Our hacky CNC machine project upgraded to a real CNC Z-axis courtesy of a retired CNC router project. It was a modular design built out of extrusion beams and commodity M5 fasteners, which made it easy for us to remove the Z-axis and transfer it to our project.
The modular nature also made it easy to make modifications, and as we mounted this Z-axis on our machine we could see signs of creativity by the previous owner. We’re not sure exactly what problems all of these modifications were intended to solve, perhaps we will learn as we get further on this project. For now, the focus is on exploration which means a preference for nondestructive modification until we have a better idea of what we are doing.
Which means we’re not going to drill into aluminum for mounting holes just yet, we’ll get started with a simple 3D printed bracket for mounting this Z-axis assembly on our gantry. We would prefer to have mount it just a little bit lower, bit we were hampered by the 3D printed limit switch mount. It may get replaced later, but for now it dictates our Z-axis mounting height.
Thanks to the use of flexible aluminum extrusion beams on both CNC projects old and new, mechanically speaking it was relatively painless to transplant this Z-axis from one machine to another. Now we proceed to electrical and software integration.