Another productive week!
First and foremost: Here's a video of shapeoko running some gcode with the XYZ axis and a spindle enabled.
Spindle: This is the 3 speed spindle from cnconabudget.com that you see in the video. I had bought it during the kickstarter campaign hoping to gleen some design tips and possibly integrate it into the project as a suggested upgrade for anyone interested. However, after using it several times, I have to admit taht it's just not as great as I was hoping. For $115, I expected it to be a little tighter than it is. There's some verticle play in the shaft, which wouldn't seem to matter much because once it gets going, that goes away, however, it ends up that it does matter because when the z axis encounters an object (like the workpiece!) the slop allows the bit to move upwards. That's no good. The other issue is the axial play. There's a noticable amount of slop in the spindle when wiggling it with your fingers. I'm no expert when it comes to this sort of thing, but I've always been told that if you can "feel" it moving then it's at least 1/16". That's just not good enough. Sure, it might be the same as a dremel (so some people claim), but for 4x the price of a dremel, i wanted it to be 4x less slop, and it's not.
Where's the "O"? I have yet to square the work surface with the machine. Mainly because I'm constantly moving the machine around, fixing this, adjusting that, etc. Once everything settles down and the mill is more finalized, I'll be sure to square it up. So, to answer the question: The "O" is there, it just wasn't cut as deep as the rest of the letters because of some thickness inconsistencies in the work surface. We'll get there. Also, keep in mind that the milling depth on that job was set to .03125 (1/32")! So, that's not too shabby for a first run either way.
Speed: The job was running at something like 25ipm. It can go *A LOT* faster than that. Speed isn't always what you're looking for, but rest assured, it's there when you need it.
On a related note: I went to pumpingstationone.org's monthly DIY CNC night again this month. I can't stress how nice it is to be in an atmosphere where DIY CNC is not only acceptable, but embraced! Lots of projects going on, and lots of people mulling around talking shop. If you're in the area you should definitly stop by next month.
Where do we go from here? Right now I'm focusing my efforts on the spindle and mount. We're looking at something like a dremel rotary tool, with either a whip attachment or not. Either way, the tool will be mounted to the z axis extrusion. We want something that's going to keep us within budget, give everyone a starting point, and not suck. Pretty simple right.... So we'll be sure to keep you updated on that. In the meanwhile we'll be running more jobs, posting more videos and showing the machine off to as many people as we can. The feedback so far has been both positive and constructive, so we're hoping to keep that streak alive!