Micro Router 2nd Hand

All info relating to the Denford MicroRouter and MicroRouter Pro CNC Routers

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Chucky5516
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Micro Router 2nd Hand

Post by Chucky5516 » Thu 22 Aug , 2019 9:36 am

Hi Guys,

Thinking of purchasing this Micro Router 2nd hand. Came from a college sale. I tried plugging it in when viewing it and the light\fan\electric door lock\emergency stop button worked, but I can't test it fully without the VR CNC software. It has a USB coming out of the back (See picture), a Kress spindle, and I was told by Denford (After emailing the details) that it was upgraded in 2011. I have a picture of the inside, and also the writing on the black box that comes with it. It also comes with all electrical\wiring schematics too. I have seen some pictures on this forum of the inside of other Micro Routers and this looked slightly different so I just wanted to check.
I just wanted to know if everything looks alright on the inside of the black box (is everything where it should be\is everything there)? The 'Spindle Override" button has been removed too.
Also what version of the Micro Router is this? Is there anything else I need to know\look for?

Thanks so much for your help in advance.
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Steve
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Re: Micro Router 2nd Hand

Post by Steve » Thu 22 Aug , 2019 11:01 am

All looks good. In 2001 the machine would have had a serial port and no USB. It also had a porter cable motor which allowed variable speed.

The upgrade to USB gives improved performance and the Kress spindle motor cannot be controlled by the spindle drive as it has a speed selector switch on the motor.

You would need to purchase VR Milling software to use it but there should be no other problem.

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Re: Micro Router 2nd Hand

Post by TDIPower » Thu 22 Aug , 2019 17:01 pm

Steve knows his stuff!

From a user point of view, I know a lot of people go for changing the control over to mach3 or similar rather than paying the money out for the denford software. However I have used denford software/control stuff for 18yrs or so, it is very straight forward, I have kids in school using the machines without issue. The control systems in the machines are good quality ABB. I am in fact upgrading a lathe to run off later Denford control rather than going down mach 3 because it works. Once you get a licence you can download and run the latest versions as they become available on the website.

If you get the software there is very good help and instructions built in so you can get machining as soon as you load it up. Also you have the benefit of the folks on the forum.

To control the machine you would need VR Milling V5.xx, it includes a DXF post processor so you can take 2D DXF drawing files and get the software to post process it into the machine G codes file ( .fnc )

However if you want to do proper 3D machining you will need to post process the drawing file into an fnc file. Some software (Fusion 360) have post processors built in and you just need to set it up to output in the format for denford machines.

OR

Denford do Quick CAM Pro (QCP), which is a post processor, you export your drawing from your CAD package as STL and import into QCP, set all your cutters up, select your machining choices and it will output the FNC file for VR5 to drive the machine with.


Pete

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Re: Micro Router 2nd Hand

Post by Chucky5516 » Wed 29 Jan , 2020 20:10 pm

Thanks so much for the help guys. I'm picking it up at the end of the month so really looking forward to it, and no doubt will be back here asking for more help! Thanks again, John

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Re: Micro Router 2nd Hand

Post by Chucky5516 » Wed 29 Jan , 2020 20:11 pm

PS Correct me if I'm being stupid as very new to this, but what is the difference between 2D machining and 3D machining?

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Re: Micro Router 2nd Hand

Post by TDIPower » Thu 30 Jan , 2020 0:18 am

Think of 2D machining as scissors and paper, 3D playing with playdoh.

SO 2D is you have a bit of 18mm MDF and cut an outline out of it (so just cutting out like you could with a jigsaw round the outline you want),
where as 3d is you have a piece of 50mm MDF and get a full shape with curves and multiple depths (like a mountain or hill from the air) and the cutter will follow all those different depths of cut in the same way someone carving wood with a set of chisels would.

Now just to confuse things further you have what is know as 2.5D which is in between the 2 and 3D. So you have a sheet of material say 18mdf, have a shape you want to cut out (2D) BUT also have some holes that don't go all the way through or a rebate along an edge at differing depths (not quite 3D). that's where 2.5D comes in

Pete

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Re: Micro Router 2nd Hand

Post by TDIPower » Thu 30 Jan , 2020 0:19 am

No doubt you will be back for more info, Feel free to PM me for info, I try to drop on when I get home each night to see whats going on.

Pete

Chucky5516
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Re: Micro Router 2nd Hand

Post by Chucky5516 » Thu 12 Mar , 2020 17:34 pm

Hi Guys,

Me again. Thank you for all your help pre-purchase, you helped me make an educated and informed purchase and it looks like it is paying off. I now have the machine set up, have purchased the licence for VR Milling Ver 5 and connected to the computer ready to start my very exciting journey into CNC. I have checked the machine functions by jogging it around, and homing it, I have also checked the spindle turns on and off. So far, so good. As said previously, the emergency stop button works, and the light, and everything else that I can check, so it looks good so far.
Now I am looking to do some test cuts, so just a quick question, have any of you got any ideas on fitting a spoil\sacrificial board to this machine?
I have two pieces of metal that came with the machine, that run along the bracket either side of the bed and tighten down with allen keys, they also have threaded holes on two\three sides. What are these for as don't think they are clamps?

Thanks again,

Chucky5516
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Re: Micro Router 2nd Hand

Post by Chucky5516 » Thu 12 Mar , 2020 18:32 pm

Also, when I first started VR Milling the software wouldn't let me jog the 'real' machine or turn the spindle on because it was saying the "guard was open". I checked the lock, and shut the door again, still the same message. I reset the software and hit and reactivated the emergency stop button and it worked.
I have just gone back out, started the computer, turned the machine on, then loaded VR Milling, and the same thing is happening? I reset the software and it worked again. Once I get the green 'ready' message, everything is fine, it just seems to be a bit temperamental.
The machine was previously owned by 'Jaguar' the car manufacturer, and I wonder if someone has messed with the lock to get rid of the resilient safety precautions needed for the education sector. Saying that, the door locks when the spindle is on, and locks when the emergency stop button is pressed, so seems to be functioning.
Anyone know what might be causing this slight problem, and how to fix it, as could get annoying?

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Re: Micro Router 2nd Hand

Post by TDIPower » Thu 12 Mar , 2020 19:22 pm

We have the vacuum bed and use this a lot of the time as it is quick. It is said that if you put a 6mm MDF sacrificial bed on top of that as it is porous it will pull down say another sheet of 18mm MDF on to so you can machine it. I have never tired it and tend to use double sided sticky tape, a few strips ensuring the bits that are being cut out will remain stuck to the sacrificial bed is sufficient.

For use with the 'Y' cross bars I have a piece of ply which comes level with their top (12mm I think) when it sits on the Aluminium 'X' rails, on the underside I glued and screwed another piece to fit in between the X rails. That has given a very ridged base. I have a couple of strips that screw into the 'Y' rails and hold the bed down. On top of that I use a 3 or 6mm sacrificial board that gets screwed to it. The job is double sided taped to that.

For the 'door open' I have had this happen a few times, normally opening and closing the door sorts it out. It may be the switch has got a bit gunked up with dust so a strip and clean would be 1st port of call.

Pete

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Re: Micro Router 2nd Hand

Post by Chucky5516 » Sun 29 Mar , 2020 14:20 pm

Hi Guys,

Sorted the door issue, and got VR milling Ver 5 and a copy of Aspire 9.5. I have made successful cuts, including a threaded spoil board and an engraving, and everything works great! Thank you for all your help so far. The emergency lock issue is no longer an 'issue' as I took the lock mechanism off, cleaned it and re fitted it, and everything is fine since.
The ONLY issue I now have, is when I move the spindle all the way along it's Y axis (away from the home position), and to the furthest point on the X axis (towards the back of the machine), when the Z axis is lowered it can hit the rear 'post' that holds the lead\ball screw in place. This means I can't machine the full distance (in that corner anyway). This makes no sense to me, as it doesn't do it at the front??? Is there something I am doing wrong, is there a setting to change in VR milling, or can the spindle mount be moved slightly either way?
It is a red\maroon spindle mount, with dust port, holding a Kress spindle. I haven't attempted to adjust the spindle mount, but it just seems weird that you can't machine right into the far top right hand corner without hitting the post.....Tried searching on the forum and can't find anything, but thought you guys may know more. If you need pictures I can import them to explain further.

Thanks in advance, stay safe. John

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Re: Micro Router 2nd Hand

Post by TDIPower » Mon 30 Mar , 2020 16:40 pm

Great stuff you got so much sorted. I have the porter cable spindle and haven't experience with the Kress ones.
So to clarify machines homes, rear right corner (refer to this point as machine zero)
move the Y gantry across in X fully to the left (X = 550) with the Spindle rear most in the machine (Y zero)
you catch the X lead screw mounting post with the spindle mount?
With the Y gantry still at X=550 move the spindle to Y=270
it does not catch the front most X lead screw mounting block?

If so have a look how much gap you have between the Spindle unit on the Y gantry runners/lead screw and the Front most Y gantry tower. There should only be a few mm.

You may need to reset the Y Spindle zero on the Y gantry. the machine only knows how far it can move from the zero set point. This is set by a long cap head bolt with lock nut on each travel and the machine knows its at zero when the bolt head hits the zero switch.

With the Y gantry over towards X=550 and the spindle forward at Y=270 you should be able to look round the back of the Spindle unit and see the bolt sticking out (100mm long) the head returns into the rear most Y gantry block and hits a switch in there next to the stepper motor.
If you wind the bolt out a bit and re do the lock nut it should move away from the rear, just remember what ever distance you move it away from the rear of the machine, the machine will still move towards the front that 270mm

I am assuming that with the Kress motor that the limits of travel should still be X=550 and Y=270

Pete

Chucky5516
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Re: Micro Router 2nd Hand

Post by Chucky5516 » Tue 31 Mar , 2020 18:28 pm

Spot on Pete, the maximum travel is 270mm x 550mm. I saw the bolt but didn't want to mess with it. That makes sense. So if I move it out, the machine will still recognise that it needs to move 270mm in the opposite direction. I think I have room to play with on that front, if that's the case.
Thank you so, so much for responding so quickly. You don't understand how helpful you have been so far.

I'll let you know how I get on.

John

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Re: Micro Router 2nd Hand

Post by TDIPower » Tue 31 Mar , 2020 23:31 pm

No problem! always like to help. The machines don't have any form of positional feedback so only count the steps out and back from the zero point. On that it is worth noting that you should keep the lead screw 'nuts' clean and lubed on all axis. Lube the screws with silicone and let it dry on the slides and screws after you spray it on.

These things are a bugger to strip if you have to.

A common issue is when traversing in X you hear a binding noise, this is when then steppers are trying to drive to x=550 and are sticking so it 'looses' steps and doesn't travel as for to the left as it should then when it returns to zero it will do the same as it hits the x=zero mounting blocks and keeps trying to drive the number of steps back.

Each 'nut' is held in place with 3 allen screws, just undo the 3 screws and hand wind the nut out of the Y gantry. The nuts are just plastic but have a sprung load system to take out the back lash. These get clogged up and if not to bag can be cleaned by just winding the out like that. If things get really bad thats when you need to wind them off the screws. I spent about a week of evenings learning this on my machine as the screws have 4 threads and you MUST get the X travel ones in sync (MARK THE NUTS on the gantry!)

Pete

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Re: Micro Router 2nd Hand

Post by Chucky5516 » Wed 01 Apr , 2020 19:18 pm

Hi Pete,

Your daily pain in the arse here. This isn't the first time this has happened, but tonight when adjusting the screw for the Y axis (for the aforementioned problem\teething issue), I jogged the machine forward after homing. Moved the nut\bolt, then when pressing home again after a few trys, and with the machine jogged halfway down the gantry, after pressing home, the Z axis starts moving down instead of up, and doesn't home, likewise the Y and X axis then don't home. I had to remove the lock, put it in the door so I could have the door open while operating, and hit the Z axis switch manually to stop it, as it went on and on. Then when it got to Y axis homing, it (the stepper motors) kept going and going. I emergency stopped the machine and adjusted the screw back in and it homed ok. Like I say, this backwards Z axis homing, it isn't the first time this had happened, and when it does it is an arse to stop and reverse, because you can't jog the machine until it's homed, but you can't home it if the machine is moving in the opposite direction???? Don't think it's a massive issue, but a teething problem. I'm completely new to this, so worried to mess with too much.

You are bang on about the stalling on the X axis, mine does that, and I'll do what you said. Thank you.

John

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Re: Micro Router 2nd Hand

Post by Chucky5516 » Wed 01 Apr , 2020 19:22 pm

PS What and where are the plastic nuts located?

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Re: Micro Router 2nd Hand

Post by Chucky5516 » Thu 02 Apr , 2020 12:58 pm

Update:

Located the nuts and marked the top of each on the gantry, then wound them out and cleaned them. There was a fair bit of muck in there, but not too bad. I then put them back (hopefully as they were). I then re cleaned the whole machine thoroughly with paint brushes of varying sizes and a vacuum cleaner, before using silicon lubricant on all the main slides, couplings, and screws. Just letting it dry now, before having a play. Hopefully I have done everything correctly.
Mine only ever 'stalled' when jogging at the highest feed speed, if I turned it down a little it stopped the problem. So I had just carried on jogging it in a lower speed. I'll see if this makes a difference.
Still slightly concerned about the occasional reverse homing of the Z axis. Most of the time the machine homes correctly, and I have done a few cuts and everything moves and works correctly. However, occasionally after jogging the machine to a position, when I press home, the Z axis starts moving down, until it can't move anymore, so much that I have had to stop the machine and remove the spindle to prevent damage. All the while the numbers are counting down continuously. Very strange. Like I said, I had to unscrew the key for the door lock, put it in so I could access the machine and manually hit the Z axis limit switch. It then stopped, and after pressing home, homed correctly????? It's only done it a few times, but when it does, it's concerning and worrying that it might do damage.
Thanks again for all your help so far everyone.

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Re: Micro Router 2nd Hand

Post by TDIPower » Thu 02 Apr , 2020 18:03 pm

Stalling at high speed if 1st sign you need to do a decent clean up.

The switches fail, If it starts to do this just replace them. I had it at work on a kids GCSE work (nice bit of oak, well it was).

CPC.co.uk SW02687

Pete

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Re: Micro Router 2nd Hand

Post by Chucky5516 » Fri 10 Apr , 2020 12:00 pm

A Trend Mini Mach has become available at a reasonable price, but before I purchase, what would I need to connect it to my machine? My machine has a valve on the right hand side (pictures further up the post) with red switch\lever, this runs to a pipe under the machine and up into the cabinet, via the blocked off black cap. It says in the manual to use a vacuum cleaner, but this is obviously not an option due to the connection, so what is best (and cost effective)?
Thanks for your link to the limit switches, the Z axis is playing up, not homing properly 100% of the time, but it's easy now I know how to resolve the issue. Will replace the limit switches but worried about access and how fiddly it could be. Tried adjusting the Y axis bolt to move the head further across, but it either doesn't seem to move very far but homes correctly, or moves too far and won't home properly (stepper motor just keeps going) as if it is not hitting the homing switch properly?? Have tried adjusting it very slowly and still struggled, so have left it for now, but still have the issue of possible collision with far post.

Chucky5516
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Re: Micro Router 2nd Hand

Post by Chucky5516 » Fri 10 Apr , 2020 12:01 pm

PS Thought there were pictures further up the post of my machine, but it's just the black cabinet!! If you need pictures to understand the amateur nonsense I'm spouting, please just ask!

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