Source for CNC work

Discussion in 'Camera Building, Repairs & Modification' started by pelerin, Jul 11, 2007.

  1. pelerin

    pelerin Member

    Messages:
    343
    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Hi All,
    I am looking for a source that will provide CNC work on a small run basis. I am aware of SKGrimes (and pleased with the work I have seen from them) but I'm curious if there are other options. Any ideas?
    Celac
     
  2. Frank R

    Frank R Subscriber

    Messages:
    351
    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2006
    Shooter:
    Large Format
  3. declark

    declark Subscriber

    Messages:
    246
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2006
    Location:
    So. Cal
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    What kind of quantities are you looking for and material(s) machined?
     
  4. pelerin

    pelerin Member

    Messages:
    343
    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Hi,
    Quantities are going to be very small. Certainly less than twenty of each part. I am looking for aluminum parts to use for the structure of camera.
    Celac
     
  5. Greg_E

    Greg_E Member

    Messages:
    775
    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Probably you have a local machine shop that can do this for you. There are also a bunch of hobbiest people who could probably do this on their home built CNC machines. Try a search for DIY cnc machine, or other things like that and I bet you might be able to find someone that could do the work for cheap.
     
  6. pelerin

    pelerin Member

    Messages:
    343
    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    My search so far has shown that, while there are certainly local shops that could do it, finding somebody who wants to do it is equally important. The (few) people who I have discussed this with seemed unenthusiastic about the project. It would fun to find someone who has the capability to do the work in their home shop and was interested in getting involved in my project.
    Celac
     
  7. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

    Messages:
    4,913
    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    Location:
    Northern Aqu
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Surely the problem is that $250,000 CNC rigs are not common in home workshops, and those with expensive CNC rigs are not necessarily enthusiastic about nickel-and-dime jobs. Non-CNC machinists may do things for fun; few with serious CNC machinery can afford to do so.

    If price isn't an issue, try the Seitz brothers.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  8. pelerin

    pelerin Member

    Messages:
    343
    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I think you are quite correct about small job aversion. Add to that dealing with someone who is not an engineer/designer/draftsperson and making something that is outside of the normal run of what the shop does and I understand their position.

    I am aware of Seitz. I'm sure if their work is good enough for Alpa it would exceed my demands. I wonder though if they would not be averse to making tiny runs for the same reasons you advanced. Have you had any dealings with them?

    In my experience price is always a design concern. There are very few people who can blithely operate by Vanderbilt's dictum. However, it is one concern among many. In this case my main concern was to determine if there were resources available to me that I was unaware of. I suppose that if I found half a dozen vendors I would bid out my job. This did not (and still doesn't) seem a likely outcome. Perhaps I should have asked the question more broadly. CNC is not the central issue. Is anyone aware of a machinist that is happy to take on short run jobs for photographers (in addition to those already mentioned in this thread)?
    Celac
     
  9. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

    Messages:
    9,083
    Joined:
    May 3, 2006
    Location:
    Ryde, Isle o
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I have a CNC drill/router at work which was originally intended for printed circuit boards.

    I have made a few camera parts on it for myself from 1/8" thick laminated material.

    Most of the parts for this were cut with it: http://www.geocities.com/steve.smith.stuff@btinternet.com/cam.jpg

    Unfortunately, I can't cut aluminium with it... yet. I need to find a way to slow it down. You end up with a molten mess at the cut edges.

    I am going to try brass soon as I think I may have more success with it.

    Steve.
     
  10. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

    Messages:
    4,913
    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    Location:
    Northern Aqu
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Der Celac,

    I've been to the Seitz factory and met the brothers. I'm sure they'll do very small runs -- Alpa isn't exactly a mass production item, and in fact, nothing they make is mass produced. Thomas and Ursula (owners of Alpa) are non-engineers, but the Seitz brothers translated quite vague ideas into gorgeous cameras. I'd certainly recommend that you contact them, but as I say, it won't be cheap.

    Cheers,

    roger
     
  11. paul ron

    paul ron Member

    Messages:
    1,864
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2004
    Location:
    NYC
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    CNC routers do come in very small sizes as well, Hermes computer controlled sign shop machines. I once used one to make my lens boards n negative carriers.
     
  12. Greg_E

    Greg_E Member

    Messages:
    775
    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Steve,

    Sounds like you need to spray lubrication onto the bit while it is cutting. A messy prospect at best if you mill isn't designed to deal with it.
     
  13. Greg_E

    Greg_E Member

    Messages:
    775
    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I still say contact some of the DIY CNC people and see who wants to take on the project. Some of those DIY machines are really very nice.
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. epatsellis

    epatsellis Member

    Messages:
    907
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2006
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Steve, if it's an Excellon drill/router, you should be able to get the speeds down quite a bit from the 60Krpm. Cutting aluminum you do need coolant/lubricant. On my router I ran 1/8" single O-flute Onsrud bit at 30Krpm around 45-50 ipm for roughing passes, lots and lots of coolant, for finishing passes, I ran a 2 flute at 25Krpm, 7-10 ipm.

    Celac, contact Tim Goldstein at http://www.a2zcnc.com ,tell him Erie Patsellis told you to call, he may be able to do it in the time/cost requirements you have. I'd offer to run it, but my router is currently broken down and palleted, and I haven't finished my CNC benchtop mill, and it may be a year or two at the current rate of progress.


    erie
     
  16. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

    Messages:
    9,083
    Joined:
    May 3, 2006
    Location:
    Ryde, Isle o
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    It is indeed an Excellon, and it's about 18 years old now so is getting a bit cranky. I can get it down to about 8,000 RPM (I think) from the 20,000 RPM I usually use but this is still a bit quick for the cutters I have. Or so I have been told.
    I will have to do a bit more research. I have some single and double flute bits so a bit more experimentation is needed.

    Despite that, it is a fantastic machine to have in the factory as it gets used to make alsorts of jigs and fixtures which I used to make by hand.


    Steve.
     
  17. epatsellis

    epatsellis Member

    Messages:
    907
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2006
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Steve,
    I shoot for a quarter to a half thou toothload max, if you believe machinists feed and speed tables, they want about 5x that. Coolant is neccesary, as is constant contouring.


    erie
     
  18. freygr

    freygr Member

    Messages:
    137
    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2007
    Location:
    Portland Ore
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    There is a Hobby Machinist Forum I believe. One of my friends has a CNC mill and a lathe which he did all the conversion including adding three axis scales and read outs. It's not all that costly.
     
  19. epatsellis

    epatsellis Member

    Messages:
    907
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2006
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Frey,
    there are many hobby CNC forums and no, it's not terribly hard to build a machine, if you have an interest in it, email me off forum and I can point you in a few directions...


    erie
     
  20. pelerin

    pelerin Member

    Messages:
    343
    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Erie,
    Thanks for the lead. I was reading your other thread and I can imagine you have a full plate. However, at the rate I make drawings it may just be that long before I have everthing completed to hand off.
    Celac
     
  21. pelerin

    pelerin Member

    Messages:
    343
    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Roger,
    Thanks. I admire ofcourse both Seitz and Alpa (both incarnations of the latter). How can one not admire such a lovely mix of the esoteric and the practical. In the same way that car collectors imagine happening upon a "barn find" I can see discovering one of those fabulous roll to roll panoramic enlargers... anyway you get the idea. I'm afraid that I read into your first post a bit of irony which was perhaps not intended on your part. It seemed difficult to imagine an established firm such as Seitz taking on small jobs, "over the transom" as it were. I appreciate that you meant to provide a practical suggestion based on your experience.
    Celac
     
  22. Removed Account

    Removed Account Member

    Messages:
    907
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    Location:
    Nanaimo, Bri
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Has anyone used emachineshop.com for any work? The concept is intriguing and I will look at their software tomorrow. If they are reliable it could be a great resource.

    - Justin
     
  23. freygr

    freygr Member

    Messages:
    137
    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2007
    Location:
    Portland Ore
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    My problem is funding that project and finding time, as I have friends which will make things for me it's not high on my list. I'm usually in my shop covered with saw dust, making things for clients making money
     
  24. barryjyoung

    barryjyoung Member

    Messages:
    411
    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2005
    Location:
    Near Seattle
    Shooter:
    ULarge Format
    Hi:

    You can believe that, in Aluminum, on a rigid machine, with a rigid setup, with sharp tools, and with the horsepower. Most home machines lack the horsepower or rigidity to do that. The home machine I am building will almost do that, but not quite. The one at work will, and more up to about .010, but that takes 20 horsepower.

    Barry Young
    Young Camera Company
     
  25. barryjyoung

    barryjyoung Member

    Messages:
    411
    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2005
    Location:
    Near Seattle
    Shooter:
    ULarge Format
    CNC Zone can be found at:

    cnczone.com

    There are LOTS of guys in there that would be interested.

    Barry Young
    Young Camera Company
     
  26. barryjyoung

    barryjyoung Member

    Messages:
    411
    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2005
    Location:
    Near Seattle
    Shooter:
    ULarge Format
    I have more than 5 thousand dollars into mine, so far, where are these inexpensive machines? Are they made of fiberboard or steel?