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Milling machine 4.0

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  • Conversion CNC gantry milling machine

Milling machine 4.0

Conversion of a CNC portal milling machine at the Rudolf-Diesel Technical College in Nuremberg

As part of their project work, four prospective mechanical engineers at the Rudolf-Diesel Technical College in Nuremberg converted the CNC portal milling machine of the non-profit association FabLab Nuremberg e.V.
Before the conversion, the milling machine was only suitable for machining small wooden or plastic workpieces. The target of the project work was that after the conversion aluminium could also be machined. Additionally, the portal should be re-engineered i.e. it should be able to implement all movements in the X axis automatically.
To be able to machine aluminium, the milling machine had to be radically modified. Amongst other things, the rigidity was significantly increased using self-manufactured portal side parts and stiffening ribs, and by redesigning the Z axis. New slides for the X axis outside of the aluminium profile were also added. These two slides now guide the gantry and allow for its mobility. Apart from this, three new step motors were installed to drive the recirculating ball spindle. Because of the lack of space at the machine location, the motor for the X axis had to be built into the machine bed. For this reason, a drive belt was used to transfer the power from the motor spindle to the recirculating ball spindle. As a new clamping table, four T-slot pallets were bolted to the aluminium profile. Optical reference switches were used to ensure safety and register the actual machine coordinates. Lastly, two power chains were installed in which the cables for the motors and the reference switches were routed to the controls of the milling machine.
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norelem in the project:
Linear housing units tandem, closed
Housings for flange nuts
Ball-type linear drives, rolled with DIN 69051 flange nut


norelem supplied the ball screw actuators, housings and linear housing units for this project.

The three ball screw linear actuators have the task of converting the rotary movement of the step motors into a linear movement and so play-free control the movement of the milling spindle in all three directions (X, Y and Z).

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