A Texas rebuild...

On a sad note, back in May, my fishing/flying/golfing buddy passed away suddenly. He was the second of my two best friends lost in the last 11 months. Thankfully, neither of these men experienced prolonged suffering and were actively engaging in the things they enjoyed most up until the time of their passing. We’d all spent many great times together and they are both sorely missed.

On a brighter note… back when we were actively building and flying our foam RC planes, I’d built Henry a MPCNC-based needle cutter setup… and, with his passing, the family has given that machine back to me. Since I already had a needle cutter setup of my own, I decided to scrap out his machine and rebuild/update it in a smaller form factor and suitable for light milling operations. i’d already purchased a Dewalt 660, way back when, for this very purpose.

I spent several days printing all the new parts on my Prusa I3 MK2S and have begun assembling a 29" x 29" footprint machine. I’ve put it on a 30" x 30" wooden base… 1" x 4" whitewood boards, Kreg-jigged together, in two layers and with overlapping corners. The machine is essentially complete, mechanically, and now needs to be belted and wired up. I could reuse the old motors, of course, but I’ve decided to wait on new steppers, with longer leads/connectors, and a series wiring harness from Ryan… just to try and do it up to current standards. Those parts are due to arrive Wednesday… thanks, Ryan, for the prompt shipping!

The following photos document my progress to this point – printing new parts, dismantling the old machine, and building up the new…

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More to come later…

– David




Sorry to hear about your loss of friends. :frowning:

So you’re downsizing to smaller dimensions. Did you have trouble with the larger size or did you get the old one working?


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Sorry for your loss. It’s nice to have something to remember him by that also has a purpose. Seems like a good fit to me.

That looks like a nice tight build. Should be a lot of fun. Are you going to mess with the PID controller for the dw660?

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I’ve built numerous MPCNCs for myself, and my friends, and have several MPCNCs, and variant machines, on hand now. This was a 4’ x 3’ footprint, original-design, MPCNC that carried a needle-cutter (a very light load) for cutting out RC planes and parts from 20" x 30" foamboard sheets. It worked great and was used by my buddy to cut out numerous planes… but I have one that size already and don’t need another. I haven’t used any of mine for milling harder materials in a while, however, and decided to upgrade to the latest and give it a go. It keeps me busy and off the streets… =;^)

– David

Hey, Jeff… thanks a lot.

No real plan to do the PID thing but won’t rule it out on down the line. I thought I’d let you younger, smarter guys do all the “pioneering” on that front.

– David

Rough news, sorry to hear it. I think that is kind of a cool thing to do. A rebuild to remember… Sounds it would have been be appreciated. I have some mementos, but that is just too cool, and it looks great!

Can’t wait to meet these young pioneers…


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Hey dk where about in Texas are you? If your close to Houston, do you feel like helping an obnoxious kid out with some problems every once in awhile? You seem like you have a pretty solid grasp of these machines…

Hey, Otto. Grumpy old man and “obnoxious kid”… what a match :wink:

Actually, I’m up in rural East Texas… about 65 miles southeast of Dallas. I’ve got a reasonable grasp of the basic machines and don’t spend a lot of time “accessorizing” them. KISS is king IMHO and Ryan’s original MPCNC design concept suits me just fine :slight_smile:

– David

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I finished modding the Dewalt (removed the tool-free collar) and mounted it on the tool mount. Looks as though I easily have 17"-18" of usable work area inside the frame. Should be plenty for most things I envision doing :slight_smile: :)

My new stepper motors have made it to the post office this morning… hoping in time for delivery today. I want the longer leads and connectors so that I can use the series wiring harness I’d already purchased from Ryan. I’m trying to do this build as close as I can to the current MPCNC “standards”… – David

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Mailman just delivered my new stepper motors. Also whipped up a stand for the new MPCNC… 28" x 28" and 30" high.

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Is that glass so you can convert it to a ZXY when you’ve got enough sawdust :slight_smile: ?

I’ve never thought about using dust instead of baking soda. That might be pretty fun.

Yeah, that’s a heavy 30" x 30" glass table top that I’ve had for years… purchased very early in our marriage, the frame is long gone.

Don’t see a ZXY in my future… but I do look forward to seeing how that base frame might be used to advantage; i.e. dust containment, spoilboard with wedges, etc. It definitely makes the machine more sturdy when you’ve got to move it… and it sits nicely flat and solid on that piece of glass. I’m just hoping that it never gets in the way… :wink:

Aside from the balmy 109 degF temperatures outside, it’s been a pretty good day so far… postman is supposed to deliver my series wiring harness, been watching some really great golf on TV at The Open… and all while working on the MPCNC rebuild…

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109!!! I will not complain about it hitting 99 here. Dang.

I’m sure Jason (jhitesma) is thinking 109 degF is down-right cool…

Alright! Attempting to not be so “stuck-in-the-mud” for a change… here’s the near-finished (a few cosmetic things yet to do), and calibrated, Texas MPCNC rebuild. I hate to admit taking as much time as I did to get it running… mostly having to overcome my old mindset/procedures/workflow/senility and dealing with some dodgy, used, RAMPS hardware/drivers. Lots of “new” stuff for me to take in… the latest firmware, full-graphic LCD, T8 leadscrew, series stepper wiring, standard tool mount, etc. Whoa… overload! :wink:

But here it is – the new machine and stand… and obligatory crown plot!

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I’ll probably play with it for a few days – plotting, lasering, etc. – but I eventually plan to hang the Dewalt 660 on it and do a little light milling. Biggest hangup for me there is the noise and debris – and the current 110 degF Texas heat! – but I plan to set it up out on the deck, just outside the door, so I can quickly step outside for a minimal amount of time.

Think it’s time for a nap… been workin’ so hard…

– David

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I 1000% percent agree. My MPCNC is on wheels so I can take it to the back porch, listen to audio books, and sip a beverage.

An update…

I’ve done a few more pen-plots and I’m running out of excuses to not try a milling exercise. It’s still pretty warm outside and there are a couple of things that really should be done but nothing that should stop me from doing some preliminary cuts…

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Maybe tomorrow =;^)



Yeah buddy that is looks finely tuned!

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Thanks, Ryan. One of those things I noticed I need to do is change that arc segments value from 1 down to 0.1… that MPCNC logo shows that clearly. You had mentioned you might change that but it wasn’t the case in the latest firmware download.

BTW congratulations on the new LowRider2 release… looks to be a tremendous success already. Great work… as usual!