I finally figured out what was causing the Y Axis to stall this afternoon, and it’s something I should have tried a lot sooner. I had previously attached the Y Axis to the Z Axis controllers, and the Z Axis to the Y Axis controllers. When I did that, the Y Axis started working just fine and the Z Axis started acting funny. Because of this, I concluded that the problem was not the Y Axis motor, since it was working fine in this configuration.
Today, as a last-ditch effort, I grabbed a little CanaKit motor that was laying around and attached that to the Y Axis instead. It worked! No more weird vibratey sounds! The other motor must have either burned out or have a loose wire or something. I will investigate later.
I spent the next couple hours CNCing everything I could find. One of the first things I want to make is a bunch of gears for my robotics projects, so I made a gear template from this awesome site: http://woodgears.ca/gear_cutting/template.html. After a lot of trial and error, I figured out I could open the gear file in Illustrator, expand the path to allow for the width of the cutting bit, export it as a DXF file, then import that into dxf2gcode to convert it to gcode. The gcode could then be opened in UniversalGcodeSender and sent to the machine. It’s a tedious process, so writing a program to automate the process may happen in the future.
I made gears out of paper, then styrofoam, then plywood, then when I wanted to try a plastic gear I used a DVD case. Pro tip: DVD cases melt when you try to cut them with a router. Sadly, none of these materials was very well suited for being cut with a router. The plywood was close, but I could never get the complete gear cut without the bit getting caught in the wood and veering off course. This week I’ll pick up some softer woods or plastics made for cutting.
I still have a lot of learning to do, but I’m so happy it’s finally working. Nothing like having a $400 non functioning project sitting in your kitchen taunting you while you eat breakfast every morning. More updates and pictures coming soon!