Quick update on how Frank is doing! While we got him back online right quick after the move, the move did give us a chance to address several small gremlins and design flaws in his old base design. Nothing too dramatic, but he's more square and solid than ever now. After that came getting the vacuum system back online:
Again, slight changes. We went from a setup of progressively smaller zones, with the smallest being about the size of a sheet of paper near the X/Y zero. We found we never used the smaller zones by themselves, and that our system doesn't have the pressure to hold things that small anyways. So this time we went with eight big square zones, and it's working wonderfully. Also Frank's gotten some new stickers. Someday we should give him a flame job! Next up are a new system of adjustable stops:
These adjustable stops allow you to setup Frank so that you can simply push a sheet of plywood onto him from the in-feed table, and it's stopped in the same place every time as well as held in place. These in combo with the vacuum system make production cutting a snap, such that we made twenty-four desks in two days.
But by far the best recent upgrade is our new spindle! A spindle is a special cutting head used by CNC machines. It's a motor (a huge servo motor, kinda-sorta) that can turn at very precise speeds (even very slow speeds) with lots of torque. It's also got a neat trick: it hooks to Frank's brain, allowing Frank to control it's speed and power. This will not only make for cleaner and faster cuts, it will also let us cut aluminum and other metals much more easily than before. But it's greatest feature is that it's much, much quieter than our old router, making the shop a much better work environment!
We'll be showing off the improved Frank next month at our forthcoming June open house. Still planning the exact date, but keep mid-June open!