Heres what I have been working on for the past couple of weeks. I had an old, beat up Gen-E (pre-Dye takeover) Matrix body that I wanted to work on as a milling project. And yes, I am actually milling it, NOT using a dremel. Dremeling is NOT milling! Sorry, pet peeve of mine...
Anyways, I was always fond of the LA Ironmen old school Matrix with the dead tube and a lot of meat removed, so I thought that would be the way to go.
First off though, the machine I have is a Microcarve MV2 cnc router (www.microcarve.com
<-- Awesome machine, btw) that uses a Bosch Colt palm router as the spindle. Now, for someone who is unfamiliar with machining, a router is not really meant for aluminum. The machine is very sturdy, but is not quite as rigid as a mill, and the palm router is not meant for aluminum, but for plastics and wood. So, I had to go very slow and choose steps carefully. Also, this was my first run at milling a gun, so several factors played into the final results not being quite the best. However, I learned a lot this first time, and I will know what to do (and what not to do) the next go around.
Here is my worklog of sorts:
First off, I needed to mount the body of the matrix sideways. I also wanted to support the body on the underside to prevent bending during cutting. Problem 1. the side of a matrix is no where near flat, so i needed to come up with a solution for a support:
I first mounted the body to a 1"x1" aluminum square rod.
Next, I drew up some supports that would match the underside of the gun and give a flat mounting surface. They are made out of 0.75" MDF:
Here are the supports with delring rods keeping them together:
Here is how the supports fit against the body. Pretty stinkin well!
The body was wider than the 1" barstock (of course), so I had to elevate it above the table with some 1" OD spacers. Turned them down to withing a couple of thou, then lapped them down to darn near even. These had to be the same height, or the whole body would be sloped to one side:
It was also crucial that I get all 3 axes level before I ran the program. You will see what happens when I dont do this later
. I used a dial indicator to make sure it was perfect:
And here we go! I used a 0.25" 2 flute end mill for the roughing cut.
Doh! Brain fart #1. I had to stop and start the program. I didnt set my z-height right and had a crash here at the back. No worries though, scrap body:
Going back with a finishing pass with a ball nose mill. I added some tear drops to the meat in the side for a little flair. I went for an old school dark angel esque milling profiles:
Here is the finished product. Brain Fart #2 is on the top tube near the rear. During the crash earlier, the body got the slightest bit off center thus causing one uneven milling line, seen here. It could come out if I were to sand it better, but it being a trial run, I didnt sand much. Just enough to get the heavy milling lines out of it.
And yes, that eye hole in the rear was there when I got the body. The teardrops look worse here, but its just the lighting hitting the bottom funny. They are more even than they appear:
Some light sanding improved it a fair amount:
Not too shabby:
Again, not perfect, but for a first run, on a machine not made for aluminum, using a router not made for aluminum, a couple of crashes, and light sanding, not too bad! Im really proud of it, and now I know how to make the next one more clean and perfect!