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mhiggins
01-29-2007, 07:55 PM
I started buying parts in Nov. 2005 and have been tinkering along ever since. I hope that starting this thread will help keep me on track so I can get this thing finished.

I know that a number of people either ordered kits from Joe or used an existing CNC to cut their own parts from his drawings, both excellent choices. Since I have a reasonably well equipped wood shop I decided to give it a shot without doing either. This is where the "Slightly Modified" part comes in. I could have tried to duplicate Joes design exactly but it would have required a lot of template routing. I stayed with the overall dimensions of the original design but made changes to the way the pipe rails are mounted. It makes for a really clean looking machine with no exposed ribs and seems to be very solid.

I have attached some photos of the gantry torsion box build so you can see what I am talking about. The ribs are glued into 1/8" deep dados on the top and bottom.
Sorry that the pictures aren't larger. I copied these from my website after the originals were lost in a hard drive failure.

mhiggins
01-29-2007, 08:14 PM
A few more photos of the modified router after some assembly.

The last one shows it with motors wired and working. Even though the table is not built I couldn't wait to see it move under its own power. And yes, it is sitting in my dining room. Married men don't try this at home!

I'm using an Arcsin controller with Mach3 and 1/2-10 acme lead screws with dumpster nuts. In 1/8 step mode I am getting about 93 ipm.

DayneInfo
01-29-2007, 08:25 PM
I like it, does look very clean and slick. Have you even started on the table yet?

Dwayne

mhiggins
01-29-2007, 08:29 PM
I haven't done anything on the table yet. I was hoping to have wiring done so I could use my dust collector before the next round of MDF cutting. That hasn't happened so I may have to go on without it.

DayneInfo
01-29-2007, 08:30 PM
Does your website have more pictures? What is the web address?

mhiggins
01-29-2007, 08:38 PM
http://mikehiggins.home.mchsi.com

The actual construction photos are on the Mechanicals link under CNC. They show a fairly detailed account of building and assembly so far.

Greolt
01-29-2007, 08:56 PM
Looking real good Mike. :cheers:

Now you are on a roll we want to see regular updates. :stickpoke

And lots of pics. :p

DayneInfo
01-29-2007, 09:10 PM
I just checked out the website...really nice work. keep it up and post lots of pictures.

Dwayne

joecnc2006
01-29-2007, 09:59 PM
Looks good mike, I like it. Look forward to seeing more.

Joe

bp092
01-29-2007, 10:01 PM
Joe's CNC 2006-R2

"I borowed this image from Joe's forum on cnczone.com.
Joe is on his third or fourth CNC router design. He spits these things out like popcorn. "

:D

ccsparky
01-30-2007, 08:01 AM
Great job Mike!

Your build and creative design additions are very nice! I was going to ask if you bolted down the pipe but found the answer on your site. Great job on the site as well, very detailed.
Look forward to see more!

mhiggins
01-31-2007, 12:04 AM
I tried to go into a fair amount of detail on the website for anyone who might want to try a similar build. I probably should have gone with more detail since I have already forgotten how I did some of it.

Marm
01-31-2007, 09:12 PM
Nice job Mike. I was looking at the Joe's CNC but I have all the tools to make it your way. I might give this a shot and maybe use Baltic Birch plywood instead of some of the MDF.

Nice work.
Mark

mhiggins
02-01-2007, 12:13 AM
Thanks Mark. What I have built so far is quite strong. I have been very careful to build whatever jigs and fixtures I need to make sure that everything is as precise as it can be. That is the key to getting a good build using this method. Developing a plan to get each part built right is kind of fun in itself.

Joe's table uses interlocking ribs which may be a little more of a challenge to build manually, mainly because of the size and the number of pieces. I haven't decided how I will approach this part of the build yet but I want to try and stay with that design since it should make assembly easier for one man and maximize strength. It may come down to a lot of bandsawing and template routing. Whatever it takes.

BMG
02-01-2007, 09:34 PM
Nice work indeed.

I attempted to build Joe's kit without access to a CNC and had good success fabricating identical ribs for the X torsion box.


Here's what I did;
- cut MDF blanks for the ribs.
- took Joes autocad drawing and made offsets corresponding to the distance between the router base and the nearest cut for the router tip. For one pipe seat only.
- glued this print down to a piece of scrap and created a router guide by nailing finish nails all along the offset line (every .5 inch is good).
- routed out the scrap piece
- Fixed "keepers" to the back side of the scrap piece to hold the piece to be routed
- inserted a blank in and cut out the pipe rest.
- pulled the blank out and flipped it - cut out the other pipe rest
- Reveresed the board and cut out the opposing side
- flipped it and cut the last pipe rest in blank # 1
- repeated on the remaining blanks

I also had the hole for the allthread marked - I drilled each one after each cut. THis resulted in identical pipe rests for all ribs in the torsion box

For the interlocks, I was able to dado them with my table saw.

due to improper placement of the keepers, I spaced the pipe rests a bit to far apart. In spite of the error, each rib was visually identical.

Having only spent $20, I was going to redo them. However, time limitations led me to make a kit purchase.


In spite of that, I found that the ribs are not too bad to make jigs for. 15 min in autocad, 1 hour to glue on the sheet and set the keepers, 2 hours to cut the pipe rests and 2 hours to do the dados.

Hope that at least feeds the idea mill for ye.

Marm
02-01-2007, 09:36 PM
For the table I was thinking that I would use my dado set to make the notches, I have a Delta 18-36 sander so I thought that as long as the notches were real close but on the tight side I would sand down till it was a tight fit. Since all the notches are the same distance apart I was going to make a jig that fits on my miter guage for the first notch to fit into and give me the desired spacing. I do not know if I will make the cuts in the center for weight or not, might just use a hole saw and overlap the cuts.

BMG
02-01-2007, 09:57 PM
One thing I forgot, on that first attempt, the dado's I cut were at the extreme setting of my table (3.25" I believe). I have a 10" blade and when I dry fitted the long pieces, My depth as a wee bit shy. I was planning on just ripping the long pieces a hair deeper, before I gave up.

As to the weight cutouts, I was going to ignore these. I figured for a hand cut job, the added mass would hopefully make up for my errors. you could probably make a guide for your router out of 1/2" material with 2 keepers that would sit in the notches. Then you could just use a router with a bearing bit to quickly make the cutouts.

mhiggins
02-02-2007, 08:54 PM
I have a 6" dia. dado set so I won't be able to get nearly enough depth. Just another obstacle.

Tonight I have been measuring the E-drawings for the table and redrawing them in AutoCAD. I can only find 1/4" MDF in 2' x 4' pieces so I made a change to allow 1/2" skins on top and bottom. If I decide to brave the cold shop this weekend I may start working on a template. I guess I need to check my inventory of MDF or I may not be doing anything.

joecnc2006
02-02-2007, 09:23 PM
I have a 6" dia. dado set so I won't be able to get nearly enough depth. Just another obstacle.

Tonight I have been measuring the E-drawings for the table and redrawing them in AutoCAD. I can only find 1/4" MDF in 2' x 4' pieces so I made a change to allow 1/2" skins on top and bottom. If I decide to brave the cold shop this weekend I may start working on a template. I guess I need to check my inventory of MDF or I may not be doing anything.

1/2" skins will work just fine.

Why don't you download the dwg files and use those, that way you can just mod them if you need to, and also you can print to 1:1 and use as a templete.

Joe

mhiggins
02-02-2007, 09:26 PM
I didn't know there were dwg files available. Where can I find them?

ccsparky
02-02-2007, 09:32 PM
I didn't know there were dwg files available. Where can I find them?

Mike, I believe these are the most current:

http://mail.lumenlab.com/~joe2000chevy/CNC_Model_2006_R-1/

BMG
02-02-2007, 09:33 PM
http://www.lumenlab.com/~joe2000chevy/CNC_Model_2006_R-1/

Third link down (below the parent directory has the DWG files.

(had it bookmarked)

mhiggins
02-02-2007, 09:56 PM
Thanks guys. I'm looking at the drawings now.

joecnc2006
02-02-2007, 10:06 PM
Thanks guys. I'm looking at the drawings now.

Glad you found them, i have all the files available to everyone.

Joe

ezgoin
02-02-2007, 11:16 PM
I've managed to cutout the 8 X axis pipe support pieces using a template. I used 1/4" birch plywood (already had it on hand). I printed the drawings and did the template layout by hand following the drawings (didn't think about printing a 1:1). Used a hole saw in my drill press for pipe cutouts, and in the corners for the weight cutouts. A jigsaw finished up the weight cutouts.

I used the holes for the 1/4-20 to screw the template to my stock, placed a template guide in my router and cutout the pieces. Rather than offset the drawings/template, I chose to leave my template attached and remove the ~1/8" of extra material using my router table and flush trim bit.

Almost forgot to mention I used a piece of 7/8" ply to lay the stock material on while routing out the parts.

mhiggins
02-03-2007, 12:28 AM
ezgoin, I was thinking of using an offset pattern but I like the idea of using the template bushing then switching to a flushtrim bit in the router table. That will make the layout a lot easier. Did you cut the lap joints with your router template too?

ezgoin
02-03-2007, 05:24 PM
Yeah, once I had the template made and cutout I used it for the all of the cuts.

martinw
02-03-2007, 08:10 PM
http://mikehiggins.home.mchsi.com

The actual construction photos are on the Mechanicals link under CNC. They show a fairly detailed account of building and assembly so far.

Dear Mike,

Your website is brilliant and inspiring to those of us who have only woodworking tools. It now seems almost possible!

Best wishes,

Martin

mhiggins
02-03-2007, 11:44 PM
Thanks Martin. The last time someone mentioned me and brilliant in the same sentence it was because of my shiny bald head.:D I added a page to the website tonight showing the start of a router template to make parts for the table torsion box. Hopefully I will have more to add tomorrow.

Mike

mhiggins
02-04-2007, 12:17 AM
I had my machine set for 1/8 stepping mode and was getting a respectable 93 ipm. I doubt that I will be cutting that fast but I think it would be good if rapids were faster.

I just finished setting my controller and Mach3 for 1/4 stepping mode. 180 ipm is way cool!:banana:

I probably need to add some lubricant to the lead screws before I spend more time playing at that speed. But it sure is fun!

joecnc2006
02-04-2007, 12:31 AM
Mike it is looking very good so far, look forward to it running for you.

Joe

ezgoin
02-04-2007, 08:30 PM
Lookin good. Hopefully those templates will help in making all those parts :)

mhiggins
02-07-2007, 08:26 PM
I found some time to work this weekend. I have all the critical dimensions for the first template cut. I still need to drill the 1/4" holes and cut out the lightening holes. Next will be the template for the long sides of the torsion box, then lots and lots of cutting.

Harvid
02-08-2007, 10:13 AM
Hi

Nice machine you are building.

I love the way you mount the pipe in the x direction very clean look.

Why din´t you not do the same in y direction woulden it be possible?

I am planning to build a modified “Joe” my self so I will following your improvements with high interest.



Kind regards Harvid

mhiggins
02-08-2007, 11:22 AM
Harvid,

There are pros and cons to both methods of construction. The simplicity of the rail suports on my design make it easy to build and give it a clean look. The downside of this design for me is that I work alone. I felt that trying to get all the pieces assembled, glued, and clamped with my design could be difficult since the outer sides of the box would just have dados rather than lap joints. I planned to use lap joints on the interior of the box and was going to have to make a template for that anyway. It's not that much more trouble to add the pipe supports to the template. Another, less important reason, is economy of material. With Joe's design I can get both the top and bottom skins from one sheet of MDF.

I have seen torsion box designs that don't use one piece cross braces. They use full length sides with short pieces glued in between for cross bracing. This type of box could be glued up in sections rather than all at once but I don't think it would be as strong as Joe's method with the lap joints. It might be hard to keep it flat as well.

If you can enlist some helpers and maybe do a dry run first to make sure you have a plan before you start spreading glue, I don't see any reason why my design wouldn't work just fine. I guess my real problem is that I want to work when I feel the urge not when I can round up someone to help. I'm kind of hard headed that way.(chair)

Mike

mhiggins
02-08-2007, 11:06 PM
I got out in the shop tonight and finished the template for the pipe supports. Hopefully the weather will be decent this week so I can get to the HD and pick up some 1/2" MDF. My local lumber yard only has 3/4".

If everything is going well at work next week I may take Friday off and make it a 3-day weekend of CNC building.

martinw
02-09-2007, 07:49 PM
Dear mhiggins,

Thank-you for your posts, and I apologise if this distracts you from your fantastic work.

If you have time, perhaps you could help me.

1) How do you ensure that the X axis bed is true and not "racked"? What do you use as a reference "flat plane"? Winding sticks or whatever.

2) Like you, I may be the only one on the glue-up, and the whole process fills me with something approaching total FEAR.

I just do not see how it is possible to assemble all the parts, and maintain accuracy. PVA (water soluble) glue sets up pretty fast in contact with a hydroscopic material like MDF, so maybe an epoxy or phenol formaldehyde glue might be better alternative. That is just a suggestion, and there will be others who have built Joe's machine who can help me.


In the meanwhile, thank-you..

Best wishes

Martin

Madclicker
02-09-2007, 10:31 PM
The most important factor in building a flat torsion box is to build it on a flat surface. You will end up with the surface you build it on...or worse.

I don't think segmented cross members in MDF are less strong than a cross lap joint. Try gluing 2 pieces of MDF end to face and then bust them. The failure will be in the MDF of the end glued piece if you glue and clamp it properly. At the very least the segmented construction is plenty strong enough for this application. You need to shoot for flat, not strong. The strength will be there automatically.

Here's a good tutorial on building a good torsion box:

http://www.diynetwork.com/diy/shows_wwk/episode/0,2046,DIY_14350_26946,00.html

Marks uses segments. Good enough for me.

mhiggins
02-09-2007, 11:50 PM
The most important factor in building a flat torsion box is to build it on a flat surface. You will end up with the surface you build it on...or worse.

I don't think segmented cross members in MDF are less strong than a cross lap joint. Try gluing 2 pieces of MDF end to face and then bust them. The failure will be in the MDF of the end glued piece if you glue and clamp it properly. At the very least the segmented construction is plenty strong enough for this application. You need to shoot for flat, not strong. The strength will be there automatically.

Here's a good tutorial on building a good torsion box:

http://www.diynetwork.com/diy/shows_wwk/episode/0,2046,DIY_14350_26946,00.html

Marks uses segments. Good enough for me.

Hey Madclicker where were you about a week ago?:D This is a truly excellent way of using conventional tools to build the table torsion box. Since that was my original design goal, I think maybe I should go back to it and stop making this more complex than it has to be. I know there are others here who could benefit from this method.
It should be easy for one man to assemble since you glue and assemble in stages. I especially like the sawhorse method that they show for building a flat worksurface. I was going to use my table saw as an assembly table. Two problems with that; one, it's not quite big enough and two, as soon as it is covered in lumber I will surely need to cut something.
I picked up two sheets of 1/2" MDF earlier tonight. I guess if I cut out the skins first I can use those for the work table top while I assemble the framework. If I drip glue on one I can use it as the bottom skin where it won't show. I need to make sure that I have enough 3/4" MDF for the two long sides since I will need that thickness to cut the v-grooves for the pipe rails.
I'll probably be building torsion boxes in my head all night. No sleep for me.

Madclicker
02-10-2007, 12:18 AM
My build log started 1.5 years ago. My machine has been running for a year or so.

http://www.cnczone.com/forums/showthread.php?t=14863

My base torsion box is 4 x 4. Wish I had made it a little longer so the cutting area would have been 4 x 4.

You can see from my log that the first thing I did was beef up my assembly table to make it as flat as possible. That table will be my full sheet machine one day.

mhiggins
02-10-2007, 10:55 AM
Very cool Madclicker. I see that every part on your machine is a torsion box.

When you glued up your boxes your nailer wasn't working. Did you just rub the pieces together and let the glue hold them as you continued assembly or did you clamp each section and let it dry a bit before moving on or some other method?

Madclicker
02-10-2007, 11:15 AM
All you need is clamps for the structure. A pin nailer and glue is best for the skins. I had to make do with all the heavy stuff I could find.

The 4 torsion boxes that make up the gantry make for a very rigid structure. Well worth the effort.

ger21
02-10-2007, 01:06 PM
When I made mine, I used polyurethane glue for a longer working time. I shimmed the frame until it was flat by using a 4 ft level and sliding a piece of paper under it. Set the level at al different angles until the paper won't fit under it anywhere. Then glue and staple on the skin. let dry, flip over and repeat. I used plywood for the ribs, it holds staples better.

martinw
02-10-2007, 07:13 PM
The most important factor in building a flat torsion box is to build it on a flat surface. You will end up with the surface you build it on...or worse.

I don't think segmented cross members in MDF are less strong than a cross lap joint. Try gluing 2 pieces of MDF end to face and then bust them. The failure will be in the MDF of the end glued piece if you glue and clamp it properly. At the very least the segmented construction is plenty strong enough for this application. You need to shoot for flat, not strong. The strength will be there automatically.

Here's a good tutorial on building a good torsion box:

http://www.diynetwork.com/diy/shows_wwk/episode/0,2046,DIY_14350_26946,00.html

Marks uses segments. Good enough for me.

Dear Madclicker,

Many thanks for that post. I had seen the diynetwork link, and that method gives you all the time in the world for a relaxed glue-up, but I thought that the "segment" method might weaken the panel as regards bending in the direction of the gantry (ie across the short dimension of the bed).

As you rightly point out, all the segments are thoroughly fixed to the "longitudinals" by the top and bottom skins of the box which act as splice plates at each longitudinal to segment joint . As you say, it should be pretty strong. I had not spotted that. Thanks.

One other point... unless you are going to move the whole machine about your workshop, might it not be a good idea, for the sake of simplicity, to leave out the lightening cut outs in the bed? After all, the X axis bed is not being driven by a motor, so there are no dynamic penalties for having extra mass.

It could also be that the X axis bed acts less like the body of an acoustic guitar, and the whole machine is more quiet in operation. Just a thought.

Best wishes

Martin

Madclicker
02-10-2007, 10:08 PM
I agree, the bed doesn't need any lightening holes. The only attempt at lightening was on the gantry. I want to try to make much lighter gantry torsion boxes for my next machine. Wish I knew more about composites.

Marm
02-11-2007, 01:19 AM
Madclicker thanks for the links to DIY on torsion boxes. I will have to rethink how I was going to make my torsion box now that was great information.

Mark

mhiggins
02-14-2007, 05:18 PM
This weekend I got the parts ripped to width for the torsion box build and cut the v-grooves for the pipe rails. I also was able to set up a flat work surface for assembly similar to the one on the DIY website.

I picked up the pipe today and plan to drill and tap it like I did on the gantry torsion box. It's probably not necessary but I like it. I have a three day weekend coming up and hope to make more progress.

elcam84
02-16-2007, 06:27 PM
Instead of using a v cutter you can get a 1" diameter bit to make a perfect curve for the pipe to fit in. That's *if* the pipe is actually 1" diameter.


How do you like the 22104 table saw. I have a 22114 for home.

mhiggins
02-16-2007, 07:23 PM
The pipe is 1" nominal, its actual outside diameter is 1.310. Pretty much 1-5/16".

I like the saw pretty well, the fence could be better though. It doesn't lock down perfectly parallel to the blade every time. I usually have to tap and measure at the leading edge and the trailing edge of the blade to make sure its square.

elcam84
02-16-2007, 09:42 PM
Dunnow why I was thinking 1" OD. Doh. Actually I do cause I was thinking copper pipe.


Been working on modifying the design myself too. Just to make it easier to build or if I think something could be done better/different.


I have modified the fence etc on mine.

I don't have a rear rail. I took it off and put a piece of UHMW under the fence so it slides on the table. Had to remove it to put my hinged extension table on.

I also have a dewalt sliding table on it.

mhiggins
02-19-2007, 04:13 PM
I had a three day weekend and have a little more to show on the table torsion box. I am waiting for the primer to dry so I thought I would post a few pics.

I had an interesting development when I was preparing to assemble the frame for the table. I had set my rip fence to 5-3/4" and ripped all the parts at once. When I was measuring the sides to cut the v-grooves for the rails I found that they were 5.8". I figured that I had set the fence a little wide but no problem as long as all the parts are the same. When I stood all of the frame pieces on edge and sandwiched them together I could see that some were taller than others. The range went from 5.8" to 5.6". What I found was that the 3/4" parts were the widest and the 1/2" parts narrower. Still not a problem since I can just set up the saw and cut everything down to 5.6". I set up the fence with a featherboard in front and one behind the blade to make sure everything stayed tight to the fence. I made some test cuts and everything looked good. I cut my first part and measured it again, still oversize. I flipped it end for end and took another pass, more material came off, still too big. Some parts had to go through the saw up to six times to get the proper width. All of my parts ended up 5.600 -.000 to +.004. It had to be blade deflection.

For any of you who are doing the build with your woodshop tools, be aware that you may run into this problem. Just be patient and keep those dial calipers handy.

jspencer
02-19-2007, 05:01 PM
Looks good and sturdy Mike. I ran into the blade deflection when I was cutting the HDPE for the first mill I built. I needed more teeth to get a good rip. Looks like you're going to have a great machine when you get all finished.

mhiggins
02-19-2007, 05:35 PM
The primer dried and I have a coat of paint on the table. I will let it dry overnight since I soaked the raw edges of the MDF pretty good. If it's warm enough to paint tomorrow after work I will use a small paintbrush to touch up the edges again. It worked pretty well on the gantry. The picture actually shows the bottom of the table painted. I don't plan to paint the top (other than some overspray) since it would just get scratched off anyway.

The L-brackets in the second picture are something I found at HD earlier today. I thought they might be good to add some strength to the bearing adjustment box. It measures 3-1/2 x 11" is 2" wide and .100 thick. It is long enough to tie the bearing box to the bottom torsion box on the gantry. One on each side should really stiffen things up. I also picked up a strap that was on the same display. You can just see it at the top of the photo. It would be long enough to bend around the entire adjustment box and screw to the bottom torsion box. It is 1-1/4" x 36" and .050 thick.

mhiggins
02-19-2007, 05:39 PM
Looks good and sturdy Mike. I ran into the blade deflection when I was cutting the HDPE for the first mill I built. I needed more teeth to get a good rip. Looks like you're going to have a great machine when you get all finished.

Thanks. I am using a thin kerf combination blade. I'll bet a true rip blade would make a difference.

ger21
02-19-2007, 05:52 PM
If you're trying to cut off less than the width of the blade, make sure the blade is very sharp or it will deflect a bit. I don't use any thin kerf blades, and I see this from time to time.

martinw
02-20-2007, 02:30 PM
If you're trying to cut off less than the width of the blade, make sure the blade is very sharp or it will deflect a bit. I don't use any thin kerf blades, and I see this from time to time.

I have not used them because I can't find one in the UK, but a blade stiffener might help. Forrest do them in the US.

http://www.forrestsawblades.com/dampner.htm



Regards

Martin

elcam84
02-20-2007, 05:24 PM
You won't find many thin kerf blades in the UK because the table saws are required to have riving knifes and they are sized for thick kerf blades.

Unfortunatly it will still be a couple years before they are standard here. Riving knifes are a non intrusive safety item and one of the few that work well and I like.


The stabilizers do reduce vibration on thin kerf blades but full ones don't need it.

martinw
02-20-2007, 06:50 PM
The stabilizers do reduce vibration on thin kerf blades but full ones don't need it.

Dear elcam84,

I do not want to deflect mhiggins from his excellent posts, but IMVVHO, anything that makes a saw blade run stiffer has got to be a good thing, whether or not it is "thin kerf" or "regular".


Best wishes

Martin

mhiggins
02-20-2007, 07:11 PM
One of the selling points for thin kerf blades has been that they require less horsepower since they are removing less material. I bought into that argument at the time. However, I have read comparison tests that show this is not necessarily true. A good quality blade such as a Forrest Woodworker II puts no more load on the motor than a good quality thin kerf blade assuming both are sharp. I'm not sure how they compare as they begin to dull. I would have to dig through a very large stack of magazines to find the particular article I am thinking of. If I happen to run across it I will share the results of the study.

I put another coat of paint on the table tonight. I will probably start building the end pieces this week. I had planned on drilling through holes in the frame of the table for all-thread to bolt the ends on but didn't remember until the table was done, oops. I guess I will just put some thread inserts in the table ends and bolt them on. I guess I could run all-thread through the pipe rails for a little extra holding power.

elcam84
02-20-2007, 07:51 PM
The stabilizers don't actually stiffen the blade they reduce vibration. If you think you need one to stiffen a full kerf blade you are doing something wrong with your saw.

The blade manufacturers don't recommend them on FK blades as they often will cause more harm than good. Every Forrest rep i have talked to has said they only sell stabilizers because people think they work. Same goes for Freud.

Rip blades don't work well in HDPE or UHMW.Rip blades have much fewer teeth. Many are in the 20 tooth range. You need more teeth. I use a 50 tooth often but I have an 80 tooth that makes a nicer cut and go slow especially with a low HP saw. I cut larger pieces of plastic on a 5hp saw. Makes a big difference in feed speed and cut finish. At home I just have to make slow cuts in plastic.


What are you sealing the edges of the MDF with? Just curious. Most woodworkers use dilluted glue or drywall mud. I use mud as it fills, sands and paints well.

I don't use much MDF though. I build real furniture IE roll top desks, mision style furniture(Stickly) etc. FYI if you have a good supplier MDF can be had as thick as 2".

ger21
02-20-2007, 07:56 PM
The blade manufacturers don't recommend them on FK blades as they often will cause more harm than good. Every Forrest rep i have talked to has said they only sell stabilizers because people think they work.

But yet this is what Forrest says on they're website:


We strongly recommend our dampener-stiffener against the outside of the blade for the smoothest, quietest, cuts on table and radial saws.

:)

mhiggins
02-20-2007, 08:54 PM
I have tried sealing the edges with drywall mud but you have to be careful when sanding or it will be gone in a flash. I have been thinking of trying dilluted wood glue but wasn't sure how well it would take paint. I actually get pretty good results by brushing the edges. After spray primer and paint has dried I just spray some paint into the cap and use a dime store art brush to go over the edges.

elcam84
02-20-2007, 09:00 PM
Marketing.


I have Forrest, Freud,Oldham prof blades,CMT,Tenru,Leitz and other blades. I and many others have tested with and without stiffeners and found no difference. There are allot of factory reps on the boards and the blade reps all say not to use them. The best blades I have are lietz and quietest. I won't buy another forrest as there are others just as good or better for less $.

Freud also reccomends only using kerosene to clean blades. The PH in simple green and oven cleaner is not good for carbide. FYI.

ger21
02-20-2007, 09:02 PM
An article in either Shop Notes or Woodsmith I read a few years ago recommended Durhams Rock Hard putty for MDF edges. I tried it once, but it was a bit tough to sand.

martinw
02-20-2007, 09:23 PM
An article in either Shop Notes or Woodsmith I read a few years ago recommended Durhams Rock Hard putty for MDF edges. I tried it once, but it was a bit tough to sand.


One part PVA glue with 4 parts water.

Give the edge of the MDF two coats. They both dry really fast. You can sand them easily if you want.

Then use a solvent based finish.

Best wishes

Martin

mhiggins
02-22-2007, 10:46 AM
I wrestled my table down from the sawhorses to weigh it last night. The table with the rails attached is 125 pounds on the nose. I don't know how much of that is from the pipe, I wish I would have weighed them before I attached them to the table. I'm not sure how much weight could be saved by lightening out the frame components. Since the table is not a moving part I guess the weight really will not be a problem from an operational standpoint, but it sure is heavy and awkward to move around while you are working on it. There is definitely a trade off between time spent lightening and final weight. I know I saved a good deal of time by building it the way I did, so other than a sore back, no regrets.

joecnc2006
02-22-2007, 11:36 AM
Yea one heavy machine, and i work alone so i do all the lifting and moving by myself.

Joe

myinisjap
02-24-2007, 05:39 PM
I was just wondering aproximately the amount of money you spent to completely build the router?

mhiggins
02-24-2007, 06:16 PM
I haven't really kept a careful record of my spending. The project and spending have stretched out over about 14 months so I haven't taken any really large hits.

I would say that by the time it is complete I will be somewhere between $1200 and $1500. Keep in mind that I didn't buy the least expensive of anything. I would say that if you are cost conscious and a smart shopper on all of the parts and supplies, you could probably build it complete for under $1000.

There may be others who have kept track and can give you a more definite cost. I would be interested to see what others have spent.

mhiggins
02-25-2007, 10:59 PM
Since everyone likes to see pictures, here are a few.

The first is a shot of the back of my z-axis.
Next is the bearing adjuster box then a closeup of the corner joint. This is actually shown on its side.
After that, the bearing box and bearing plate.

I somehow managed to forget to take a shot of the finished adjuster box. Since I built it from MDF I decided to drill 1/4" through holes for the mounting bolts.

bp092
02-25-2007, 11:13 PM
lookin good! nice dado joints, must be strong and easy to assemble :)

mhiggins
02-25-2007, 11:16 PM
I decided to try diluted glue to seal the MDF edges before painting. It seems to do a decent job. I mixed it by eye but I don't think I got to the 4 to 1 ratio that martinw recommends. Probably closer to 2 to 1, but it worked.

First, a closeup of the pipes fitting into the table support followed by a couple shots of the table supports. I really spent some time setting up the drill press and drilling test parts to get the fit as near perfect as I could have hoped for. The pipe measures 1.310 O.D., I used a 1-5/16 (1.312) forstner bit for the holes in the table support.
Then, photos showing the location of 1/4-20 brass thread inserts to secure the table supports to the table.

mhiggins
02-25-2007, 11:21 PM
lookin good! nice dado joints, must be strong and easy to assemble :)

Thanks. Since I am using MDF, I wanted some sort of mechanical strength at the joint. I started to use pocket screws but decided to go with glue and dados.

Madclicker
02-25-2007, 11:28 PM
Nice work. When you get to the gantry think of ways to make it light and stiff. Also, think about the gantry uprights. They can be made of TB's and that will help fix the warpng/flexing problems others have reported.

You also might want to design the geometry of the gantry uprights so that the router doesn't hang so far out in front. Center the cutting tool over the cutting bed. Helps a lot with setup.

mhiggins
02-25-2007, 11:41 PM
Nice work. When you get to the gantry think of ways to make it light and stiff. Also, think about the gantry uprights. They can be made of TB's and that will help fix the warpng/flexing problems others have reported.

You also might want to design the geometry of the gantry uprights so that the router doesn't hang so far out in front. Center the cutting tool over the cutting bed. Helps a lot with setup.

I finished the gantry some time ago, there is a photo in post #2. I do like the way you built yours with torsion boxes.

Marm
02-25-2007, 11:41 PM
Great job so far Mike. You will have a nice machine when you are done. I am still unsure as to what to do for my first machine but am folling your progress quite close.

Thanks
Mark

mhiggins
02-25-2007, 11:51 PM
I weighed the table end supports at 15 lbs. each. That puts the table with the supports and rails at 155 lbs.

It shouldn't be too much longer before it starts going together. Getting the gantry on the table may be a bit of a trick. I will probably have to track down some help for that one. I have had the gantry and the z-axis under stepper power but I'm really wanting to see the long axis in action.

mhiggins
02-28-2007, 09:58 PM
I weighed the gantry at 71 lbs. with most of its parts. It still lacks the steppers, router and router mount. It's time for more pics.

My first test fit of the gantry. I just clamped the adjuster box in place to see if everything would go together. Once I adjusted the bearings, I clamped a dial indicator in place and set it to zero where you see it in the photo. As I moved it across the table it fell to about -.004 at the center then rose to +.005 at the left edge of the table. I then spent the next 20 minutes rechecking to make sure I wasn't seeing things. I wasn't.
Next, shows the through bolts mounting the adjuster box on the gantry. This seems pretty rigid but I will probably still add some additional bracing to keep it in place.
For the last shot, I just wanted to see it all together.

I do have a slight problem with bearing fit on the gantry. The lower two bearings on the upper left side don't quite touch. I can't adjust them into compliance so I will have to take it back apart and do some tweaking on the slots that hold the angle. I really had to squeeze the angle together to get it into the mounting slots. I think if I open up the top slot and let the angle relax back to its original shape it should be okay. Everything looks good on the adjuster side, all eight bearings tracking nicely.

joecnc2006
02-28-2007, 10:06 PM
Mike Very Nice I'm glad the design is comming together for you.

Joe

Madclicker
03-01-2007, 12:17 AM
How much does the cutting tool over hang the table with this design?

joecnc2006
03-01-2007, 09:19 AM
How much does the cutting tool over hang the table with this design?

if i remember it is about 1.75"

Joe

mhiggins
03-01-2007, 10:24 AM
I wonder if you could take advantage of that overhang by building a clamping system to hold a board at the end of the table for cutting mortise and tenon joinery. Might even be able to do dovetails. I had thought about this early in the build but had since forgotten about it. I'll worry about getting the machine working then maybe later I can tinker with this idea.

joecnc2006
03-01-2007, 05:16 PM
I wonder if you could take advantage of that overhang by building a clamping system to hold a board at the end of the table for cutting mortise and tenon joinery. Might even be able to do dovetails. I had thought about this early in the build but had since forgotten about it. I'll worry about getting the machine working then maybe later I can tinker with this idea.

thats an idea, and also maybe a small lathe indexer? clamp on and off.

NIL8r
03-01-2007, 07:44 PM
Mike has mentioned he has posted the information about this build on his web site. Problem is, I can't locate his web site address anywhere.

Can someone please post it here?

ger21
03-01-2007, 07:54 PM
post #6

NIL8r
03-01-2007, 08:27 PM
Thanks Gerry. I totally missed that one. I guess I was too busy reading the other posts.

Keep up the great work !!!

mhiggins
03-07-2007, 04:14 PM
I recently got the router sitting up on its feet and can now run the gantry the full length of the table. I also built the router holder and have it in place.

My next problem is to figure out why my gantry isn't running quite square with the table. When I run it all the way to the back end of the table, one leg of the gantry makes contact and the other is about 1/8" to 3/16" away. I suspect the lower torsion box to be the culprit. I might be able to leave it in place, loosen it and slip in some shim stock to see if that makes a difference.

joecnc2006
03-07-2007, 05:02 PM
Did you try to adjust the side X-Azis bearing block screws, to square up the gantry to slightly loosen or tighten the front two bolts together and the rear two bolt together, this slightly moves the right side forward or backwards. and moving the top two together and the bottom two together will slightly list and lower that side, its a delicate procedure.

Joe

mhiggins
03-07-2007, 05:16 PM
I have played with the bearing adjustment somewhat but I will give it another go before I start taking things apart.

mhiggins
03-10-2007, 05:23 PM
I mounted the motors and connected the computer and controller today. Everything works! I have mostly been using manual jog but I did write some G-code so I could see it run by itself. I get a little nervous when it gets close to the end of its travel. I have the soft limits set up but I haven't installed the limit switches yet.

I got the bearings adjusted last night and it seems to be running with x and y perpendicular to one another. I started with a pencil clamped to the z-axis. I would make an adjustment then draw a line and check it against the front edge of the table. When I got close, I drew perpendicular lines and measured 3, 4 and 5 and it looked good. Last, I found a board that had a good square corner used a test indicator to align it on one axis then clamped it to the table. I turned the indicator 90 degrees and checked the other edge and it was dead on. It sounds simple when I tell the story but I probably spent 2 or 3 hours on the process. I also mounted the long leadscrew last night.

joecnc2006
03-10-2007, 06:34 PM
Your machine looks very good, I hope it performs well for you. Do you like the design?

mhiggins
03-10-2007, 08:22 PM
Your machine looks very good, I hope it performs well for you. Do you like the design?

Thanks. I have always liked your design and I am happy with the way my changes turned out. I will need to cut slots for t-track on the table top for clamping down parts. Your table is handy since you can fit clamps between the rails and the table, on mine it would interfere with the gantry travel. The only other thing I might do later is to cut slots for t-track on the front of the machine so I can clamp boards vertically for mortise & tenons and maybe dovetails. I had considered moving the stepper motor to the other end of the machine and somehow getting rid of the bearing block so the front would be completely flat, but I think I will leave it alone for now.

ccsparky
03-11-2007, 11:31 PM
Looks good Mike, can't wait to see a video of it in action!

Great looking shop also! :)

Bob

mhiggins
03-12-2007, 12:24 AM
Thanks Bob. It may be a while before I have any video since I don't have a camera. I might be able to bum one from work.

I'm pretty happy with the shop and it only took about 20 years to get it.

mhiggins
03-18-2007, 11:34 PM
I got the limit switches wired up and working so I decided to make a test cut and check the machine for square. I won't be able to cut any actual parts until my t-track gets here, since I don't have any way to hold a workpiece on the table short of screwing it down. When I made the second cut on this part the gantry hit one of my clamps and promptly pushed it out of the way. I had the clamp tight but I was using the little rubber booties and I think they had enough give to let the clamp move without breaking anything. Good thing!

I tried to post some pictures on my webpage but have run out of storage space. I will have to stop by the MediaCom office tomorrow and see what I can do about that.

I also set up a cable carrier made out of plastic tubing.

bp092
03-19-2007, 08:48 AM
Mike if you need help hosting things just PM me, I can give you space or reccomend a free place to host it. Nice cable carrier, almost looks like a shopbot .:D

ccsparky
03-19-2007, 09:11 AM
I also set up a cable carrier made out of plastic tubing.


Mike, your machine looks very nice! What is the plastic tubing you used? Great idea!

Thanks,
Bob

mhiggins
03-19-2007, 10:59 AM
Mike, your machine looks very nice! What is the plastic tubing you used? Great idea!

Thanks,
Bob

It is 1/4" Pex tubing for plumbing.

mhiggins
03-19-2007, 11:03 AM
Mike if you need help hosting things just PM me, I can give you space or reccomend a free place to host it. Nice cable carrier, almost looks like a shopbot .:D

Thanks. I'll check with my ISP today about more storage space. I can have up to six email addresses and each gets 10MB of web space. I'm going to see if they will combine it into one 60MB.

joecnc2006
03-19-2007, 01:02 PM
you can post pictures here also in the interum. :)

mhiggins
03-24-2007, 02:26 PM
I started cutting slots in the table to mount t-track. The MDF dust was so bad in the shop that I had to wear a canister type respirator mask. I decided that I would need to build at least a temporary dust shroud that I could hook up to my shopvac. I wasn't able to find any suitable bristle brushes that I could use so I stapled scotchbrite pads around the outsided of the base. These actually worked pretty well for containing the dust and allowed the vacuum to draw air through them. With the dust collection in place I didn't need any type of dust mask. The only time that I could detect any dust in the air was when the shroud would ride off the end of the table. The downside is that the scotchbrites are abrasive and scuffed the surface of my table. It's not too bad and I may scuff the rest of the table to match since it may make parts less likely to slip when they are clamped to the table.

Does anyone know where to buy the bristles with the metal spine? I saw them shown in one of the threads but don't remember which one.

I bought 48" t-track so I had to route the last few inches at the back of the table by hand. I left about 1/2" extra at each end so I could get the bolts in and out of the track. The product I used is actually mini-t-track which is 3/4" wide by 3/8" deep. This left enough material from the 3/4" thick top for the mounting screws to bite into.

ger21
03-24-2007, 02:32 PM
http://www.sealeze.com/down.htm
http://www.precisionbrush.com/Item/MGBS.htm
http://www.mcmaster.com/ page 1197

mhiggins
03-24-2007, 04:02 PM
Thanks Gerry.

joecnc2006
03-24-2007, 09:13 PM
you can also just use the plastic carpet runners, from homedepot or lowes, a foot length is only a couple of bucks, plus you can see through it.

joecnc2006
03-24-2007, 09:18 PM
Mike, the machine looks great I love the way you improvised with the drawings and came out with a good router, you will enjoy it for sure.

One thing you can try is to move the dust hose infront of the router instead of the side or the port to the rear with a housing to the front that way you can make the collection area smaller around the router itself and increase the efficency of it. that is what i will be doing also.

Joe

mhiggins
03-24-2007, 09:46 PM
Mike, the machine looks great I love the way you improvised with the drawings and came out with a good router, you will enjoy it for sure.

One thing you can try is to move the dust hose infront of the router instead of the side or the port to the rear with a housing to the front that way you can make the collection area smaller around the router itself and increase the efficency of it. that is what i will be doing also.

Joe

What I don't like about mine is that when you are cutting close to the right side of the table about half of it is hanging off the table. I thought about making the top out of thick plexiglass so I can see what is happening. I will be waiting to see what you come up with.

Didn't you have your last one set up so that it could move up and down for use with the ATC? Is it similar to what I have here?

joecnc2006
03-24-2007, 10:54 PM
JLT and David has theirs like tht i believe.

Which craftsman router are you using?

Joe

mhiggins
03-25-2007, 12:45 AM
JLT and David has theirs like tht i believe.

Which craftsman router are you using?

Joe

I'm not sure of the model. It's a 2HP variable speed, probably three or four years old. I am using a quick change collet setup that Sears sold for their routers which I like. It uses collet adapters which fit onto the bits and in turn snap into the collet chuck. This will provide preset tool lengths. I'm not terribly happy with the router itself though, it has more runout than I feel is acceptable. I may have to tear it down and see if I can find better quality bearings to fit it. Of course I planned all of this before the ATC came about. I suppose I will eventually want to go that route but I knew I couldn't use this router since it spins too fast at the lowest setting.

mhiggins
03-31-2007, 10:15 PM
I registered my copy of Mach3 so I could run a program with over 1000 lines. This one was 21,000 and change. I found the image on the Web and converted it to a raised relief using a friends cam software (I'm too poor for a license of Artcam). I obviously need to get my own CAM software and learn to use it well but this is okay for a first try with no instructions. I was more concerned with seeing how the machine worked than anything, and it worked great.

The pictures are as follows:
The original image converted to grayscale in CAM software.
The 3-D relief in the CAM software.
Two different angle of the finished part, 4x4 inches.

I used a 90-degree v-cutter at about 14,000RPM and ran the tool path 45-degrees across the material. It took about 25 minutes to cut at 45-ipm with a 5-ipm plunge. I think the .020 stepover would have worked better with an 1/8" or 3/32" ball mill. I have the 1/8" cutter but no bushing to use it in my router yet.

joecnc2006
03-31-2007, 10:49 PM
I registered my copy of Mach3 so I could run a program with over 1000 lines. This one was 21,000 and change. I found the image on the Web and converted it to a raised relief using a friends cam software (I'm too poor for a license of Artcam). I obviously need to get my own CAM software and learn to use it well but this is okay for a first try with no instructions. I was more concerned with seeing how the machine worked than anything, and it worked great.

The pictures are as follows:
The original image converted to grayscale in CAM software.
The 3-D relief in the CAM software.
Two different angle of the finished part, 4x4 inches.

I used a 90-degree v-cutter at about 14,000RPM and ran the tool path 45-degrees across the material. It took about 25 minutes to cut at 45-ipm with a 5-ipm plunge. I think the .020 stepover would have worked better with an 1/8" or 3/32" ball mill. I have the 1/8" cutter but no bushing to use it in my router yet.

Mike, looks like the machine is running good now. look forward to seeing some video maybe? :) you did a good job with the modification of the design to alow you to make the parts in your shop.

Joe

DeWalt58
07-04-2007, 08:10 AM
Great looking machine Mike!!!, doing the same here myself, as you have with what ever I have available. I do have a working homemade CNC...much modified "PipeDream" style, so some parts I can mill. I just finished milling all the skates last week on my HF mini mill and Z-axis is 99% complete. I am limited on space here so takes time to cut any wood on table saw after I drag it out the front door. Been at this project for about a year now. One question I do have is where and what kind of wire cable do you use for motors? The stuff I've been using is 20 gauge multi strand and not very flexable, salvaged wire from work, I'am looking for a type like you use.

Thanks
dewalt58

mhiggins
07-28-2007, 01:20 AM
dewalt58,

I bought my steppers from Automation Direct. I ended up ordering the cables that they offer. These have the modular plug on one end to mate with the one on the motor. I think they are 20ga and they are pretty flexible. I had priced bulk cable on the Internet but it was all pretty expensive. The ready made cables made the most sense for me.

DeWalt58
07-28-2007, 03:49 AM
Thanks for the info Mike on the cables, yep its a might costly to buy the stuff, I am thinking I'll get some from HobbieCNC, Dave has a fair price on it. Sooooo.....hows your Joe's mill holding up so far? Been awhile now, I assume yours is complete and running, any problems with Y-axis bending at high jogs?
Mine is a slow process but enjoyable one. Hope I can do just half as good you did in building it. I have the tools just not the shop to do it in, do admire your neat shop setup, hope to build in a few years here when I retire from working the day job. I crashed my old homemade modified PipeDream mill for the last time and will have to go manual from now on, but did get most of what I could do on it done, which was the Z-axis parts. Started my thread on here and slowly making some headway. Let us all know how your doing from time to time on here or your web site Mike.

Cheers
dewalt58

mhiggins
07-30-2007, 11:29 PM
Unfortunately I have been swamped at work and haven't been able to do anything with my router since I cut the Thomas the train carving a couple of posts back. I am in the planning stage of building a rolling cabinet stand with drawers for storage. Hopefully by the time I get it on the stand and out of the middle of the shop I will have some time to play with it.

mhiggins
09-05-2007, 11:13 PM
I decided to build a permanent stand for my router and include some storage and a place to put my computer and controller box. Eventually I will add some drawers in the front. The controller and electronics will sit in the back toward the wall. I used torsion box construction for the base and ends. These parts are in-turn held together with pocket screws. It is made of 1/2" birch plywood with iron-on edge banding to hide the ply edges. It is extremely rigid.

calgrdnr
09-06-2007, 12:37 AM
I like, looks real good Mike.

I hope you have brackets holding it to the stand. Mine can get a case of the hurkey jurkeys when carving out somethings. I have been meaning to strap it to the wall to get machine little more stable but I keep finding other things to do .


Kent

Jeangouytch
09-29-2007, 03:30 AM
Hi

Just a small post to confirm that Mike tips seems to work fine.

After reading mike's construction diary, i start mine and i'm quite proud of the result.

I think that for someone equipped with a table saw and a router, very good results can be achieved by building the machine by hand.

Precision has not been a problem as all symmetric part can be made with very same settings on the table. In fact, the hardest part for me was to cut the hole for the pipe precisely. Finally, i changed strategy. If drilled the holes together in a first time and then adjust the height of the Y torsion box in order to have it fit exactly in front of the holes.

mhiggins
09-30-2007, 12:23 AM
Jeangouytch,

Your build looks great.

Is that electrical conduit that you are polishing in your homemade lathe? You really went all out with the half-lap joints on the table. A lot of work, very nice.

I'm glad you were able to benefit from my modifications. I think you will be very happy with the finished product. I just added your site to my links page.

mhiggins
09-30-2007, 12:27 AM
Kent,

I used 1-1/2 inch pocket screws at each corner to hold the router to the stand. Both the table and the stand are rigid on their own, but screwed together this outfit is super rigid.

Jeangouytch
09-30-2007, 04:05 AM
Is that electrical conduit that you are polishing in your homemade lathe?
I don't know it's original destination, it was the cheapest iron pipe i found, as try to keep the costs as low as possible. Hope i will not regret not to have spent few more euros for stainless tubes


You really went all out with the half-lap joints on the table. A lot of work, very nice. Lot of work, and really a lot of dust. ...But, as everything was tightly adjusted, the box was very rigid and perfectly square even before skin was glued on.

FPV_GTp
02-03-2009, 05:35 PM
mhiggins nice work , joecnc2006 seems you have started a HUGE trend of happy fans great to see a shared idea making a lot of happy people great stuff joecnc2006 you certainly deserve a handshake.