The CNC: Part 3

It’s been a while since the last post, but we are making some serious progress.

For any of our Kickstarter backers: we will be sending out the rewards soon! Those who selected the keychain reward are in for a bit of a treat, too.

Now the progress…

We have assembled the CNC mill and produced successful g-codes, or the program the machine reads. It’s very similar to the workings of a 3D-printer, and we were pleased to find this out.

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After bolting down the way-carriage, we began connecting the servo control motors. We chose the closed loop model for improved accuracy and reliability. This is similar to a professional mill, just smaller. Fitting for the biggest little ride. The next thing was to assemble and mount the z-column where the various drill bits and motor mount.

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Upon mounting the control motors and drive motor, we then had to wire the machine to run properly. Using the modestly priced computer and servo control box, we are ready to cut. We are using Mach3 CNC control software and BamCam to create a machine code from our fancy design files.

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We aligned the vise used to hold parts for machining, and mounted a piece of 6061 aircraft grade aluminum stock (non machined material).

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The final thing was to push the button and see it fly. We decided to face, or square up, the part. When metals are ordered in their raw form, they are not cut to exact sizes. We needed to make sure the part matched our design specs.

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The grooves present in the picture above are caused by the machine path and are not elevated. We were using an end mill bit, primarily used for cutting metal, but we have ordered a fly cutter to allow smooth squaring of parts.

Videos of our machining follies will be available via our “Construction Log” tab at the top of the page.

The CNC: Part 2

Although it has been a little while since the last post, we have been working diligently provide great content in lieu of frequency.  The Kickstarter rewards are being finalized, and will be sent out in the coming days.  The CNC mill has arrived, and will be setup in the coming weeks.  We decided, until room is available, to practice working with the software for mill and to import the car designs.

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The CNC mill arrived in three large boxes, and with a plethora of instructions to ensure we achieve the desired accuracy.

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Since we are not setting the machine up, we decided to finalize the Kickstarter rewards.  This is requiring much more work than we once thought.

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On a positive note, the finalized aluminum car and track assembly is complete.  We are curious of the final weight of each car; however, the structure is designed to withstand nearly twenty five pounds of dynamic load.  We will be working on the ride’s layout in the coming days, and soon the CNC mill will be up and running.

 

 

 

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The CNC: Part 1

We have ordered the CNC mill, and we are happy to announce that it will arrive Tuesday of the coming week. Now begins the long process of preparing for machining.

In order to run the CNC, we needed to invest in a simple computer and strip it down to its barebones.

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We found an old IBM desktop and installed recommended CAM software to run the CNC. The CAM software allows us to take a computer model, process it for drilling pattern, and final produce a code for the machine to follow. This code is called a g-code. Simply put, it gives the machine X, Y, and Z coordinates.

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Once all of the software was setup, we began refining our aluminum car design. This will also be the car design sent out to our Kickstarter backers.

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The above axle will be turned out of steel on a miniature lathe. The slots will be cut out of the axle for anchor bolts with the CNC mill.

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Performing a 3D assembly of the computer generated models allows for any corrections that need to be made. We will also 3D print the designs prior to machining the metals.

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Since choosing patriotic colors, we might name the roller coaster something accordingly. But that’s a ways down the road…or track.

A brief status update…

First off, we’d like to apologize for the time in between posts. We would also like to thank everyone who contributed to our Kickstarter campaign to make it a success. We’ve been working on some logistics for those who contributed.

We have ordered the CNC mill! Soon we will be creating our complex, miniature, roller coaster car designs.

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We chose to purchase the Taig 3000 servo based mill. The servo technology allows for greater accuracy and repeatability. After ordering the CNC, we have been testing out a few building techniques for the coaster’s support structure.

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In our attempts to use fewer bolts, or taking the easy route, it was quipu apparent that the wooden dowels would not work.

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Unfortunately, we ended up breaking our hand cut support material. We will just have to recut the structural sections and use bolts.

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This design will be our “Aluminum Car” concept. We have ordered the end mills, or cutting bits, used with the CNC to allow it to produce the design. The car will predominantly consist of 6061 Aircraft grade aluminum. Yes, fancy as can be.

We will have our Kickstarter updates posted and sent very soon! Thank you.

The Final Hours to Kickstart(er)

These are the final hours for our Kickstarter campaign. We have come a long way, and we would like to thank everyone for supporting the project. It could not have happened without you guys, and we will surely not disappoint. For any of you who don’t want to miss your literal last chance to ride, then check the link below.

Kickstarter Campaign

During the final hours of the campaign, we have been working on some fabrication techniques. We’ve been working with brass, and have been testing out the new saw and drill press.

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The saw will be more appropriate for larger pieces of aluminum and steel incorporated in the machined cars. The drill press, however, will be great for building the structure.

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Once each piece was cut, filed, and drilled we attempted to solder the parts together. If didn’t work too well, but that’ll change when we acquire the CNC mill and lathe.

The Drill Press Saga: Part 2

We are entering the home stretch of the Kickstarter campaign. In this last week we’d like to thank everyone who has supported the ride and those of you who’ve spread the word of thrill. Don’t miss your chance to support the biggest little ride to ever be…

The Kickstarter Project

The Drill Press

So we finally found a drill press. After searching far and wide, we finally obtained an accurate and high quality drill press.

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After assembling the drill, we tried a few test holes. The holes were spot on and the laser apparatus wasn’t too far off center.

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Once successful tests were completed, we worked on building “bent 8″ for the test track.

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The test track is serving multiple purposes: test for friction, track construction, and bent construction and efficiency.

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This current design incorporates far too many bolts, for model purposes. So, it was a successful screw up. We will work on a few designs, but a standardization of wooden parts and a proper drill press will allow for a highly accurate wooden track and structure.

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Track work

First off, we at The Roller Coaster Project would like to thank any and all who have supported this site and our Kickstarter campaign.  We are nearing the end of the campaign, and we can not succeed without you guys.  Any amount of a donation is greatly appreciated, and you will be forever a part of The Biggest Little Ride to Ever Be…

Kickstarter Campaign

So we’ve been doing some track work, lately.  What we have found to be the best practice for building what we designed, is to measure the various wooden sections with three different tools then cut them.20140221-130052.jpg

This method is being used for ledger, bents, cross members, and piece of track laminate.

A right angled ruler is used to get an idea of the measurement; then it’s verified by a dial caliper with a 1000th rated accuracy; and finally we are checking with an engineers scale.  By properly measuring and marking the wooden sections thoroughly, we are limiting the amount of error involved with handcut fabrication.  There will also be less corrections required if we spend more time verifying the cut.Some of the cross member will be cut once the main support beams and ledgers are cut, drilled, and bolted together.  We also chose to use standard sections for fabrication: making it easier to cut and build.  To connect these sections, we have calculated bearing/ shear plates made from one (1) inch wooden beams cut from a 1/4″x 1/16″ basswood dowel.  As you can tell, there will be a lot of bolts!20140221-130119.jpg20140221-130146.jpg20140221-130207.jpg

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