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  • August 17, 2017, 07:25:26 AM

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Author Topic: Hitting the 21st Century  (Read 6365 times)

Offline phil c

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Hitting the 21st Century
« on: January 21, 2017, 04:36:07 PM »
The Core House is retooling.  It's been over 30 years since I built the core CNC cutter.  It's time to build a new one that will do everything- cut the blanks, cut the wings, hold better alignment, digital readouts and zeroing, modern software, it's about time.  I'll keep you posted!
phil Cartier


Online ray copeland

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Re: Hitting the 21st Century
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2017, 09:40:49 PM »
Awesome, you go Phil !!
Ray from Greensboro, North Carolina , six laps inverted so far with my hand held vertically!!! (forgot to mention, none level!) AMA# 902150

Offline phil c

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Re: Hitting the 21st Century
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2017, 09:07:32 PM »
I did add a couple of cheap DRO scales from iGuaging(seem to be the most reliable).  Less than $45 for two.  When I built the machine a single DRO cost over $1000.  The scales make checking the zero a snap.
phil Cartier

Online Dane Martin

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Re: Hitting the 21st Century
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2017, 01:19:16 PM »
Good to hear phil! I still fly one of the two f2d planes you sent me. I totaled one out in Texas. The other has been through a few matches. Now just for practice as there's only one.

Offline Tim Wescott

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Re: Hitting the 21st Century
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2017, 02:19:15 PM »
Wow.  I thought you did it by hand, with templates & stuff.

Pictures!  Old and new!  I think you can buy cutters off the shelf these days, but that would be expensive and boring.

I assume you know more than I do about the openly available open-source CNC software for PC's, and all the various adapters to make it all work with modern hardware.  I did a web search not long ago and found that one of the more popular ones has been spun off into a set that was specific for foam cutting.
AMA 64232

The problem with electric is that once you get the smoke generator and sound system installed, the plane is too heavy.

Offline phil c

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Re: Hitting the 21st Century
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2017, 07:58:09 PM »
I'm still working on software.  The computer running the cutter decided to quit working.  A 35yr old Atari 400.  Must have had about 10 years of actual running time on it.  The backup was also on the fritz for other unknown reasons.

Anyway, I'm trying to get Linux CNC running.  I did find the right bits, and it's supposed to run 4 axis wire cutters(ver. 2.6 or later) with the right computer and version selection.  I got a working supposed boot/Live DVD burnt.  No luck yet getting it to run.  I'll try again tomorrow.

People complain about Windows, but at least there's basically only one version at a time to worry about and it recognizes most hardware.  Linux is getting pretty good about hardware but there still are something like 40 different versions, and if you're a sadist, or just interested, you can assemble and compile you own version Just So.

Me, I just want it to boot and run the Linux CNC program and run the cutter.

I had planned on using an Arduino Uno and an add on stepper driver board, called a shield since it just plugs in like a dust cover.  Unfortunately it turns out that will require translating the program I wrote for Atari into C and learning a whole bunch of new stuff.

Find something electric that doesn't need its magic smoke anymore and send a little up to the electron gods that I can get all this working.
phil Cartier

Offline phil c

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Re: Hitting the 21st Century
« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2017, 05:52:49 PM »
Still working on repairing the foam cutter.  This is getting to be as bad as the first time.  I spent ~100hours writing the program and troubleshooting, plus learning how to use CAD for the airfoils and translating into something the cutter would follow to more time sorting out the original driver board.  It turned out that the output byte for step/direction had to be fed to the driver in reverse order, bit by bit.  That took a lot of troubleshooting to figure out.

I tried open source now, didn't really work.  LinuxCNC is mainly for milling machines run through a parallel printer port.  It supposedly has an addon/addin for a four axis foam cutter, but I couldn't even get the Linux up and running.  Very hardware dependent- if someone hasn't written a driver for it it won't work.  Plus a ton of different versions/flavors with all sorts of interdependencies.  Windows is not great but Linux isn't really better, unless you are a real nerd.  Plus everyone wants to use Gcode, which is fine for a mill or lathe, nobody seems to be doing EDM(similar 4 axis to a foamcutter) and it's easier form me to scale the templates(usually larger/smaller than the foam) in CAD than in yet another program I'd have to learn.

I've finally found a program that at least will read in the templates I use(after modifying them to 1in. long).  The 1in. comes from the low speed airfoil project Mike Selig(now Professor) started at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.  I've been working over the years with several SAE college program students doing the GoKart event(downforce wings).  Scaling airfoils up and down using the typical spline curves can result in significant 'wavies' in the airfoil, particularly around the leading edge.  I've always used polylines.  They are easy to tweak for getting the airfoil exactly the way I want, with spar slots and other things like internal cutaways.  Some CAD programs will save the file in a simplified text file that produces polylines as two column text so its easy to translate into foamcutter language and be easily able to cut multiple panels in one block.

The other big problem has been hardware and the either $$$$ or poor documentation.  I've had to spend hours trying to figure what will work with what.
Looks like the homestretch now though.  Just two more wires to go until I can see if it's going to work!
phil Cartier

Online Traian Dorin Morosanu

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Re: Hitting the 21st Century
« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2017, 10:34:46 AM »
Been there done it and not too hard to do. But if I was doing it again I would make it a completly new design.
Here is some inspiration for you. https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?1022533-My-first-CNC-Foam-Cutter#post11871735
Each goal you meet is a moment of happiness
Happiness is the harmony between what you think and what you do. Mahatma Gandhi

Offline phil c

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Re: Hitting the 21st Century
« Reply #8 on: July 03, 2017, 05:28:36 PM »
Thanks, Triain, for the reference.  Beautiful job on the machining.  Now I'll have to CNC my mill too.

I got the electronics for the cutter working and finishing off getting it installed.  The driver board is a TB6860, a cheap Chinese board now in its 4th generation.  The first ones were pretty awfu from what I read onlinel.  This newer one worked right off the bat.  Finally went back to Mach 3 for running and Foamworks 4.0 for the G code.  It looks like I won't have to edit any of the cutting files I have, which is a plus.

They talk about how you can find anything on the Internet.  Laugh.  It took a month to find out that Mach 3 has a trial mode that runs 500 commands for free.  In the meantime, I'd spent another month chasing Arduino and driver shield boards.  Turned out I'd have to write the program.


Should be working by the end of the week(4th of July).
phil Cartier

Online Traian Dorin Morosanu

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Re: Hitting the 21st Century
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2017, 05:48:23 AM »
Get a Geko drive.
The Arduino stuff is hobby quality at best.
Each goal you meet is a moment of happiness
Happiness is the harmony between what you think and what you do. Mahatma Gandhi

Online Traian Dorin Morosanu

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Re: Hitting the 21st Century
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2017, 05:49:39 AM »
I used Profili Pro to generate the code.
Each goal you meet is a moment of happiness
Happiness is the harmony between what you think and what you do. Mahatma Gandhi


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