Where to begin.
Tired of manually changing tools?
Tired of measuring the tool every time you change it?
Tired of the lost time from changing tools?
Then this project is for you and it's ready for immediate production.
For those who don't know what ATC is, this spindle cartridge or spindle shaft kit allows your tools to be changed without human interaction, just like the big-boys do, this is not a cartridge like the avenger, this spindle cartridge or spindle shaft kit can be installed in your existing spindle head with minimal work so you can use ISO15/BT15 tool holders and obtain real ATC capabilities at an affordable price.
My main goal is to enhance the hobby-machinist environment by providing high quality products at a reasonable price and what I found when searching for an auto toolchange spindle made it difficult for all but the extremely rich enthusiast or the product has such poor quality that buying it meant nothing more than an exercise in wasting money, A2Z and IMSsas are just a couple of example of highly overpriced products.
Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against turning a profit but overinflated pricing prevents the hobby from being enjoyed by the user who are on limited budgets and settling for a poor solution like the IMS QuickChange because it is the only option close to being affordable doesn't help promote the hobby so my main goal in this hobby industry is to make quality products available at an affordable price.
Purpose and Background.
The main purpose of this project is to mass produce the products allowing for an extremely affordable price making ATC available to the home/hobby user.
Some of you are already familiar with my BT30 spindle cartridges and my ER20 3.0KW electric square body spindle (or the china copies available on ebay) as well as my Sherline/Taig BT15 spindle conversions kits and this is my effort to fulfill my commitment to bringing you more options/features and enhanced products.
I'll be financially matching funding and I'm only looking for 50% of funding through Kickstarter in my effort to provide you with a quality product at an affordable price but if the project doesn't fund, production will still occur however the prices will be significantly higher doe to lower production numbers so your opportunity to obtain these products at a reasonable price is only possible by demand and mass-production if the project funds.
If/When funded, the products will go into immediate production, mass-production will significantly lower the cost of producing these parts, low enough to make the products affordable and if funding manages to exceed double of the sought amount the prices will reduce.
So, with the assistance of some other machinist who share my hobby passion (one is a spindle shaft expert who produces shafts for HAAS) we have decided to find creative ways of producing these complicated parts as inexpensive as possible without sacrificing quality and tolerances while maintaining the required specifications.
This is real.
As you can see from the following pictures, this product is no toy, it utilizes a petal-clamp system as found in larger ATC spindles and I have been assured by my electric spindle motor manufacturer that a real 10K RPM matching 220VAC 3-phase 3HP electric spindle motor with a 1024PPR quadrature encoder in a small footprint will be available within the next 6 months for about $750.00 USD (or less - unheard of in this industry) and made exclusively available at this price to the backers of this project so features like rigid taping is possible for those seeking the do-all VMC or milling machine.
What to expect.
The spindle cartridges and spindle shaft kits are supplied with NTN P42 25deg sealed angular contact bearings and are available with optional ceramic bearings at an additional cost.
They support the following options/features:
- 15K RPM (40K RPM with ceramic bearings).
- Air or liquid cooling as required (easy to implement with the cartridge).
- coolant through spindle.
- air blowout.
- small footprint.
- BT15 or ISO15
Like many avid hobby machinist, I want to increase productivity and increase the quality of the parts I produce and the use of an auto tool changer does this and the main goal of this project is to do it at an extremely affordable price that makes it impossible not to consider and I want it completed and available to everyone in a reasonable amount of time.
The currently available quick-change spindle from IMS was found to be unsuitable to machine aluminum due to tool holder slippage and the other ISO10 tool holder spindle we tested was just as bad and both only came in ER11 collet size and we found this too limiting.
As you can see, I have already completed the designs of the spindle cartridge and spindle shaft kit prototypes and would like to move to the production phase and mass production make it possible to do it at a reasonable price.
Why ours is better.
The use of ball style retention knob clamps (pull-stud gripper) were very disappointing due to the stress placed on the retention knobs by the balls due to minimal contact area and didn't have sufficient force to prevent toolholder slippage and the failure of the retention knobs due to this design far outweighed it's value so we quickly dismissed this as a quality/acceptable solution.
We were equally disappointed in the finger (one-piece) clamps and how short their life expectancy was that they were quickly dismissed as well.
Instead we decided to look at BT30 and BT40 tool change spindles that utilized a 15deg retention knob and decided that these designs were far more effective so we set out to find sources for these products but our findings left us outraged at the cost of the clamps that we just could not accept.
IMSsas, a well known maker of these products offered us just the clamp at a cost of $525.00 for one and $375.00 in quantities of 50 pieces and they were the cheapest of the offers we received, finding this to be unacceptable we decided it's time for us to make them at a much more reasonable cost.
The new petal clamp is made from 30CrNiMo8 (a Nickel Molybdenum Alloy), hardened and tempered for low wear and maximum strength, we have devised a machining process that allows us to make this part at an extremely reasonable cost at quantities of 25pcs (unheard of in the machining industry) so I can't understand why these companies charge so much for this product.
In our initial clamp testing we had a few failures along the way, unfortunately I didn't take any pictures but we have figured out how to make the part so that it would sustain more than 3000N (the DIN/ISO specification for the 15 series tool holder maximum force is only 1700N) without failure.
The spindle shaft is hardened to HRC42 making it very strong and wear resistant and this is the most important part of a tool change capable spindle, if it doesn't have enough strength it couldn't maintain the allowable TIR under full load.
The toolholders we are having produced for us because we just couldn't compete with the stringent tolerances and the cost of having these pieces ground to perfection made it uneconomical to produce ourselves and make them reasonably priced but did find a company who could produce them for us while maintaining the specifications.
The basic tool change spindle components can be installed with hand tools by following simple directions/instructions and you can fabricate the other required components to finish it off with stuff you have laying around or purchase the parts you need.
On behalf of everyone here. Thank you for taking the time to check out our project and we all hope you enjoy our mini CNC ATC spindle cartridges and spindle shaft kits and will continue our efforts to offer you affordable components without sacrificing quality.. We think this will change the way everyone makes Hobby CNC machines for the better. We hope makers everywhere can adopt these components and make amazing creations.
Risks and challenges
This project has no risk of non-completion and small delays in production may extend the delivery date but it will not exceed 60 days past August 16th, 2013.
Should this project not fund on kickstarter, the products will still be put into production and made available but the costs may increase slightly as funding for mass production is how the products will be made available at the lowest possible price.
Unless I can produce the spindle cartridge in quantities of 1000pcs the chance for profit is nonexistent if I wish to provide the product at an affordable or reasonable price.
If you believe that there is profit at these prices, consider the spindle cartridge, this has $410.00 worth of NTN high precision angular contact bearings installed ($1165.00 if you upgrade to ceramic bearings - a difference of $755.00) so there is no profit to speak of.
Those ordering spindle cartridges or rewards whose value exceed $900.00 USD, should the kickstarter funding be greater than $14,000.00 USD you can expect a partial refund of about 14% as production costs will be reduced due to the higher quantity production run.
Please be thoughtful, pledging $1.00 now in the hopes that after funding you may be able to purchase a product will not be possible, production quantity is based on funding and I can assure you there is no profit to produce extra products so there wont be any extra products for later resale.
I am not a business, I do not own a store or have a website where I sell products, I am a private individual who has a passion for CNC hobby and it is my intention to make available reasonably priced products in my attempt to promote the hobby and I do this without any profit so, if you want to buy one later and you did not buy one now, you will pay significantly more and, you will wait until there is a minimum of 10 cartridges being purchased before a production run begins and this may take time, if you previously purchased a spindle cartridge and want another one, you will receive the same or lower price and you wont have to wait for the MOQ to be met, this is my pledge to supporting those who have funded the project.
Because some of the components are manufactured in china and by other US companies, unforeseen expenses, rate changes, taxes, duties and the fees taken by Kickstarter and Amazon, you may be required to submit additional funds but the amount if any would not exceed 10% of your pledged amount.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (50 days)