Go Kart Guru Update: CNC Milling a New Adventure an Old Conquest

Again my dear readers I hate to let you down by not pumping out another article on Go Karts, but I have been busy with other exciting ventures, one that I have been working on for 18 years now.

This project is so sensitive in nature that I cannot talk much about it other than it is a CNC project of exciting proportions.  The whole project could launch things in a whole new direction.  For example, a multistep supercharger, may not be so out of the question now, as it once was.

Bottom line is I have been busy with CNCing stuff and learning a new software, that I am just excited about.

Lets introduce the subject a little bit more clearly.  A CNC machine is a short name for a Computer Numeric Controlled machine.  In my case it is a Milling machine.  For those not familiar, a milling machine is basically a drill in a fixed position that can move in x,y and z position.  Instead of using  drill bit, an end mill or a special cutter that is designed to cut on its bottom face and side faces is used.

In actual practice the milling machine head can move up and down and the table in the x and y positions.  This allows a piece of material to be carved up into practically any shape you want, as long as the bit can get at it.

I first got into CNC milling about 18 years ago when I saw in a trade journal a do it yourself CNC machine for under 300 bucks by MaxNC. That was the ticket I needed.  I was just newly married and had this CNC mill stuck in the bedroom corner. Quite the set up, and it still works.  I just machined something last night!

The old days required that I program everything by hand, learning all the g-codes and coming up with hand written programs.  I had a little assistance by a program called BobCad, but it was greatly limited to 2-d stuff and was very labor intensive.  They have progressed, but so has their price.  I even wrote Fortran like programs that generate arc code for custom tool making using a ball end mill.  The amount of work I was pumping into developing models was getting to be a real headache…so I decided to mothball the project until I could get a CNC software that had some punch.

Well it wasn’t until last week that I found that software called MeshCam. I was looking on the internet for different software and found MeshCam at a really great price.  The reviews were all good, plus it had a 30 day trial…so I figured I would try it.  And I am not kidding, for some of the quirks that this program might have (which a really aren’t any) I can finally start opening up projects that I closed doors on years ago.

The multistage supercharger is just one of those projects.  I hope to be able to develop 3 psi easily with the supercharger and then bolt it onto a 5 hp go kart engine.  With the performance increases that I had with the simple single stage, we should see some good gains….

So I wanted to let you know I have not fallen off the face of the earth…besides working outside in this humid weather and being mosquito eaten is just not working for me this year.  I have gotten out on the go karts, but actually working on them has been back burnered until at least late August or early September.

Be sure to fire off your questions.

In case you are wondering what you could do with a CNC mill….lots.  For those who want to make a custom intake header, or a custom exhaust header, simple flanges can be developed on a CNC machine.  Typically a carburetor cannot be used because you cant find  a manifold or flange.  CNCing out a simple adaptor plate may be all that is needed.

(I have no affiiliations with BobCad, MeshCam, or MaxNC.  This is NOT a paid endorsement, I am merely stating my past histories and the products I am trying or have tried.  Again, this is not a paid endorsement or anything like that.  I am not trying to sell you anything…I am  just letting you know what I have been doing!)

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3 Comments

  1. Never heard of meshcam , I have only heard of plasmaCam and that is used for plasma tables.

  2. I need to tweek my mill a bit, but other than that it works great.

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