Plotter Work

Well, it has been a few weeks that I’ve meant to post this, but never too late.

Finally got the MPCNC all dialed in (read: started using ESTLcam instead of trying to use Fusion). I think I figured out the workflow of finding pictures to use, converting them to black and white if necessary, then convert the file to DXF or SVG in inkscape, then load up the remote desktop and ESTLcam to generate some gcode.

Now comes the real focus - I am going to expand the machine (current outer dimensions ~22 7/8 inches (58 cm) square, ~12 inch work area square) as the work area is really small, as even having small margins on the Ford logo and starting the origin pretty far over on the paper, the end of the “d” still went off of the page. I also have a wire shelf on wheels that I got permission to use the top of to hold the CNC.

The overall plan is to expand the size while modifying the table surface to hold the CNC (the shelf has arms that come up higher than the top rack of the shelf (very similar to this shelf here), so we’re thinking about using one layer of MDF on the bottom with holes and any necessary cuts that will level off the surface, then putting another piece on top to attach the CNC to. The original thought was making 4 foot square outside, however maybe a little less (or even matching the shelf dimensions of ~36"x30") with room for an enclosure should I ever want to put one on. I have decided that the least work area I would like to have is ~30"x20", the size of a poster I attached an R2D2 puzzle to - it seems like a fairly nice size and it’s only slightly larger than the wire shelf size so the machine wouldn’t have to be too large.

That illustrates the main concern of going too large with the MPCNC and getting into LR territory. I’m not looking into getting too complex of work, but the work area does need to be larger (less than 4x4). Also don’t want to go through the work of expanding the size with new conduit only to gain a few inches (easy to expand, but it seems like it will be nice and permanent on the cart).

As for 3D printing, I think I have definitely decided on building an MP3DP (possible new name since Ryan doesn’t really like the abbreviation - how about MPMP, Mostly Milled Mostly Printed, Mostly Printed Milled Printer - personally MP3DP is pretty smooth!). 3d printing is cool and was originally the thread that brought me here (looking up printers, printing, hobbies, etc.), but if I want good prints and I am going to expand the MPCNC, I want to get good quality prints from a smaller, purpose-built rigid machine just for printing.

I’ve lost my train of thought, but I think that covered about everything.

The rack thing worries me hanging off so far, it will bow over time.

The post was flagged as spam probably because of the rack link was so crazy, no big deal I cleared it and good to go.

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I hadn’t thought about that. However, there would be two sheets of MDF or plywood as the table surface. The bottom would be flush with the top of the rack, then another piece on top, probably screwed together, and mount cnc on that.


Edit: even a 4x4 surface would only have 6-9" overhang on either side. The 4x4 was the largest it would be, thinking less. We also have another shelf that we could cut in half (it is taller), then attach them together and have a longer base, so then maybe there would only be a little overhang on two sides instead of four.

Yea, but all the weight will be on that overhang.

Hmm. Maybe a 2x4 table top would be a good idea then. I was going to make one before I could use the cart.

It would probably be easier to get the table top to fit flush on the top shelf, or at least the torsion box style could be taken off and on more easily, and the frame would support the corners.

A torsion box should be able to overhang a few inches either way. I wouldn’t go six inches unless you’re using beefy wood for the box.