Got the Shopbot (Frank's) wiring all finished up on Monday, and in my excitement to make it go I used the wrong software (doh!). But now, with the right software talking to it's brain, it's clunking, moving, and vrooming around just like it's supposed to. Here's some photos of it, if you're interested in how it looks (and again, I love it's royal blue color):
This is a picture of the table itself, much like the last one, but now as you see there's more stuff on there than before. We spend all of Sunday simply making those rails it rides on perfectly straight, level, and parallel to only have to probably do it several more times before it's 'done'.
Here's a shot of one of the X-axis (the long one) drive motors. It's basically a big stepper motor, driving a gear that's on a long pinion that's on the underside of that long blue rail. That spring there keeps it in place while it's rolling along. Dig all the warnings, that's why we made one of our own, and we're gonna print it out as a sticker and put it along the other warnings (for robots are dangerous!).
Here's a shot of the Y and Z axis. That large carriage cross-bit moves back and forth along the length of the table, like a gantry crane, while that vertical bit in the center of the photo moves back and forth perpendicular to the length of the whole table, thus giving us the Y-axis. The vertical bit in the very center moves up and down, giving us the Z-axis. All three can move together at the same time smoothly, making it possible to move in very complex patterns and paths. That ring in the center there is what holds whatever tool you've decided to use- it's quite literally the Shopbot's 'arm'. My router will go in there today, and in the future we'll be getting a nice power dremel tool to go in there for fine relief work.
Here's that 'arm' from the underside. You don't want to be here when it's on.
So now all I gotta do is hook up the X and Y proximity switches (so Frank knows when it's arm has reached it's 'home base') and the Z-axis plate (so Frank knows how deep to cut), and put the router in there and we're almost done. The final step is placing a thick sheet of MDF (a denser particle board) in the bottom, and having Frank surface it to be perfectly flat and level. It makes it's own worksurface. As a matter of fact, once we've done that, Frank will make itself it's own vacuum hold-down, dust collection accessories, and more. It comes with the job files to make the rest of the parts it needs to be fully functional. But we'll need some kind of dust collection system before then, for that first step of leveling the table is gonna make a WHOLE lotta sawdust...