Use Ferrules to Hook up your CNC Router, yet Still No Enclosure

tb-6560-all-ferrules-servosMost people that have a CNC router at home are hobbyists, and even those that aren’t don’t always hook things up the best way.  After having to return a TB6560 servo control board to Zen Toolworks, possibly (most likely) because of transporting it roughly, I’ve been thinking more about the way my stuff is wired and housed.  For some reason I tolerate inferior wiring at home much more than I would at work as an engineer.  (I did learn how to run my TB6560 on a PCI parallel port card, so at least that was one useful thing about this excercise)

One thing that I’ve learned to use at work is called a “ferrule.”  Ferrules, unlike the “ferule”, which is apparently used to punish children with*, is a small metal “cylinder” that can be crimped around your wire.  This keeps everything from fraying in a screw connector.  Before installing, I had to put solder on a few of them to make the wire diameter a little bigger so they didn’t slip off, and cut them a bit short so they would go all the way into the TB6560’s screw terminals.  Once crimped on, they slid on to each axis nicely, and should allow for easy disassembly if I need to transport it again.

Another thing I lack on the controller front is a proper enclosure for the TB6560 board, and the Zen Spindle DC controller.  My thought was to model it in Draftsight (here’s my review of this program) and cut a piece of MDF out with the standoffs built in.  This was my first try at cutting anything since getting a new board, and I’d forgotten how slow cutting something large enough to mount both boards would be.  I’d also mistakenly positioned one board in such a way so the parallel port would interfere with the motor controller board.  After realizing that it would take a long, long time (like my 3D topo map), I decided it might be better to simply buy some standoffs and buy or make a box possibly using techniques for box joints I’ve been experimenting with.

So as for now, my setup will have to do, and the ferrules, which can be bought from Automation Direct look like they will form a great connection.  They also have a tool available for installing them, but the cost may be prohibitive for the hobbyist.  Some sort of pliers should work in a pinch.

FYI, as of this writing I don’t get any sort of kickback from Automation Direct, I just couldn’t find the correct part on Amazon, of which I do get a small percentage of anything you buy after clicking on one of my links.  I try not to link to any products I don’t like unless it’s to somehow mock or criticize them.  If I haven’t personally tested it, I try to be explicit about it.  Actual Google ads are a bit different since I don’t directly control them.

*Ironically, one could use a ferule to punish your child work force for not putting the ferrules on your assembly machinery correctly.  You’ve probably stolen the design from an engineer in a wealthier country, so the shoddy work that you get is well deserved.

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