Best way to square up a solsylva?

# Thread: Best way to square up a solsylva?

1. ## Best way to square up a solsylva?

Hi,
I built the rack and pinion Solsylva router a couple summers ago. Worked great, and now I'm ready to start seriously machining with it.

I know the Y axis is about 1/8" out of square with the X. I was thinking angle iron bolted in the 4 corners of the Gantry's edge flanges should pull it into square. Any other ideas? If I can get it down to about 1/32, that would be acceptable.

Also, what is a good way to check that the two X rails aren't out of alignment with each other, like in the example below?

Thank you!

2. I do not know if this will apply to your machine. I have a R&P drive machine as well. My gantry is 49 inches wide, so I square the gantry with independent home switches on each of the 2 drive motors for the X axis. One of my home sensors is adjustable so I used the 3-4-5 rule (Pythagorean Theorem) to locate a true square position, then I adjusted the home sensor so that the X axis always homes square with the Y axis, this has proved to be very repeatable and accurate. This way, the machine always squares itself every time I home it. I am using hall effect sensors for home sensors and mechanical limits for limit switches.

-Scott

3. Originally Posted by Rees Guitars
Hi,
I built the rack and pinion Solsylva router a couple summers ago. Worked great, and now I'm ready to start seriously machining with it.

I know the Y axis is about 1/8" out of square with the X. I was thinking angle iron bolted in the 4 corners of the Gantry's edge flanges should pull it into square. Any other ideas? If I can get it down to about 1/32, that would be acceptable.

Also, what is a good way to check that the two X rails aren't out of alignment with each other, like in the example below?

Thank you!
For squaring the gantry, you could try loosening the pinion on one side, then square the gantry, and retighten the pinion. Adding angle iron in the joints could make it stiffer, but may not necessarily pull the frame square if your pinions are out of synch. Use a framing square.

BTW, don't trust that a framing square is actually 'square.' Put it against a straightedge and mark the square line, then flip it over and try to line the edge up with the previous line. If it does'nt line up, you can adjust the straight edge with a hammer and nail set. If the end moves away from the line, strike the inside corner with the nail set, and vice versa. It doesn't take much.

To check the rails, it might be a good idea to first make sure your bed is level and flat. You can use the level then to spot-check each rail, and relative to each other (across.) You could also make a makeshift gauge or height indicator that sits on the table bed.

Once you're done, you could mount a spoilboard to your table bed and surface it, to give yourself an accurate surface.

4. Thanks for the replies!

Scott-My machine only uses one stepper for X movement, so your solution wouldn't work for me, unfortunately. I need home switches though, will look into the Hall effect sensors. What I've seen so far looks pretty good.

Louie-I wondered about the pinions being "out of synch". Will try that for sure if the angle iron doesn't correct the issue. My framing square was a hair off, I was able to correct it with the punch method you mentioned.

I broke down and ordered a 4' digital level to do all the rail truing with. Adding leveling feet to the machine today. I'll document and share the leveling method I use for other people building similar machines.

Great stuff, thanks again guys!

5. Here are a couple pics. It's not as dusty as it looks, I swear!

I added the leveling feet. They worked real well for a rough leveling with a bubble beam, the digital level will be here late next week. What do you think of 4 squares of delrin bolted to the concrete floor, with a small dish in each one for the leveling feet to fit into?

Also added the gantry gussets, and beefed up all the joints with carriage bolts.

These end boards of the table are currently clamped and unattached to allow for fine leveling with a rubber mallet. I'll be mounting the 3.5hp Milwaukee with a K2 aluminum mount, and am getting the PID speed control as soon as possible!

6. Lot of nice oak there...

7. Yep! Always re-useable when the machine is decommissioned. I think the total for all of it came to \$150. Well worth it for the added stiffness.

The digital level arrived on Monday, so I was able to get the bed to read level@ 0.0degrees all around, then shim the rails to match. They were very close before, but now I'm completely happy.

Today I'm replacing these aluminum bearing brackets with steel. The aluminum here is a real weak point IMO. They just flexed rather than tightening against the rail. This allowed the gantry to be forced off the top of the rails over 1/16"! I'm sure that could have caused some ugly chatter in the Z axis...

8. Originally Posted by Rees Guitars
Yep! Always re-useable when the machine is decommissioned. I think the total for all of it came to \$150. Well worth it for the added stiffness.

The digital level arrived on Monday, so I was able to get the bed to read level@ 0.0degrees all around, then shim the rails to match. They were very close before, but now I'm completely happy.

Today I'm replacing these aluminum bearing brackets with steel. The aluminum here is a real weak point IMO. They just flexed rather than tightening against the rail. This allowed the gantry to be forced off the top of the rails over 1/16"! I'm sure that could have caused some ugly chatter in the Z axis...

The 'flexing' of the bracket is intentional, and it took me a little bit to understand. Basically most pipe we use for diy machines comes from the big box stores, and are made to varying tolerances, even within the same piece! The slight flex in the alumin sort of compensates for it. Where the flex gets to be too much is when the angled bearing is not far enough below the rail. You could either add a washer next to the bearing to move it 'under' more, or adjust the lower nuts on the bracket mount to add more pressure to the rail. The key with the solsylva design is to add just enough tension to make the system tight, without making it bind or loosen due to any undulations on the pipe surface.

If you take too deep a cut or plunge too dep by accident, or hit a clamp or such, you could potentially flex the bearings off the track, and I've done it a few times, but it's almost like a built-in safety feature that prevents your machine from self-destruction should a boo-boo occur...

9. Oh that does make sense now that you mention it. The problem with my machine is the racks prevent the gantry from popping off, so the flexing doesn't help me in this regard.

The bearings still hug the rails nicely with the steel brackets, and I was able to add spacers to better center-up some of the bearings on their path on the rail. Easy switch back to aluminum brackets if something goes wrong with them down the road.

10. I came up with a jig for plumbing and squaring the Y axis rails with the X. The pictures explain it pretty well. I'm sure someone with more gumption could make a more elaborate set-up, but these seem to do the job.

The straight edge is clamped at a line on the table drawn exactly 90deg. to the X axis, and the jig is clamped to the straight edge. The rails are lightly clamped to the 4 pads and then leveled/tightened down. This holds the rails right where they need to be, while letting the gantry slide a bit if it wants to. Fine tuning can be done by tweaking the pinions later-on.

And here's the feet holders, I made them from that recycled plastic decking material. Bolted to the concrete, they insure the machine can't be bumped out of level.

11. Cool... If you have to 'tweak' just a tiny bit, after tightening everything else and locking the pinions, you could also loosen the rails slightly and move them just enough, and retighten them. There should still be emough clearance for the z carriage...

12. Thanks again for all the suggestions. I should have it going tomorrow afternoon! All I need to do now is reattach the steppers and do some final adjustments on the carriage and racks.

Milwaukee 5625 and K2 mount for it are on the way. Still need to order limit and home switches, and decide what style dampers I'm going to use.

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