A while ago I bought and assembled a ShapeOko 2. It took a while to get it running and I also done a few upgrades. The first project is a keychain for the new/old car of my friends and studio colleagues, Arne and Sören. They are preparing this old Audi V8 for a rally around the baltic sea.
I started with a b/w SVG file, which I imported into QCAD. QCAD is 2D only, but really easy to work with. And cheap. I’ve done a lot with it, mostly for laser cutting, and I really like it. In QCAD I fixed a couple of minor issues and added the hole for the ring.
Then I imported the DXF into CamBam. CamBam is a CAM tool to generate tool paths, like: go to this coordinate, lower the mill, then mill to this coordinate and so forth. It is relatively cheap (108 euros), and has all the features I need right now and more. In CamBam I inserted a pocket operation for the surface and a profile operation for the cut out. The tool path is then exported as gcode, ready to send it to the mill.
Unfortunately CamBam is Windows and Linux only, no OSX.
To send the gcode to the mill, there is another tool, called grblController. This tool takes the operations of the gcode and sends it to my ShapeOko.
The material is 3mm thick aluminum plate. I milled it with a 2 fluted 1mm end mill at 800mm/min and 0.2mm depth per cut.
I applied a bit of WD40 every now and then. That worked pretty good. The tiny chips flew everywhere because I haven’t had the dust collector adapted to the new spindle. So I was holding the vacuum hose by hand. A bit messy to clean up.
Next to the bandsaw and cutting of all the excesses.
Because there were a bit of tool marks left in the machined pocket, I tried to polish it. That didn’t work super well, because I couldn’t get into the tiny details with my polishing head. However, I sell it now as a used finish.
All in all I’m quite happy with the result. Of course there are always things to improve. I’ll have to investigate, if the Kress 800 FME is too heavy for the ShapeOko and caused the tool marks. It ways 1.4kg, that may be too much. If so, I will have to downgrade. Also I haven’t tried more conservative feed rates, spindle speeds and different milling bits. So many knobs to turn …
BTW: If you want to support Arne and Sören in their quest, they are still looking for sponsors. Hop over to 4fv8.de and donate a liter. Or a gallon. They are nice guys and it’s for a good cause.