The Mill is Up

As of last night, the CNC milling machine has been assembled and wired.  I’ve only tested the motion controller and axes to see their responsiveness, but soon I’ll be calibrating and tramming the Z-column. 

To put it simply: I wanted to see it move and will need to make it nice and perpendicular prior to machining anything. 



You’ll notice in the picture above that the mill isn’t sitting flat on the chip tray, but why?  To ensure the mill is nice and level, I placed three leveling nuts with wide washers to secure it.   

Leveling nuts are used in almost all steel structures and are later compacted with grout to ensure proper stability.  Steel roller coaster supports are leveled this way and connected to anchor rods that extend into the concrete foundations.  Seeing as the mill weighs only 70 lbs (32kg), it won’t require grouting or anything under the leveling nuts.  The only modification I made was to add nylon lock nuts to counteract vibrations from machining. 



The milling machine is a Taig closed loop system with ballscrews.  For its price, it’s a good start for machining.  The ballscrew upgrade was done last year prior to my mass exodus from the country for work, and I’m eager to see the accuracy and repeatability for my parts. 

The next step was to install the stepper motors for each axis: X (side to side), Y (Forward and Backward), and Z (Up and Down).  The mill, as all three axis milling machines, follow Cartesian coordinates.  Yes, that math stuff that you’d never thought you’d use again...I guess unless you’re an engineer or architect. 



The motors are connected to a motion controller and computer with special software.  I’ll go more in detail as I build the CNC lathe, but it’ll allow the making of any designs I can create. 

Just an FYI, CNC stands for “computer numeric control”.

Also, if you’re wanting to show off your love and support for The Biggest Little Rides out there, we will be launching a store page called “The Coaster Shop”.  As for now, we have The Roller Coaster Project logo shirts for men, women, and children...but I’ll always be a child at heart.  In the future, this is where li'l products will be sold.