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Discussion in 'General Phlatprinter 3 Chat' started by Crash, Nov 5, 2010.

  1. Crash

    Crash Moderator Staff Member

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  2. Crash

    Crash Moderator Staff Member

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    The article below is what I intend to send to a list of publishers to get the word out on this great new product...


    The PhlatPrinter III (or, , as it is stylized into the engraving on the front of the machine's cabinet) is the latest in a line of build-it-yourself-from-a-kit CNC machines from the PhlatBoyZ (http://www.PhlatBoyZ.com), well known in the Radio Control industry for their innovative, yet inexpensive, line of machines and kits targeted at Do-It-Yourself R/C hobbyists.

    You may actually recall this company from their flagship product, the PhlatPrinter, which debuted in a storm of excitement in the Summer of 2008. Well, I'm here to tell you that their product line has evolved at a tremendous rate since that first little machine swept up our interest just a few years ago!

    In order to clue you in on the details of this great new product, I first need to explain a little about how these machines came to be, and the process that is implemented by the user.

    In the difficult economy that exists today, many R/C pilots found their hobby budgets severely compromised. With the onset of the "brushless age", where brushless motors, speed controllers, and Lithium Polymer batteries became powerful and viable solutions for our models, many modelers found that they could get "big plane" performance in a small and inexpensive package by moving away from Nitro-powered planes to Electric-powered variants. Even the primary building materials (balsa and light ply) could be substituted with lighter and more easily obtained materials like Depron, EPP, and even insulation-type foams like Dow's Fan Fold Foam (often used as floor underlay material). Crafty modelers started designing airframes around the inexpensive electrical components that became available, and the Foamie era was born!

    The internet, being the communication medium that it is, became an optimal tool for sharing designs and building tips through a host of websites (RCGroups.com is, perhaps, the largest and most recognized). When a modeler had a particular design dialed in, he or she could simply upload the "plans" in a PDF file format to one of the websites and share that model design with the rest of the world. This became such a common practice that there are now hundreds, if not THOUSANDS, of aircraft designs available for us to download and build quickly and easily, even if we, ourselves, do not possess those engineering skills to develop a great flying plane.

    Now here's the interesting part: All one needs to do is download the plans, print the "tiles" out on our personal home printers, piece them together with clear tape, and then cut out those paper pieces to create templates that can be transferred onto our preferred foam so that we can cut the foam parts and assemble our new aircraft! Once all of the pieces have been cut from the foam, the builder - even with beginner-type skills - can have an airplane ready for flight in a matter of hours instead of the weeks that a typical Balsa/Nitro model may require. Combining the ease-of-build with the inexpensive nature that E-power allows, you can probably see why so many people have been caught up in this craze.

    As if the time-frame of conception to completion of an R/C project wasn't already condensed enough, the PhlatBoyZ found a way to make it even faster! The PhlatBoyZ (the husband and wife team of Mark and Trish Carew) were already R/C enthusiasts, but they quickly became tired of the tedium of printing plan tiles, taping them together, cutting out templates, and then finally cutting out foam parts. They came up with a better way, and the PhlatPrinter CNC machine was born!

    A CNC machine is basically a "robot" that executes a series of pre-programmed commands. These machines are commonly used in the commercial arena since they are often very expensive and require professionally trained operators to make them do their work properly. However, the PhlatBoyz found a way to make a CNC machine an affordable tool to the home hobbyist through the implementation of free software, custom-written (also free) plug-ins for that software, and machine kits that can be built by people with only the most modest of building skills.

    The process evolves around the modeler developing the new aircraft in Google's SketchUp, rather than drawing parts and concepts with paper and pen. The application is VERY intuitive and it takes no time at all to master. Once a model has been worked up, it is "coded" using the PhlatScript (a free plug-in developed by the PhlatBoyZ to work within SketchUp) so that gCode (a basic machine language) can be created. At this point, all you have to do is load up the gCode, put your foam into the machine, and "print" out your model's parts. I say "print" because the process and machine makes one think of simply sending a file to a printer and then watching it print out.

    The PhlatPrinter III CNC machine kit has a base model kit price of only $995, but since I already knew that this base version would require me to obtain software to allow the gCode instructions to be sent from my computer to the PhlatPrinter via a parallel cable (ArtSoft's Mach3 - about $175, or a free Linux version of EMC2), I opted to buy my machine at the $1145 price so that I could have USB connectivity and use the software that is included with the USB upgrade for controlling the machine.

    The PhlatBoyZ claim that everything needed comes with the kit except for your personal computer. Believe me, when they say complete, they mean it! Three boxes arrived at my doorstep, and within those three boxes was EVERYTHING, including all of the parts, glue, two screwdrivers, a complete hex-key set, a DVD, and even scotch tape (for holding the nuts in place while building)! Like so many CNC builders have learned, Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) is the perfect material to build a machine from since it's very stable and the strength is incredible (hey, it IS an engineer lumber, right?). All of the MDF parts had even been very precisely cut on a commercial CNC router! Everything was neatly packaged so that no damage occurred during shipping. I extracted the DVD and immediately popped it in my DVD player so that I could see just how the machine is built.

    After watching the DVD in it's entirety, I popped it in my laptop and scurried out to my workshop to begin my build. Even though there are lots of intricate assemblies with the numerous parts, I found the build to be quite easy. All of the hardware for each of the fourteen assembly steps is clearly packed and labeled in individual bags for each of those steps and all of the 1/4" MDF parts were clearly identified. By watching the DVD on the laptop, I was actually able to perform my build right along with the PhlatBoyZ! If I found my progress to be a little slower than theirs', I simply paused the video until I caught up, and then resumed the video when I was ready.

    One of the most interesting aspects of the engineering of this product is that very little glue is required. In fact, all of the wood pieces exhibit a tab/slot construction method quite similar to the method used in many of our model airplanes! Through the use of square nuts and screws in between all of the tabs, you are left with a VERY strong assembly. Moreover, should the need ever arise to take the machine apart for any kind of maintenance or upgrade that you may want to perform, the design easily facilitates this!

    After many "family" interruptions, I was able to complete my build in about 12 hours total over the course of one weekend, and before that weekend was over I was cutting out airplanes!

    Now for one little caveat - I have built both prior renditions of the PhlatPrinter CNC (the Original machine as released in September 2008, and the PhlatPrinter MKII released in June 2009) and have an extensive knowledge of the use of SketchUp and the PhlatScript. It doesn't take long at all to learn this work-flow, but a little time will need to be invested to get comfortable with it. Perhaps the greatest thing about this machine though, is that the instruction you get on the DVD will show you everything you need to know about building it, how it works, and how to use it! If you haven't yet acquired those simple skills needed for designing in SketchUp, fear not! You can download any of the HUNDREDS of free gCode packages at the PhlatBoyZ support site (http://www.PhlatForum.com) that you can load and cut immediately!

    If you've ever contemplated adding CNC machining to YOUR workshop, but thought it might be a bit out of your price range or beyond your skill-set, this machine is certainly for you! It's easy to build, easy to use, and the whole concept of CNC machining is totally de-mystified by the PhlatBoyZ. It is my firm opinion that this product easily meets with the PhlatBoyZ vision of bringing quality, yet affordable products to bring fabrication and manufacturing into every American's personal workshop!
     
  3. Crash

    Crash Moderator Staff Member

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    What can I say? The build of this machine is, by far, better than anything we've seen from the PhlatBoyZ to date. Since I had the honor of building the first one as a bit of a trial before the rest of you guys got yours, I had the opportunity to provide feedback on various things like the packaging and how well it performed, the quality and intuitiveness of the DVD Instructional, etc. I was fully prepared for just about anything, with my shop fully prepared for the build weeks before the arrival.

    I have to warn you, excitement took over and I got so wrapped up in this project that I completely failed to take the normal amount of pictures I usually do.


    THREE BOXES

    As suggested in my "publication" article, everything shipped very well. There are LOTS of pieces and parts, but it was quite evident just how much care Mark and Trish put into the preparation and packing of all three boxes (so much better than we've seen from the contractors that were previously taxed with cutting and shipping the MDF parts).

    The first (and largest) box contained all of the MDF pieces. I immediately noticed that they had been wrapped in bundles representing the assembly steps, and then wrapped again as one big unit. This kept the pieces from sliding around in the box resulting in corner damage and broken tabs. Mark had created some very cool corner protection units from MDF cut on his big machine and placed them in the box at each corner. I noted failure on a couple of those pieces, but no damage to the machine's parts. This meant that the box corner protection pieces had successfully absorbed the shock of a drop and served their purpose well - their failure meant that the contents of the box were not damaged. Well done!! Your large box may not have these pieces, as Mark and I discussed that some 3/4" Dow foam in these corners will most likely perform the same function as the machined MDF pieces, but allow for faster preparation and packaging of the kits. Another thing to note on this large box was that Mark and Trish created Hand Holes on one edge of the box to allow for the carriers to more easily handle the box with a lesser chance of dropping the box. Well done, again!

    The second box in the pile was one of the Tri-Tubes. It contained the conveyor rollers and rods (pressure rollers, handle, and axis linear motion pieces). While the box had lost it's triangle look during shipping, everything was so well wrapped in bubble-wrap, there was no way in the world anything could get damaged.

    The third box (smallest) contained the fun stuff! All of the electronics and hardware were in this box. I was forewarned that, since they were in a great hurry to get the kit to me, they would most likely be putting everything in one big bag. As it turned out, that was not the case! All of the hardware was neatly bagged in separate bags representing each of the steps of assembly. What a pleasant surprise! The steppers were even individually wrapped and in the corresponding assembly-step bags.

    After seeing that there was no damage to anything I received, I snagged up the DVD to watch it before going any further. I highly recommend that you guys do this, too. Just like when we are instructed to read the entire manual before building a new airplane kit (to familiarize ourselves with the construction process), it is of great benefit to do that with this video.

    I was pleased to find that, although my DVD was still a draft, the length was nothing like we saw with the MKII. My version of it (sans the electronics set-up because I already knew what I was doing and it hadn't been shot yet) was only a little over 3 hours in length, so a preview was not nearly as difficult as the long one included with the MKII.

    A quick word on the DVD: My supplied draft version plays in my standard DVD player and on my laptop. The instructions were VERY clear and I never had any situation where I was uncertain of what I needed to do in any of the steps. Mark is very well spoken during the whole thing, and Trish's camera skills are superb! They seem to be such a fluid team during this whole endeavor and the details in each step are imparted to the builder of the kit (me) without any problems. It's not too slow (or "wordy", like you may see in MY stuff LOL), and it's not too fast (if you DO find it fast during your build, click on the pause button while you catch up). There are a few parts where, in order to save time on the DVD, they speed up the repetitive things. Sometimes when you do this, during the editing process, you have problems with the sound (narrator's voice gets SLOOOOW). This happens a couple of times in my draft copy and I think Mark will be taking it out. I, however, got a kick out of that and it made me laugh. LEAVE IT IN, MARK! LOL :D

    I watched the entire video Friday night, and then slept on it, so to speak. Yep! You guessed it - I didn't sleep well at all that night because all I wanted to do was get started! LOL Attached files [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  4. Crash

    Crash Moderator Staff Member

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    TIME TO GET STARTED!

    After a sleepless night of anticipation (yep, I only got about 4 hours of real rest), I loaded the DVD into my laptop and headed out to the shop to get started. After previewing the DVD, I had a really good idea of what I was in for (again, watching it through once before starting really helps) and I set everything up, laid out my parts, and got started!

    You'll start with the Z gantry stuff, as I did, and then move on to the Y/Z carriage assemble. After that, it's on to the I-beam that supports the Y/Z carriage. After you get that part done, you start working on the main cabinet and everything starts taking shape! You'll mount some steppers and then wire them. You'll put on some pulleys and then some belts. All-in-all, I've got somewhere between 10-12 hours of assembly time, but that's mainly because I had many distractions throughout my build (you know, sometimes family gets in the way of our fun!).

    Well, that's kind of it! LOL That last little paragraph details my build. The video instructions, pre-bagged parts, and well-numbered MDF pieces make this thing so easy to build that anything I say here won't really help you with your build at all. I just can't really offer up much, because it's all so easy!

    What I WILL expand on is something you should be aware of, as well as the problems I encountered:

    FIRST AND FOREMOST


    This machine uses very little glue, and that glue is only in some key places where you will never be taking any of those assemblies apart. That being said, the main thing you need to concern yourself with is the screws and square nuts. Please understand that the rigidity and strength of this design is NOT in the screws and nuts, but in the tabs and slots!! DO NOT OVER-TIGHTEN THE SCREWS! If you do this, you will most certainly crush the wood and wreck your machine. I was forewarned by Mark that there are lots of screws (about 200, in total) and that I should consider using a powered screwdriver with a clutch on it so I don't over-tighten them. As luck would have it, I had one and I set the clutch/torque control to the lowest setting and never had any issue with destroying any of the parts. I just cannot stress this enough - the screws and nuts facilitate removal of parts and panels while the engineering and tabs/slots provide all of the rigidity. Consider yourself warned. :D

    MY ONLY ISSUES


    This is the only thing I encountered throughout my entire build, and it's something that only a Beta-Build may bring up, so you guys shouldn't have to worry about this. What kind of reviewer would I be if I wasn't honest, right?

    PRESSURE ROLLERS

    My bushings didn't fit my rollers. Mark and Trish found the problem and immediately remedied it. They tried to send me replacement parts, but I refused them. Instead, I went to the Ace Hardware up the street and got the necessary parts to fit my needs. I tried to get the correct bushings to fit my rods, but couldn't get them anywhere. I ended up snagging up two new rods and all was good. You may notice in my video that my front roller is "loping", as it is not straight. Those rods were the last two I could find in my area and I should be able to straighten it out, but I really don't think it's necessary since the design for the pressure rollers is under spring tension and I have no problem with the pressure varying whatsoever. A fantastic design!

    CARD MOUNT STUDS

    You may recall that in the earlier PhlatPrinter kits, we secured the Easy-CNC driver cards to the machine with a couple of dry-wall screws. Now they are held on with 3mm screws that act as studs. You slide the card over the studs and then secure them with a couple of small nuts. It's really a better design (I think), but my screws were missing - all I received was the 3mm nuts. Again, this has been remedied in subsequent kits and was probably nothing more than a mere oversight during the great rush to get this first kit out for my scrutiny.

    NOW SOME COOL STUFF

    Here are just some observations I made during the build that are testimony as to just how great this machine is:

    Stepper motors have wiring diagrams on them. The ribbon cables provided have the same colors as the motors. There is an included card to show you how those colored wires are to be wired in to the driver card. They've made this step, a step that could intimidate new builders, SUPER EASY to follow!

    All of the linear motion is SUPER SMOOTH!

    The power supply used, as it turns out, is the same one that I use on my MKII. It's a great power supply and powers this electronic gear without any problems. Best of all, the PhlatBoyZ have pre-made and wired the harness to the power supply so you have no worries about accidentally doing it wrong! No shocky-shocky here! LOL

    The conveyor rollers that are used for the X axis drive is SMOOOOTH! Also, it's VERY EASY to apply the grip tape material to these rollers (so much better than the older drive roller design). Just lay down a strip of tape to the correct length and stick it. When you put the next piece on, leave a tiny gap between the strips - don't but the edges. You'll end up with three little equal voids on your roller. Not enough to lose traction with your foam (or whatever you're cutting) at all. I LOVE this design. Trimming the grip tape on the old rollers (Original Phlatty and MKII) was a total pain! LOL

    Planet-CNC USB PhlatBoard - AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The software is easy to understand and works GREAT! This is so much easier (for me, anyway) to figure out than Mach3 or EMC2. Andrej, you got some mad skills, dude!

    USB Keypad works great! I had to fiddle with the setup to get the keys programmed to do what I want it to do, but I can give you guys my settings file so you'll have the fruits of my research.

    Removable Z Plate - This is going to make having and using this machine so much fun, since the potential for modification is endless!

    MODS?


    While the Original PhlatPrinter worked great in it's stock form, a lot of people came up with a bunch of really great modifications to make it better. In fact, so much was learned with that machine that almost all of those great modifications were incorporated into the PhlatPrinter MKII, leaving not much room for growth with that machine. Sure, there were a few things that people came up with, but most mods were mainly "bling".

    There's not really very much I can think of at this time to modify this machine to make it any better, but by the very nature of it's bolt-together design, it lends itself to all kinds of future modification as the need may arise. I've only come up with two mods, thus far, but I reserve my right to add more as I find them! LOL

    1. You will be mounting the power supply loosely inside the right-side cabinet (the same area that houses the stepper drive and USB card. I elected to center mine in the width of the available space and move it forward until it made contact with the front face of the machine. I then scribed (with my marker) a dot on the back side of that front face where the single hole of the power supply makes contact with the front face. My drill, outfitted with a 1/8" bit, was used to drill a hole from that back side of the face. After that, I took one of the 6/32 hardware screws and screwed it through the front side of the face and into the single hole at the top of the power supply (terminal side up) and secured the supply with a single square nut. Securing that one point keeps the power supply centered so that it cannot interfere with the pressure rollers and so that the vents are not blocked by the cabinet side.

    2. I've had an issue with those small grub screws that secure the pulleys to the stepper motor shafts on previous PhlatPrinters. It seems that you just cannot get them tight enough to not slip off the flats of the shafts! Just about the time you've got the set screws almost tight enough, the hex key strips out in the head of that little stinkin' screw! On the Z and X pulleys, I took out those little grub screws and replaced them with conventional 6/32 stainless steel 3/8" long machine screws. This allows you to use a hex key three sizes larger to properly torque down the set screw thus eliminating the chance of stripped heads on that set screw and the pulley slipping on the shaft ever again. If you feel the need to do this on the Y pulley, you'll have to get an 8/32 x 3/8" machine screw. (see my pictures below) Attached files [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  5. Crash

    Crash Moderator Staff Member

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    When your machine is finished, it's time to prepare for your first cuts!

    Planet-CNC USB PhlatBoard

    Since I am using the USB option (Planet-CNC USB PhlatBoard), I had to get that installed with all of the correct settings. The instruction manual that can be downloaded from Planet-CNC (http://www.Planet-CNC.com) is very thorough, but I found it to lack basic implementation instructions. That's no biggie, though, because you guys will have the needed setup information on your DVD's. Since I only had a draft of the DVD, I wasn't yet privy to that information so I had to go it alone. After a quick phone call to Mark, I was up and running on short order.

    The software that drives the USB board is nothing short of INCREDIBLE! I really like the fact that you can import a complete "settings" file to get a starting point. In my case, I got the file that Mark has been using on HIS PhlatPrinter III, so I knew that everything would be close enough to run. Technically speaking, since our machines have all of the same steppers and drive components (belts, pulleys, etc.), they SHOULD utilize the same settings. However, each machine can have it's own little subtle nuances that will require the user to fine tune their settings to achieve optimal results. In my case, they proved to be so close that I have yet to change them.

    Another great feature of this software is that, once you have properly registered the software and card to one another, you can export out a license file that you can use on another machine to run that card. It's great if you have multiple machines like I have because is one machine is busy doing another task, you can pick up a second machine to cut with.

    Now here's the best part of using this USB solution: You can use ANY computer that has a USB 2.0 port!! I have an older Acer Aspire One 9" netbook that I used as my traveling PC (well, until I got my new Alienware M11x LOL). These computers are kinda weak, but are great for surfing the 'net, answering emails, watching the Wednesday night PhlatLab shows, etc., but that's really all they're good for - UNTIL NOW :D I decided "what the heck, let's give it a shot!". It turns out that the little netbooks are PERFECT for driving the USB PhlatPrinter III!!!

    My first cut on the new CNC machine was 3DMon's Lil Ripper. It seemed to cut very well, but then I discovered that the X appeared to be missing some steps. I later determined that I failed to get the pulley on that motor tight enough. Once that was remedied, the next cut was spot on!

    I am so happy with the new USB card and software that I will be converting the MKII and the Big FLA machines BOTH to this card!

    I will be including my settings file that you can import into YOUR Planet-CNC software to give you a good starting point with your machine. Keep in mind that I set up my USB Jog Pad as if this machine is a full flying-gantry machine (like my FLA machine) even though the material moves through the X direction instead of the Gantry moving over the material in X direction. Since I have the big machine, it just makes sense for me to set it up that way. You may, however, decide you want to change your jog commands to better reflect the PhlatPrinter III.

    On another note, Mark told me he's spoken to Andrej (Mr. Planet-CNC) about adding addition hot-key commands that we can program for the USB Jog Pad and he said that he sounded open to the idea. If we can have additional commands on the pad to allow for Zero, Return to Zero, Start, Stop, and Pause, then that will mean that we'll be using out laptops/netbooks/desktops to load the files, and then after that all function of the machine can be controlled by the pad on the machine!! That will be AWESOME!

    FEEDS AND SPEEDS

    Now here is where we are gonna go off into some interesting territory. :D

    Do you remember how, with the first generation Phlatties, we all pretty much found that if we were running feedrates at about 40 Inches Per Minute (IPM), then we had to set our Dremels to the LOW setting? The problem we were having was that, since we had a finite feedrate (the limit of 40 IPM) on our machines, we were melting the foam onto our bits if we ran the Dremel (i.e., "spindle") on HIGH. The reason for that was this whole phenomenon called "Chip Loading". Without getting into a ton of typing on this subject, I'll just state this fact - a bit needs to cut away a certain amount of material with every revolution the bit makes into the material it's cutting. If you feed the bit at a certain feedrate through the material where the bit cuts LESS than it should, then friction builds up and you turn the foam to "cotton candy". :D If you try to cut too much with every revolution of the bit, you can bog the spindle, break a bit, or even (in the case of our Phlatties) push the foam askew. As it turned out, 40-50 IPM on our first-generation Phlatties was ideal for the low speed setting on the Dremels.

    Now let's talk about the demonstrated capacity of the MKII machines. I personally found that the acceptable "sweet spot" on FFF was about 200 IPM. Why was that, you ask? Well, it's because the RotoZip/Flexshaft that is utilized on the MKII runs the spindle at a speed of 30,000RPM! If I were to process my FFF parts on the MKII at, say 40 IPM, I would start making that old cotton candy again because the friction generated by the bit cutting too little with each rotation would heat up and melt the foam.

    In the case of the PhlatPrinter III, we now have a fixed spindle speed of only 15,000 RPM, so we must properly compensate when we set up our parameters in the PhlatScipt to allow for that sweet spot. I found that while I was cutting that first sheet, and was running at 150IPM, the machine worked okay, but the cuts weren't as nice as I see on the MKII with the same bit at 200 IPM. Do you see where I'm going here? LOL I was imposing the same forces on the bit at 150IPM as I would have done running the MKII at 300 IPM! LOL When I dropped the feedrate down to 100 IPM, I saw the SAME quality of cuts as I normally see on the MKII running at 200.

    Basically, I've given this little dissertation to let you know WHY we may want to slow our machines down in order to achieve the same quality of cuts as we've previously seen with the MKII machines.

    Is this a bad thing? I say NO WAY! The trade-off in the time it takes us to cut our files out is worth that extra time when you HEAR the machine - it's not NEAR as deafening as the MKII! LOL

    This machine is fully capable of processing files at the tremendous speeds that we've seen on the MKII, but you want to be mindful that, with the spindle included in the kit, you need to make allowances for Chip Loading. As with any new CNC machine, you'll want to run trials to find what you determine to be your optimal feedrates to get the quality of cut that you find acceptable for your work.

    PRECISION


    I'm still getting to know this machine and have, thus far, only cut FFF with it. I am finding that after it was all dialed in, I can set ZERO, plunge the bit into the foam to make a reference mark, RETURN TO ZERO, then cut my file out. The bit returns back to that same ZERO spot every time so far, without fail. I would say that's plenty precise enough for me!

    In the coming weeks, I'll be processing a host of different materials through this beast and report back my findings on balsa, foam,light ply, MDF, and even some HDPE and Acrylic, if I can find the proper bits to fit in my collet for that stuff.
     
  6. Crash

    Crash Moderator Staff Member

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    So what's the final verdict?

    The PhlatBoyZ products have proven themselves time and time again, and this one blows the previous benchmarks right out of the water! It's an accurate, capable, and convenient machine that builds easier than the first two CNC machines offered up, which were pretty darned easy in their own right!

    I was amazed at how well the machine went together. Bringing in-house the manufacturing of the machine parts allows the PhlatBoyZ to control the quality to THEIR level of standards, which means that WE, as end users, really benefit.

    The ability to interface with the machine via USB adds tons more flexibility on your front end, meaning that anything with a USB 2.0 port should be able to control it (I fully expect that Mac and Linux fans should even be able to use THEIR machines easily when running a Windows shell - VMWare, Parallels, Wine). The fact that I am able to use my little netbook really pleased me since these are convenient and cheap little machines that, in my opinion, are a great fit for shop environments.

    Best of all, this machine is one that can carry us all into the future. It's very conducive to expansion and modification, and serves as a great core platform for innovations that none of us can even fathom today! Just as we share gCode and SketchUp files today for the projects we endeavor to play with, I foresee extra forum sections needed one day for the sharing of codes for attachments and improvements that we may, as a collaborative group, offer up tomorrow.

    There was once a time when the vast majority of American business focused on high quality, innovation, exacting standards, and great customer service. Now we have only a scant few, the PhlatBoyZ included, that refuse to give up the old-school ways and keep forging ahead staying true to what once made America great. The PhlatPrinter III would easily be a great product at TWICE the price!

    Now, after an afternoon of writing, I'm off to my lair to see what else this thing can do!! Attached files [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  7. jkarnacki

    jkarnacki Member

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    Thank you! Good to hear you you you (geez it must be late, why did I type "you" three times?) didn't have to scratch your head too long to figure out the slop issue. Builder error, huh? :p

    - Jeff
     
  8. 3DMON

    3DMON Moderator Staff Member

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    Looking good Mike.
    That's awesome you cut the Little Ripper out for the first plane. :cool:
    Too bad your x axis was having issues. Those 2 fuse sides should have been the same.
     
  9. Crash

    Crash Moderator Staff Member

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    I just dropped in a couple more videos into the first post to hold you guys over until I can get my review article written.

    Enjoy!
     
  10. Evil-Tunes

    Evil-Tunes Moderator Staff Member

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    Crash
    Do you think that Foam tables like the other PhlatBoyz Machines are needed For the MK 3?
    Cheers
    E-T
     
  11. kram242

    kram242 Administrator Staff Member

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    Thank you Mike these videos are great!
    You truly have the talent for explaining things so well.
    Thanks again Brother :)
    Mark and Trish
     
  12. Crash

    Crash Moderator Staff Member

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    E-T, I really think that the machine would benefit from some tables, but they really don't have to be quite as long as what we've used on the previous machines. I've been giving some thought to some short tables on the front and back, but I'll be making them from MDF and securing them with some short sections of Rockler railing that I have left over from my larger machine, that way I can quickly remove them when not needed and they will last forever.

    Mark, thanks so much for your kind words. :D It's easy to talk about an awesome machine like this!
     
  13. ewo

    ewo Moderator Staff Member

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    Thumbs up :)
     
  14. thunder hawk

    thunder hawk Member

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    :shock: :shock: :shock: WOW :shock: :shock: :shock:

    Great review. :cool:

    Now I really want to get my hands on a Phlatprinter.

    Crash you did a nice job on this review and the beta build videos. :mrgreen:

    Cheers. :D
    George
     
  15. TigerPilot

    TigerPilot Well-Known Member

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    Wow, Crash, that's going to be my bed time reading for the next few days. Thanks, my man!
     
  16. Crash

    Crash Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks for the compliments, guys! I LOVE doing this kind of stuff, and can hardly wait to see what cool new goody the PhlatBoyZ come out with next!
     
  17. theothers

    theothers Administrator Staff Member

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    Just made it through the review/article. Awesome job Mike. Very interesting read!
     
  18. Crash

    Crash Moderator Staff Member

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    I ran into a little problem with my Harbor Freight spindle this evening, and I thought it wise to share the knowledge that I've obtained.

    I noticed when I first pulled this tool out of the box and plugged it in that there was an awful rattle in the flexshaft. I figured, hey! - if Mark has been using his without any issues, then it should be just fine like that.

    Well, tonight it started rattling and vibrating so badly that it popped out of the aluminum tool piece! After checking everything that I could think of to fix this thing, it still wouldn't turn smoothly.

    Finally it struck me - it needed some lubrication! I disassembled the flexshaft and squirted in a liberal dose of white lithium grease (the kind you find in the spray can with the tube), and that solved all of the problems. I would have preferred to use some graphite, but the lithium grease was all that I had at this hour. :D

    If your flexshaft starts making a crazy amount of noise and the vibrations are worrying you something fierce, this will fix your problems.
     
  19. kram242

    kram242 Administrator Staff Member

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    Great tip Mike thank you for sharing this!

    I also found this about over doing it on the lube

    Also going on to say that you want to lube every 200 hours of use
    Hope this helps
    Mark and Trish
     

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