Then in May 2015, I happened to come across some videos about creating mini cnc machines using floppy disk drives.
I was hooked. Many hours were spent learning about this. Almost everything was new to me. But I did plunged into this new field with much enthusiasm.
My first few experimental attempts made me learn about input/output, centronics port, parallel port, Linux operating system, stepper motors, stepper motor drivers, breakout board, and LinuxCNC before I could hook up something workable. In the process, I did make several mistakes which fortunately, could be overcome as I went along.
Once the floppy disk stepper motor prototype could be controlled, I started to look around for something bigger. I found many usable parts from junk yards and had to design according to what I have available.
My second attempt finally developed into a usable moving bed cnc machine design.
During this journey of discovery, I had enjoyed finding out and implementing the creation of a precision machine and using it to create beautiful works of art and experimenting to improve on the quality as well as efficiency of the process. Along the way, I had also been improvising and adapting technologies which were very often not part of my professional training. Also the software that I had been using would often be no longer supported and I had to look for alternative means to achieve what I wanted to create.
It was not smooth sailing all the time. The machine would sometimes behave erratically and I would have to carefully observe it, analyse the possible root cause(s), implement countermeasures, operate and observe again. Sometimes the countermeasures would prove to be ineffective. Sometimes, it was too flimsy, working for a short while and then breaking down again. Slowly, I managed to find out the problem-causing issues which could be in the computer, electronic board, wiring, or mechanical items. Some items tend to occur recurrently even though I had rectified it previously, like electrical contact of control signals, computer RAM card contacts, computer BIOS memory. Because I was using an old computer, issues like this sometimes cropped up due to the inherent moist or dusty environment it was operating in and was almost impossible to avoid. Being prepared for these helped me to reduce the down time. I also bought some spare parts in case one day one of them failed.
As the knowledge on how the movable bed cnc machine behave became more routine, and I found that I was able to solve problems as they cropped up, my confidence increased. I then look for a way to increase the sizes of the objects that I could make. So I decided to make a bigger machine – the movable gantry cnc machine.
At the same time that I was able to make the machine perform more accurate and precise jobs, I started to tackle more complex machining jobs like 3D machining. Creating more difficult projects like acrylic side illuminated 2.5D graphics was the result. This involved using LED lighting, DC smps, resistors, and barrel socket. Slots had to be machined for the components and the latter were soldered in place.
Some efforts at publicity and marketing were also done, at the Catholic Marketing Expo 2019 just to introduce my services.
Recently, with the Covid-19 pandemic forcing everyone to stay away from crowds, my church organized an online Christmas Market Place 2020. I took part in that too.