I've read a lot of Gadget Freak projects in the past couple of years and this is about as impressive and as useful as any of them. It's hard to believe this comes from a teen inventor. He has a bright future in engineering. I was also impressed with the quality of technical writing. I'm not sure if he had a good proof reader or editor, but the writing was flawless upon my first reading, and I'm usually quick to pick up typos, grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors. So many technical articles look like they were written by someone for whom English was a second language.
I might actually try to build this project myself. I might consider other materials than wood, e.g., Corian® or aluminum. Hey, how about making a wood version for the first cut and using it to make a second version of itself for the Corian or aluminum version?
Nice use of an encoder. Good mathematics knowledge for a teenager.
I agree, 78RPM. This author is an amazing inventor, regardless of age. His past inventions, an LED flashlight and LED lantern, were equally impressive. I agree with you -- he could have a great future in engineering, and the engineering profession would be glad to have him.
Thanks for the comment, 78rpm. I'm sure John will apprecaite it. As for editing, John's submission required very little editing. This is one of the best Gadget Freak submissions by anybody, and I've seen them all from the start.
Thanks much, I appreciate all the positive feedback from this project. Even though the quality of technical writing was probably from somewhere between the design news editors and spellcheck, not any specific skill on my part.
I would definately agree that a synthetic material or metal would make a much sturdier device, though as it is now, the mill itself would not be able to mill aluminum, or anything beyond hard woods with any accuracy or speed. Plastics might work, but it would probably be better to use another mill designed for greater precision or strength, as this design was only used because it is very easy to make using only the tools in my schools woodshop. Something smaller, and some type of linear bearings would probably keep everything from bending and turning as much as it does now.
I'm sorry to rain on the parade, but commentors have confused resolution for accuracy. With the construction there is no way to achieve 0.001 accuracy on the X & Y axis'. It is not stiff enough. Perhaps the mechanism totally unloaded could achieve that accuracy, but a mill involves side loads on the tool and it's supports in order to perform the task. I am still impressed with the iniative of building it. It is no substitute for a Bridgeport.
Good work, John. I sent this link to my 13 year old son. I think it's partly young folks like you (maybe you specifically, regarding LED flashlights:) making things like this that inspire my son to dabble in things mechanical and electrical. He restored a 50+ year old industrial air compressor earlier this year and his most recent project involved rewinding the secondary of a toroid transformer to get the 36 Volts he needed to power a 50W LED module.
He made videos of that and more and put it in his YouTube channel. Look for YT user XfmXz if you'd like to see what he's been up to.
I'm sure he's picked up an interest in tinkering from me, but I think seeing other teenagers doing cool stuff on their own inspires him and removes any reticence caused by the "I can't do that because I'm just a kid" kind of feeling.
I see how it seemed that i meant this as a replacement, so I'm sorry for the misunderstanding. This really is not a replacement for a true mill so much as a way for people who cannot afford a well-constructed mill. In my other comment I mentioned making a smaller, sturdier mill as opposed to this design. This was made as it was for easy fabrication and building without accurate tools or strong materials. It was also designed for soft materials, and thus lower side loads.
So yes, it will have a low accuracy if you try milling anything beyond soft wood at low speed, but that's really what it's made for.
Great job. I just wanted to clarify the impression recieved from the introduction.Stiffness is the key to accurate machining. You will realize what I'm talking about after you've used it some. Keep up the good work.
I've used it a bit, and noticed, especially at first, a lot of movement. Originally, there were no steel rods, only the angle aluminum. That did not work well, so I added the rods for support, though I hope to upgrade them to actual linear bearings (or at least brushings) and at larger diameter rod in any future version. The stiffness of most of the device is okay, but the improvised vise and Z axis generate most of the looseness. I do plan to make another version at some point that at least uses more precise parts and a better design, if not better materials.
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