Making an aluminium pen

I’ve now got the aluminium rod pen down pat. I make a centre hole, run the rod further out and use a centre dog, and run a chunky cutting bit down the whole length of the piece, leaving a small chunk of rod inside the chuck. Then I run the rod further in, and drill out the part I have centred with a 1/4″ bit to the depth of about 1″. Then I reverse the rod and cut down the part that was in the chuck, adding a couple of notches so the tiny difference in thickness is not noticeable. Then I run the same bit across the end to flatten it off, and I’m done. I also, for extra points, remember not to leave the chuck keys in the drill or the main chuck, so I don’t die. That’s always a bonus.

Project: Itchy

I have just been given a lot of aluminium profile. I want to make a cnc router to allow me to engrave acrylic sheets and cut lino. The lino cutting will be the easiest problem, as it just needs a 2d movement and some human setting of the x axis. Plus a lot of glue.

So, the first thing I need to know is how the heck to build it. I don’t want to move a plate under a fixed head, if I can help it, as that makes the entire base way too big, and I don’t want to take up too much space. If I wanted to engrave an area a x b I’d need twice the run, 2a x 2b, to go from left to right. Given I might create big stuff, it’s too large for storage, and too clumsy, and I don’t want to move the platen. I think it’s called a platten. I don’t know how to spell that, so I’ve tried both ways.

So, I’m going to have to move the head, which means linear bearings and stepper motors. And stepper drivers. There should be plenty of explanations out on the internet, and I just need to find an explanation that isn’t geared to solutions I’m not using.

On the internet.