CNC Plasma cutter, Fall planPosted: August 6, 2012
Having taken most of the spring and summer off after last winters heating season, it is now time to review progress and regroup to make more progress. I have been spending part of my “free” time working on a CNC Plasma cutter. The goal of this machine is to improve the speed of prototyping and aid in the quality of the parts produced.
I’m not a very patient person so having a CNC make the cuts instead of me trying to either free hand or follow a straight edge with the plasma cutter will definitely improve the quality especially of the welds. At this point I am building the carriages and exploring what software to use in conjunction with the cutter. I am intending to use Mach 3, but I need to review and find a CAD program and CAM program that work together.
In conjunction with the CNC project I am working on getting a SparkFun OpenLog device to log data to a MicroSD card. At some point I know this will be useful to the project. I ordered the OpenLog from SparkFun in February so with the new Arduino IDE (1.0.1) the firmware for OpenLog needs to be updated. This requires ordering a FTDI board or using a FTDI cable. a second board is recommended as well. These items are on order and should arrive this week. Of course after updating the firmware and config file, the next step will be getting the software integrated into the Arduino sketch to make it a practical useful device. I think when I get that done I will make that section of the code a function and post it to the Arduino forum.
Lastly I am working on a PID control for the software, this is really in the development phase and not a lot of time has been spent on this aspect. To enable the boiler to convert from pellets to chips to sawdust to acorns? I know the software will need to adjust the burn parameters to make the product burn seamlessly.
Oh yeah I almost forgot, I have about 6-8 tons of chips in my driveway waiting to be dried. The drying needs to be done by me building a dryer…for now I am focusing on the CNC cutter and when McMaster-Carr or UPS fail me I can fall back to working on OpenLog functions for practical data collection.