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Roland MDX-15 milling machine


#1

Hi all, Would someone like to share his/her experiences with a
Roland MDX-15 milling machine? All of this is very new to me. I have
been reading about Rhinoceros, Virtualmill and a Roland
milling table. It is difficult, as the about all sorts of
systems is abundant. Excuse me for asking a simple question: why do
people use both Rhino and Virtualmill? What are the pros and cons of
Rhino? Does anyone has experience, tips - all relevant
would be very welcome. Thank you for reading. Best, Will


#2

I am also gathering like you on different kinds of CNC
milling machines used for cutting out wax patterns , for Rings,
Pendants, Earrings, etc. I found out that MDX-15 can cut out wax
easily , its a light duty machine. It does not require Visual mill
to run it It has its own Cam program which creates the tool path from
the Stl model , you create in any Rhino or other cad software. MDX-15
is very reasonably priced too. But to cut out rings ,one has to
slice the ring model created in Cad soft ware and cut our in
different parts and later assemble the parts to make a complete
ring. MDX - 15 is only 3 axis ( 2 & 1/2 D) , and to cut out rings in
one piece one requires Rotaty table.

Rhino is very reasonably priced and widely used today by many, in
the jewelry field successfully, Good support and training is also
easily available,for jewelry designing using Rhino. If you are
looking for a very reasonably priced combination of a CNC milling
machine with out Rotary table for cutting out only wax models,with
CAD soft ware. Then I think MDX-15 or 20 and Rhino is the answer.And
if you make an attachment to hold a Good Quality High speed Micro
motor on the MDX-15 , then you can hold even dental burs of shank
size 3/32" or 2.32mm diameter and 3mm dia shank size for holding the
cutters by simply changing the collet on the micromotor , and the
most difficult thing I found on MDX-15 is the tool holding
collet.The extra cost f the Micromotor is worth spending,since one
can use very cheap 0.3mm round burs to cut out wax patterns very
accurately, And the most important thing is the cutting tools ,
which often break. I recently came across a web site of
www.minitech.com , they sell mini CNC milling machines with optional
rotary axis ,one can cut aluminium also with their machines,presently
are also selling Rhino at discount price.

May be this can be of some help to you.

May God Bless us all with good Health ( Mentally , Physically
,Spiritually and Socially ) Umesh Orchidian from Mumbai.


#3
why do people use both Rhino and Virtualmill? 

I have no experience with Virtualmill, but do use Rhino and
Jewelspace with Visual Mill which is a similar product that I also
sell. The reason for using the 2 programs is that they both do a task
the other one can not. Rhino or Jewelspace is a CAD package. This
means that you use them to design your piece. Now if you want to
produce the piece on a milling machine you have to create tool paths
and convert the tool paths to G-code to drive the mill. This process
is referred to as CAM. Visual Mill ( and from the little I know about
it Virtualmill) are CAM programs. You take the design created in your
CAD program (Rhino) and then define the piece of material (wax) you
are going to machine the part from. You then select the cutting
bit(s) you want to use and create a machining strategy to remove the
excess wax and reveal your design. In Visual Mill this process is
driven by setting parameters (depth of cut, step over, direction of
cut, etc.) and the program does the hard work of calculating the
cutting paths to achieve this. Once you have tool paths that you are
happy with you then generate the G-code that you actually feed to the
CNC controller program.

What are the pros and cons of Rhino? 
Pros: 
Low cost 
Good tutorials 
Tremendous flexibility 

Cons: 
Not jewelry specific (no libraries of jewelry items or materials) 
Very engineering oriented 
Fillets can be problematic 

I use Rhino and like it a lot for mechanical/engineering type
things. Without the Matrix plug-in (a $6K or so add-on) I think that
Rhino is a difficult program for jewelry design. It is capable of it,
but you have to work very hard at it. I am just starting to learn
Jewelspace which is a jewelry specific adaptation of Truspace. From
my limited experience I am finding it to be much easier to design
jewelry than Rhino alone and it is about half the cost of Matrix (a
3rd party adaptation of Rhino to the jewelry industry). The output
files from either Rhino or Jewelspace work great in Visual Mill to
generate the g-code to machine them.

If you are interested in a package of Visual Mill 4.0 full version (
www.Mecsoft.com ) and Rhino 3.0 I can sell it for US$1750. That is a
pretty good deal when you consider that the Rhino lists for US$895
and Visual Mill 4.0 list out at US$2000.

Tim
Tim@A2ZMetalsmithSupply.com
A2Z Metalsmith Supply Inc
5151 S Federal Blvd Unit I-9
Littleton CO 80123
720 283-7200
www.A2ZMetalsmithSupply.com


#4

Dear William,

The deceiving part about the CAD CAM world is that in order to make
most parts yourself (without sending them out) you need to know two
programs. The first program like Artcam, Rhine Matrix, Cimigraphy and
Type3 does the design work producing all the dimension and surface
relief of the item. The second program runs the CNC mill or solid
modeling machine and turns the design program file into an actual
item. This is not the case with every system, but is most of the
time. With any CNC mill the most important part no mater what anyone
says is the speed of the spindle. If the speed is not up around
15,000 rpm don’t but it.

Best Regards,
Todd Hawkinson


#5
       Hi all, Would someone like to share his/her experiences
with a Roland MDX-15 milling machine? 

Sure, I have one. I find it an excellent scanner and a pretty good
mill, for relief work in soft materials.

    All of this is very new to me. I have been reading information
about Rhinoceros, Virtualmill and a Roland milling table. 

Are you sure you don’t mean “VisualMill”?

    It is difficult, as the about all sorts of systems
is abundant. Excuse me for asking a simple question: why do people
use both Rhino and Virtualmill? 

Rhino makes the “virtual” 3d model. VisualMill translates that into
a series of directional commands the Roland (or other CNC machine)
follows to cut out the part.

     What are the pros and cons of Rhino? 

It’s relatively easy to use and affordable, but very powerful, and
it translates between a large range of formats. The newly added
ability to manipulate shaded forms directly is a big plus. But on the
other hand, it is mostly oriented towards “NURBS”, a spline-based way
of representing 3d forms. This is good for representing complex
curved surfaces, and is more accurate than the usual way of
constructing them, which uses a series of triangles of a certain size
attached edge to edge. Rhino doesn’t have many tools for dealing with
these polygon meshes (although it can create DXF or STL meshes for
export to other programs). Polygon meshes are more flexible in the
way they can be structured but are also more memory-intensive. This
is analogous to the difference between vector graphics and bitmaps,
I guess- vectors are smoother, and take up less bandwidth, but it’s a
lot easier to make bitmaps of some things.

       Does anyone has experience, tips - all
relevant would be very welcome. Thank you for reading.
Best, Will 

If you’re thinking of getting into this, Rhino and a Roland MDX-15
wouldn’t be a bad place to start. Roland includes some software
(actually an early version of DeskProto) which will translate your 3d
model saved as STL or DXF to toolpaths, or it can scan a model you
make in clay or any other material, then scale it down and carve it
out, which is nice for people who have an easier time actually
sculpting a part (at a comfortable scale) than trying to model it on
their computer. The spindle that comes with it is not very fast, as
was pointed out. But it isn’t too hard to adapt a higher-speed
spindle to the z-axis slide, as was also mentioned. You might wait
to get VisualMill until you got used to the workflow, and then add
some of its more sophisticated functions to your cutting routines.

Andrew Werby
www.computersculpture.com


#6

I have a Roland MDX-20 which is a larger version of the 15 and find
it eminently suitable for carving hard wax or wood . The thing I like
about it is that you can carve one earring (for example) and then
scan it in and get the machine to carve a mirror image , or a smaller
or bigger one to match. This saves a lot of time and although you may
have to do a bit of finishing on it you will end up with an opposite
handed earring rather than one a bit crook! To cut down the cost if
small milling tools I drill a1/16" hole in the end of a piece of ^mm
brass rod in the lathe and superglue in a carbide dental drill. I wold
be interested to know how to fit a more powerful motor , has anyone
done this and what did they use? Tim.