2D Computer-Controlled Cutting

Background

Laser cutting and milling along 2 axes.

2D Computer-Controlled Cutting posts...

  • CNC milled wood frame
  • I would like to use 2 dimensional milling to cut a wood frame to carry the concrete grow modules and hide the electronics. There will be a small cut-out on one side for an LCD which will be displaying data coming from sensors across the system. The concrete casting process was not precise due to some flexure in the walls of the mold. Each module has an extra 4-5mm total width in both directions. So the first part of making the frame was to compensate for this error. I should note, I kind of like the little bit of error...

  • Networking light : Twin PCB
  • I was introduced to a project by Enrico Bassi which uses two ATMega boards connected to IR Sensors and IR LEDs to network by reading pauses in IR light (low). Upon seeing it, I was immediately impressed with the visceral qualities of networking with light. It is visible to our eyes! And, we could control a light in our hands to communicate to a machine. Admittedly, low tech stuff here. Remote controls... Plus, technically, we cannot see the light, the red LED on Bassi's board is for human reference, the IR LED is invisible to us. Regardless, as a first...

  • Bio-electro-chemistry
  • The fabrication demands of this project are far less than other aspects. Keep it simple. Spiral develop. I essentially want an open-faced cube in acrylic. I will develop a grasshopper, parametric model with variables for overall dimensions, finger joint size, laser kerf, bolt and other holes (unrelated to box adhesion). The prototype is based on the work of Paolo Bombelli, et al. This is the desired composition. The pot, plastic fixture and possibly rubber washers will be laser cut and Jakob Skote's Moss Powered Wifi Jammer project. Excellent work. Visit them. Fast-forward a little in time and I have a...

  • Phototransistor breakout board
  • In a previous project based on an ATtiny44 I added an expansion pin on PA2 (ADC2/AIN1/PCINT2). I think I can use that pin to take readings from a phototransistor; making this a nice little project to get generate some momentum. Remember: spiral development. First I examined Neil Gershenfeld's ATtiny45 schematic, the ATtiny45 datasheet, the ATtiny44 datasheet, andthe OP580DA phototransistor datasheet. Because both pins are compatible with Analog to Digital Conversion (ADC), the phototransistor should work with my ATtiny44 board. The first step is to design a board for the phototransistor, resistor, voltage, ground, and logic connections. I use Autodesk's Eagle....

  • Prototyping the infinity axis
  • Now we have an operational prototype. Now we have a barely operational prototype. We decided I would focus on the mechanics of the second prototype. I wanted to improve several aspects of the first prototype. One, the robot should be easily portable, which I think works best if it can be easily dissambled and assembled. Two, the wheels do not balance the robot. Three, the effector and stage should be customized to the dimensions and requirements of this robot. In this section I will focus on the wheels, or the (Y) axis, the infinity axis. First, Saverio found this video...

  • EAGLE pt2 : Fabricating the circuit board
  • I need to export the board design from EAGLE, generate the mill paths and solder the electronic components. The board is ready to be cut; EAGLE's job is complete. Time to export. From the View> Layer settings... menu, set all the layers to invisible except Top, Pads and Dimension. Export the file as a monochrome PNG at 1500 dpi. The PNG may not be exported in perfect condition but can quickly be edited in a PNG suitable editor, i.e. Photoshop, Inkscape. I did not find a good way to export a PNG for the outline cuts. EAGLE has a thin...

  • Fabricating, wiring, learning
  • This dance is as follows: mill, solder, wire. Familiar aesthetic for the board. Milling the traces at 0.10mm depth once again was unsuccessful so I dropped the depth to 0.15mm and milled on top of the previously milled stock. Soldering was significantly faster. This time, when heating the connections I kept a count in my head which varied from an one to three count according to the size of the components. Worked well in terms of pace. Checked all the connections with a multimeter. No problems. Initially I connected an incorrect resistor in front of the LED which took me...

  • Fabricating a gestalt stage
  • After much intense strategic consternation, we decided to begin our project by developing through the Gestalt framework. The framework is developed; we are beginners. Can we connect rotary stages on either side of a linear stage equipped with a brush effector? The idea is similar to a common CNC machine. Wheels mobilize the whole assembly along an infinite X axis. A stage holding an effector moves a limited distance between two wheels (Y). The effector moves a minimal distance along the Z axis. The first step is to fabricate a linear stage. Download the Rhinoceros file and you may need...

  • Testing constraint : machining materiality
  • With design intent sketched and prepared with assumptions digitally, I need to setup and execute tests of the machine and material. A three-axis CNC mill is similar to the tabletop CNC mill I used to cut PCBs. The endmill's orientation is locked perpindicular to the cutting surface and is moved along the length, width and height of the material. I am testing the bending of the material with a scored kerf and a through cut kerf with band thicknesses of 20, 30 and 40mm. And I have two types of custom joints with two thicknesses of band. The blue lines...

  • Unravel : Mysteries, preparing a design to test 2-D milling
  • I wanted to make a work that appeared to be a single surface looped around and around like a coil or a spring. I like to make things that use machines natural ease in replication as a starting point and then find ways to create variation or intrigue. It could be imagined that this one thing can be unwound into a long straight line or that this coiled state is the natural tendancy of the material. One important note: in this first prototype I plan to use machine kerf to make the plywood flexible in specific zones. In future iterations...

  • Milling a circuit board
  • The PCB is composed of a thin layer of copper, measuring in just microns of thickness, laminated onto FR1, phenolic paper. The pattern of copper connects a series of electronic components with electricity. If any unintentional connections are made, the whole system may be fried. While in subsequent posts, I will explore designing the etching patterns, this time around, I am using an open-source project developed in the FabLab ecosystem: the FabTinyISP version of an AVR ISP programmer/board. You can download the same PNG files I used for the traces and the board outline and read detailed build instruction on...

  • Wild Cardboard : Fabbing, Branching, Versioning
  • Now the real adventure begins. In a perfect world this would fit together on the first cut. I am going to assume it is not a perfect world and rely on the flexibility of my parametric model to adjust to the imperfections. The first big challenge will probably be successfully bending, or maybe not. I do not have prior experience with kerf pattern flexure joints. If I clear the bending hurdle, the center joints along the ribbons will probably be tricky because I am having to make an assumption on how this will behave prior to building the model. Testing...

  • Vinyl cutting, introduction
  • To test the vinyl cutter, I prepared a b─ôstia logo in Adobe Illustrator. I converted the graphic into a composition of vector shapes using the live paint tool. Now: cut time. First load the material into the machine. Release the clamp in the back. Align the sheet to the far left, parallel to one of the vertical lines along the front of the machine, and position the wheels to the furthest edges of the paper within the white marked zones. Return the clamp lever to the pressed position and notify the machine material is loaded. In this case, I used...

  • Kerf : what is it? why is it? why care?
  • A laser beam is generated in the back of the machine and reflected through a series of mirrors, through a focusing lens then the material. The narrowest part of the beam, around an 0.32mm diameter, is aligned to the material (z-axis). The head of the machine moves along X and Y axes across a cutting bed directing the laser through the designated cuts. The intensity, speed, and pulses per inch (ppi) are user defined variables, in my case defined first by line color in the design software and second via a dialogue in the machine settings. These variables will effect...

  • Darth Cthulhu, tempting the darkside with lasers
  • For fun to practice with adjusting and experimenting with settings, I decided to make an engraving on my notebook. I happened to have a Darth Vader - Cthulhu (maybe my two favorite things?) portmanteau on my desktop... In photoshop, I resized the image and converted it to a bitmap. Within the bitmap settings there are a number of different methods, each producing different pixelation effects. I wanted to make something expressive of vertical lines so I used the "Halftone Screen..." and after a few tests, came to 10 Lines/cm, 90 degrees (vertical) angle and the "Line" shape. I also found...