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Assembly Instructions

Tools Needed      Assembly Instructions     Clamping / Tooling Tips  

Tools You'll Need:
Phillips screwdrivers (large and small)
Tap handle
10-32, 6-32 and 4-40 taps
7/16" open end wrench
1/16", 1/8" hex wrenches
Tape measure
12" Square

Recommended tools to make life easier:
Dial calipers - indispensable for precision measuring
Angle grinder with abrasive cutoff wheel - great for cutting threaded rod, metal
Cordless drill or screwdriver - driving screws, tapping threads
Assembly Instructions:
Assembly overview  The Lobo CNC mill is mostly assembled using self-tapping screws in pre-drilled holes in the sheet metal parts.  A few of the sheet metal parts will need holes tapped.  The X, Y and Z slides assembly consists cutting the treaded rod to length, mounting motors, flexible couplings, assembling guide bearings to the carriages, and adjusting everything for smooth operation.  Lastly, you will be mounting the controller board, power switch and LED in the controller box, plugging in the motor cables, and mounting the controller box on the back of the machine.  There are also some optional parts you can fabricate including way covers and removable table with threaded jig holes.

0. Overview of parts and tools needed

1. Assemble Y-Z Slide to Stiffener, Attach Feet

Assemble motors, prep drive screws, nuts

3. Assemble Carriage Plates

4. Final Slide Assembly

5. Assemble Spindle Mount

6. Mount Controller Box

7. Final details:  
  • Move each handwheel.  All axes should move with light, uniform friction.  If something is binding, loosen the screws holding the nut clamps (and end brackets, if necessary and re-tighten as you twist the handwheel back & forth.  (This will require some disassembly to tweak the X & Y axes.)
  • Test each axis for play.  If there is play in the drive nut, disassembly and squeeze the slotted nut closed slightly.
  • Before operation the machine should be screwed to a flat tabletop of a wide flat mounting plate to prevent tipping.
  • Use zip ties or other means to secure the router's power cord to the controller box.  Make sure there is enough free cord to allow free movement of the Z axis.
  • Apply grease to the drive screws.
  • IMPORTANT! If you are planning on machining aluminum or brass, make sure you seal every seam and gap in the controller box with tape or silicone sealant.  The metal shavings produced are very fine and can get into very small gaps and can easily damage the controller board.
Congratulations! You've completed the mechanical assembly and are now ready to move on to the Software stage for testing and operating your mill.  Ultimately, you'll want to add a removable table, as described below:

8. Making a Removable Table (see table.zip)
A removable table is highly recommended for both simplifying mounting your workpiece or vise, and for protecting the sheet metal which forms the basic table.  The removable table can be made of either MDF or phenolic, 3/8" to 1/2" thick.  You need to rough cut the the table material on a table saw or bandsaw and then drill holes to mount it to the X Slide.  You can then use the milling machine itself to accurately drill a set of jig holes for either clamping material or for mounting a vise.  (if using MDF, you'll want to use threaded inserts in the jig holes for sturdier threads.)

Clamping Tips:
Practically speaking, you'll need some sort of table screwed to the X-Slide.  This could be the removable table descibed in Step 8 above, or something as simple as a piece MDF screwed to the mounting holes on the back of the X-Slide.    In either case, you'll want the table to overhand the front and back edges of the X-Slide to facilitate clamping.

Flat stock  If you are machining flat sheet, the simplest thing to do, if it is large enough, is to use 4 spring clamps to clamp the material to the table edge.  The cutting loads are generally low enough that spring clamps are adequate for keeping your workpiece from shifting on the table.  If you are finding that you need C-clamps to keep your workpiece from shifting, it probably means that you are trying to cut too deeply or too quickly.  The fret board slotting video on the Gallery page shows and example of using spring clamps.

If your workpiece is smaller and can't be clamped to edge of the worktable, then you can easily fashion some hold-down clamps from strips of wood or phenolic.  If you've made the removable table described above with and array of 10-32 jig holes, you should be able to find a workable clamping configuration.  To boost the back side of the hold-down clamp, you can either use a piece of material the same thicknesses your workpiece (as shown) or you could drill and tap a hole in the back of the clamp for a jack-screw.

Small workpieces By far and away the easiest way to hold onto small parts is to use a drill press vise mounted to the table.  This not only make clamping very quick, but once you mount your vise with the jaws accurately aligned to the X-axis, you also automatically align your workpiece when it is clamped in place.

The first thing you'll want with a drill press vise is a set of parallels.  (You can get inexpensive sets from harborfreight.com)  These allow you to boost your workpiece in the vice so you are just holding onto the bottom edge to allow better access for machining.

The other thing you might want to do is install an end-stop screw & washer on the edge of the vise's removable jaw.  Clamping your part up against the washer makes it easy to accurately unclamp and re-clamp your part without losing your zero position.

One last handy tip is to use a sacrificial holding block, as is shown in the guitar bridge video on the Gallery page.  Your workpiece is either screwed or clamped to the sacraficial block, and the sacraficial block is clamped into your vise.  The allows you to fully machine the sides of your workpiece, penetrating into the sacrificial block if necessary.

Tooling tips:
1/4" Shank Tooling All of the routers listed on the Parts page have a 1/4" collet designed for use with common woodworking router bits.  We don't recommend using any bits larger than 1/2" diameter, and generally, a 1/4" diameter bit is a good general puropose bit to use.  Most router bits have two straight flutes.  (We highly recommend using carbide bits rather than HHS.)  Router bits also tend to have a low rake angle, which is good for wood and can also be good for aluminum.

It is also possible to by solid carbide spiral end-mills with a 1/4" diameter and 1/4" shank.  These are available in lengths up to 4"  which is good for deep carving.  The spiral end-mills, however have a bigger rake-angle which makes them tricky to use on wood - particularly on the end-grain. You need to use pretty shallow cuts on wood end-grain to keep fro getting pretty severe chatter.

1/8" Shank Tooling To use 1/8" diameter shank tooling, you will need a 1/8" to 1/4" collet adapter.  Most of the ones you will find are simple sleeves with a single lenghtwise slit.  Because the sleeve doe not necessarily squeeze in uniformly with this type of adapter, your tool will end up with a little extra runout.  There is an adapter from stewmac.com (part number 5246) that has 4 slits, and should have less runout.

1/8" shank carbide endmills have cutting diameters ranging from 0.010" to 0.125", and are available in a variety of lengths and either with a square end or ball-end.  For any machining in aluminum or brass, you should stick to cutter diameters in this range.

3/8" Shank Tooling  The Makita RT0700 router is unique in that it comes with both a 1/4" and a 3/8" collet.  There are a huge number of end-mills available with 3/8" diameter shanks, ranging in diameter from 0.0625" to 0.375".

Drill Chucks All of the routers listed on the Parts page run way too fast for conventional drill chucks.  However, miniature Dremel-type chucks have a low enough inertia that they can be run at higher speeds.  micromark.com offers a drill chuck (part number 15264) with a 1/64" to 1/8" range, and with a 1/8" dia. shank.