CNC Machine Prototype

The prototype of the CNC Machine is completed! This prototype allowed for the team to learn the functionalities of the CNC machine. Using grblSoftware, the team was able to test the CNC machine and its microcontroller to understand the flow of the software.

Design Review – Results

The team found the design review incredibly helpful and have decided to implement a feedback loop for better accuracy and repeatability. To do this, the project will utilize a closed loop linear encoder on the slide bar which will measure the position of the end mill and avoid thermal expansion deviations of the lead screw that tend to cause problems with accuracy when a rotary encoder is used. In addition, the team plans to turn more focus on safety concerns. The plan is to reach out to small startups in San Jose with similar projects in hopes of discussing their learning curves along the way to implementation and gain the knowledge necessary to avoid safety issues as much as possible with end use of the CNC. The team is grateful for the advice and hope to improve on the project with the insight gained from community partners.

CNC Machine Prototype

Parts for the CNC Machine Prototype

The project aims to create this CNC by building a prototype early on in the design process. By constructing a prototype, the team hopes to gain a better understanding of how the machine works, both in mechanism design and software design. After the prototype is made, the team will modify the design to accommodate a laser cutter and safely scale the product to the desired specifications.

Currently, the parts for the prototype of the CNC machine have been ordered and received. Using the prototype, the parts were measured and added to the bill of materials for preparation to create the CAD (Computer-aided design) of the parts for the final product. The prototype of the CNC machine will be assembled and programmed to test the design and functionalities of the CNC machine.

Plans for the Makerspace

2-in-1 Computer Numerical Control Machine

Currently, The Makerspace does not have a functioning Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Machine, nor does it have a laser cutting machine for aspiring engineers to use on their projects. Purchasing a commercial CNC machine and laser cutter separately can cost well over one hundred thousand dollars. Not only are they expensive, they also take up a lot of valuable space within the workroom. These machines are not very user friendly and are difficult to use effectively without prior knowledge or training.

By creating a user friendly 2-in-1 machine, similar to the one shown above, this project aims to allow engineering students an effective way to prototype their projects. The CNC machine will be a dual function mill and laser cutter and students will be able to switch between cutting tools as needed. This versatile design will provide access to two separate manufacturing methods, but on a much smaller footprint than two separate machines, maximizing valuable floor space in the room. The time spent manufacturing on student projects will be reduced with the availability of this machinery. Costs for this project will be reduced by purchasing the required parts and assembling the machine on site.