CNC control of a drill press table?

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4DThinker
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CNC control of a drill press table?

Post by 4DThinker »

I've had a Nova Voyager drill press for some time now, and enjoy its smart depth stop, speed control, etc.. It is not a true Z-axis, but I've had the idea of automating an X/Y table to mount on it.
What I'm looking for is pendant controller that provides a digital read out of the table position, and an initial "set X/Y zero" function, along with quick and more precise jog controls that might be useful control for a smart table. Since no coordination is possible with the "Z" axis truly useful CNC control is not possible. An existing programmable jog pendant might be useful as the table control interface. Something that has a USB jack to take g-code files, and a step-through feature to step the table from one X/Y position to the next.

I'm imagining precise drilling of anything with a grid/array/row(s) of holes that need to be drilled. Projects like the triangle golf-tee peg board game, cribbage boards, Pegs and Jokers, Mastermind game etc..
I've had a manual X/Y table on my previous drill press that came in handy for simpler hole layout. I can manage the linear rail and stepper motor part of a more precise X/Y table, but don't want/need a PC and/or big controller box living near the drill press.

I'm looking for a control pendant that actually controls the stepper motors to directly move the table. Any recommendations for a specific one are greatly appreciated. I'll be using aspire to create hole patterns but want the g-code to step and wait for manual Z axis and then a "next" command from the controller.

All advice and hardware suggestions appreciated. Thanks.
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Re: CNC control of a drill press table?

Post by garylmast »

My brother has a surface grinder that he asked me basically the same thing about some way to control the linear slide. We were looking at the Arduino controller. It seemed very easy and might be something you could look at.

Gary

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Re: CNC control of a drill press table?

Post by ger21 »

Maybe one of the standalone Chinese controllers? I think they can be had for $200 or less?
Gerry - http://www.thecncwoodworker.com

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Re: CNC control of a drill press table?

Post by 4DThinker »

I've got an arduino board, but when going through the learning examples that came with it the board worked fine until it came to the stepper control example. That was more than a year ago when I was looking for a way to automate the setting of my CNC angle clamping jig. That failure put a screeching halt to my arduino research. I may have had a bad board, or a flawed code example, or a bad little stepper motor, but with no experience other than some ancient BASIC programming skills it sits unused. I also have a tinyG controller board but it requires a big power supply, as well as a PC to run it.

I picture a simple pendant hanging from my drill press table that I can pick up, stick a USB thumb drive or an SD card into, and then step through a g-code file that appears on a small display on the pendant. No attached PC if possible. A power cable coming into the pendant, and two cables running out to the X/Y steppers.

I accept that there may be no off-the-shelf solution like this. Seems like it shouldn't be a hard thing to create though.

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Re: CNC control of a drill press table?

Post by GEdward »

Perhaps something like the DSP controller like Axiom uses?

Ed

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Re: CNC control of a drill press table?

Post by potzmannwoodshop »

WHy? you can use a CNC to drill if you need precise XY positioning that is repeatable.

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Re: CNC control of a drill press table?

Post by 4DThinker »

potzmannwoodshop wrote:WHy? you can use a CNC to drill if you need precise XY positioning that is repeatable.
Two reasons I suppose. One, I like a challenge and already have the hardware on hand for this project (less the controller). Secondly it would demote CNC-done drill press jobs back to the drill press, yet keep the precision of layout. When a student comes to me asking me to CNC cut out and drill 48 triangle peg games as giveaways for some cause I can encourage them to do the work themselves using that smart drill press over there. The triangles can be cut out at the compound miter saw. Chamfer the edges at the router table. I don't mind using the CNC to help students create complex parts that are otherwise impossible to produce with the accuracy needed. The simple stuff that could be done using any number of other shop tools are jobs I decline to do on the CNCs.

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Re: CNC control of a drill press table?

Post by TReischl »

I dunno, just sort of seems to me it is like building a cnc machine that is purposely crippled.

One of the downfalls I can see is based on experiences we all have had doing mind numbing jobs, like drilling lots of holes. The brain shifts into to the ozone layer, push button, drill hole, push button, drill hole. . .mind begins to wander. . . push button, push button, oooops. Start over with mind numbing job.

From what you wrote it seems that what you are really trying to do is off load some of the work being done on the cnc machine to free it up for more complex tasks. I would look at it a bit differently: how about increasing the capacity by adding a second cnc machine, possibly smaller sized but same abilities?
"If you see a good fight, get in it." Dr. Vernon Jones

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Re: CNC control of a drill press table?

Post by 4DThinker »

The best benefit of doing a drilling job on a smart drill press is that any size/type of drill bit can be run at an appropriate speed for the bit. The slowest the routers we use on our CNCs can run is 8000rpm. My Voyager drill press will run large forstner bits at 200rpm-ish depending on the diameter of the bit. And yes I could pocket out an array of 1.5" diameter holes with my CNCs but using a forstner bit at proper speed on the drill press would be far more efficient.

Now I would never propose such a project with my old drill press. Changing the speed meant moving belts around and as such was rarely done. Setting the depth stop wasn't hard, but was never quite as precise as my Voyager drill press always does it. I've added a precision keyless chuck to my Voyager and now runout is nearly eliminated. We have ordered a Voyager for our college shop which we'll do the same with.

Yes, there will still be excuses to use the CNC rather than the drill press despite both being capable of it. If I never figure this out then the value (no matter how small) will never be known. If I make one and use it for a semester or two I'll know if it was a waste of time or frequently used. If it gets frequent use then I'll write the benefits up so we'll all know.

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Re: CNC control of a drill press table?

Post by TReischl »

Ahhh, now that is making more sense to me at least.

Quite often I look at my mini mill and think about doing a conversion on it. That little devil has a brushless dc motor that has incredible low end torque. A 2.5 dia forstner bit turning at about 50 rpm will not stall out with moderate feed rate. In my wilder dreams I think about getting another, ripping the spindle/motor assembly off and putting it on a cnc machine. Talk about clearing pockets out in a hurry!!!
"If you see a good fight, get in it." Dr. Vernon Jones

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