicely. Will do the drilling and thread-cutting tomorrow.
  Then it should be done. Got mail from the customs office. Maybe one of these packages are the replacement drivers. With the help of my new Makibox I can make the missing parts for 3D printing and vector cutting.
  Most of the metal-milling done to raise the portal and Z-axis by 100mm to increase the maximum diameter of parts on the 4th axis.
 Spacers for 4th axis and tailstock have been made out of wood during 30C3 to demonstrate the CNC.
  2 more stepper drivers blown during 30C3. Dealer "Thomas Wu" confesses they are only good for 45V, not the advertised 50V. (I'm using 48V)
  Tried to attach the foldable table legs and found that I made a mistake.

  I finished the sound proofing and the electrical wiring.
  All 4 axis are working again (replacement arrived).
  Waiting for some small parts to install tool height probe and E-Stop.
  Work on integrating 3d printing can resume now.

  Made molds and tried to cast my own sound proofing anchor fittings but they didn't dry in time for my weekly return from the home workshop to the city I work during the week.
  Prepared foldable table legs to make the upper part of the case into a table.
  Prepared fittings to slide the electronics panel in and out for service.
  Packed the tools needed to improve the 10A power supply cabling to 16A. (just to be way on the safe side.)
  Still waiting for my replacement Y-axis stepper driver. (3D printing and vector cutting on hold due to that.)

Found that soundproofing needs a lot of improvement.
Tried to upgrade to a 16A power plug...to find that the hole for the plug is too small. :(

 Parts arrived to add the electric tool height probe.
 Tailstock of 4th axis has the correct height now.
 Broke my edge-finder while testing the 4th axis.
 Still waiting for the replacement Y stepper-driver. Limping around with the A axis driver driving Y .
 Ordered a tiny vacuum cleaner to modify. It's quite difficult to clean the inside of a stage box from the top. ;)

Need to move the 4th axis 10mm higher to have space for the longnegh NEMA23 stepper.
Milling the required spacer to have the tailstock of the 4th axis at the same height as the collet.
 Parts arrived toupgrade from a 10A to a 16A power plug and cable and to add a power socket for manual power tools or laptop.

  Dry run of the Mach3 cncPrinter3D plugin failed but Slicr worked fine with Mach3.
  Extruder-Stepper not yet connected to receive STEP+DIR from CNC board in parallel with 4th axis
  Y-axis stepper driver went up in smokeFirst real milling using the A driver for the Y stepper.

 First test cuts in cardboard.

2013-09-23  mounted CNC into the flight case and mounted the wooden board with the new electronics.

  230V wiring of new electronics finished.

  cables to finish the 230V wiring arrived.

  All 4 axis working.

  new electronics working on 1 axis. Some trouble with the X driver.

  tested new Ethernet control board on large CNC, not that it's USB control board is in the TravelCNC

  preparing the new electronics. Mounting control board, power supply, ... to a new wooden board that will act as a separator inside the flight case.

  testing one of the new stepper drivers.


  48V power supply finally arrived

  Added a ramp to load/unload it from the car.
  Will get the new 48V 400W power supply from the post office tomorrow.
  Then I can test if the new stepper drivers can drive these steppers and the USB board works.
  (no driver for Y+Z yet, only X arrived).

 I'm at OHM2013 (Village "Sandbox" of CCCfr). The case is finished. I can control the CNC3040 using the control box of the USB6040 and my USB-controller. Still have to wait for 1 power supply and 2 stepper-drivers to arrive before I can finish the control box for the 3040.

  wheels mounted (before leaving for OHM2013)

  presenting the CNC at OHM2013 (CCCfr Village)

 Got myself a cheap Dremel 4000 to drill.
 Casebuilder.com did NOT include the required drill bits as promised. A 6mm one to mount the wheels is missing and I dont' have one at hand.
 They also included both face plates for the cooling fans but only one side of the case has the hole to mount it.
 All the locks and half the face-plates have pre-drilled holes. But the other half of the faceplates has not and while at it they could have CNC drilled the holes for the rivets too in the same run.
 (They are pre-drilled in the aluminum but not the wood).

  need a faster drill, so the wood doesn't spliter. Time for OHM2013 is running out.

  got the missing drill to assemble the case. Also brought the blue control box of my YOOCNC6040 over to see if new electronics really take care of the lost steps.

  case arrived

 PROBLEM! T-slots on the CNC3040 are some odd, non-standard size.
 planned test with Ethernet/USB instead of LPT postponed.
 Basotect acoustic foam arrived.
 Stage box was shipped
 fastener material arrived
 First milling tests
 Using the supplied LPT board the 3040 looses steps in Y and Z.

 Jogging 4th axis tested and still not working now. LED doesnt glow.

 CNC working on LPT except I can't jog the 4th axis.
 PCB for convertion to Ethernet/USB arrived.
 Beefed up 4th axis tested (on CNC6040). Holding force fine now. (on Y-stepper channel)
 Waiting for the Case.

 First 3D printing test failed.
 Metal plate on Makerbot hot-end too large.
 3D printing postponed.