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Dremel Carver/Duplicator like a Human Powered CNC Router

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For the last few years I have seen all these cool CNC projects from affordable rapid-prototyping machines, to laser cutters, to hacked together CNC routers. One of these days when I have the funds, I will build one of these CNC machines but till then I thought I would do something more on my budget.

I have a Dremel and have been buying various router bits for it lately. I was thinking that I could buy one of those Dremel Router tables but, that would be kind of limiting. So then I thought what about building a Dremel Duplicator. It would have three axes and could be utilized much like a CNC Router with the added advantage of copying an existing object.

This is my exploration into building a Dremel Duplicator.

Updates:
+ Revision 1.1 - 01.04.08 - Wood and Metal Pipe construction
+ Revision 1.2 - 01.06.08 - Axes improvements
+ Revision 1.3 - Coming Soon!

 
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Step 1: Design Intent

My original design intent was to create a Dremel duplicator/carver from readily available and inexpensive materials. This machine should be able to duplicate simple operations such as holes, channels, and outlines. Ideally this machine would also be able to manufacture complicated 3D objects. Future versions may include synchronized turntables and a mounting plate to hold items in place.

I had this all planned out: draft a simple CAD model to figure out dimensions, print out pieces to use as a template, cut and drill parts, assemble, document, post to contest and brag about how this machine cost less than $20 to build, was modular and reconfigurable. Seems pretty easy but it was anything but&

The main stumbling block in Rev 1.1 was that I did not have access to a drill press. The holes in this project need to be exactly aligned, which is really hard to do with a hand drill.

Rev. 1.2 will show a proof of concept.
Rev 1.3 will hopefully show a refined project.

Too bad the videos aren't available. They're marked private.

cyberghos2 months ago

How to view the video? it's private

jnhem8 months ago
People are saying pantograph but its more like a polygraph in all ways. I think your doing a great job and I cant wait to use this to create my own
TrueNhero 10 months ago
videos are private.
anoniemouse3 years ago
I am not trying to be mean or put anyone down But - - This is a joke right?

They sell a version of this at M-- Wards.

You can find a version in more places than I can find room to list here.
It is called a pantograph -- (Google or Bing this) these sell for $29.00 and up.

In drafting and art classes they show you how to make one with 4 yard sticks (or rulers) and a few thumb tacks and a rubber band.
P.S.
Dremel Sells a better one!!!
A Pantograph is a 2D transfer device. This instructable is for 3D duplication. Totally different.
gtoal1 year ago
This is effrectively a pantograph, no? Have you thought about doing a version that reduces, instead of 1:1? It's easier to create a larger scale master then trace over it to create a fine reduced copy than it is to go straight to the smaller object.
goosy3 years ago
I saw a 3-D duplicarver in a Poplar Mechanics way back. The inventor Don Laskowski developed a production model in 1979 and there are many similarities with this design. Please check first before going into production.
Can't wait 'til it's finished! This is something I've had my brain on for a few months now. Simplicity is reliability I always say.

Your design actually reminds me of a pantograph, just with 1:1 scale :D
twighahn3 years ago
this should win the dremel contest.i could trace photos on to wood
brb1129883 years ago
this thing is great i etch glass alot with my dremal tool all the time and this duplicator will make it alot easier for me thanks alor im gunna start building one 2marrow but im gunna try and makeit out of metal cuz that waht i work with all the time
for larger object go through pages on this sight http://acapella.harmony-central.com/showthread.php?t=2525576
joaocarimo3 years ago
Good job. I've got an idea that could take this to another step. I would put a laser diode in both edges and an optic sensor as well. The main idea is to have a low energy laser beam to scan an object with the optic sensor in order to send the exact values to the high power laser to do the job using it's optic sensor or diode to guive the input. you should have a X and Y stepper motor. the x axis steppet motor would advance as soon as the difference of the value read on the source scanner and the target is equal to zero. as soon as the x scan is complete, the y axis advances to start all over again untill a full replica is created. The laser diode to scan teh source object could be extracted from a ny tegular cdrom and the high power laser diode, can be obtained from a regular dvd rw device. The circuit would be very simple. Other application: a) Scan a full object. b) Magnify / zoom it to another scale c) duplicate the object in another scale.
Pazzerz4 years ago
To eliminate the slide problem, there is a 'sliding' ball bearing you can use, called a ball bushing, simply enough. It is a tube with straight 'races' inside. The races contain ball bearings that roll through the races and return the other direction, but not touching the surface as they return. It allows radial and linear movement. They come in many sizes and give a good tight fit when used with the proper sized shaft.
Ball bushing.jpg
jonov1 Pazzerz3 years ago
You're a good man, kenbo0422. This piece of hardware will simplify a great deal the CNC I was planning to build. Thanks for this piece of tip.
copycarver.com
Pazzerz4 years ago
To get a better accuracy at the tip of the dremel: Use another dremel tip in place of the screwdriver. The exact profile of the tip will give you better results. Also, fill in the cutting ridges on the profiler tip with epoxy or putty... Since the carving tip is spinning, its profile is virtually solid, so the profiling tip needs to be solid as well.
static4 years ago
IMO no matter how much flex you remove flex from the other components, slides rails and bushings are going to be a problem. They work fine in designs where the carriage is moved by lead screws. Here where the force that moves the carriages is so far removed from the slides, I believe control will remain a issue. Using two parallel tubes where there is now one tube just might help, but may introduce other problems Good luck in getting it all the bugs worked out to YOUR satisfaction.
merijnvw4 years ago
Hi this is really cool. Do you have photos of things you made with it?
I dont remember th' titles , but there are a number of tutorial boks on routers and router jigs and at least one that covered a 3 axis pantograph that was capable of carving in th' round , that is , to carve a free standing copy of a statue ! I last saw this book in VA in 1997 Gearhead
kmpres4 years ago
Hey, nice work! I really like the low-tech approach; human arm power instead of stepper motors, no need for electronics, etc. Some diagonal bracing will help a lot, I think, as well as a front piece connecting the two side rails together makng a four sided box instead of the three sides you now have. If a wood peice would get in the way you could make this out of 2mm thick aluminum. These should go a long way to improving accuracy and reducing flex in the arms. Also, I noticed the cardboard surrounding the pipes you bought have the Katakana characters for "Stainless Pipe" written on them. This probably means those parts were imported from Japan, or maybe you live there, as do I?
altomic kmpres4 years ago
Re: the Katakana - I thought the same thing (having lived in Japan for 4 years and bringing home cartons of Japanese tools and electronics parts). great instructable. I like it. without the massive complexity of industrial CNC instructions. thanks
That's pretty cool Adran. I tried to come up with something like this a few years back, but never succeeded completely. A couple of ideas I did have that might help though were to use a square piece of plywood on a piano hinge connected to a 1x8, and a couple of ball-bearing drawer slides for the side to side axis, that the 1x8 attaches to. This gave me better side to side accuracy. The piece I never figured out, you clearly did with the drawer slides going forward and back also. Very nice
I have to say this is pretty darn cool! But technically because a computer does not run any of the movement, Its not really a CNC its more of a mechanical Replicator. Still pretty sweet ible
That is a very clever idea! Extremely useful!
peterlonz4 years ago
I am an engineer & I congratulate you on a "rolled up sleeves" approach to getting your project to the demonstration stage. Please heed the suggestions above, all are soundly based. Yes low cost does bring bragging rights, but when the chips are down & your time, energy & emotions are considered, what you really want is something that works outstandingly well, within the limitations imposed by your chosen cutter head. Construction precision, well chosen stable materials, & rigidity are are key to performance. If you could build this for $150 excluding the cutting head & reach the performance objective, that would be an outstanding achievement. Keep developing & don't be afraid to start over - and please buy that damned drill press.
armylifer4 years ago
Nice beginnings. Release your stylus from the hose clamp. To make your stylus springloaded and touch the pattern before the dremel hits the work piece, make a solid bracket on the swing arm with a hole just large enough to let the screwdriver or a real stylus to fit in. Make two adjustable stops to fit on the stylus below the bracket and the other on the stylus above the bracket. Put the top stop on the stylus and put a spring on that is easy to compress, but not so that the weight of the swing arm causes it to bottom out. Put the stylus in the bracket and put the bottom stop on and secure it once the dremel is almost touching the work piece. Much less goof-ups and more precision carving. Good luck.
GEEKSRUS5 years ago
Poor design due to limited stability of the axis materials you are using. Try a Arm that reverses the work upside down on the other side of your table opposite to the model you are attempting to copy, (two tables) an upside down cutting table and the Template table. What does it matter if your dremel drops the material upside down away from your template model? Consider a stiffer Beam; the wooden amusement park roller coaster is popular because it moves. Wooden Floors are popular because they flex. Reduce the number of moving parts and increase the strength and sliding flow with brass bushings or lead bushings, or wheels or something. Nice try though to be nice. Also if you use a seesaw type of setup you can increase the size or reduce the size by moving your dremel tool up or down the beam on the opposite side of the axis. Note: only if the Beam is 50/50 like a standard seesaw would it produce the exact copy from he template. good luck
Don't listen to GeeksRUs. Your design is really impressive, considering how ultra-low fi you kept everything. It is way possible to build a good router duplicator with exactly these materials (I have), but I agree with flaco1: consider using diagonal bracing in your next rev -- as is, your design will flex a lot since everything is square, not triangular. And why not get a drill press dude? They are cheap and you deserve one after all this effort.
wch5 years ago
I carve mask and gargoles and I have tried to used a dremal yool in my duplicator and found it does not have enough power for any real serious work ,instead use a trim router as it has a lot more power and you will see the chops fly and listen to the people about beefing up your design.
RWReade5 years ago
Looks great, can't wait for you to come up with version 1.3
flaco15 years ago
You can increase the stability of your X axis if you increase the width of the Dremel holder and add a diagonal brace from front to rear
PKM5 years ago
This looks like it could be a cool project- a bit like a cross between a key-cutting machine and a pantograph. I wonder whether you will have any problems with fine detail if your "stylus" isn't exactly the same shape as the engraver bit, but I suppose you could always use an engraver bit for a stylus if you were concerned about that (and had a suitable work piece, of course).
gmjhowe5 years ago
Unfinished? when you do finish it, be sure to add a video!
jeff-o gmjhowe5 years ago
Yes, I'll be looking forward to seeing how well this works when it's done!
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