If you have kept up with my projects for any time at all you know I am a massive gadget guy. I love new technology and tools. Some see these as a detachment from the past or “pure” woodworking. My thoughts are that they only enhance the quality and shear WOW value of a lot of work. It gives people the ability to do and make things that before the creation of things like CNC or 3D printers would have been just a dream. With that being said I have been wanting a CNC for some time not ever since I got a small tabletop engraver. It was tiny with no real power and would take around 5 hours to cut a small emblem the size of a baseball. Never the less I got bitten by the CNC bug.
Well I am able to now scratch that particular itch. After a long time of trying an working at it I finally got a CNC it is an i2R i8 a 2 ft by 4 ft cutting area spindle driven CNC. It has a 1 phase, 110 volt, 13 amp, 24,000 RPM capable air cooled spindle. As well as a welded steel frame. I was like a kid on Christmas morning opening the boxes of the machine. Inside was the machine, the base as well as the hardware to get it but together and moving.
The first step of assembling the machine is to install 4 casters on the bottom of the base rails. These caster use a gear style stop that will press the hard rubber sole of the caster into the floor and stop it from sliding. They can also be used to level the machine if this is needed. To install them you use 4 allen head bolts on each caster. There are pre-drilled and tapped holes on the bottom of the base rails for mounting the caster. Make sure to tighten down all of the bolts before moving on.
Once the casters are in place move on to installing the shelf inside the base. This is done by first installing 2 L- brackets one on each end of the base legs. Install the allen head bolts and allow enough room to slip the brackets in place behind the washers. With the brackets into place behind the washers tighten down the allen head bolts. Repeat this process with all four brackets and then flip the base legs over. An extra set of hands helps a ton at this point. Have someone hold the base legs into place and and drop the shelf base into place on the brackets and secure the self with a total of 8 allen head screws two in each corner. Once the shelf is in place you also have braces that are bolted into place on the bottom of the base. This part is self explanatory simply lay the braces into place and install the 2 bolts onto each side of the brace. Along with a single brace on the outside of the rear vertical legs.
Now is time to move onto the spindle and bed. The spindle comes detached from the vertical arms of the CNC for shipping. The spindle is placed on to the plate with the z axis motor on the upper side of the arms and cross bar. There are 6 total allen bolts that not only hold the spindle and motor in place but also insures the position of the spindle is correct. Be careful while installing the bolts make sure not to strip them as this is aluminum and striping the treads is always a risk. If the bolt is having trouble starting make sure not to force it back the bold out check the alignment and start again.
The vertical arms are not ready to be lifted into place. There are 2 large bolts already holding the arms into place and pivot the arms into place. This is almost fool proof and the arms should set flat aginst the base of the carrier. With the arms in place install the other two large bolts into the arms. One on each arm. There are also four other smaller allen head bolts that hold the arms into place. On the side with the electronics make sure not to bump or pull on the connectors while moving the arms or bolting them into place.
Make sure to tighten all of the bolts completely and then install the arm covers. There set into place are then are held by 5 small allen head bolts. Do not over tighten them as they are screwing into plastic on the cover and can be stripped easily.
Now for the big moment attaching the bed of the CNC with the base. For this I highly suggest making sure to have some help. The bed of the i2R 8 is around 200 lbs it can be set into place by just two or three people but the more the better. The best way I found was to use the rubber dampers to hold the bolts into place. This also held the dampers in close to the correct position. To align with the holes in the bed of the machine. Lift the bed of the machine straight up and if possible roll the base under the bed using the casters. Once you have lowered the bed onto the dampers lock the casters down so you can move the bed slightly to align all of the bolts. Attach all four bolts before tightening them down. Completely tighten them to ensure the bed is properly mounted.
Now it time to run the connections to the main box and power up the machine. This process if very straight forward as the connectors can only attach to a single plug in a specific position. Make sure not to over tighten the screws holding on the larger connector as if they break off it is a pain to get them out. To power up the machine plug the power cable into the back of the box and then an outtlet. Make sure the emergency switch is deactivated and then press the power button until the light comes on.
With all powered up test the machine. This CNC runs on i2R cnc UNCNC as a controller. I will be doing write up on the program and how to use it in the time to come. I chose to do a very simple cut on the cnc as its first cut to ensure that there were no problems with the machine or setup.
The machine is now ready to use. I am extremely excited to put it to use as this has been on my wish list for some time now. The i2R 8 is one heck of a machine and Im really going to put it to the test and see what it will do. If you want to check out this machine or any of the other i2R machines go check them out at i2rcnc.com they can help you out with anything you need and get you set up to start crating awesome projects with a great machine.
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