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Archives for : CNC

40watt Laser Cutter

Before, I hated working with acrylic on my CNC Router, but after acquiring a nice Laser Cutter/Engraver it makes working on acrylic soooo much easier. No machine is a “do everything” machine, but this one does have ALOT of uses around my shop. When you combine this laser with a CNC router, 3D Printer you can create some very awesome projects. Check out this video to see it cutting through .093″ acrylic like a hot knife through butter! I will be posting a better walkthrough of my workshop soon including all of my machines at work!

Dedicated MACH 3 CNC Control Panel

Yet again, its been awhile since I’ve posted anything on here! A lot has happened since! First off, I got a couple new toys, I picked up a vinyl plotter. This has been great for labeling things and just having fun. My other toy was upgrading my CNC Router to a bigger and faster machine. I picked up a 2×4 Warthog router, it took some work to get it running on Mach3, but has been worth it. I always liked how the industrial units had dedicated systems that used there own software. Made them cooler and so much more convenient IMO. But Mach3 is such a great easy to use piece of software that I wanted that as well. So here is what my ingenuity came up with!

Its a pretty simple device really. All of the parts, except the “E-Stop” Button I had laying around. The Screen is just a 10” LCD I took out of kiosk system. All of the buttons and joysticks came from a box of old MAME parts I had laying around. I had a extra I-pac ( ) laying around, which basically makes all the buttons keyboard commands which Mach3 can see as a “hotkey”. More details later.

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This definitely not the cleanest device I’ve come up with, but it will be cleaned up soon. The screen in the panel simply hooks up to the VGA output of the PC (the first one in the pic), Then I have a powered USB Hub in the panel that breaksout many USBs, this is for the Keyboard, Mouse, I-Pac and whatever else I may need like a USB stick. All of the buttons you can find on ebay if you search for “MAME Buttons” along with joysticks. They all hook into this I-Pac (this one is a bit big, but its what I had around).


This nifty little device has screw terminals for all of your buttons. It even comes with a piece of software that allows you to program each button to each keyboard command if you’d like to be technical. This is a great way to add inputs to Mach3 without the need of a second parallel port. You simply need to download Mach3Screen ( LINK HERE ) and tell each onscreen button what “hotkey” (from the ipac) you want. Now you can add as many buttons as you can imagine for any function you want! The only hotkeys your going to want to actually program in the Mach3 app is your movement commands. Thats easy as going to System Hotkeys in Mach3. Mach3 will see all the inputs from the Ipac as keyboard commands, so it works FLAWLESSLY! You could even do limit and home switches if you’d want, but i wouldn’t recommend it.

I went ahead and used my vinyl plotter to make all of the labeling for the machine to give it that professional look. I think it came out pretty darn good!

Now, the actual electronics for running a CNC (like my warthog) is a whole other project and is not going to be explained right now in detail, but i want to show you the inside of my motor control box just so you can see the relays and power outlets.

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There are a few relays in the back which control the main power, the spindle and vacuum. These get there commands directly from the switches on the panel threw a normal 9 pin serial cable. I do this for a personal preference as I dont really want the computer controlling the spindle just yet. I was a bit worried about noise at first, but I haven’t had any problems.

The panel also got the keyboard added to it, which is a very nice keyboard, its all dust and water sealed and has the mouse built in. Also includes another 12 F keys which is excellent for giving commands in Mach3. Soon I will add a MPG Pendant to go next to the keyboard and make complete. Its all mounted to a steel bar that can easily swivel around.

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This really is perfect for anyone with a CNC Machine that wants to have it controlled very conveniently and not have to worry about dust and such getting into your keyboard and mouse


My Shop/Workplace

So I love garages and work benches and tools.. hell, what guys don’t? I always enjoyed watching videos or looking at pictures of other peoples work places, so I thought I would share mine! I have plenty of tools that are necessary, and some that are not (can have fun tools too!) Everything isnt shown, but alot is. Some of the basics are your wrenches and such, but having a Dremel, Soldering Irons, wire spools, power tools, power supply, drill press, band saw, a stool (most important!), misc screwdrivers, ext.. and a automatic wire stripper is EXCELLENT!

This one is great for stripping wires quick. It auto adjusts, and strips, and gets read for the next wire all the the squeeze of your hand! Anything from 26 Gauge to 8 Gauge! Its GREAT!

Now another thing I love and do NOT regret purchasing is ALOT of wire on spools of different colors! I always thought when working on arcades and pinballs, how great having the color coded wire system! I even love to reuse old wire harnesses because of this very reason! So I went out looking to get a bunch of same sized wire in different colors and make a easy way to dispense them! Well this is what I came up with!

There is approx 5,000 ft total wire, 500 ft of each color! I picked up all 10 spools for around 130 dollars total. NOT BAD! All the wiring I have been doing lately has been so easy and nice! Plus having the wire fed up to my bench makes it nice to not see the spools and you cna practically take as much as you need without working. Im sure Ill go threw red and black the fastest, but thats ok! Much better than stripping wires from old arcades (even though I still do!).

Here is a quick video of my place!