During the past year we have had a lot of issues with our CNC router, and an annoying one has been aluminum chips flying everywhere while milling. We have quite a small CNC room so they get on the walls and it is a huge pain to clean at the end of a work day. Our current solution is a plastic bottle (yes, I know) mounted over the router part, and it essentially catches all the aluminum chips while not interfering with the mill (there’s also a hole on the side for the coolant tube to past through). While this sort of works, I’m seeking a more robust, reliable arrangement for next build season that doesn’t break after 2 uses.
If there are any suggestions or products you guys recommend, or info on how to have a less messy mill, that would be wonderful
The real solution is to buy/make a dust shoe for your router. This is actually kind of similar to your bottle idea, but it’s more sturdy, connected to a shopvac for better chip evacuation, and has brushes for maintaining the vacuum. We made one ourselves in-house from a few pieces of CNC’ed plastic last offseason, but AFAIK we haven’t gotten around to installing it. You can also buy them off the shelf from a number of different machining distributors, but I don’t have any one specific to recommend.
The more temporary solution would be to hang some kind of shower curtain, plastic tablecloth, or any kind of plastic sheeting from the walls. I know in most neighborhoods here you can go to your corner hardware store and they have rolls of plastic tablecloths on the cheap. This will help keep chips from leaving the machining area and hopefully knock them to the ground. If the chips are covered in coolant they may still stick to the plastic, but you can just take the plastic outside and clean it off with a hose every once in a while.
Ah, thank you! The dust shoe looks to be what I’m looking for. Will look into it! Do you have any tutorials on how to make it, and would you even recommend DIYing it? Was it time and cost effective?
We had printed one for our original CNC router. Did it in three parts, with magnets to allow the bottom shroud to be easily removed for bit changes and the top part was in two halves to allow it to easy clamp around router. I will try to find the files and post them. It has been almost 10 yrs, so no promises.
If you can find it, I’d love to see it, the option of DIYing it sounds interesting