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Brian Goulet
11-11-2008, 12:39 PM
I have been doing more and more production pen making, and I'm wondering if there is a CNC mill or something I can use to automate the process of drilling holes in my pen blanks of about 20-50 at a time. I would love to automate the mindless part of my process so I can spend more time doing the "skilled" labor. Any suggestions??

Kenneth Hertzog
11-11-2008, 7:37 PM
Brian

You would have to write your own program for the drilling process
the bit needs to drill a little and come back out and then back in
and drill a little and so forth.
Yes I think it could be done easily with a little programing work.
if the wood is sticking to the bit you would need to clean it off
before the redrill. but still doable.

ken

Wil Lambert
11-12-2008, 10:11 AM
Brian

You would have to write your own program for the drilling process
the bit needs to drill a little and come back out and then back in
and drill a little and so forth.
Yes I think it could be done easily with a little programing work.
if the wood is sticking to the bit you would need to clean it off
before the redrill. but still doable.

ken

The programming should be fairly simple. Most modern CNC machine will understand basic canned cycles. A G83 cycle would be appropriate for this. it will allow a pecking cycle to be defined for the drill and then all you need is location inputs after that. Mount an air blast to the spindle to remove the chips and you will be good to go. The biggest issue will be finding a machine that has the head clearance to be able to drill a blank. Most router have about 5" of head clearance.

Wil

James Jaragosky
11-12-2008, 11:26 AM
I have no experience doing this myself, buy I worked in a machine shop some years back and this kind of thing is done in metal all the time with a cnc lathe.

Kenneth Hertzog
11-12-2008, 11:54 AM
I would use a milling machine with spindle rather than a router setup.
I would use a drill bit rather than a milling bit.
I would also drill the item when cut in half rather than try it the full 5 inch length.
If your drilling that many blanks I sure a portion would be from the same wood
just my thought on the matter

ken

James Jaragosky
11-12-2008, 2:47 PM
After some additional consideration of your question, I realized that the answers provided all require you to chuck up each blank, which I assume you’re currently doing anyway, we have just provided different equipment solutions but the labor requirement is still the same.
You could use a cnc router to do what you are asking, and set it to do multiple blanks at a run.
You will need to create a jig to hold multiple blanks perfectly perpendicular to the table, you will also need a gantry height of at least 10 + inches above the spoil board if your blanks are indeed 5 inches long.
And then the appropriate bit to drill the part, and I am sure air assist wouldn’t hurt to clear the bit of chips.
The hard part will be finding a cnc router with the height requirements that you require. I have not seen any stock machines with that high of a gantry clearance. But I am sure you could have it made, I know Camaster offers extended height upgrades on their machines, and I am sure others do as well.
I hope this is more in line of the answer that you were looking for.
Jim J.

AL Ursich
11-12-2008, 5:40 PM
Just a thought.... I am a CarveWright user so it would not work for me but.... Could you place a block of wood on the machine and drill say 50 holes the size of your blanks then after placing the blanks adjust the height and select a smaller bit and if the blanks did not spin you could drill them using the hole center location from the bigger holes?.:rolleyes:

Shop Bot want-a-be...

AL

Brian Goulet
11-12-2008, 8:36 PM
James, that does help. I wouldn't need that high of a clearance, because I cut all of my blanks in half before I drill them. The blanks at the longest would only be about 3". Are there CNC milling machines that might be able to handle that depth of drilling?

James Jaragosky
11-12-2008, 10:20 PM
James, that does help. I wouldn't need that high of a clearance, because I cut all of my blanks in half before I drill them. The blanks at the longest would only be about 3". Are there CNC milling machines that might be able to handle that depth of drilling?

Absolutely. All the commercial and most hobbyist machines can easily fill that need.

Keith Outten
11-13-2008, 5:35 AM
I would think that if you used thick lumber it would be easy to rip it to 3" wide then clamp it down to a CNC router table on edge and run a peck drilling program. The challenge would be finding a 7mm drill bit, if that is what you are using, that has a shank size that fits the router collet.

After the drilling was done you could then cut each blank on your table or band saw.
I would use a slider jig that had a dowel on the fence edge that would keep your pen blank perfectly centered on the hole for trimmimg the blank to size.
.

Brian Goulet
11-13-2008, 10:29 AM
Keith,

That sounds like a good strategy for routing into board lumber, but a lot of what I do is burls and the like that are somewhat irregular shapes. I would have to have some kind of jig setup that is made to hold the 3/4"x 3/4"x 3" blanks on end for drilling.

Kenneth Hertzog
11-13-2008, 1:09 PM
Brian

I could show you how that would look setup in my machine.
I can set up three in the vise just for a demo if you wish.

Ken

Keith Outten
11-13-2008, 1:21 PM
Brian,

Actually I had a 3" wide board about 8 feet long in mind, the router would move down the length of the board peck drilling the holes. It would be easy to make an "L" shaped fixture to clamp your board to that would hold it on edge of use angle iron and put screws through the angle into the board located between the pen blanks.

If you would prefer to stack pre-cut pen blanks in a fixture that would be just about as easy, the trick is to be able to zero your fixture to the table perfectly but it can be done. The height limit of the "Z" axis as discused above would be the only limiting factor.
.

Bruce Larson
11-13-2008, 3:40 PM
Just an idea, I am not sure they make a 3/4" mortising bit, but if they do, use it to drill a series of 3/4 square holes on a given set of centers, then insert the blanks and clamp your jig at a fixed location and then let your router drill the holes.
The same jig could be used with a milling machine or even a drill press with a movable vice. The main thing is to get good square holes at a designated distance to insure repeatability.

Kevin L. Waldron
11-13-2008, 8:07 PM
Have you ever tried wax paper around a part then use foam insulation (the kind in a can and let it dry completely). You may have to make a rectangle box that can be attached to a table so the foam want go every where and there are different foams in regards to hardness. We have used this method several times when we had the time to wait for the foam to set to make holding fixtures.

Kevin

James Jaragosky
11-13-2008, 8:29 PM
Have you ever tried wax paper around a part then use foam insulation (the kind in a can and let it dry completely). You may have to make a rectangle box that can be attached to a table so the foam want go every where and there are different foams in regards to hardness. We have used this method several times when we had the time to wait for the foam to set to make holding fixtures.

Kevin


Wow; Kevin that’s a terrific idea. Thanks, I believe ill use it.

Gary Hair
12-04-2008, 2:58 PM
Keith,

That sounds like a good strategy for routing into board lumber, but a lot of what I do is burls and the like that are somewhat irregular shapes. I would have to have some kind of jig setup that is made to hold the 3/4"x 3/4"x 3" blanks on end for drilling.

Brian,
I have plenty of Z clearance on my router but the drill bit would be the problem as I have a 1/4" collet. However, you could machine the end of the bit to 1/4" and it would work fine. I could pretty easily design a gang fixture to do multiple blanks at one time, or use my centering vise for one at a time. If you want to pursue this send me an email or pm and we can discuss further.

Gary

Steven DeMars
01-03-2009, 7:41 PM
Brian,
I have plenty of Z clearance on my router but the drill bit would be the problem as I have a 1/4" collet. However, you could machine the end of the bit to 1/4" and it would work fine. I could pretty easily design a gang fixture to do multiple blanks at one time, or use my centering vise for one at a time. If you want to pursue this send me an email or pm and we can discuss further.

Gary


What do you use for a centering vise? Whatever it is, does it work well for pen blanks . . .

Bill Griggs
01-17-2009, 9:54 AM
Vectric V-carve Pro will do peck drilling so will cut2d. http://vectric.com

Bill