For quite some time now I have had a respectable collection of parts left over from disassembling a half dozen printers, fax machines and scanners.
So when I came across the easy to construct Mantis CNC I thought I would give it a go. Unfortunately, in my eagerness to get started I didnt even spot the 13 part youtube series on how to construct the Mantis and instead based the whole build from start to finish off this single picture.
By starting off with a very rough cardboard mockup of the Mantis I got a feel for the size and shape of the required parts. This also gave me something to refer to while putting together the frame. After a few hours with the band saw and some plywood I ended up with what you see below.
Following this, the stainless steel shafts were aligned with the help of a wooden jig and installed. Unlike the Mantis, I decided to use belts to control the x and y axis’s as that was all I had on hand. So after cutting holes for the belts to pass through and installing the steppers there was the big problem of getting the bed to slide smoothly.
As I didnt have any steel or brass solid rod handy I resorted to cutting one of the larger stainless steel shafts, that was saved from a printer, into lengths and then ‘reverse’ drilling out the centre in the drill press.
The print bed (MDF) slides as smooth as silk after using two part epoxy resin to glue it onto the drilled out stainless steel sliders. Washing all the rods and sliders down with detergent and warm water also helped a lot.
After installing the x (or is it y?) axis the mechanical side of the build is just about complete.
I havent had a chance to put together my RAMPS yet (thanks again scorpia for sending that out to me) so the only way to test the repstrap so far is by controlling one of the unipolar stepper motors with a Darlington array. Its a little noisy running in full step but it seems to slide well enough.
The best thing about this whole project so far is that the hardware has cost me nothing. All parts were obtained from printers and around the shed. Next up is putting together the RAMPS, installing some endstops and attaching a router bit so I can start carving some faces into chocolate.