The WorkBee is our latest CNC Machine and is a culmination of all our experience, feedback, and suggestions from selling the OX CNC Machine over the past 2 years. The WorkBee is capable of accurately cutting foams, woods, plastics or aluminum at depths greater than 25mm to 0.2mm accuracy or greater. With a WorkBee CNC Kit you can manufacture functional engineering parts, toys, signs, or whatever you can imagine without leaving the workshop.
The WorkBee makes full use of the V-Slot Extrusion system. On the X and Y Axis C-Beam extrusions are used. Not only is using the C-Beam beneficial to strength, but it also allows the drive systems to be concealed from debris. On a screw driven WorkBee CNC Kit, the screws are inside the 'C' channel, therefore shielded from the cutting area. With a belt setup, the Y-Axis belt are also inside the 'C' channel shielded from debris, the X-Axis belt isn't shielded, but as it is above cut area this isn't of concern.
The main request we got for the OX was for a lead screw driven version. The WorkBee CNC Machine has been designed from the ground up to incorporate this and more.
One issue with switching to a Screw driven system is that it would be limited in size to 1000x1000mm. This size limitation was not acceptable, so we have dual designed the WorkBee so it can be screw or belt driven. If the WorkBee CNC Kit is belt driven it can be made larger than 1000x1000mm. The WorkBee CNC Machine can be converted between the two, as the overall design is exactly the same for both.
The WorkBee CNC also has two different spoiler board configurations. One for shallow work up to 27mm deep, and a lowered setup, up to 47mm deep. Having this option is beneficial, if the plan is to only cut thin materials, it is a waste of rigidity to have the Z-Axis reach down more than needed. The Screw driven version, right image above, shows the lowered configuration.
The WorkBee full kit includes everything you need to build a working CNC Machine apart from the spoiler board. The CNC Kit makes use of the extremely popular Hobby CNC xPro controller. The CNC xPro is a fully featured GRBL Based controller, it comes equipped with four beefy DRV8825's stepper drivers with enough power to run the 175oz NEMA23 Stepper motors included with the CNC Machine. The CNC xPro paired with the included 24V 350W Power supply and Electronics cooling mounts, ensure for a reliable machine that can easily complete them super long jobs. For easy repositioning three endstops are included, one for each axis, and their corresponding mounts and wires.
For safety, good cable management is essential on a machine like this, and we have it covered. The WorkBee CNC Machine comes with a complete cable carrier system for the X and Y-Axis.
The optional router mount for the WorkBee is designed to be compatible with the Dewalt 26200, Bosch Colt, or any other 71mm outer diameter router.
We like to think we have made a name for ourselves by creating excellent assembly manuals for our machines. The manuals provided with the WorkBee CNC Kit are no different. The WorkBee CNC Machine comes with 2 printed booklets that cover the mechanical assembly and electrical assembly. Each has Ikea'eske assembly diagrams in addition to instructional writing. Using our manuals makes the assembly a breeze.
If you have any problems along the way we are a quick phone or email away to provide you with the help you need. Also the Openbuilds website and forum is an invaluable community of fellow builders and WorkBee owners who are always more than willing to provide assistance. The WorkBee comes with a 1 year warranty on all the parts, so if anything is damaged or stops working, we will send a replacement out quickly.
Ooznest and the WorkBee CNC Kit are a proud member of the Made In Britain Directory. The WorkBee CNC Machine is designed and assembled in our UK Offices. Currently all the extrusions, wires, and plastic parts are manufactured in Britain, and we are continually looking to get more individual parts manufactured here as well. When you contact us you can be 100% sure you will be speaking to someone in our UK Office.
The WorkBee full kit includes everything needed to build a working CNC Machine except the MDF Spoiler board. Please see the additional extras that can be added in the section below. The software to run the machine is included. The CAM software is not included, but can be bought as an extra off us or sourced elsewhere; free options like Fusion360 or SketchuCam can be used with the WorkBee CNC Kit. See the 'Software' tab above to get a full overview of the software used to run the machine.
All preliminary work is done for you. This includes cutting/tapping the extrusions, cutting the ACME screws, soldering/crimping wires. Only basic tools like allens keys, spanners and screwdrivers are needed to complete the assembly.
Multiple sizes of the WorkBee CNC Machine are available starting at 750x750mm. With a 750mm X-Axis two spoilerboard support extrusions are included. Sizes with an 1000mm X-Axis include three spoilerboard supports extrusions. Sizes with an 1500mm X-Axis include 4 spoilerboard supports.
By default the WorkBee doesn't come with a router mount. The Z-Axis extrusion is 80mm wide, with 4 slots at 20mm spacing, to mount whatever attachment you want, may it be a Spindle, Laser, or something else.
There is three options for the Router Mount. The first is the router mount only, this is a solid aluminium mount designed to work with any 71mm outer diameter router. This includes all the hardware needed to mount it to the machine.
The second option includes the router mount above, plus a DeWalt D26200 as seen in the pictures. This is a 900W Input (620W Output), 16000-27000rpm manual speed compact router, with a 1/4” Collet. Please note we only supply the 240V 3 Pin UK Plug Version.
The third option includes the router mount, DeWalt 26200, and an End Mill Kit. The End Mill Kit consist of 7 end mills, they are 1/4", 1/8", 1/16" end mills in both square end and ball end, and a 90 Degree Engraving Bit. A 1/8" collet for the Dewalt 26200 is also included.
The same options above are also available for the Makita RT0700CX4 palm router, this is a slightly smaller router, therefore adapters will be provided. The Makita is a 710W Input, 10000-30000rpm manual speed compact router, with a 1/4” Collet. Please note we only supply the 240V 3 Pin UK Plug Version. If the mill kit is chosen a 1/8" Makita collet will be supplied
CNC Machining is naturally a messy job, containing and removing the cutting debris with a dust shoe will keep the machine clean and allow it to run much smoother. A cleaner machine will also mean the mechanical parts will wear significantly less. The dust shoe will also create a vacuum environment for the cut, removing chips and thus removing heat, this will improve cutting performance and increase the milling bit life span. If you are considering to use the WorkBee CNC Kit in a production environment we would highly recommend using a dust shoe.
Our split-shoe is specially designed for smaller CNC Machines like the WorkBee, and will clamp around any 71mm outer diameter router, this includes the DeWalt D26200. It has a clear arcylic plate that allows the cut to be viewed during operation, and a 2” brush that magnetically attaches to the upper plate. The removable brush ring allows for quick and easy access to change the bit. The vacuum outlet is 2-1/2”.
All Software Bought With The Machine Is Discounted By 5% From Its Normal Price.
The WorkBee has the following software work flow: CAD → CAM → G-Code Sender.
The G-Code sender takes the file produced from the CAM Software, and sends it to the machine via USB. In addition you can also jog the machine, enter manual commands, and configure the firmware within it. We recommend Universal G-Code Sender, this program is freely available and our instruction manual covers downloading and installing it. Whatever software option you choose (Even 'None') this is included.
CAM Software produces G-Code tool paths from your CAD designs. We do not provide CAM Software with the machine, unless chosen as an option. We have tried nearly all the offerings available, and have settled with the software made by Vectric. It is powerful software, but very easy to use. Please see the tab 'Software' above to see a breakdown of the different versions available. However the WorkBee CNC Kit is fully compatible with any CAM Software which can export G-Code, this includes free ones like Fusion360 and Sketchucam.
By standard the CNC Machine is connected via a USB Cable. The USB Cable provided is extremely high quality to minimize any external interference. USB Cables work well but can be prone to snagging. On larger machines their limited length can also be an issue.
The bluetooth adapter solves these issues. With the bluetooth adapter connecting to the machine and controlling it, is the same as if there was a USB cable, however there isn't. Using a USB cable negates the chance of a cable snagging, removes the fears of electrical interference, and allows control of the machine from a more distant computer.
750 x 750mm
750 x 1000mm
1000 x 1000mm
1000 x 1500mm
1500 x 1500mm
550 x 520mm
550 x 770mm
800 x 770mm
800 x 1270mm
1300 x 1270mm
54mm Or 94mm Travel, 27mm Or 47mm Workable depth, with a 12mm spoilerboard. The spoilerboard supports have two height configurations, these are the maximums for each configuration.
Drive System - ACME Lead Screws Or GT3 Timing Belts
Linear Guides - Polycarbonate wheels on anodised C-Beam V-Slot Extrusion.
Motors - NEMA23 175oz Stepper Motors (X, Y & Z)
Accuracy - 0.05 - 0.10mm (Screw Driven) Or 0.10 - 0.20mm (Belt Driven)
Controller - USB CNC xPro V3 Controller, GRBL 1.1 Firmware, Dual Y-Axis Stepper Drivers.
Power - 24V 350W Output, Switchable 110-220V Input.
Software - Universal G-Code Sender Windows/Mac Compatible.
The pictures below are provided by current WorkBee users and show the machine in action, and the things they have created with it!
Once the WorkBee CNC machine is built, it has the following software work flow: CAD → CAM → G-Code Sender.
The G-Code Sender software allows firmware settings to be configured, move the machine around, and send the g-code job file to the machine. The manual covers using the very simple Universal G-Code Sender, which is a free java based program, that is compatible with Mac or Windows computers. There is other free options available such as GRBL Panel and Chilipeppr.
Other pieces of software that will be needed are a CAD program (Create designs) and CAM program (Turn designs into g-code toolpaths). Most CAM programs have basic CAD functionality built in which will achieve the majority of tasks. There is multiple free CAM programs available such as Fusion360 and Sketchucam.
We have tried nearly all free and paid CAM software available, and have found the offering by Vectric to be the best in terms of functionality and ease of use. We have partnered with Vectric to offer their software as a bundle with our WorkBee CNC Machine with a 5% Discount. They sell 3 different variants, outlined below, for more info please visit Vectric
Cut2D by Vectric is an incredibly powerful but intuitive CAM solution for cutting parts on CNC Machine Routers. Cut2D includes tools for both 2D Design and editing as well as G-Code toolpath creation.
With Cut2D Desktop and Cut2D Pro designs from other CAD programs can be imported or use the inbuilt drawing tools to create customs designs. All the common CNC operations are covered in the toolpath options, including profiling, pocketing, auto-inlays, and drilling. High level control of each operation is provided with appropriate settings. Each toolpath can be previewed individually or collectively to get instant feedback on how the the job will look.
VCarve is an easy to use but still very powerful piece of software for creating toolpaths to make parts on a CNC Machine. Alongside tools to create 2D Designs and Toolpaths, VCarve also has the ability to import a single 3D Model (STL, OBJ, SKP etc.) Furthermore VCarve can also import Vectric clip art 3D Models to create more complex 3D assemblies.
With VCarve Desktop and VCarve Pro 2D Designs can be imported from external programs, but also use the in built drawing features to create customs designs. All the common CNC operations are covered in the toolpath options, including profiling, pocketing, auto-inlays, and drilling. 2.5D operations like V-Carving, Prism Carving, Moulding, Fluting and even texturing are also present in VCarve. With 3D operations you can rough and finish the model, as well as project 2D/2.5D designs onto a 3D Model. With each operation there is also high level control available through appropriate settings. Each toolpath can be previewed individually or collectively to get instant feedback on how the job will look.
Built on the same platform as the VCarve Software, Aspire has the same intuitive interface and simplicity for use in design and machining. In addition to the powerful tools provided by VCarve, Aspire enables the transformation of 2D sketches, photos, drawings, and digital artwork into detailed 3D relief models. From these models Aspire can calculate roughing and finishing tool paths so these shapes can be accurately cut.
Even though Aspire is very easy to use, it is used by a wide range of individuals and business to produce a whole range of parts from decorative panels & signs to moulds & awards. The applications for Aspire are endless.
Aspires 3D component modelling coupled with the extensive 2D tools makes it easy to work on existing 2D and 3D Models as well as create personal custom models. Vectric have developed a unique approach to 3D Modelling with Aspire, models can be easily built up from simple shapes, and modified at anytime without having to recreate the component. Working with 3D Shapes from 2D vectors is very interactive, in Aspire any changes are instantly updated in the 3D View to show exactly what the final result will look like. 3D Components can be displayed in various materials and colours to give an accurate representation that can be presented to customers or clients.
Cut2D and VCarve come in two variants, Desktop for hobby users with smaller CNC machines (under 25" x 25" or 635mm x 635mm) and Pro which have no size limit and also includes production orientated features like Nesting, Toolpath Templates, Scripting (Gadgets) and Job Setup Sheets. If a machine size of 750x1000mm or greater is chosen then the Pro version of the software will be needed to take advantage of the full cut area.
1 year of free updates come with the software, and the license should be registered on the vectric website at the soonest moment to receive these. It is possible to upgrade the license to their other offerings for a discounted price
To clarify the Z Travel, this is not the max cutting depth or the travel range of the actuator. Z travel is the distance downwards it can travel before hitting the spoiler board supports.
The WorkBee has two spoilerboard support configurations. One with a travel of 66mm, and a lower one with a travel of 106mm. The reason for the two configurations is that if the machine is always used to cut thin materials, for accuracy reasons it is better to have the work piece as close to the Z-Actuator as possible, so in this case the machine should be setup in the higher 66mm travel configuration.
The higher configuration has a Z travel of 66mm, with a 12mm spoiler board, this will reduce the Z travel to 54mm. In this case 54mm is maximum thickness of material that will fit on the machine.
To calculate the max cutting depth for a chosen piece of material it is:
Max Cutting Depth = Z travel – Material Thickness
For instance a setup with a 12mm spoiler board, the max Z travel is 54mm, so when cutting into a material 30mm thick the max cutting depth would be:
Max Cutting Depth = 54 – 30 = 24mm
This means with a 30mm piece of material it would not be possible to cut it the whole way through.
The max thickness that can be cut the whole way through is half the Z travel. So with a Z travel of 55mm, 27mm is the maximum thickness of material that could be cut the whole way through. And for the lower configuration the maximum thickness that can be cut the whole way through is 47mm
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