The end of the semester is here and after many many hours of hard work the Hydra-MMM prototype has been completed. The design was rigorously tested and accomplished many of the initial goals that we set out to achieve. The machine proved it had the ability to perform many different tasks including CNC milling, rapid prototyping, and even making some basic single-sided SMD circuit boards! With movements speeds of 200 inch/min and a positional accuracy of 0.001 inch, the machine not only attempted these tasks, but performed exceptionally for such a low-budget machine. The software and firmware developed for the project also proved to be a success and was extremely versatile allowing for all of these functions without modification. The firmware has enough G, M, and T codes packed in that it was able to take gcode programs from several different software packages with almost no modification and successfully run them on the machine. The results were simply amazing for a machine at this price level and I look forward to how the Hydra project evolves over the coming years. To wrap things up, here are a few pictures of the final prototype
The final cartesian robot with the accompanying electronics enclosure. Most of the connecting wires were removed from this picture for a little cleaner look, but they are pretty easy to snap back on with the rear panel on the enclosure.
A backside shot of the machine with all the cables attached and my Mac running the show
A close-up of the electronics enclosure showing the estop switch and an optional input button for tool changes and things of that nature. There is one fan missing from the above pictures as it was somehow lost during the last week of the project and we couldn't find 2 other matching fans in town. The box houses the new a4983 stepper drivers and a beefy 30V power supply. It also has a custom breakout board for the Arduino Mega that allows all of the connections to the microcontroller to plugged in with ease.
A rear view of the enclosure showing all of the connections and inputs to the internal electronics. We have 7 stepper motor outputs for a single X motor, 2 Y motors, 2 Z motors, and 2 possible extruder motors. It also has a solid state relay for controlling an attached spindle and a nice panel mount USB connector for interfacing with the Arduino.
The project has been a lot of fun, and I would love to get some input from the community about some future ideas for this technology. There is a host of additional videos and pictures from the last few weeks that I may post sometime in the future, but for now I am out to celebrate the end of the semester and a successful end to my undergraduate career! Cheers!
Labels: cnc milling, electronics enclosure, hydra, hydra-mmm, milling, spindle