Ok Guys, got everything sorted, finished and working. Have done a few test cuts and it is running like a dream. Right now, I am really exited, proud and happy, all at the same time.
For those that are interested, here is some information on my experience through the building process.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I had some issues with sourcing some of the hardware for this project in South Africa, this was probably due to a few contributing factors:
1. Mcmaster-Carr does not ship to South Africa and we do not really have an equivalent. Most suppliers are much more specific and not as broad ranged so I had to source a lot of the parts individually from different suppliers.
2. Here we do everything in Metric (although I did not have too much difficulty in sourcing the Imperial sized shafts for my rails)
3. A lot of the parts needed are only available as imports in South Africa and are therefore quite expensive and not easily available.
4. I am not the most technically informed person, so there are probably a lot of places and options that I overlooked. I'll just leave it at that.
Please note: I am not sharing this information as a complaint about the difficulties I faced in order to complete this project, I am just putting my experiences out there for anybody to see that might be in a similar situation than I am. I would gladly go through all of this again (although I will be somewhat wiser).
Here is a list of adaptions or substitutes I made on my build due to the above mentioned reasons:
Transformer: Ordered a Toroidal Transformer from RS Components. Specified transfomers not available for shipping to South Africa. Wiring information found in the HobbyCNC group at yahoo groups.
Using 6mm All Thread instead of Acme thread and nut(Will go for ACME later but very expensive locally compared to Europe and US)
Using 19.1mm mildsteel tubing instead of 3/4" aluminium tubing for bearing assemblies and belt clamps, 3/4" in aluminium unavailable with 1/8" wall thickness, only 1.6mm wall thickness available here.
All nuts and bolts I used are metric. T-bolt slot and grooves secured with 4mm nuts and bolts.(Unfortunately only realised after I had the laser cutting done that my 4mm nuts where slightly too big for the joints, so I had to use the dremel to enlarge all the grooves a little bit for the nuts to fit in.
Could not source MXL timing pulleys, so went with XL Pulleys(10 teeth) with 6mm inside diameter for the drive shafts. Belt width 9mm so I had to enlarge the holes on the vertical braces so that the belts did not rub against the MDF panels. Due to the pulleys being slightly larger than the MXL pulley's, the belts where also rubbing on the laser cut panels where the x-beam intersects with the vertical braces. Once again, a little bit of sanding with the Dremel sorted it out quickly.
Driveshafts are 6mm not 1/4" (which are 6.35mm) with corresponding bearings with 6mm inside diameter.
Motor couplings: I struggled to find rigid shaft couplings and also I needed couplings which had different inside diameters at each end. In the end I got a power transmission company to make up Sprocket couplers for me which are 6mm on the one side, for my 6mm drive shaft, and 1/4" inch on the other to fit the Hobbycnc motors.
I had to enlarge the hole in the Y-motor mount panels for for the Y-coupling to fit as it was larger in diameter than the specified couplings and did not fit.
Used 6mm mdf for the lazer cut panels, worked great, I had to adjust the drawings at a few places due to the fact that a few bearings that I used had different outside diameters than the specified bearings.
And that is pretty much all I can think of right now. Not too much trouble.
I must say that the soldering up of the HobbyCNC board seemed like a very daunting task, but with a few practice soldering efforts and with the help of the accompanying instructions, it all went well, specially considering I don't have much experience with that sort of thing. (zero in fact)
I have set up EMC2 and Linux(Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron) on my 7 year old PC, and so far it is working great. I did struggle a little bit with some bad latency issues, but after a bit of research I managed to sort it out. Mainly I had to disable everything in the BIOS, including onboard sound and an old stiffy drive, yep my PC still has one. I did a lot of reading on the net, there is a lot of information and forums to go through and you can be sure that if you have a problem, you definately are not the first person to have it and there will be plenty of posts about solutions. Even running a Nvidia GeForce card without any problems (for now).
With regards to a CAM package for now I will be experimenting with opensource or freeware software like CamBam Free, HeeksCNC and Freemill. Probably until I know what I am doing and what I need to be looking for in a software package. (That is if I end up purchasing a CAM Package at all and don't just stick with some opensource package)
I really enjoyed the process of building my DIYLILCNC. It has been 10 months since I first came across this project on the web and now there is one in my studio at home.
And that is awesome....