Wednesday 20 November 2013

Adventures in CNC - Part 5

Building the Beast

Check out Part 1

Now we are getting somewhere! The time has finally come to turn the random pile of aluminum parts littering my shop floor into something that resembles a CNC router.

Y-Axis coming together

I started by paying a visit to the Forums at the XZero website. There I found a thread with photos and text detailing the assembly of the ViperXZ machine. I read through the procedure a couple of times so I could visualize the steps from start to finish. I find this helps to reduce the stupid mistakes that occur at the beginning of assembly, but are usually not discovered until you try to attach the final part.

Easier than it looks!

The remarkable thing about the assembly process was how NOT remarkable it turned out to be. The ViperXZ requires surprisingly few tools for assembly and all the parts are machined to make alignment almost foolproof. Overall, the basic assembly has been the easiest part of this project.

The only problem I discovered was a slight misalignment of the linear bearings on the Y-Axis. There are two sets of bearings that attach to the back plate of the Z-Axis. I found that when I tightened one set or the other, the y-axis operated smoothly. But when I tightened both sets of bearings, the assembly would bind slightly. The solution was to place a piece of blue tape on one of the bearings. This shimmed the assembly by a fraction of an inch an allowed the Y-Axis to run smoothly when tightened.

Tape! - Is there nothing it can't fix?

Overall, the assembly of the ViperXZ is a painless experience even if you are not the most mechanically inclined. A few Hex Wrenches and some patience are all that are required. Also, assembling the machine myself has really increased my knowledge of the workings of the system which will come in handy when it comes time for maintenance.

Check out Part 6 - Problems & Creative Solutions

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