I have designed and built fifteen different machines over the
past 7 years. The original machine was designed to drill prototype printed circuit boards.
It is still in use today and has drilled over 200,000 holes (See N&V Nov 93). The next
machine is a converted 1/2 HP bench drill press. It uses a drill press 5X7 cross slide
with an integral vise. This machine is used to drill large holes in 3 inch x 3/8 aluminum
angle stock. The third machine is probably the world's first home CCNC bandsaw. It
is used in my business to cut stock to various lengths as programmed while I am working on
other projects. The fourth machine is a high speed modification of the circuit board drill
machine and is designed to drill holes in a variety of materials. The last machine, called
the Wire Wacker, automatically measures and cuts #16-30 wire. A spool of wire is placed on
a stationary spindle. Wire is fairlead to a rubber capstan attached to a stepping motor. A
rubber pinch roller provides the traction. The wire is fed to a guide tube. A solenoid
operated cutter, cuts the wire. How is that for a high tech wire cutter? The program that
runs the Wire Wacker is only 22 lines long and was written is QBASIC. It asks you how long
you want the wires and how many pieces do you want. The machine then proceeds to cut a
uniform pile of wires as ordered. The next machine is a Engraver. Using Corel draw or any
other good graphics program, select a clip art image. Load it into you PC. Then
export is as an HP-GL file. Load that file into your shop computer, put a piece of
material into the engraver, scale the image up or down, turn on the machine and press the
Enter button. Then watch as it engraves complex shapes into the material. I have engraved
images of dogs, horses, trees and numerous other shapes as well as text. I now have a new
circuit board drill machine that is smaller than the original version.
It has a travel of 5X5 inches on the X-Y axis and 2" on the Z. What is neat about it is that it uses a Dremel Drill press stand. I will soon have a kit that is easy to assemble. I have drilled , routed and plotted with it so far. Runs very fast with my new controller (chopper).I also have a new larger 1/2 HP bench type drill press. It too is faster and more powerful. It has a travel of 6X6".
Subsequently I have retro fitted my JET 12X25 lathe to CNC using drivers of my design and 300 oz in stepper motors. My Enco 6X36 milling machine was converted long ago to CNC. First I used some off the shelf superior electric drivers then add my own. I have susequently modified it again to use a servo system designed by Bill Wainright. We hope to sell servo systems in the future.
I have converted my Mill drill to run off of servo motors.
There have been many other machines but those have been the
These machines are amazing to watch! They can do things that most humans are not capable of accomplishing. Have you ever tried drilling a .014 hole in a printed circuit (PC) board? Those drill bits will break if you even look cross-eyed at them. Since a human hair is .005 inch, a .014 drill is not quite three
times as thick. I have drilled over 200 holes without breaking one of those fine drill bits. It would take extraordinary skill for a human to drill a hole with that drill bit and not break it. The machine not only drills the holes but is does it with precision not previously possible in the home or shop.
The first device that I call the Experimenter's CNC drill machine cost under $400 to build. Next, was the 1/2 HP power drill press that cost under $400 including the price of the drill press. The CNC bandsaw including the cost of the bandsaw was under $400. The other circuit board machine cost under $300 to assemble and only took 16 hours to design and build. The Wire Wacker, as I have affectionately name the CCNC wire cutter, was built for under $150!