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Question CNC Parts for Sim Projects

Discussion in 'DIY peripherals' started by SpeedyG, Jan 30, 2019.

  1. SpeedyG

    SpeedyG New Member

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    Does anyone have any experience with having CNC metal parts made for their projects? If so what did you have made, and what was the cost? I was looking at 3D printed metal parts too, anyone tried that?
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    Ads Master

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  3. Adrianstealth

    Adrianstealth Active Member

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    My Motion Simulator:
    SCN6, 4DOF

    Laser cutting is the way I went
    You do need to supply the CAD though

    I had many parts made
    -see my thread -I’m going up organise it & add some close shots of parts
    Cost varies a lot depending where you go
    but it’s not that expensive considering one is receiving high grade custom parts
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2019
  4. SpeedyG

    SpeedyG New Member

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    Very nice work, impressive! I'll have to look into laser cutting, how precise is it? I need some parts with holes for press-fit oilite bearings, which require a certain degree of accuracy. I'll try and upload some pics of my design to show the parts that I need making.
  5. Adrianstealth

    Adrianstealth Active Member

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    My Motion Simulator:
    SCN6, 4DOF
    For my rear traction loss I had x4 metal sheets laser cut for this exact thing,
    6 bearing holes in each plate

    Those plates were welded to the frame
    Some small distortion due to heat ment I then had to use a few spacers to make sure each bearing was in contact with upper plate

    Laser cutting is very accurate it will do exactly what the CAD says
  6. SpeedyG

    SpeedyG New Member

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    Sounds like it will suit my needs quite nicely. I'm currently in the process of learning to use some CAD software so I can transfer my design and have the necessary files to send away for a quote. Are the machines capable of cutting partially through the material, as in the case of counterbored holes etc.?
  7. Adrianstealth

    Adrianstealth Active Member

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    My Motion Simulator:
    SCN6, 4DOF
    no, clear straight through the metal, obviously allow for a very small bit of extra on the measurements,

    they can mill metal so not all the way through but for simplicity & cost best stick to straight laser cut

    e.g. if the bearing housing outer diameter is 40mm
    then hole needs to be around 40.5mm


    Ps because of minor metal destortion due to welding try to bolt on parts that have critical spacing if you can ,
    spacers are a good solid solution if needed though
  8. SpeedyG

    SpeedyG New Member

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    Okay, thanks for the info. Having read up on the process a bit, I don't think that the distortion would be a huge issue, but I would have to amend my design slightly to accommodate for the fact that it only cuts in "2D", so to speak. Who did you go to for your parts, if you don't mind me asking?
  9. Adrianstealth

    Adrianstealth Active Member

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    My Motion Simulator:
    SCN6, 4DOF
    074414EC-D1F7-457C-BAED-A6C600D89952.jpeg
    There’s lots of little metal fabrications & laser cutters in my home city ( Leicester , UK )
    I can send you details if you require

    -but if I were you I’d personally find a couple locally to you & go in to have a quick friendly chat & askif they’ll do a cash job , if you find a local friendly one they’ll be able to help you on other stuff too , they’ll surely have metal cutters / welders
    Water jet cutting is fine too for your requirement -they’ll maybe have both laser & water
    They should stock a selection of sheet metal,
    3mm to 5mm ( you don’t want flex but you also don’t want unnecessary weight )

    If you find a small helpful place then you’ve made a big step forward, if cash etc it should be quite cheap too , tell them your close by & you’ll personally collect & they can fit in between their other jobs to suit them

    In my case I supplied all the steel box tube
    -ordered it online & had it delivered directly to them , they the laser cutters supplied the sheet metal for the laser cut parts

    I obviously independently bought the bearings / joints & misc stuff for the final build

    I’m very very happy with mine it’s rock solid & never gave me any problems
    Only thing I’d change if re-doing it is I’d really try to make it smaller/more compact

    Pic above
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    Last edited: Feb 1, 2019
  10. SpeedyG

    SpeedyG New Member

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    Okay thanks for the info. Suppose it makes sense to find some local places and pop your head in, rather than to have everything conducted over the phone/internet. Great pic by the way- very nice design, very tidy! I should have mentioned earlier though, it's not actually a motion rig that I was planning to build. I'm designing an H-Shifter, so less structural steel parts and more mechanical bits and pieces. They can be slightly on the crude side I would think, but some of the parts I designed have some intricate details. Might be a case of simplifying the design somehow for the sake of keeping the costs down, and maybe some sanding and filing to make them fit! I'll upload some pics once I've finished...
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  11. FargusFaustmeister

    FargusFaustmeister Member

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    Hey, I wanted to chime in with a few thoughts for you regarding CNC metal fab. Firstly, and contrary to popular belief, CNC milling (any computer controlled machine with cutting tools) is really only beneficial for repeatability with regards to making parts. If you're making 1000 of the same part it's great because tolerances will be very tight between parts. For one offs it is still going to be precise and accurate but not really worth the extra cost, depending on what you're getting made. A good scribe and some patience will give results similar to CNC milling depending on the job.

    Now, if precision is really important then CNC is perfectly fine. A good code and proper setup can save you lots of time when making a part that has critical dimensional relationships. Even in this case though it's really important to remember that decimal points cost money. If you give a fabricator a design with dimensions like 3.01 then they will make it that way and it will cost you for the time and effort. If you give them 3.1 it will save you a tonne of time and money. If you give them a general tolerance of +- 1/16 then you can save even more. It's a game of give and take, and unless you are designing a space ship I would recommend choosing looser tolerances.

    Something I'd like to recommend is 8020 for structural designs. Sure there is a premium for the extrusions up front but it doesn't require any further intervention from expensive professionals; everything goes together with nuts and bolts and can be reused or reconfigured as many times as you want. Given that most peoples' first design is not their last it can save you money in the long run. Adrian's gorgeous liquid cooled super computer appears to be on an 8020 system.

    Okay, sorry for the wall of text on the subject, hopefully I didn't just lecture you on things you already know -_-

    Also, what CAD software are you learning? I think it's a great skill to have!
  12. SpeedyG

    SpeedyG New Member

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    Hi there, thanks for the advice.

    I thought CNC milling would be the way to go initially as it seemed like the obvious choice for the parts I need to make, but I don't know a whole lot about these things, and wouldn't be averse to the idea of having them hand-made if it kept costs down. If they do the job, then I'm not all too bothered about how they're made. I'll have to get some pictures up (third time I've said this!) to give a clear idea of what manufacturing processes might be involved in making them.

    As for precision, I think some of the features break down into tenths of a millimetre (clearance holes etc.), but I also had in mind that this might mean extra expense and have really just put these in as an 'ideal' solution. I have considered using aluminium extrusions for structural elements, but decided to try and do something more fancy instead and try to find a way to do it on the cheap!

    I am using Fusion360 for the CAD, which I downloaded a few days ago. Seems really straightforward and easy to use, liking it so far.
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  13. FargusFaustmeister

    FargusFaustmeister Member

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    I have F360 downloaded on my laptop as well and though I haven't used it much I was trained on Inventor and found that to be a very capable program, so I'm sure you'll be very happy with your choice of CAD program!

    As far as clearance holes go, those have tolerance factors as well. Tight fight, close fit, loose fit; it really depends on the design principle for your part. Let me know when you have some photos of what you're going for ;)
  14. SpeedyG

    SpeedyG New Member

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    Haven't really tried at any other CAD programs except for FreeCAD, which I looked at briefly before deciding it was gonna take me quite while to get to grips with it. Fusion just worked for me straight off the bat, plus the ability to import parts from the McMaster-Carr catalogue is a huge bonus and saves a lot of time.
    Haven't really tried at any other CAD programs except for FreeCAD, which I looked at briefly before deciding it was gonna take me quite while to get to grips with it. Fusion just worked for me straight off the bat, plus the ability to import parts from the McMaster-Carr catalogue is a huge bonus and saves a lot of time.

    Got some pictures of my design thus far, Fusion's rendering feature makes your project look so good that the end product will only ever be a disappointment!

    https://imgur.com/BSYX8mo
    https://imgur.com/lWOxAhz
    https://imgur.com/sJ4HH0K
    https://imgur.com/vZ5Pl8a
    https://imgur.com/C4YqsqH
    https://imgur.com/2vazBiz
    https://imgur.com/9cz3Uqj
    https://imgur.com/vbye5DB
    https://imgur.com/9NWUSl5
    https://imgur.com/UVSNfaX
    https://imgur.com/CKeSwJU
    https://imgur.com/6ZlZFTW
    https://imgur.com/VKAKfHk
    https://imgur.com/KEXwtxu

    For a sense of scale, the casing is 220L x 80W x 87H (mm), and the shaft is 20mm in diameter. The Diagonal supports are a very precise measurement (basically just the hypotenuse of the right angle triangle), but the hole tolerances at each end might allow me to round it either up or down to a smaller increment. As for the shaft, it seems apparent to me that that will need turning on a lathe. I was thinking that the gate should be 3D printed with nylon, as it is durable and I've seen other DIY H-Shifter projects using nylon for the gate, but I've also noticed that you can get things 3D printed in metal too! Might be expensive come to think of it. As for the fork at the end of the shaft, I'm undecided as to whether to make it out of two 2D parts joined by a block and an additional rung, or whether to have one solid, milled part. It all depends on the expense really! Any thoughts would be appreciated.
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  15. FargusFaustmeister

    FargusFaustmeister Member

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    Please take all of this with a grain of salt as I don't have a solid understanding of how your design would function; my suggestions and feedback are based soley on my interpretation of the photos you provided.

    My opinion would be that fabricating the case yourself will cost significantly more than using 20mm aluminum extrusion (which is $0.16/inch on 8020.net) That is pretty close or less than the raw cost of material alone; the machining is going to be $20/hr at the very least, and your design has some critical locating features that would be hard to achieve with conventional tooling. Plus, given how the support structure is made up of so many pieces you will either have a very hard time fitting it together in assembly, or the looser tolerances on your clearance holes will foil the precision.

    I don't want to be a downer and I am definitely not disparaging your design! It's just my opinion that, for your own goal of doing this "on the cheap", this design will cost you more than a different route. This isn't a comment on your or the fabricators capabilities, it's merely the reality of manufacturing. Another option would be to look at doing this with 3D printed parts and using thin sheetmetal plates + fasteners to hold it together. Or glue! Adhesive is a perfectly reasonable manufacturing fastener! Plus, FDM is capable of very stiff structures so long as you keep the material and printer capabilities in mind while you design. From what I can tell, you really need stiffness in the case, and precision in the two bushing housings + foot for the shift knob. Everything else just has to support that, unless there is more to the design (which I'm sure there is). Do you have any sketches of the mechanics that actuate the shift shaft?

    It is my hope that you continue working this project and, if you want, completely ignore what I say. Having the parts made as per your design would be an invaluable experience to learn machine design, so if you got a quote for the work and like how it looks then please do go for it! You're 100% further than I've gotten in any of my projects so keep going. It's easy to criticize, much harder to create. Good luck.
  16. SpeedyG

    SpeedyG New Member

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    I might consider using aluminium extrusions and other prefabricated parts, but first I think I'm gonna at least try whittle the costs down of some CNC parts and see if it doesn't come out all that expensive. I'll try and get some more pics up when I can, but as far as the mechanics go, to give you a vague idea, I've based the design on the Frex H-Shifter; the notches on the shaft are for a spring-loaded follower to follow in order for each gear to click into place, which I thought would add a nice touch.

    I appreciate the advice, my hope was that there might be a way to go the CNC direction and not end up spending a huge sum of money if I could keep the parts reasonably basic. Turns out there's a few techniques you can use in order to keep machine time to a minimum and work within the limitations of the tools used. Might have to get rid of some of those rounded edges too!
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