In the beginning was the Wall.....
The wall kicked of my interest in metal casting and CNC. This was as much by necessity as anything else. If you can't source what you want, then you have to go make it yourself. I wanted some cast cheek plates and also thought it would be nice to have a cast plaque to leave my mark.
Couldn't source either, so set about learning the fine art of metal casting. The cheek plates turned out OK. Getting the plaque turned out to ba a longer and still ongoing project. The only suppliers of so called bespoke plaques seemed only to be able to do a couple of styles of predetermined lettering & size. on the whole rather banal. Not what I wanted at all. I guess that I had other excuses for setting about building a CNC machine, but it's been so long I have forgotton what they were.
My interest in Raspberry Pi computers also happened at about the same time. So it all came together in the way that it did as much by luck as design. Originally I was intending to build a vanilla gantry type CNC machine, but decided to re task the remnants of a Zyto lathe into a CNC Mill / Lathe hybrid affair. I did this for a number of reasons that include the following:
Firstly I had the Zyto lathe bed frame, and trying to find parts to put it back to original spec seemed a bit boring and pointless with so few parts to start with.
Secondly I had a fully tooled up and operational Zyto lathe so all chucks, collets, faceplates, amd other misc tooling would be fully interchangable.
Thirdly, it would give me CNC metal cutting capability over the gantry router type machine.
And fourthly.... Why the hell not!
So a bit of background about the Zyto Lathe remnants before they were retasked.
Fast forward to the current semi operational version which mostly looks thke this but with some more and better gards, dust extraction and such.
In this current horizontal mode, there is useable cutting area of about 170 x 80mm for soft metal and a little bit more for wood, plastics & composites. This is the high speed spindle end. The existing low speed lathe spindle at the other end can be employed for more "grunty" activities like milling steel but over a smaller area circa 100 x 75mm pending what you are trying to do.
Currently I have the physical backlash down to circa 0.06mm depending on how and where you measure it. The backlash can be compensated for in software, but it is still physically there. Orthogonal error is something like 0.05m per 100mm.
The system control computer is a Raspberry Pi v2 running Machinekit (aka LinuxCNC) as the CNC controller.
See here for more info on that:
Here is a pic of it doing something slightly more interesting than milling an angle plate.
That's about it for the intro.
I'll start filling in the big gap in the middle shortly.