Has anyway tackled this kind of project? I have a few old inject printers, a couple with built in scanners, and a huge HP laserjet printer that I can plunder for parts. My question is, is it possible to be a PC/Laptop driven CNC router entirely from salvaged parts, without having to buy an Arduino board, or other board. Surely the existing devices have everything I need?
I've seen plenty of projects that always end up saying I have to buy something, which I'd like to avoid if possible.
I have a Dremel style tool already, so don't need to buy anything like that.
Last edited by davidmoody; 05-09-2016 at 10:31 PM.
I've been casting about for info on using printers for the motors and linear bearings too. I'm not trying to do cnc like you, more a machine to automatically cut 1/4" tubing that comes in 50' rolls into 1 1/4" long pieces. it would be interesting to know if something like Excel or some other typical software could be utilized for what either of us is exploring.
I've got no problem with Arduino because they are so cheap. For me it's been about trying to get the time to go through the process of learning how to use it and finding some kind of primer on utilizing printer guts to make cool stuff. It's astounding what in your typical printer that gets sent to the scrap heap by the ton.
Hi David, Great question. I think it is doable but the problem to me would be accessing the firmware from the different printers and some interface to that from your PC. Most are USB any more but have an Ethernet connection which would be my preferred choice. Personally I would probably go the Arduino route because of all of the available interfaces and I/O for limit switches and such. You will still need to figure out the motor/stepper/servo wiring to that interface though. A lot of printers use flexible circuit board interfaces which you may or may not be able to connect to. They also use an encoded flexible strip for the positioning of the head...not sure if that could be used but it would be tied in with the firmware if you could decode it and give you some decent resolution.
I assume you are wanting to build a 3 axis system?? It seems doable to use the rails, bearings, motors and some of the hardware for mounting it all into some form of 3 axis configuration. Most printers use toothed belts/pulley so that would have to be looked at to see if the originals could be used in your configuration.
Got my wheels spinning but it's a bit daunting unless you can find someone else's build to get more answers from. Might try the CNC forums.
Thanks for the great question to get the noodle going. ~PJ
What kind of tubing C-Bag? Not sure about using Excel, doubt it. Think you could use a cheapy micro PLC though. They have a fair amount of I/O and easy to program...more of a stand alone for automation. Do a search for Micro PLC...A ton out there now, cheap and cheerful. I've used Automation Direct quite a bit back in the day, kind of a one stop shop for automation.
Till Then, ~PJ
Shoulda known you have the goods Wiz! Even though I worked around PLC's in my packing house days I was not a tech, just a mech/fabricator. So you don't think a Arduino could control some printer guts? IIRC there's a guy on U2oob that used an Arduino to do some simple etching with a hacked printer.
The hose I use is 1/4" 1/8" wall Tygon 3350 platinum cured lab grade silicon hose. Very soft and pliable, easy to cut and very expensive. I cut at present 3,000+ pieces a year and it's getting old.
What I envision is using the motors and linear guides pull the hose off the reel. I have totally cool little Sprague clutch bearings I got at a wacky yards sale where this guy was making powered skate boards and I picked up a bunch, new and used. So the idea was to use them on the feed arm to keep the hose trapped and feeding only one way. Ever since I discovered Sprauge clutches in automatic transmissions I've been amazed they aren't used more like in socket ratchets. I had a little ratchet screwdriver that used a Sprague clutch and it was amazing for tight spaces because there no slop like in a regular ratchet. I think they would be perfect for making a one way feed mechanism. But I'm a mechanical guy not an electronics Wiz
As I said above it could be done but would be an arduos task and a lot of trial and error. You could control the motors once you figured out what type and the wiring for them...I think most are steppers but may be wrong. Trying to interface with the printer firmware though, wouldn't be pretty IMHO. A lot of the hardware may be applicable to your project as well.So you don't think a Arduino could control some printer guts? IIRC there's a guy on U2oob that used an Arduino to do some simple etching with a hacked printer.
Arduino's are the new sliced bread for makers and there is a ton of code available for free for all kinds of operations. I have one and some add-on's but found the programming a pain as I always do with coding. I'll never profess to being a code jockey but have written some in various languages including assembly...all the way back to the Motorola 6802. The new Atmega and Pic chips are a whole lot friendlier and more powerful mainly because of the insurgence of Stamp to Arduino, the modular interfaces and programming...and skyrocketing use by makers. So yes it can be done, but like you said...a steep learning curve if you haven't done it before. There are some good Arduino books on Amazon...I have couple but there will be some headbanging.
I would assume your tubing is 3350 from Cole Parmer or similar. What kind of spool does it come on? Paper, metal and what kind of hub does it have? Approximate diameter? Pictures? How critical is the length (1.25" ± ???), curf will fit into picture.
Sprauge clutches are the bomb for sure but I was thinking of a simpler design that would spin the spool into a guide to the cutter. You could also control your feed to a stop, clamp and cut, then drop. Have to think about it some more and need MO Details to give an over all ear ball. How are you cutting it now? Knife, blade?? You know me, I tend toward the simple and only the complex if necessary. All of it could be controlled by one of those simple Micro PLC's I'm pretty sure, the programming is simple/easy as well. Probably a simple loop through the I/O for the controls, rinse, repeat, stop...with a branch or two for safety and If's this then that's. You might need some interface to drive a stepper or servo if that was the route to take...the rest could be simple mechanical with solenoids or maybe pneumatic if necessary. I would start with a flow chart of what needs to happen when and next then finish. That will give you an idea of what I/O you need and how to take each new step to the end.
Food for thought. Cool project though!!
Till Then, ~PJ
Maybe I am looking at this from left field or am not understanding something.
but when you mentioned coils of tubing rolled out and cut to a set length it started me to thinking along the lines of a mig welder wire feed style with smooth rollers having a radius grove to match the tubing. the tubing would be fed through a sleeve the rollers would feed it through an output sleeve with a slot in it that would allow a meat cutter type circular blade to slice off the tubing the length would be set by a micro-switch stop that controlled every thing when the tube hit the switch the switch would stop the feed and start the saw blade which would slice off the part and retract a second micro switch would activate the dormeyer solenoid to lift the saw out of the way start the feed and trigger another dormeyer solenoid to retract the length stop switch plate just for an instant which would fall back in place as the cut piece of tubing advanced and fell away starting the process all over again
Again I am probably looking at this from under the pyramid and don't see the scope of things
Never try to tell me it can't be done
When I have to paint I use http://kbs.justoldtrucks.com/
Thanks PJs and FrankS. I guess I should change my avatar and name to HarryHyjack with a pirate or something
I like the IDEA of a flow chart but that's way more organized than I've ever been for any project. But your very pertinent questions Wiz got me paying more attention to the details of the Tygon first. I realized I was thinking of my old 7/64" vacuum rubber hose I quit using almost 5yrs ago that comes on a plastic reel. The Tygon just comes coiled up in a plastic bag and not in any particular fashion. It is very smooth and non porous so it makes it sticky to itself even though no glue or anything will stick to it. Do you know what I mean? So it does not come out of the roll easy so I'd probably have to take it and carefully roll it onto a reel. But even then it clings to itself somewhat like two pieces of glass.
Presently I use the top of the old plastic rubber hose reel cut specifically to make a gauge block 1.25" ( how'd you know Wiz? spooky) and little needle nose Fiskars sewing scissors to cut the hose with. Anything bigger no matter the quality just seems to mangle it. These little ones go through the hose clean and quick. I don't think a guillotine type of setup would work for whatever reason. I have no clue why thiese specific scissors work. I also use Fiskars rotary cutters for cutting leather and it goes through 1/8" chap hide like butter but I'll have to see if it goes through the Tygon. My feeling is it needs two slicing cutters and that's why those little scissors work.
I appreciate both your feedback because it's got me out of being stuck on using a printer and an Arduino. If I could do it more mechanically I would. I have some air motors that I got out of a local ReStore, but they are pretty big and way powerful. Good thing is they have adjustable stroke and return springs. They are not your usual Bimba air cylinders, when I found them in a catalog somewhere they called them air motors.
As far as hose roller guides Frank, the local hardware store sells sliding glass door rollers and they are made for running on a 1/4" half round track. So that would be perfect for this hose, and they are cheap.
I'm just not an electrician like you Wiz or Frank. So I'm not familiar with dormeyer solenoids and making control circuits. I have done smiple stuff for wiring in air solenoids, but they didn't have a micro switches or anything fancy, just intermittent switches to actuate. But if I understand your pyramid Frank, some kind of simple sequence that the final contact of the hose on the switch to trigger the cutter and the whole thing starts over would be my idea of elegant.
Thanks for the bump out of my stagnation guys. And sorry for the hyjack OP.
Actually Frank I was thinking along the same lines and fairly simple with solenoids and micro switches driven by I/O and a simple loop routine. My brother picked up a miss feeding feeder for way cheap for his big unit a while back, but I haven't been able to get up there and look at it with him but it occurred to me when writing above. By funneling the tygon into another tube of brass or seamless tubing, the tygon would move pretty easily I think as the tygon is plenty smooth. Using his Sprauge clutches might work if they could surround and grip the tubing...but still thinking it may be simple enough to drive the spool because the tygon might be stiff enough to feed, based od/wall and only needs to increment a bit a time?when you mentioned coils of tubing rolled out and cut to a set length it started me to thinking along the lines of a mig welder wire feed style with smooth rollers
I like your idea of the meat cutter blade. I had been thinking about a need to clamp the tubing a bit with a V-block or split U channel with a solenoid or small Bimba cylinder, as it will tend to curl a bit during and after cutting causing a jam Don't know enough about what the need for cut quality and cut length tolerances but it may take some kind of reciprocating or circular cutting tool to get a clean cut and last through a run. Your tube with slot would keep it all straight and could probably push out one or to pieces to and output hopper of some kind...as long as it doesn't curl and hang up as it pushes forward...Nice thought, simple and doable IMHO. Maybe a Dremel hinge mounted with a fine saw blade using your solenoid drive??
Thanks for chiming in here Frank, all great thoughts! Not sure either of us is out from under the pyramid....C-Bag, balls in your court. Scope and some details Please. ~PJ
some where around home, I have a small program written for me when I was investigating printing rolled label stock on a pad printer and using a dot matrix printer to pull the label stock through. The length of pull could be changed to suit the stock. The problem that I have is that it is on a 3 1/2 floppy and I no longer have a floppy drive, but it is here some where if it helps.
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