Stepcraft: Spindle Control, Z-probing, Vaccum Cleaner and Mobile Table

This topic is aimed for sharing how I managed my Stepcraft SC2-600 installation, Dust cleaning and Spindle ON/OFF control through G-Code. There is nothing new. Just the way I handled it.

On the photos, the Stepcraft CNC is configured as 3D Printer.
See my DIY "FDM 3D Printer for Stepcraft CNC Using MK8 Extruder" page for details.

Step 1: Stepcraft Mobile Table

Sure the best is to place your CNC on a very stable and leveled table BUT not all can afford the place to do it. Therefore, having the CNC on a mobile table is the only alternative.

I ordered the metal table from ebay at electronic-star-home for 80€. It's a 101 x 96 x 56 cm (LxWxH) of 13,5 kg with 3 levels and wheels. I added on the top level a wood plate for supporting the CNC machine. Corners have been rounded to avoid damages when hurting the walls in the house. See attached schematic for details.

Step 2: Vaccum Cleaner

For dust aspiration, I have chosen the Scheppach HD2P system that costs 70€ and dedicated for this kind of vacuum cleaning.

The good point is that the HD2P fits well under the CNC and the tube is long enough to vacuum the dust. Nevertheless, the HD2P suffers from several defects which are the price that is too expensive for the quality and the lack of variator to adjust the speed (and noise level !).

I gave up with and Exhaust adapter attached to the spindle to do manual aspiration. Anyway when the CNC is running you better attend the operation for emergency actions if something goes wrong. So I do the dust cleaning.

The variator can be bought from Amazon Sodial for about 5€ and place either directly into the free place inside the HD2P where the power cable is stored or as I did, into an external box from Amazon TooGoo for about 5€. Don't be surprised if the HD2P starts only after a 1/4 turn. The variator progression is not linear.

Some holes have been machined on the top cover of the variator plastic box (using the CNC). There are required if you have heavy duty use of your CNC and HD2P vacuum cleaner.

Step 3: Spindle Control

Controlling the spindle is not a mandatory feature for CNC neither controlling the spindle speed through software. Because I wanted an ON/OFF button in the front of the table, I ended to implement the spindle on/off function as well.

The switch allows both manual and automatic spindle power on.

I have not implemented the Emergency switch option because UCCNC software does the work but provide the schematic for those interested in.

The rotary switch is a 3 Positions LW26-20D Switch from eBay for 3€. The relay board is an Arduino module from Amazon TooGoo for 2.4€. The overall schematic is gives in the photos above. Module and switch are put inside a plastic box for 3.4€.

For security, a 250V red light was added to warn the operator that the automatic mode is enabled and spindle can starts at anytime.

Step 4: Probe Input

The Stecpcraft electronics board has input for a Z-probe.

The hole with a black plastic cap on front left side (opposite to the ESB button) can receive a BNC connector (need to slighly increase the hole diameter). Then you have to wire the BNC to the electronics board connector.

A BNC cable with two Alligator clips is used for the probe. In milling mode, clip one alligator clip on the end mill and the other on in contact with the stock if in metal. for plastic stock you can use a thin sheet of metal over the stock.

IMPORTANT : BEFORE using the Z-probe, check it by putting both alligator clips in contact and verify the software Z-probing detection.

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