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Thread: My 8020 router build

  1. #1

    Default My 8020 router build

    Greetings everyone,
    I have been reading everything I could find on CNCzone since last Nov. I am now starting my router build and thought it was about time to start the build thread also. Hopefully this thread will help someone as all the threads on this forum have helped me. No question about it, there would be no way that I could even contemplate building a CNC router without this forum. Thank you.

    So here goes.

    The router will use a moving gantry and will have a table 24" by 24" with a cutting surface of 18" by 18". I was really constrained by my available space. But this should be big enough for my foreseeable needs.

    I patterned my build after Senna's.

    I liked many features in his design and that it has worked very successfully when completed. Thanks Steve. Your thread is fantastic.

    I drew up a set of plans using TurboCAD.

    Similar Threads:
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails -cnc-router-pdf   -cnc-router2-pdf  

  2. #2


    It's a nice surprise to have my machine design used as inspiration! I'll be following this one closely!

    Let me know if there is anything I can do to help things along!

    Steve (aka Senna)

    Last edited by Senna; 05-07-2011 at 11:54 PM.
    aka BOOMER52 >>>

  3. #3


    Looking at your PDF 's... it appears that you have a good grasp of the mechanical layout. I'm going to attach a PDF of my gantry layout which may help with the visualization of all that's going on. The bracketing CAN get confusing at times...

    If you don't want me cluttering up your build thread... let me know.


    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails -gantry-jpg   -gantrydesign-pdf  
    aka BOOMER52 >>>

  4. #4


    Thanks for the attachment of the gantry. Your pictures/diagrams are very detailed and were/are of immense help. In all my reading of peoples' build threads, I really get the most out of those with a large number of contributors.

    So if you or anyone else has anything, please do not hesitate.


  5. #5


    After drawing up a set of plans, I build a small model of the build. It's about 6" square. This really helped me to look at things from all different angles and it only took a couple of hours. I think the scale was 1/4" to 1 1/2". I then used some light cardboard (the cardboard on the back of a paper tablet) to make the brackets. I numbered all the brackets so I knew the total of all brackets needed. And there were a lot of them, about $300 in brackets. At the price of these brackets, I didn't want to make any mistakes in ordering the wrongs ones or the wrong quantity.

    I may have gone a little overboard with the brackets, but figured I would rather err on the side of overbuild.

    I liked this model because I would have it on the kitchen table and look at it while eating breakfast. I could spin it around and get a good look at how things interacted.

    I highly recommend using a model as I think the design phase of a build is one of the most important parts.

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails -model-jpg   -model2-jpg  

  6. #6

    Default Linear rails and blocks

    So this is where I started the build from. Right or wrong, it seemed like a good place to start. I knew I wanted a cutting area of about 18" square. And thanks to Senna's build thread, I knew I would have an overhead of about 6 inches on the X and Y axis. So four rails 24 inches in length seemed about right.

    I purchased from Overstock & Surplus.
    overstock & surplus automation products: Linear Bearings/Rail, Heavy Duty Blocks/Rail

    I got 4 610mm 15mm rails and 8 15mm Bearing Blocks for about $425 delivered.

    The rails were cut just right and the holes were layed out very evenly. I haven't tried cutting the steel used for the rails, but I would guess that it cuts a little harder than mild steel. So it was nice to have it cut to just the right length.

    I highly recommend Overstock & Supply. Kent was the rep. I delt with and he was very responsive and informative. He really steered me in the right direction.

  7. #7

    Default Spindle

    For the spindle I am going with a Porter/Cable 690 router.] Porter-Cable 690LR 11 Amp Fixed-Base Router: Home Improvement

    I also purchased a 1/8" and 1/4" collet from PreciseBits.
    PreciseBits Porter-Cable Precision Collets

    I haven't purchased yet, but plan to in the immediate future, a SuperPID for speed control. - Super-PID Closed-loop Router Speed Controller

    I like the PC router because the base is easily removed from the motor housing, which will make for a relatively easy mount to the Z axis. Also I have seen the SuperPID speed sensor mounted in the top of the router.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2007


    Those are all good choices. The S-PID will do what it says, and is worth the extra cost.



  9. #9


    I know what you mean with visualization issues... the model I'm sure will be a great benefit.

    I'm attaching a PDF of the base bottom & side view. Your design differs slightly in the use of brackets and plates... but similar enough the drawings might help.

    Absolutely correct with the costs adding up quickly. Those gussets and plates are pricey...!!! In fact... that's why I have plates on one end of the base that differ from those of the other. I managed to snag a bargain bag of series 15 attach plates and used what I got in the auction.

    Good choice with the rails and trucks! It should make for a VERY tight machine with excellent precision.

    The Super-PID is on my WANT list... it's one of two things lacking on my machine... the other is the Precise Bits Collets & Nut.

    Let me know if a pic or drawing of a specific part/parts would help... I'd be happy to accommodate!


    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails -bottombase-pdf  
    aka BOOMER52 >>>

  10. #10


    Thanks for the PDF. I think I have got most of it figured out. Your descriptions and pictures on your build thread were very complete.

    The one last major sub-assembly I have not got to is the lead screws. I plan on going with ball screws. I have been doing lots of research on this. I'm leaning toward Roton and was thinking about using a pair of ball nuts with spring washers (don't remember what they are called) in between for each axis. The ball nuts are about $25 each.

    My biggest problem is figuring out how to turn the ends of the screws. I only have a Sherline lathe. I've got a friend with a lathe, but hesitate to ask. It's a big job and I worry that he may get impatient and rush it a little.


  11. #11

    Default Aluminum extrusions

    Well as most are aware, there are several manufactures of aluminum extrusions. 8020 being a brand name and generally used to refer to all aluminum extrusions. The other major players are Bosh/Rexroth and T-slot (sorry if I missed any others).

    I chose the T-slot brand and purchased it from Automation4Less.
    Automation 4 Less: TSLOTS Extrusions

    I really like their website. They give all the needed engineering specs for each piece of extrusions. As far as price, you put in the length that you want and website gives you the price. And there is free shipping on the brackets and screws (but not the extrusions).

    I was concerned with the cuts not being accurate and emailed them about this concern. This is the response I got:

    "I would think that our tolerances would be plenty good for your application; we've supplied this material to countless people for use in CNC rounters...including several OEMs. We meet or exceed the industry standards for cutting this material. In terms of length, our accuracy is .015 in. For square, the tolerance is .002 in. per inch of material width. "

    Their cuts were excellent. The extrusions are a lot beefier than I was expecting. This is some really stout stuff.

    I am using the 15 series (1.5 inch).

    The gantry is 3060 (3 inches by 6 inches). This is a serious piece of aluminum. And it only cost a little over $100 for this one piece.

    When my wife saw the extrusions, I said "Some assembly required"

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails -extrusions-recd2-jpg   -extrusions-recd3-jpg  

  12. #12

    Default Attachment of rail to extrusion

    The problem is accurately attaching a metric rail to an SAE extrusion and having a good base for it to sit upon.

    According to Kent at Automation4Less:
    "The bottom line is that slotted extrusions (and I'm speaking of any brand here...T-Slots, 80/20, Bosch, etc.) are not "precise." They are extruded, and often that means that there is some irregularity especially along the slot. Many times there is an observable "slant" to the material when you look at it as it goes into the open slot."n

    "For this reason and because the rail will only be partially supported on its edges (because the center of the rail would be over the slot), it is my opinion that you cannot get the best, solid connection by placing the rail over the slot and then dropping fasteners through the rail mounting holes into t-nuts below."

    "You may get along just fine with your rail sitting over the open slot and by using cap screws and t-nuts. But in my opinion, having the rail sitting on top of open space and resting only on its edges isn't the best way to go."

    Kent suggested mounting the rail on a piece of 1/8 aluminum or steel and then mounting the 1/8" to the extrusion.

    I modified that idea slightly. I sandwiched a piece of 1/8 aluminum between the rail and the extrusion. I drilled over-sized holes (1/4") in the 1/8" aluminum and attached the rail to the extrusion using the m4 socket head capped screws (shcs) with the 1/8" aluminum between. The hard part was finding metric (m4) t-nuts that would work with 15 series extrusions. Good luck was shinning on me for this. Part number 3842501751 from Bosh/Rexroth.
    T-Nuts - Bosch Rexroth Corp.

    Along with some Socket Head Cap Screw Alloy STL, M4 Thread,
    22mm Length, 0.70mm Pitch, packs of 100 from McMaster Carr.

    The t-nuts were not cheap at $.47 each, but well worth it in my book. The design of these t-nuts are impressive. They will swivel until the are 90 deg to the slot and lock into that position. I was really holding my breath that the t-nuts would fit.

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails -t-nut-rail-jpg   -rail-attachment-jpg   -aligning-rail-extrusion-jpg  

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