View Full Version : Joe's Machine, Me Too, in AZ

05-10-2007, 06:17 PM
Hi all. I'm jumping in with a Joe's machine. I got the kit from Joe about a week ago (still cleaning up foam peanuts). I have already built the electronics (HobbyCNC 3-xis kit with 200-oz motors) so now on to the machine.

I have never built a CNC machine before, or done any machining, so my learning curve is straight up right now. I will probably ask a lot of dumb questions before it is all over but this is fun.

I'm also restoring a 1949 Ford 8N tractor, so my machine will probably end up red and gray from the leftover tractor paint ;)

Thanks to Joe for a great machine and especially to CNCZone for all the info that's here.

-George in AZ

05-10-2007, 06:22 PM
George, welcome to a fun build. There is a slight learning curve but it will seem like nothing spread out over the entire build. Much of the difficult work has been done if you buy the kit (I did) and the rest is mostly assembly beyond the bearing angle mounts. Post pics as you progress and feel free to ask any questions, that's what we are here for.

05-12-2007, 07:10 PM
Welcome to the club George!

Post often with pictures, can't wait to see your machine!
Second what bp092, the members of this group are the best around! I've really enjoyed being a part of this! Also check out garcwell's spreadsheet of parts he posted on his site and the mod page. He did a great job with it and it'll be really helpful!



05-13-2007, 01:46 AM
Thanks for the welcome guys. I checked out the spreadsheet and it helped a lot.

I don't have pics uploaded yet, but I have most of the woodwork done. I built the z-axis box and both of the y-axis boxes a couple days ago. I glued up the x-axis torsion box today. I find that the fit of the parts is so precise that the assemblies are virtually self-jigging.

I used the .5" MDF for the x skins as others have. That is one strong box. I had the HD guy cut them for me on his big saw, and even though the sign said "NO precise cuts!" I asked him to get it as close to 24" as he could. He nailed it, and the parts snapped in place.

To make the box, I laid one skin on the worktable, and glued and clamped one cross piece in. Then I glued the long pieces in, and then worked back gluing the rest of the cross pieces in. As long as the skin is square, you're almost guaranteed a square box this way because the parts fit so tight.

I finished the extension pieces and then glued the top skin on. I'm using polyurethane glue. The only thing I don't like about it is the way it foams up out of the crevices. It seems to wet the MDF pretty well though.

05-13-2007, 08:55 AM
I used the .5" MDF for the x skins as others have. That is one strong box. I had the HD guy cut them for me on his big saw, and even though the sign said "NO precise cuts!" I asked him to get it as close to 24" as he could. He nailed it, and the parts snapped in place.

Welcome to the club. Have fun ask as many question as you need to.
I to used 1/2" MDF on my X torsion box the only problem I had was I had to notch the gantry (right side) so it would fit right.

Looks like I miss spoke myself I just can in from the garage I had to notch the X torsion box right side top skin 1/2" MDF so the adjustable bearing block would fit.

10-31-2009, 03:28 AM
Well, after a bit of a hiatus I drug the machine out today to resume working on it. Had a bit of an interruption due to a move 1400 miles across the country and a two-year tour of duty. That's about done now so I should have time now to get back into it... It's all still there though with a bit of road rash.

10-31-2009, 12:12 PM
Howdy George,

First thank you for your service.
Hope you have lots of fun building your machine I know I did. In case you haven't been reading the forum. The biggest improvement IMHO is changing the screws from 1 start 10TPI to 5 start is a must :)


Good luck let us know if you need any help .

Welcome back ...


10-31-2009, 12:51 PM
Thanks a lot Kent - in fact I have been wondering what improvements have been made in the meantime as I'm sure guys have continued to work on it. What I really am interested in is if there's a different option for the bearing slides that anyone has used - like the linear bearing setups I keep getting emails on ;)

11-07-2009, 10:32 PM
Worked on the Z axis today, finished the bearing slides and started on the Y axis slides.

BTW, I read up on the 5 start setup and it looks like the way to go. Only question is, what type of flange do I get for the Dumpster leadnuts, and how do the standard bearing setups get replaced/modified to take the Dumpster parts?


11-11-2009, 08:00 PM
Got the 5-start stuff ordered today but not much else toward the project... been out of town.

11-11-2009, 08:20 PM

01-01-2010, 01:51 PM
Did some more work on the machine. Mostly on the bearing slides. I'm not satisfied with the job I've done in making them - I'm contemplating scrapping them and starting over. They got progressively better as I made them, the Z axis first, not so good, Y axis better, and the X I think are usable. I want to get these right before I go any farther as they are crucial to the accuracy.

I did order the 5-start Acme rods from McMaster and the Dumpster nuts from Tim. Of course, when UPS dropped off the tube containing the Acme screws, I could see it had been bent. Sure enough, both screws are bent. :( I'm pretty sure I can straighten them out but a hassle.

I also tested the Dumpster nuts on them - very tight. Too tight to thread on by hand. I read the threads here about it and talked to Tim. I'm going to try making a tap out of a section of Acme like others have done and that should do the trick. I'd rather have them on the tight side than too loose I guess.

One thing I'm not sure of is how to mount the nuts. I see that Joe made a new block to mount them in. I don't have a way to do that. I'm contemplating two courses of action: drill out the existing block to match the flanges and mount it, sort of straddling where the other leadnut pocket is, or go ahead and build it with the original leadnuts, then when it's operational, make new blocks to fit the Dumpster nuts, and upgrade it. I guess a third option is to do option #1 and then make the new blocks, and retrofit. At least that way it's already set up for the 5-start.

I guess that's what makes all this so much fun -!? :D