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Archive for November, 2010

The First Cuts–DIY cnc mill based on maxnc 15 platform.

Posted by djoneseu on November 28, 2010

Well it’s been almost two years since I started this project and it’s spent most of the time neglected, partly due to cost and space restrictions yet predominantly my reluctance to finish it due to the realisation that I’d have to do something with it… or sell it!

 

I’ve often been frustrated by producing 3d designs or having ideas for products and not being able to make them into something ‘real’. Computer aided design only satisfies me so much, you just can’t beat the real thing. Because of this exact reason a few years ago I started researching into the construction and design of a CNC mill, I had a rough idea what I wanted to achieve: A mill that could cut plastic, wood, perhaps some basic circuit boards and yes aluminium too! (the later being the challenging component). So I rules out basic lightweight DIY structures in favour of either a converted cast iron/steel mill, something like the Sieg X1, X2 or something bigger. Then I hit the space and weight issue head on, read up on the specifications of the X2 which was my desired machine 153 lbs / 69 Kg ! Ouch yep that was a problem because at the time I was living in an apartment in Surrey with very little room and no outside storage.

 

So once again I trawled the web looking for some sort of a solution, I came across something interesting on Ebay. It was an incomplete MAXNC 15 mill, no motor, no steppers, no controller just the basic metal structure. I can’t remember exactly what I won the auction for but I think it was less than £40, seemed like a bargain and so far so good. I had to make up my own gib strip for the Z axis as one was missing but I figured that wasn’t going to be too much of an issue.

Next stop was for me to source a controller, I looking into making my own but to be honest by electronics skills at the time weren’t great and I didn’t have the confidence to through myself into that as a sideline project (I remember thinking I could probably get the mill to drill one for me when it was completed). After more googling and research I opted for a 4 axis Mechatronics controlled board from http://easy-cnc.com/ this seemed quite simple to setup and had huge flexibility for the motors, oh and most importantly it was comparatively cheap (manual). Parallel to this I picked up some small Nema 16 stepper motors (x4) from ebay for about £40, these arrived promptly but had no connection plug or cables so I managed to get some ‘samples’ from a manufacturer (may have posed as potential business customer).  t.b.c

peak of 1st time machine is powered up, not finished by a long way though!

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FOG 0.29 network deployment in action, windows 7, F.O.G

Posted by djoneseu on November 19, 2010

I’ve setup FOG 0.29 (network deployment solution) at work to deploy and update around 120 computers expanding to 200+ in the next six months. It’s free and seems to do the job brilliantly, I work for a large UK University and am keen to help others move away from antiquated deployment techniques.

So far we have 5 classrooms with 2 different hardware configurations running on the same image which DOESN’T need to be sysprepped! *yippee. FOG actually images, changes the hostname and then joins the computers to the domain in the correct OU 🙂 the software supports CSV files so importing and setting up computer groups was straight forward.

It has already saved my team loads of time and means we can push out major software deployments without having to fiddle with MSI & transform files. Bare in mind too that a lot of the educational software we use and trial isn’t designed with network deployment in mind so can be a pain, not to mention things like realplayer, quicktime etc. (yes I know they can be made to work & there are alternative versions, realplayer may seem legacy now but if you make us of BBC archives it is required).

I will be putting up a lot more information on our setup when my current major project is over (department relocation into newly refurbished premises).

If you’re stuck using FOG I’ll try and assist, I’ve spent enough time learning it I might as well put that knowledge to good use!

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