woodturning, project, Woodworking

2 axis tool platform

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I'm sure there is a proper name for this but I can't think what it is.

So to describe it... basically it's a platform on which I have mounted a rotary tool. By turning the big wheel at the end I can make the platform move left and right.

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Then by turning the small wheel behind the rotary tool I can move it in and out.

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This gives reasonably precise control over moving the rotary tool in relation to an item mounted on the lathe.

Well, that's the theory anyway. I have not yet had the time to try it yet. However, I thought I'd write about it's construction.

Basically there are 2 guide rods, and a single central threaded rod running along the main 'bed' of the platform. The platform itself has 2 pieces of hardwood with holes drilled for the guide rods, and a nut shaped hexagonal hole in the centre. A nut is hammered tight into this hole and threaded on to the threaded rod. In this way turning the threaded rod one way or the other drives the wood supports up and down. The big problem here was lack of precision.  The guide rods and threaded rods need to be perfectly parallel in order to work. In truth I made it good enough, but the platform doesn't work for the last 20cm or so on one side, the mechanism just jams up. But enough travel was available that I kept going with the build. The same problem hit me making the smaller mechanism for forward/backward movement. But due to the smaller scale, the same amount of imprecision had relatively more effect ,since there was no flex in the lengths of rod. So I abandoned the guiderods, instead realising that the two supports running along the base mechanism must themselves be pretty parallel to work at all. So I fixed a piece of hardboard to the underside of the wood that would move forwards/backwards. This provides just enough guide between the parallel supports to stop the platform flapping around.

I was then able to attach a piece of wood with two bolts coming up through each end. This provides a mounting point to secure what ever I like to this 2 axis moving platform. In this case I made a polystyrene holder to fit my rotary tool. I hope this will provide just enough grip to work against the forces of using the tool, failing that I'll have to make some harder clamp to hold it more rigidly in place.

Doing this rekindled a desire in me to build a cnc type tool. Possibly for a rotary tool, but something to allow this precise control of tool over 3 axis to be driven by computer... I found some interesting designs ,but the stepper motors + controllers are not cheap. So for the moment at least I need to put off the idea. Unless someone feels like donating me some components?

I'll post again once I've used my platform to do something, and report on how it went.

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I'm sure there is a proper name for this but I can't think what it is.