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watsonstudios
05-17-2007, 12:54 AM
It all started in January when I first started looking into buying a mini mill (Sherline, Taig type) to play around with machining. Well, one thing led to another and I came across this site and the ideas have been flowing ever since.
After initially buying the Solsylva plans, I was looking through these threads and realized I could design my own machine. I started cruising Ebay for parts and started designing my machine based on the parts that came available. I would search for the axis' first. I started with the X axis and found some 1 inch Thompson supported rails (48") with double pillow blocks for a smokin' deal. Then, the search was on for the Y axis. I found a slide assembly with 16mm supported rails and carriage. The Z axis went through two design changes, I wanted to be sure of simplicity and rigidity. The first version had too many variables that would compromise rail parallelism and squareness so I opted for another all-in-one slide assembly. I think I now have a very rigid design and just need to incorporate the leadscrews & steppers.

My main line of work is 3d computer graphics & animation. To help with the design process, I was able to download CAD files for almost all of the parts I used for my design - then assembling the machine in 3d to work out any issues and explore ideas as I went along. I would see parts on Ebay that looked promising - download the CAD files & incorporate them into the design. The only problem is that if I liked the design, I really had to win the auction to get the parts I wanted.

Critiques appreciated - let me know if you see any potential issues.

Enough rambling, here's some pics - 3d rendering first.

benn0280
05-17-2007, 01:34 AM
i just wanted to comment and say a few things, first off... i think its looking really nice so far. So far as i can tell, my only question as far as sturdiness would be you choice of having only one pair of bearing on each axis. Although, it should be noted that I've never seen pillow block bearing like that in person.

This is my first post here at CNCZone... i've been lurking around for a couple weeks now, soaking up as much info as i can...I too have been thinking long and hard about designing my own table setup, and surprisingly, the image i had in my head is pretty much been fabricated by you.

at any rate, i think it looks pretty smokin. you've got my attention.

Jon

watsonstudios
05-17-2007, 02:22 AM
Thanks for the comments. I found that pillow blocks are very rigid and the pillow blocks I have are double-length blocks so there are 2 sets of linear bearings in each block. The X axis blocks are 6 inches long and very tight on the rail - the weak point here is how rigid the frame is. The Y & Z carriages each have 4 linear bearings in each, a scaled down version of the X axis blocks - and since the carriages are one solid unit with not a lot of space beween the rails, they are very rigid with no noticeable play. All my axis' utilize double pillowblocks with supported rails. Again, It was just luck that I got the parts I wanted on Ebay.

thkoutsidthebox
05-17-2007, 05:34 AM
Looks great. What programs did you use to do your 3D model and rendering? :)

watsonstudios
05-17-2007, 10:38 AM
I use 3dstudio MAX with Vray rendering plugin. I was able to download all the 8020 extrusion, bearings & slide assemblies in either DXF or IGES formats. THK & IKO guide rails and carriages were also available for download when I was working out the Z axis design.

Popeye
05-17-2007, 04:21 PM
Very nice, simple and clean.
How are you securing the gantry to the bearing blocks?

watsonstudios
05-17-2007, 05:00 PM
Very nice, simple and clean.
How are you securing the gantry to the bearing blocks?

If you look at the pic of the closeup of the pillow block, the black piece of 1/2" aluminum sitting on top of the pillowblock is bolted to the 3060 extrusion from underneath and then there are 4 bolts going up through the underside of the pillowblock overhang to fasten the pillowblock to the 1/2 aluminum. I've attached a simple rendering of the area.

Popeye
05-17-2007, 05:49 PM
Have you thought about tyeing the end cap on the gantry into that black plate to share a little of the load? Not being critical, just trying to help :) That would eliminate any potential twisting of the gantry beam.

watsonstudios
05-17-2007, 06:32 PM
Have you thought about tyeing the end cap on the gantry into that black plate to share a little of the load? Not being critical, just trying to help :) That would eliminate any potential twisting of the gantry beam.

I think it's ok for now, it would take an extreme amount of force to twist that gantry. It's fastened to the plate with 4 5/16" screws and weighs close to 40 lbs. without the router. I would probobly break a bit before there was any significant movement in the gantry, either twisting or rocking. Being that the endcaps are only 1/4", I don't think it would add much rigidity - but then again, it can never be too rigid.

3Dsigns
05-18-2007, 11:47 AM
Woooooooooahhh!! Sweet!
I like this!
Just the basic design I've been looking for.
Would these round rails and blocks be strong and tight enough to use on a 4x8 router, with a 3.5 hp or more router?

I have over half a ton of 80/20 aluminum including a 3060x60'' piece i plan to use for the gantry. I also have two of the square thompson rails which are exactly 60'' long as well. Would building the gantry be a good place to start?

How are our going to mount your screws?
Are those rails stainless?
Can those blocks be tightened later to take up any "slop"?
Also, will you be using a screw/bearing for each side of your X axis?
Thanks
Looks great.

watsonstudios
05-18-2007, 12:08 PM
How are our going to mount your screws?
Are those rails stainless?
Can those blocks be tightened later to take up any "slop"?
Also, will you be using a screw/bearing for each side of your X axis?
Thanks
Looks great.

Working on the screws now, I'll post progress on that later.
The rails are not stainless, just hardened precision rails(McMaster part#59585K55) and the blocks have adjustment set screws to squeeze the bearings to the rails.

I am going to try using 1 leadscrew on one side of the X first. Even though the gantry is quite heavy, it takes very little effort to move. I don't feel racking will be a problem with this gantry - if so, I can always add another screw & motor.

As for utilizing this design for a 4' x 8' router, The X rails would be no problem at 8feet - You might want 2 double pillowblocks on each side though. My gantry is 3" wide - I'm sure another foot would be fine - remember, There's half inch thick aluminum mounted to the front of the 3060 and supported rails mounted to that, which really adds to the rigidity of the gantry. I don't expect any measurable deflection.

3Dsigns
05-18-2007, 12:30 PM
Working on the screws now, I'll post progress on that later.
The rails are not stainless, just hardened precision rails(McMaster part#59585K55) and the blocks have adjustment set screws to squeeze the bearings to the rails.

I am going to try using 1 leadscrew on one side of the X first. Even though the gantry is quite heavy, it takes very little effort to move. I don't feel racking will be a problem with this gantry - if so, I can always add another screw & motor.

As for utilizing this design for a 4' x 8' router, The X rails would be no problem at 8feet - You might want 2 double pillowblocks on each side though. My gantry is 3" wide - I'm sure another foot would be fine - remember, There's half inch thick aluminum mounted to the front of the 3060 and supported rails mounted to that, which really adds to the rigidity of the gantry. I don't expect any measurable deflection.

Thanks!
Can't wait to see the progress. That's going to be one sweet machine!
Thanks!
Wayne

Greolt
05-18-2007, 07:11 PM
Critiques appreciated - let me know if you see any potential issues.....................

I am going to try using 1 leadscrew on one side of the X first. Even though the gantry is quite heavy, it takes very little effort to move. I don't feel racking will be a problem with this gantry - if so, I can always add another screw & motor.

I really like the way your design is coming together.

However it will save you some time and considerable frustration to drive the gantry from both sides right from the start.

Because I assure you that you will in the end. :)

This machine is going to be capable of fairly good performance but to stop your gantry shuddering on direction
change you're going to be dialling the acceleration way down which is the biggest killer of overall performance.

So save your self some angst, drive both sides. :stickpoke

Have fun and keep the posts coming, Greg

watsonstudios
05-23-2007, 03:31 AM
Thanks for the advice - I might just drive both sides.

This build has been going pretty smoothly considering I only have a drill press, miter saw & some air tools to make parts. Here is some pics of installing the leadscrew in the Z axis. Anti-backlash nuts courtesy of Dumpster CNC. I also picked up some Delrin for the blocks to mount my leadscrew end-bearings in.

zoltan
05-23-2007, 05:56 AM
Hi,

I have sent you a pm. Did you get it?

Zoltan

3Dsigns
05-23-2007, 11:30 AM
A question on driving both sides of the gantry with separate motors...
Will the drive it in sync?

In some of the big machines, the "columns" of the gantry seem to extend lower than the table on each side and are connected underneath by some kind of beam. Is this type design driven by a single lead screw under the table?
Thanks

agent.5
05-23-2007, 02:06 PM
What size is your machine? Is your X-axis 48"? And, guessing 36" for y-axis?

I like to use 3060 as the gantry and wonder what is the length limitation of such application.

watsonstudios
05-23-2007, 04:14 PM
What size is your machine? Is your X-axis 48"? And, guessing 36" for y-axis?

I like to use 3060 as the gantry and wonder what is the length limitation of such application.

Yes, you are correct in the dimensions - I don't know what the length limitation would be for a span of 3060. I know 36" is well within any measurable deflection.

watsonstudios
05-23-2007, 04:49 PM
Here is the finished Z axis, minus the router mount - just need to mount the stepper, which I haven't purchased yet. I decided to make the top motor plate with Delrin instead of aluminum because It's easier to drill large holes in. I'm still shopping around for the motors & drivers. I want to get a kit that has everything (motors, drivers, power supply, etc.)so I'm comparing right now and making sure I like the features of the driver boards since there are a lot of options that these boards can have. I plan on using at least 400-500oz motors to get good torque. More to come...

Greolt
05-24-2007, 05:05 AM
A question on driving both sides of the gantry with separate motors...
Will the drive it in sync?

I'm not familiar with other controllers, but Mach will slave two drives together quite happily




In some of the big machines, the "columns" of the gantry seem to extend lower than the table on each side and are connected underneath by some kind of beam. Is this type design driven by a single lead screw under the table?
ThanksYes driving from the center underneath is a popular method on the common homebuilt moving gantry style machine.

Greg

3Dsigns
05-24-2007, 11:23 AM
Thanks Greg,
So he will need 4 motors on this machine; 2 to push both sides of the gantry, and one each on the x and z axis, right?
I found some NEMA 34, 1100 oz servo motors. Would those be good to use on a 4x8 machne?
Thanks

Your machine is looking good watsonstudios. Good job!

zoltan
06-05-2007, 09:25 AM
Hi Watsonstudios,

Few days ago I answered to your pm. Did you get my pm?

Thank you.

Regards,

Zoltan

ZipSnipe
06-05-2007, 10:28 AM
Nice design Watson. I like the open table idea as this would allow you to stand boards on end for jointing,etc. I also agree with Greolt on driving the gantry from both sides. Keep up the good work !!

harryn
06-12-2007, 11:32 PM
Nice project and layout. I have been thinking about those supported rails also. That would seem to make a very rigid setup.

I have a tendency to make wiring mistakes, so I have been toying with these stepper motors for a future project. (take in AC - no need for separate boxes for power supply / drivers / motor plus fancy wiring.) Still trying to get a price.

http://imshome.com/mdrive34ac_plus.html

watsonstudios
06-13-2007, 01:59 AM
Tell me about it, The wiring is a little overwhelming at first but I almost finished my wiring today. I just need to wire up the power cord to the power supply and make the motor cables - then I just need to set all my dip switches and fire it up. Right now, everything is mounted on a temporary board for testing. I attached some photos.

watsonstudios
07-02-2007, 06:47 PM
Here's some more pics. There's a photo of the motor mount "stilts" cut from aluminum tube found at Ace Hardware. The X axis motors installed. Also the testing rig on my kitchen table as I test to see if I get any motor movement with Mach 3 which was successful. A picture of the machine ready to cut for the first time. Here's a link to the video of the first cut. It is a 6"x3" piece of MDF carpet taped to the table. The V bit I used is old and probobly not too sharp.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zmsAK3ZcQU

Will be posting more videos once I start cutting more interesting stuff.

bp092
07-02-2007, 09:08 PM
Your machine looks really slick and well done, nice set of hardware you have there. What do you estimate the cost to be for the machine without the controller or computer and router, just the machine itself (no motors)? And how long did it take to build roughly? Also what are you testing at and getting for rapids? Nice work!

watsonstudios
07-02-2007, 10:00 PM
Your machine looks really slick and well done, nice set of hardware you have there. What do you estimate the cost to be for the machine without the controller or computer and router, just the machine itself (no motors)? And how long did it take to build roughly? Also what are you testing at and getting for rapids? Nice work!

I started designing it beginning of April and started construction about mid-April
I have about $1000.00 in the hardware. Motors & electronics about $600.00. Router - 200.00 and software will be about $450.00 (Mach3 & Cut3d) I already had the computer sittin' around doing nothing. Haven't done any test for rapids or feeds yet - I know I have a bit of vibration in my leadscrews that is causing step loss at higher speeds. I might replace my Lovejoy couplers and get more rigid ones - and also I need to install bearings at the motor ends of the Axis'. Total build time less than 3 months.

Greolt
07-02-2007, 11:10 PM
Here's some more pics. There's a photo of the motor mount "stilts" cut from aluminum tube found at Ace Hardware. The X axis motors installed. Also the testing rig on my kitchen table as I test to see if I get any motor movement with Mach 3 which was successful. A picture of the machine ready to cut for the first time. Here's a link to the video of the first cut. It is a 6"x3" piece of MDF carpet taped to the table. The V bit I used is old and probobly not too sharp.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zmsAK3ZcQU

Will be posting more videos once I start cutting more interesting stuff.
Just watched the video. Pictures are good too.

You've gotta be happy with that. :) Pretty good looking machine.

Glad you went with the dual drive on the X.

Greg

jmytyk
07-03-2007, 03:55 AM
nice machine...

you might want to reconsider the rigid lovejoy's - i did a bunch of research last night on vibrations and resonance issues S_J_H built something very cool to dampen the vibrations. - here the thread.

http://www.cnczone.com/forums/showthread.php?t=32284&highlight=resonance

good luck.

watsonstudios
07-13-2007, 08:54 PM
Well, here's an update. I've included pics of my first 2 sided part using Cut3d. It was cut in 10lb Sign Foam which machines very well - even held detail along a very thin wall thickness. I also just built a dust-vac hood, hopefully it will work - I built it mainly because MDF is real messy. Foam & plastic dust stays in the machine bed but MDF gets airborne and gets everywhere. Here in a Youtube link also which I will be updating regularly - it shows my machines progress from first trying the electronics to cutting stuff.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zmsAK3ZcQU

yantra3d
07-15-2007, 12:58 PM
Fantastic work... very inspiring! I'm curious what is that part for that you made from foam? What size bit did you end up using for your finishing pass on that?

Are you gonna be doing some casting by chance??

Thanks a ton for sharing your build!

watsonstudios
07-15-2007, 01:15 PM
It is a part for a Pulse Rifle from the movie Aliens. I created the part in 3dStudio Max 9 & exported out as an .stl file. It's at about 40% size because that's how big the sample piece of Sign Foam was. I used a 1/4" end mill for roughing and 1/8" ballnose for finishing pass with 10% stepover. It took a little over an hour to machine.

watsonstudios
07-17-2007, 02:18 PM
I just posted a new movie showing the above part being machined using time-lapse. 2 hours condesed into 1 minute.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVoF54JBq14

Thazul
07-17-2007, 03:26 PM
Very Cool!
Great work with the machine, code, and video.
Keep up the good work.

jmytyk
07-17-2007, 06:30 PM
do you have any details about the export process from max? i would hope it's as simple as 'click export' but i could also see it needing lots of tweaks. thanks.

watsonstudios
07-17-2007, 06:53 PM
do you have any details about the export process from max? i would hope it's as simple as 'click export' but i could also see it needing lots of tweaks. thanks.

It's just that easy. Make sure your model is dimensionally correct in size either inches or metric. Go to "file" - "export" then choose .stl file. Do not use "file"-"export selected" - for some reason .stl is not an option here. Once you get to the STL file dialog, you can choose to export just selected objects. Once you have an STL, it will import into most CAD or CAM software.

boguski.1
07-19-2007, 01:33 AM
Great build!!!! You have a very nice machine.

Just started my build a few weeks ago, and I have a few questions about your setup.

What type of linear bearings are you using in your z-axis? I've been looking at frelon bearings and am trying to work out several design issues.

I also noticed that you are using ball bearings as opposed to thrust bearings for your leadscrews. I'm planning to do the same thing, and was wondering if you had issues with backlash, and how you made sure the screw didn't move in the bearings.

Again, great work. I've also purchased the vectric software and can't wait to make my first cut! Any advice would be greatly appreciated, thanks!

Brian

nosplinters
07-19-2007, 03:21 AM
Very cool machine! I'm thinking I may have to build one now...granted I can figure out where to put one.

BTW - I liked your drum set in the pics as well.

Thanks for the great info!

-Ed

GoodLo0kin0ut
07-19-2007, 03:43 AM
hello i am new to this whole "forum" thing but i heard nothing but positive things about it. i was wondering how i could post up a question i had about a certain type of machine that makes bullets if you have any suggestions that would be great thank you.

MRM RCModels
07-22-2007, 04:19 AM
First off, wonderful thread. In your remote breakout board circuit, is the SSR there only so you can initiate a emergency shut off or do you plan on controlling the spindle speed with software enabled through the SSR?

Thanks,

Kelvin