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How To Improve CNC Router Productivity With 2 More Axes

Image Source: Iryna Imago / Shutterstock

Building automated systems often leads to seeing problems in terms of potential automation solutions. While this approach can be advantageous, it is important not to go overboard and automate everything, as it can become counterproductive in terms of time and money.

A strategic automation solution can increase process efficiency without exceeding the budget. [Christopher Helmke] has successfully achieved this with a two-axis add-on fixture for his CNC router. This innovation addresses the manual modification required to transform off-the-shelf plastic crates into enclosures for his modular automation components. The previous method involved drilling holes and creating cutouts using a drill and a jigsaw, which yielded predictable results.

To automate the process without overcomplicating it, a tilting turntable was designed to fit under the CNC router’s bed and extend through a hole in the spoil board. The turntable, driven by a stepper and pinion gear, features a large 3D-printed herringbone gear and a cheap bearing to keep costs down. Additionally, a quartet of planetary gears stabilizes the platform, while a herringbone sector gear enables a 90-degree swivel, adding pitch and roll axes to the machine and granting the spindle access to all five sides of the crates.

The outcomes displayed in the video below demonstrate the effectiveness of this automation solution, especially considering the volume of workpieces that need processing. The budget-conscious construction strikes a balance between cost and precision, making this innovation a significant automation success.

Image Source: Iryna Imago / Shutterstock

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