Reply To: MPCNC-based foam cutter system

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David, just want to say thank you again for your needle cutter design and promotion of the MPCNC! I saw the MPCNC on Thingiverse a few weeks before you posted on the FT forums about your needle cutter but dismissed it. I figured it was too much printing for something that didn’t look like it would actually be reliable and usable. Then I saw your post…and honestly kind of dismissed it as well because of your love of the MPCNC 😀

But I kept reading because the needle intrigued me. And as I saw more of your success and others I became more interested in the MPCNC. And eventually decided I had to try and build one for myself since I’ve wanted a CNC machine even longer than I wanted a 3D printer. So after less than two months of owning my 3D printer I dug in on printing my MPCNC.

My build ( has not gone quickly. And I don’t have your excuses for my slothfulness 😉 I do also live in the desert (even hotter than TX. This summer at least one source declared the hottest city in the US to be right here in Yuma AZ) but I do have A/C. And I’ve even been running A/C in my shop all summer since my MPCNC is out there. (which is why I printed mine in PETG, though some test parts I did in PLA and set out in the sun for the summer held up FAR better than I anticiapted – only the original motor mount plates failed without serious effort to deform them.) On the other hand I do have a young daughter who takes a lot of my time and only and hour or two a night that I can get out to my shop…and the computer out there is barely capable of running estlcam causing a lot of my lack of progress.

Still progress has happened and I’ve had an absolute blast along the way. I started the project with the goal of cutting foam on 3’x4′ machine…but assembled it as a 2’x2′ first to keep things simple. Then had so much fun with it even at that size that I put off dealing with the needle cutter and expanding it 😀 Finally got the needle going and got it expanded and now I’ve got the wonderful problem of having more things I want to cut than I have time for 😀 Though I am still working on finalizing my own budget vac table before I really dig in.

I will take a moment to plug a few things that MPCNC and David’s needle cutter inspired me to create/modify:

My parametric version of David’s needle cutter design:
It’s still a bit of a work in progress as I’ve only got “no mount” and hicwic’s mount on it so far…but I do plan on adding the new default MPCNC mount once I get the new Z parts printed for my machine. This update to David’s design was based on feedback from several other users who confirmed David’s theory that raising the motor higher would improve the wear aspects of the needle. But I went a bit further and made almost everything about the design parameterized so people can experiment and customize for their own needs.

My square check tool:
This came from a discussion on the MPCNC FB page where someone posted a link to a similar commercial tool and I thought “Hey, that looks like it could be printed”. My design isn’t perfect, the rotating section could be done better. But it works and it made things MUCH easier for me when I enlarged my machine and could no longer just reach across to hold a tape on opposite corners.

My vacuum nozzle with offset:
I just did this yesterday. I’ve been looking for a way to hook my shop vac to the vac table I’m building without having to drill a hole in my table. On his MPCNC (the one pictured in David’s post above) Curtis used a crevice tool to interface between his vacuum and vac table – I remembered seeing a customizer on thingiverse a few weeks ago for designing crevice tools…but it always made the nozzle centered. I wanted my nozzle offset so I could lay it flat on my table. So I made a few quick tweaks to the OpenSCAD and added an additional variable allowing the nozzle to be offset. It’s not perfect – the nozzle tapers in both X and Y at the bottom so the walls get very thin if you offset it too far…but it allowed me to print a nozzle that fit my needs.

Even though I’ve done a lot with my MPCNC already I still feel like I’m just barely beginning on the journey and look forward to a long list of projects and plans that are now within my reach due to this machine.

So once again big thanks to David for his needle cutter and promotion, and of course huge thanks to Ryan for designing this thing in the first place!

Now if the weather would just cool off so I can feel safe ordering more PLA and printing the new upgrade parts 😀