View Full Version : And yet another first router

08-03-2003, 11:03 AM
Wow! We're all coming out of the woodwork now!

Here is another first time router. Its made with 2" x 2" x 1/4" angle and 4" channel. Spent last weekend welding it up and yesterday grinding and laying on the primer. The working envelope is 24" x 24" x 10". I scored some used THK slides and ball screws on ebay. The controller and stepper motors, too. It will probably be 2 weeks before all of it is in one place, tho. I'll rent a spinning laser level to get the shims right for the slides and then bed it (with a release agent) using JB Weld. Haven't decided on a spindle/router. These components are so heavy that I'm considering 2 spindles; one for wood and one for metal. I'm sure there are complications to this that I haven't worked out yet. I have been toying with the idea of stiffening up the frame with concrete. Anybody have any experience with this?

I want to thank everyone for all the great information in their posts! Since I found this site I have become more obsessed with building the router. You have all given me insperation, information and (spoucal) inflammation (dark) But hey, thanks just the same! (I just had to use that smilie) I value your thoughts and opinions. Please post!

08-04-2003, 04:36 PM
Looks sturdy.

I gather you will be going with a moving table design? What controller?

I like it so far.


08-04-2003, 09:03 PM
Hi Balsaman,

Yes, a moving table. On 30 mm THK rails and a 3/4" 5 pitch ball screw.

I plan on purchasing Mach1. I dl'd the trial version and Pat walked me through setting it up. Very cool...

Bought a 3 axis drive system on ebay which uses U366B drives. The guy that sold them to me offered 150 oz./in steppers at a reasonable price if I bought it as a kit. Of course like anything else the minute you buy something you see another that seems a lot better. Oh well, I'm sure I can make it work.

BTW I have read most of your posts here and those on that incredibly long thread over at the RC group. You've gone a few miles down this road, huh? You and the rest have been very incouraging. Thanks and keep it up!


08-04-2003, 09:16 PM
yep, a few miles, still going! Still learning!


08-25-2003, 11:05 PM
Well, its starting to take shape... and I'm waiting for 2 more items won on ebay and most of what I need to finish it will be in one pile. I get so excited I can't sleep!

Anyway, here is an update, with photo, on my progress.

I had my steppers hooked up to my pc using Mach1 and they were singing happily on the floor.

This past weekend I mounted and shimmed the rails and tables.

I also made a mounting bracket and nut for the Nook ball nut I won on ebay. Shaved the bracket square and mill six sides to the nut on the mill. I have to say I was suprised to get the threads right the first time on the ball nut. (Who'd a thunk 1.172" -18 tpi?)

And then I had to fix my pc! Not the worm, whew. Just a bad install of updates from our friends at Microstuffed.

I have to say that I missed reading this forum!

Oh, ya! The big picture is in the photo gallery...

09-08-2003, 12:00 AM
Just an update on the battle with my project:

Going for broke, here. Mixed and poured 6 bags of fiber reinforced concrete today. Spent the last few days getting everything ready. Really, it was fun! Prestressed the frame with all thread and then checked the deflection on the columns just for grins. WOW :eek: .020" ! Fair amount of force needed to get that but it still makes me nervous. Well, thats what the concrete is for... I am keeping my fingers crossed and hope to see less than .001" with the same amount of force after it sets. I don't know enough about the dynamics involved to know what kind of force the cutting action will apply to the system but surely it won't be the 100 lbs. of static load I applied to the top of the unit. Anyway, I set the indicator to rest on one of the all threaded rods running across the frame and saw it flex a lot with the same load applied to the top. So the concrete should get rid of most, if not all, of that flex. Well, now I have a reference to go by. Comments, anyone? Pictures of the form in the photo gallery.


09-15-2003, 12:12 AM
Well, I checked the deflection after the concrete cured for a week. I couldn't get it to move at all the strong way. Even with almost 200 lbs of pressure! Whew. The weak way I can still get .005" with the same amount of pressure. I think I can live with that although my partner suggests we install a stay with a turnbuckle on the back side and make it zero all around. Hmm. We'll see...

Anyway, heres the latest pic. Pretty happy with the way the concrete went. And I can still pick up one end of the machine although I'm not going to make a habit of it. (Not at my age). Now its time for some serious fabrication.

I'm really kicking around the idea of making a spindle and an ATC. Been watching a few of the threads and noting ideas and thinking about designs. I am considering having 2 spindles. One for metal working and one for wood and foam carving. I'd just use a router for the wood working and no ATC there. But the metal working one wouldn't have to be finished right away. I'll draw something up sometime soon and post it...

10-11-2003, 09:45 PM
Not getting much time in the shop. I'm trying to make every minute count. Heres a photo of the mounting brackets and hardware for the steppers. I have them made for X and Y now. The capture plates were fun. Did the thrust bearing mounts in the lathe with a 4 jaw....

02-15-2004, 12:16 AM
Well, I'm finally back to where I can get around and so out to the shop a little more. Made some parts and have redesinged some of my original plans. Not that I was working from prints or anything. Except for this Z assembly. I had originally decided to set up a brake on the Z just for safety. After having finishing and assembling the thing, it doesn't seem like I'll need one. The bearings I used for supporting the ball nut are so large (and the fit in the brackets are a little tight) that there seems to be enough resistance to keep the Z in check. I plan on having a counter-weight now anyway, so the brake will probably go. I'll keep my options open, however.

02-15-2004, 12:21 AM
and the front...

02-16-2004, 05:53 AM
I am still watching your progress. Dont give up with the posts we are all looking but not commenting. Your doing well.

02-16-2004, 08:01 AM
Is your Z axis motor turning the nut or the leadscrew? Looks good so far. Keep us updated.

02-16-2004, 08:31 AM
Thanks for the encouragement, ynneb and InventIt. I'll keep slogging along and post as well.

The nut turns on my Z. I wanted to do this as a proof of concept for my next router. Like most, I want to upgrade just about everything and with the next one I want to use servos instead of steppers. I want to spin the nuts on each axis to avoid shaft whip. I'll still have to balance the nut assembly (something I haven't done on this low speed stepper system) but I'll work that out when I get there. Thanks again!

02-16-2004, 02:00 PM
Originally posted by lsfoils

The nut turns on my Z. I wanted to do this as a proof of concept for my next router. **Snip**

I'm interested in how you did this. Do you have a drawing you could share with us? Thanks

02-16-2004, 08:41 PM
Hello InventIt,

I'd be glad to share the drawing with you. Here is a rendering of it in Rhino. The material is 3/4" thick and the bearings are 6008 NTN (I think, universal number so it doesn't matter who you buy them from). The ball nut is from Roton 5/8"-.200" pitch. Has the standard 15/16"-16 mounting thread. Not shown here or in the drawing is the socket the ball nut fits into. Basically a cup with an OD for the ID of the bearings and a precision hole. The hole matches the cog tooth pulley OD I turned at the hub. Threads are cut into the cog tooth pulley to match the mounting threads on the ball nut. I'll have to work on the drawing to make this clear for you. My computer crashed before I was able to save the work on these components but not before I got a print. Haven't needed to regenerate them since but I will in the next day or 2.

Is dxf going to work for you? I can output in all kinds of file types. Let me know. I'd post the drawing with the dimensions here but its over 180k.

02-16-2004, 08:43 PM
Oh, you'll have to pm me your email address. Rest assured its safe.

02-17-2004, 08:15 AM

Thanks for posting the drawing and the detailed explaination. That is a great idea. I like it :) Do you have a mill that you cut that part on? Looks great.

02-17-2004, 08:46 AM
Thanks, InventIt!

I have a mill/drill and a 13 x 36 belt drive lathe. And a few toys to go with them. Some day I'd like to retro the mill/drill for cnc. The bronze nut on one axis is worn out and instead of buying one of those I plan to get another ball screw and nut from Roton.

Here is a drawing of the parts I described earlier. If you want dimensions let me know. These drawing are screen shots from Rhino. I was thinking that the resolution would be awful for showing dimensions. Guess I could break the drawing up, zoom in and give you the dimensions that way. Let me know if you're interested.

02-26-2004, 06:41 PM
nice; I'm also thinking of spinning the nut; but for my X axis; I really don't want that stepper sticking out the end of the table

02-27-2004, 12:03 AM
Hi Stevie,

Do you have a design to share? So far, I've only figured out the Z. Post a pick or let me know what you have in mind!

02-27-2004, 06:18 AM
I just copied my mill design into another file; I'll strt tonight to re-design the x axis with the nut idea

I use surfcam

02-28-2004, 04:31 PM

chk it out

03-27-2004, 11:10 PM
When I first started this project, I had my sights set on THE SECOND machine. So I let a few things slide that I won't when I finally get to the next one. One of the things I deemed not important at the time was to make the bridge adjustable. Figured I didn't want to waste the time... and of course, to correct it, I had to devote a considerable amount of time (yes, and expense) to correct it. Some of you have seen this pic before. Its the original bridge mount and gusset where it joins the table. The next post shows the same spot, after the repair.

03-27-2004, 11:20 PM
where's the next post?:confused:

03-27-2004, 11:24 PM
Heres the pic of the new bridge mount. Several hours were devoted to cutting, welding and aligning the bridge to an acceptable (to me at least) position. And now, the bridge has been filled with the high tensil strength concrete. Brought the flex in @ .002" with the same force as described above. I am satisfied with that.

As an aside: I was setting up the Z bracket in the mill/drill I have, and using a high resolution test indicator to adjust plane when I reached up to rest my hand on the belt cover. Guess what. .002" indicated movement with very little force applied . Crapola! But then again, wow! I've been getting pretty fair finishes in aluminum and steel with this machine for 17+ years and it flexes like that! Well, I'll just have to adjust my expectations! Or maybe study the situation a little longer. I have become wary of gift horses and things that seem too easy or simple. Hmm, must be the project, huh?

03-28-2004, 12:42 AM
Did you lose some of your y-axis travel with this modification? Maybe 2 inches or so?

03-28-2004, 01:33 AM
Actually, I set the bridge back a little so I gained. Worked out, as I'd set it a little too far forward in the first place.

03-28-2004, 02:18 AM
Oh yah...I see from comparison now that it is closer to the frame corner. Your Y-axis is the longer movement then? I'm a little fuzzy here....
That's going to be quite a router when completed...hope you keep the update pictures coming....

05-03-2004, 01:16 AM
well, this pic is a couple of weeks old. Kind of a frontal view. Yesterday, I attached the box that houses the drives and before that, some extra bracing for the birdge. I started to pick it up to move it from the shop to my garage and had to stop. I had placed slings on either end of the main frame and used a wrecking bar in between the slings. I started to lift it with an engine hoist when I got real nervous. The wrecking bar was bent a good inch and a half so I chickened out. Actually, my buddy who is Mr. daredevil himself, advised me to stop and wait until he could bring his trailer up from his farm. (this way we don't have to lift it very high)I was so shocked at his suggestion that even now, the thing is still in the shop. Thats ok. Once I get it home things should happen faster. At least then I can devote time to endevors such as limit switches, home and a Z refernce block. At some point, I still have to produce a router clamp. Uh, at some point, I still have to come up with a router. 'sOK. Its coming along...

05-03-2004, 09:51 AM
Isfoils what size router are you planning to use? Porter Cable
3 1/4 hp maybe? Just curious cause that is one impressive looking machine!


05-03-2004, 10:33 AM
Thanks Mike,

I have a Ryobi that I have used for wood working. It has a plastic case that would not hold up well. I'll probably haunt the pawn shops and look for a get-by for now. Eventually, I'd like to have 2 spindles. One for wood, aluminum and foam and a slower one for steel.


06-05-2004, 01:32 AM
Here is a quick update for those who'd like to know:

Moved the machine into my garage, hooked up all the motors and a computer. Spent a weekend trying to get things dialed in and moving. Still no router but I did manage to write this and after a few tries, got a nice print from a pen attached to Z. Still having to do some tuning, but I have watched the meter hit 184 ipms on the y rapid. Man, thats nice! Gotta keep an eye on it with only 24" of travel:D

06-14-2004, 02:27 AM
Well, at last I've got something cut. Spent a little time last weekend making a mount for the hand peice for the Sears version flex shaft grinder I've had for 8 years. Spent most of my spare time trying to figure out how fast I could run it. Thanks to the trial version of MeshCam, I got this part made. 2 hours: 2 roughing d.o.c.'s of .1" and a finish of .068". Step-overs were .030" and .010" respectively. Material is gray pvc. Can't wait to have a real router! Oh, yeah, 1/8" ball nose carbide dremel cutter. Not even a real router bit, ugh!

06-14-2004, 10:40 AM
That looks very nice.

08-15-2004, 11:55 AM
Been almost a year since I actually started this machine. But at least it can cut. Found a 1 1/2 HP Sears router in a hock shop for $34. Bearings are in great shape and !/4" collet holds the bits tight. Finally got a chance to do something for fun so here it is: Approx. 2 inch on the side, 25 ipms, .02 doc and the thing finished to pretty near square! Its not really Engine Turned. (Close approximation done with a 1/4" end mill) But it gives you the same effect. I'm saving my pennys for cam software and have been practicing writing code in the mean time. So, here is a pattern of holes with really short spacing.

When I have the software I'm going to make a mandrel to mount the leather disk to and do some real Engine Turning. I'm sure this will dress things up!