What got you into CNC ?

02 Dec 2020 23:07 #190918 by my1987toyota
Short version . It was inevitable.

Long version.
When I was a kid I was always taking things apart and some times getting them to go back
together without extra pieces . I was constantly building different things with lego's mechanical
and otherwise. ( I highly recommend the Lego Technic series ) In my teens ( the 90's ) I modified Lawn tractors
for higher speed, I took the engine off of an edger and attached it to a skate board .( late teens early 20's ) I had thought about going
into machining but went into marine mechanics instead . Looking back I should have gone into Electromechanical instead.
in that time I got a chance to mess with manual mills and lathes. ( late 20's early 30's ) I got frustrated with working on
boats, cars, ect. The pay didn't match the frustration of the work involved. Around the same time I was diagnosed with
Crohn's disease and my health went down hill within a few years. I was in the hospital multiple times and thought I was
going to die. I was able to get surgery to remove a stricture that had developed in my intestines and was put on a medication
to keeps the disease in check. ( mid 30's ) Finally getting my health back I had an idea for making ignition brackets to convert
the Toyota 22R engine ( standard on most Toyota pickups from 80's to mid 90's ) to distributor-less ignition.

I tried converting a small drill press with an X-Y table to make it a mill. It somewhat worked but took way too long to be useful . I had seen some video's on YouTube about people getting the mini-mill and using Mach3 to go CNC. I figured if I was going to go through the effort of CNC'ing a manual mill I needed something bigger then the mini-mill but couldn't afford a full size BridgePort :( . So I looked through Ebay and the like for something like the Sieg X-3. All the while learning how to use cad cam software ( I settled on Autodesk Fusion 360 ) I also learned how to Anodize aluminum and built a rotary tumbler to take the burr's off.

I finally found a good Grizzly G0619 mill and started playing with it manually . I learned quickly just how slow and inefficient I was
at running the machine . I had always intended to CNC the mill but now it became clear that in order to build my brackets I needed
to CNC my mill.

In that time I was making key tags to use for test swatches for anodizing . This is what got me my current employment with
a manufacturer ( small company ) and took a small router and later a little Sherline 3 axis mill into fully CNC equipment using
a laptop and GRBL with Arduino to run them for drilling holes in various boxes of the products they sell instead of using drill fixtures. The blemish/Fail rate went to almost zero. I have sold a few of the 22R ignition brackets in that time as well.

All in all I wish I had found CNC sooner but when I look back on my life so far what I have done has built up what I do now. Where I work helps me to continue to push my own boundaries I am getting into electronics design and absolutely love R&D. With that said -
Me getting into CNC was inevitable .
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13 Jan 2021 03:00 #195165 by Benb
Replied by Benb on topic What got you into CNC ?
To ward off dementia :angry:

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13 Jan 2021 04:44 #195171 by scotth
Replied by scotth on topic What got you into CNC ?
I'm with Ben on this.

I grew up in a machine shop. Worked as an electrician through college. Went to work as a tek for about ten years. Then supervised the entire crew for another ten. Then worked as a reliability engineer, crushing numbers and data then design work with our vendors. Now just trying to keep my mind working.

Started with IBM 360 machine code then 6800 code, 6809 code on to OS9 and Unix.
So that is how I got to LinuxCNC (and the fact it has lead screw comp).

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13 Jan 2021 05:12 #195173 by johnmc1
Replied by johnmc1 on topic What got you into CNC ?
Been around machines for at least the last 75 years just a natural progression to cnc ,
building something that works as planned has its own rewards :woohoo: :woohoo:
cheers john
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13 Jan 2021 12:54 #195213 by andypugh
Replied by andypugh on topic What got you into CNC ?
My dad had his own home workshop. Better equipped than most, as it was housed in a two-storey stable block that was part of our house. He had a knack of finding machine tools at scrap prices, so had the lathe he bought with his paper-round money, a shaper and a Kearns HBM.
So, I was using the lathe from the age of 7, and putting out fires in cars that he was welding for friends and neighbours from younger than that.
For years after that I was studying and working in Universities close to home, so would use the university workshops, or use my dad's workshop. Also at this time my dad and I were busy rebuilding an old house so I didn't have many projects of my own, and helped my dad with house-based stuff. Like making the steel mould to cast lead window frames or special tools for special jobs.
When I say "old house" I mean built somewhere around 1450: www.bodgesoc.org/slaithwaite.html
Eventually I ran out of research grants and got a "proper job" hundreds of miles away from my parents.

One night I had an idea for a clock that I wanted to make. So I bought my own first lathe, a tiny C0 that I kept in a kitchen cupboard. Then I decided that it needed to be bigger, and would be a lot more useful if it was CNC.
I was looking around at CNC controllers, and would almost certainly have picked Mach3 except that I am a long-time Mac user. As either LinuxCNC or Mach would both need a dedicated PC I chose the cheaper option, LinuxCNC.

A while later I accidentally bought some small servo motors from eBay. I found that Mesa had a card that could drive them, but there was no driver support in LinuxCNC for the required 3-phase PWM. So I decided to fix that. I had done some programming as a kid (sold 20,000 copies of a Spectrum game written in Basic when I was 15) so decided to learn C and write the driver.

So, more than 10 years later, my hobby seems to be writing software, with a hint of machining. And I still haven't made that clock. 10 years of progress has it at this stage:

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15 Jan 2021 05:48 #195402 by CORBETT
Replied by CORBETT on topic What got you into CNC ?
I grew up on the family farm, so I was always into mechanical machinery of some sort. Started driving a tractor at 7 years old, couldn't reach the pedals but they would run up and help turn the tractor around at the end of each row.... this was back in the 70's when we still grew tobacco here in south Georgia USA. My cousin still maintains everything as I followed my father in his business.

Thanks to my parents, I had a huge collection of Lego's that kept me busy all through the 70's. I still have all of my Lego "Space" sets from 1978 and 79... for me the golden age of Lego Space. Still have all of my Expert builder sets, plus still have a robot arm that I built at around 8 or 9... I controlled it with simple toggle switches, but it did work quite well for pick and place.

My Dad started a Fire Sprinkler company in 1979, so from there on I was destined to be around machinery one way or another. At 12 I was already cutting rod and making pipe hangers.

At 13 fixed my first engine, then at 15 started rebuilding automatic transmissions.as a night job. Once I graduated high school, I stopped the transmission gig as I went full in working with my Dad... I was already working with him part time also. Yes i was burning the candle from both ends too much... as I would go to school, then get out and go work at my Dad's shop for a couple of hours, then go rebuild transmissions at night.

At 15 I started building telescopes, and specifically needing to hob my own worm gears... this is when it all started. At 15 I bought my first lathe... and still have it, a South Bend 10K. Bought a few other things, but at 18 bought and still have one of my first "Real" lathes... a Leblond 15" Tool & Die maker Lathe. Then 2 Cincinnati Milacron #2's... Then the list goes way on... LOL... been very lucky over the years.

Oh I almost forgot about the CNC part... well like anyone, my brain was on fire and i was needing to keep moving as I needed to make other parts and i was still stuck at this manual machine making this part and I wanted to be on the other machine making that part... and that is how it all happened... I realized how slow it was to do manual machining of redundant parts... So in the late 90's I began to try and find any NC or CNC equipment, and man that stuff was expensive... But in 1998 got on eBay and the rest is history LOL
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