View Full Version : Up And Running-NEW PICS !!

08-18-2003, 08:30 PM
I still have to upload my latest pictures but thought Id at least post these tonight.
I have the machine running now - Its running great though I still have some initial fine tuning to do.
Below are a few pics taken last week before the Z axis motor was mounted and I was running the X - Y axis while testing and setting rates, steps per inch, limit switches etc.

By the way for those who didnt see my prior thread
4'X8' with 9 inch Z cut height, 12 " clearance under gantry
Stepper motor drive
Ability Systems LPT Indexer driver
GCODE controller by Ability Systems
Gecko 201 Stepper Motor Drives
3.25 HP Router (Porter Cable)
Rack Drive on X Axis
Screw Drive on Y and Z Axis
3/4" Thompson Rails on X and Y Axis, 1/2 on Z
MAchine is VERY smooth !!
Machine has Feed Rate Over ride, Feed Hold, Abort, H/L limit switches
Joystick control with, jog, instantanious,nudge,axis select,speed select)
Spindle on/off
Emergency stop
120 V AC Contactor circuit (for safety-keeps machine from coming back on after a power out)

So far, I did some prelim tests and machine returns to Zero every time to within .001 ( 1/1000" )

I still need to tighten up and tweak it out though.....

The JOystick and control box is shown below - Ill post pics of the cabinet later

08-18-2003, 08:31 PM
More Pics

08-18-2003, 08:33 PM
Pic of the Y axis drive set up. Motor mounted inside gantry upright (out of sight) drives the pulley and timing belts which drive the 1/2" lead screw..... screw drives a Kerk Motion products Anti Backlash nut....

08-18-2003, 08:35 PM
more stuff

08-18-2003, 08:37 PM
JOystick, and control box. You can see the Cycle Start switch (black on side,other one is out of view on right side of box)

Red knob on top is the feed rate over ride. I cannot state enough how smooth LPT indexer runs the machine - The FRO is soooo smooothhh !!! You have to hear it to appreciate it... very nice....

Toggle switch on top left is feed hold

Momentary push button next to iis the abort swith which aborts the current part program or movement command if pushed during a feed hold......

08-18-2003, 10:27 PM
How are you going to keep the dust out of the gear racks?


08-18-2003, 11:20 PM
Good question....... I have an aluminium cover that goes over the rack with brush skirts that allow the shaft to pass on thru.... I just dont have them on yet because I am still checking out things and setting up, fine tuning, learning........ I thought about it early on in my design.... The design accomplishes a lot with the configuration I used - It keeps the overall gantry uprights very short, and they are 1" thick aluminium tool plate- which gives the machine stiffness, especially the gantry - it also kept my cost down - I wanted to put the rack under the table but decided to use this configuration for a lot of reasons at the price of needing the rack cover - but I am glad I did - its easy to adjust the rack, was easy to install it, and really easy to adjust, and very stiff and straight - I have placed my dial caliper on the zero of the machine and run it all over the place and CONSISTENTLY get it back to dead zero - within 1/1000 so the rack is a lot better than I thought it would be. I think a lot of it has to do with perfect rack alignment, and the machines overall stiffness. It was also a good way to use the drive shaft to power the gntry from both sides and keep it all clean and inside the gantry. The drive (or jack) shaft rides on 4 bearings, 2 seated in the gantry uprights, the other 2 are pillow block bearings with set screws. The drive shaft has a coupling in it to allow easy timing belt change out...

Anyway - Ill stop rambling......


08-19-2003, 12:13 PM
Wow.... Nice.... I gave up parking in the garage a long time ago, I see you did too. :)

What are your rapid speeds?

Now it's time to start cutting out a bunch of "naked mud flap girls" and sell them to truck stops and make a fortune. Right?

08-19-2003, 12:59 PM
Right now they are set at 300 inches per minute.... I can go and have went faster but Im still getting it set the way I want it.... I ran a contour last night on a dry run with a 250 IPM vector (cut) speed and it was impressive...... most impressive =)

08-26-2003, 09:29 PM
Below are a couple pics - the router attached and cutting and my first 2 cutting projects - My daughters name =)

08-26-2003, 09:32 PM

You can see I had the Z height off a little in my program - a little low (you can see the rapid mark)

08-26-2003, 09:41 PM
Here is my second project - just a roughing pass (set in Visual Mill) cut with a .25 flat end mill. I was going to run a finish path over it but it got late -. But I am happy. I cut it at 125" per minute and its as smooth as if it was sanded so - machine is tight, things look great. I am cutting a test hull right now ( a small scale boat hull model Ill cut full size in sections in a few weeks from HD foam)

All in all - Im very happy with my machine !!

08-26-2003, 10:40 PM
Are you using the Windows or Dos version of the LPT indexer? Am I correct in my assumption that you need both the indexer and G-Code controller, $349 each.? What is the benefit over Mach 1/2, which is only 1/5th the price?


08-26-2003, 11:10 PM
I have the windows version 5.0

I am not sure of any advanteges because i am not at all farmiliar with MACH 1 or 2.

I went with Ability Systems because its been around a lot longer is all and has less memory requirements and also runs off windows 98...... I believe you need XP to run MAch - I am not sure but think so - so that was why... I like what I hear about Mach and Id like to try it out one day perhaps if I see an advantage..... but so far I am happy with Indexer / G Code controller... although Id like to see a more 'modern' looking interface - its run great so far. I have had a few problems but mostly due to the fact Im still learning all of this at once after designing and building my machine. Right now I think I have to re-route my limit switch wires on the Z axis as I am picking up some noise somehow..... ( I think) its causing a false limit switch closure on the Z axis once in a while which is a real pain...... other than that Im happy...... and nothing about the software would keep me from telling someone to try it - one things for sure - it runs smooth.......

08-27-2003, 12:40 AM
Very nice machine indeed.


08-27-2003, 10:13 AM

Thanks for the nice comment - feels good to get all the positive input.

By the way, I am putting together a plan set due to all the people that have written me asking about it..... just to let ya know....

08-27-2003, 12:18 PM
Looks like the same router I use on mine. How do you like it? I really like mine.

Nike work on your CNC router!

08-27-2003, 05:28 PM

Thanks for the nice comments... thank you all......

I have the Speedmatic - 3.25 Hp Porter Cable - a great Router - I like it !