For the last year I have been converting an internal combustion car into an electric car, in the course of this project I became acquainted with a guy called Steve who runs a small EV conversion business in Peacehaven just down the road from me, for the last year he has been scaling down his business due to the lack of demand for full blown ICE - EV conversions and partly due to the general economic slowdown.
In the course of this he had to give up one of the industrial units that he ran his business from and squeeze his entire business into one unit, The side effect of this is he had too much equipment and not enough space or time to use it all.
For some time now I have been promising to take a Seig KX3 CNC mill off his hands and this weekend I finally collected it from his workshop and moved it over to my workshop at home.
I am a complete novice at CNC and the closest I have ever been to doing any sort of machining was in secondary school metalwork classes where I made a G clamp by casting alloy in a sand mould and drilling/tapping a hole for the studding, that is the sum total of my machining knowledge.
However now of course I have the internet at my disposal and making things seems to be becoming a big part of my midlife crisis ;-)
before I collected the KX3 I had spent about 4 hours tinkering with the Mach3 software that controls the mill and in that time i did manage to mess up the calibration of the axis so that the software began erroring!
However after collecting the machine on Sunday 25th Aug at around 11:30AM and spending the rest of that Sunday neglecting the kids and my ever loving partner I (at around 11:15PM) finally managed to work out how to set the work coordinates.
Being a complete novice I am sure this is not the correct way of doing this but I found that by jogging the tools to the required starting spot and then taking the software "Offline" and following this up by clicking "Goto Zero" would zero the working coordinates without moving the machine.
Then I could simply load a G code program (some of these were supplied as the computer that came with had several programs for making Buss Bars and other EV components) and click run program.
voila, I had drilled my first Buss Bar, enthused by my progress I followed this up by milling two fan holes in an ali box for the EV charger I am building.
To may amazement it worked despite me using a Drill chuck to mill (this is a big no-no and very bad practice) and having no proper milling bits or a collet chuck, so I used a short shank 5mm drill bit (hardened I think as it came with the machine)
And after modifying an existing GCode for cutting holes so the Radius was correct I managed to bolt the nearly completed Ali charger box onto the bed and cut two 52mm diameter fan holes for cooling.
however in the process I have discovered -
1) need a proper collect chuck, did ask Steve if he had one for the KX3 he said "Yes somewhere" as i might have to wait sometime for Steve to find it if it still exists (possibly lost in his workshop downsize) I may just buy a new one.
2) need proper milling bits for milling (rather than using drill bits, very bad practice and I am surprised it worked a t all without breaking the bit or stalling the motors.
3) need to order drill sizes for the buss bars I am trying to get made 4.85mm or possibly 3/16th, need to investigate drill bits for milling machines and get some good quality ones.
4) need to get some more cutting fluid and learn how to look after it (after reading last night it sounds like it needs looking after as it can grow bacteria and become contaminated very quickly with "Tramp oil" and metal fillings.)
5) need to service the mill, the liquid gasket that holds the drip tray to the bed is leaking and needs redoing for one, but mainly the coolant pump needs cleaning and fresh new coolant needs procuring.
6) look at getting 4th axis, this is defiantly an optional extra but I am hoping that I can get a new one for less than £250.
7) watch loads of YouTube videos on Mach3 CNC software and how to use it (Properly)
8) investigate general machine tool practice and saftey measures.
Photos of the bussbar and Alibox to come.