View Full Version : New Obsession....

07-05-2004, 10:03 PM
At the moment I am CNC obsessed. Even wake up in the middle of the night with an idea.... I suppose I'm not too different from most people on this forum. How did I get inflicted with this CNC disease..lol..:D

The symptoms started some months ago. Firstly my main interest and passion is building wooden boats and there it started.

i had a design commisioned ( http://dixdesign.com/ch21.htm )that I started building last year. Earlier this year I secured the rights to produce Kits for this design. I then started on my quest to find someone with a CNC here in Australia to cut the kits for me. There a plenty of people with machines, however they were not interested, too busy or couldn't be bothered talking.

I then looked at the idea of purchasing a machine, too expensive in australia (starting $50k+) so I looked at the various US machines such as Shopbot, Shop Sabre etc. To land one here in australia was going to cost around the $20k. Too much for a small part time business.

Then Dave from CNC Teknix informed of this site (thanks Dave) and from reading the posts etc and meeting some wonderfully helpful people such as Ynneb I thought' I can do this'... Being a hands on type I believe this is achievable.

I looked at the plans/designs available, liked some elements from each and from doing research have decided to build my own. It's not rocket science (well, maybe the electrics :D )

Now 10 designs later I am happy enough to put metal to the grinder. When I put my pencil sketches into a form that is presentable I'll start posting them.

Basic machine details.

Table will be 3000mm * 1650mm to enable cutting of 2440*1220 sheets of marine ply. Base made from 100*100 steel channel with adjustable feet. MDF table.

3 axis with moving gantry also from steel (Ynneb please note..:D ).

Reliance Servo motors and Rutex drives. Mach 2 software.

X Axis will be belt drive both sides driven through enclosed drive system located inside gantry.

Y & Z axis at this stage will be Lead Srews (1", 5/8"). Y axis motor located inside the gantry.

Seriously looking at the Drylin Linear Slide System www.igus.com for all axis.

The building all starts next week. I'll try and keep this log updated and hopefully include some photos of the progress.


07-06-2004, 12:04 AM
Great introduction Moondog. You have given us a good background.

Yes do post lots of pictures. Post all your successes and your failures along the way.
Post pictures of even insignificant things to do with your machine. Everyone here just loves pics.

If you find that you don't get lots of responses in this thread, don't lose heart, you can be assured that there will be a multitude watching you. Just note the views to your thread increase with every post you make.

Good luck mate.

EDIT: Oh and I like your thread title. "Obsession" is definitely the correct description.

07-10-2004, 02:28 AM
Obsession is where it all starts !
Beware before you know it you will "start" suffering from "bipolar" disorder. If you are lucky it will only be "unipolar".Embarking on this "rout" could "lead" to a downhill "slide". You will feel as if you have gone off the "rails" at times.When you have lost your "bearings" return to the zone and they will help you return to the right "path". Somedays it will be so bad it will feel as if the world has conspired to "backlash" against you personally. You may be "screwed" and pay too much for something to such a "degree" that you will really feel as if you are going "nuts".Maybe you now understand how what started off as an obsession could "lead" to a mental disorder reaching a fever "pitch".
Not to worry soon you will be "motoring" along happily,even though slightly mentally "misaligned".

07-10-2004, 07:22 PM
Thanks for your 'medical diagnosis' Sixpence. I'll pray that I don't get all of the symptoms you described..:D :D ..my workcover won't cover me for that..

Pick up the steel for the bench tomorrow. Size has been increased to 3100 * 1700mm.

Ordered my Rutex R990H2 drives and the Servos are on their way from the US.

Also ordered the Drylin T Linear guides last week and they should arrive within a few days plus the ball srews should be here as well.

There will be lots of deliveries to my house this week, it's just like Xmas..

Still trying to sort out my Power Supply.

I have a full 2 weeks off to get this machine happening. Don't know how much I'll achieve in the 2 weeks. I guess there will always be something that doesn't go according to plan, that's how we learn. A saying that I apply to my business and personal life ' There are never problems....only solutions'...

I will get some pics of the progress. I look froward to sharing my project and I would like to thank everyone in advance for their help along the way.


07-18-2004, 08:32 AM

Finished building the table. Overall took about 8 hours with the help of a friend. This thing weighs a ton.. al least 500lb without any MDF etc.

Still waiting on my servos to arrive (geez airmail is slow) :D

Received my Z rails and bearings. X & Y are on order from Germany and should arrive 3 days or so.

Completed most of my electrics except for the DC power supply (Ynneb ):D .

Will post a number of pics in the next day or so when my friend copies them to disk for me.

Attached is a drawing of the Gantry setup (side view) and this week I'll start fabricating the Y & Z axis.

The goal this week is to totally finish the bench (painting etc) in readiness to start fabricating the gantry next weekend.

This is fun.. what better way to spend your 2 week vacation...


07-18-2004, 08:41 AM
Picked up this transformer for A$27.00. It is a transformer from 240VAC to 115V?. Not sure if it is AC/DC. The guy used it to run a battery charger.

I figured at that price I can't go wrong. If its DC it will run the servos, if its AC I can use it to power a router?...

Ynneb, don't stop with that PS quote.... I may need it.


07-18-2004, 08:50 AM
Another pic of the transformer

07-18-2004, 10:07 AM
hmmm ...I think you have a good 115 AC power source when you only have 230-240AC available.
When you rectify that you will have about160VDC. ...with only 150VA rating, you also might/will need a transformer with higher amp ratings.

If you apply 115VAC to the primary 240VAC, you will be outputting roughly 57VAC, rectified would be 79VDC(or so), but very limited in amps. I don't know your full needs yet, but I suspect this transformer will fall short of them.

..anyone. correct me if my overview is wrong.

07-18-2004, 05:37 PM
Thanks Bloy

The tranformer is 240AC in and 115V output?.. is the output AC or DC? and what amperage is that?

07-18-2004, 06:10 PM
Moon dog it is only 1.5 amps.
I will still order the other tranny for you.

You need 20 amps

07-19-2004, 10:29 PM
The following are some pics of the Rutex Drivers, motherboard and 1 Limit Switch (other 2 on back order). Also a 24VDC PS for the drives and Limit Switches.

I obtained a secondhand switch cabinet that also had an Insulated Board which I have used to mount the drives etc. The cabinet will also have a 120mm filtered fan. :cheers:

07-19-2004, 10:32 PM
This is the pile of steel at 10..am Sat morning.

07-19-2004, 10:36 PM
These are the rails and bearings for the Z axis. The rail is 20mm.
They have backordered the X & Y rails.

07-19-2004, 10:46 PM
The first pic is of me setting up the steelwork. We setup the steel work level and square on the floor. Firstly the side rails at 3100mm we sat on top of the shorter 2900mm lower rails. This gave us a straight edge to level off on.

The bench was built upside down.

2nd pic. At this stage I must thank my friend Graham (he is camera shy)Graham is the tradesman and I am his apprentice in this part of the project. His welding skills are superb and he taught me so much. Even then I was only allowed to weld the unimportant underside bits. I am extremely grateful to Graham for his help for this stage.

last pic is of me trying to look like a welder (notice I am only welding the unimportant bits :)


07-19-2004, 10:52 PM
Pics from the early afternoon. The C section rails at this stage are just sitting on top. It took two of us just to lift each rail.. (think I need to go to the gym :rolleyes: )

07-19-2004, 10:57 PM
Where in Aus are you MoonDog?

07-19-2004, 11:04 PM
At last we can see that you are not a CNC tyre kicker.

Great job Frans.

Those C channels on the last picture are going to be fitted at the side of the table, and not on the top as they are in the picture?

07-19-2004, 11:09 PM
On Sunday we started to fit the C section rails. These are 3100mm*200*75 and around 5mm thick. It took us all of the day just to get these fitted. The C section faces are not exactly 90 degrees so to get a perfectly flat and paralel surface meant carefully welding, measuring and straight edges to have the rails perfectly flat. We manage to get everything to within 20thou. This will provide a good surface for mounting the X rails.

I originally chose the C section so it would 1. provide solid surface for the x rails and 2. provide an area to mount the x axis belt system.

If I had to build this again I wouldn't recommend the C section unless you had it milled first(expensive).

That's all of my pics for the moment. The rest of this week will be spent cleaning up the steel, fitting tabs for mounting the table top and lower bench for storage.


PS.. My 9yr old daughter came into the workshop and asked why I painted it this colour Blue.....

07-19-2004, 11:13 PM
IJ..I am in Canberra.

Ynneb.. The C sections are mounted above. I figured this way the gantry would be close to the bearing surface and still giving me around 250mm clearance. There will be no moving parts or drive points below the table.

have alook at my drawing a few posts back (this thread) and it shows the gantry on top and the belt drive system within the C channel. I will then be able to fit a cover/guard of the belt system.

07-19-2004, 11:25 PM
This is different than how you told me you were going to do it.
I am hoping you will still get the required Y movement since you have changed the plans. What is the width between the C sections, and what is the width of your router.

I hope you havnt gone done the same road as me

07-19-2004, 11:29 PM

The width between the rails is 1550mm. I figured the Y axis can move at least 1450mm allowing 50mm each side to stop. with the Z carriage at 175mm the centre of the router I estimate that the actual cutting area will be around 1285-1300mm.

07-19-2004, 11:42 PM
Good, just checking.

With all your pictures in horizontal view, its looking like a happening project.

It even motivated me to ring up the Tranny guy and get a quote for you. He will ring me back this arvo. Just checking, it was 240V AC - 120 V DC, 20 AMP with a 18 volt tap for your Rutex cards ?

EDIT: can I make a suggestion. Paint it as you go, and fix up the rough ends. It will help you to feel better about your project.
You may feel at this stage that you are nearly finished. You are probably quarter the way through. You will from this point start to doubt if it will ever work or ever be finished. Dont let those doubts cause you to delay on your project. Someone once said to me in this forum that "when you dont know what to do, just drill a hole" That saying, amongst others, worked for me.
When I agreed to help you, I didnt tell you about this thread http://cnczone.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3242&highlight=feel+giving
After the high of getting the frame up and running, progress went a bit slower.
I hope the encouragment that these guys gave me, will also help you.
I am not saying you are subject to mood swings like me, but just in case, know you are not alone.

07-19-2004, 11:52 PM
Hello Moondog,
Just a observation, it's a good practice to wear welders gloves when you weld. Not only does it protect you against the hot metal parts but also from the UV radiation. I gave myself a nice sunburn on my arms 7 years ago after welding for a 10 minutes in a shortsleeve shirt. You probably already knew this but there may be some on the site who don't and with the rise in skin cancer, it's good to keep in mind.

By the way, your machine is looking awesome. :cheers:

07-20-2004, 12:17 AM

There are still adjustable feet to be welded on. We will fit end caps to the C section and channel, clean up and then paint.. what colour?.. we are thinking of the hammered metal finish?...

Maybe I'll get everyone here to suggest the colour scheme...

Ynneb.. the PS is 120VAC 20 amp. thanks

Thanks for your words of encourgement Ynneb. I am a pretty focused person so if I can keep things moving I'll get this completed. The only frustrating thing at the moment is being let down by suppliers. Most of the parts were to arrive last week. Hard to rely on suppliers I suppose.

Patrick... yes I should wear gloves. I only did a little bit though. your right i should think SAFETY.. wondered why I looked more tanned... : :banana:

in building this machine I am encouraged by the support of the forum and the wealth of information and ideas from previous builders.

07-20-2004, 03:21 AM
MoonDog: For the wiring think of an estimate then triple it and add a few days on top ;)!

re: Welding. When I was a kid I welded up some lower control arms for a car I was building wearing a T Shirt BZZZZZZZZZZ big mistake!

I had 2 bags of fluid starting at the T Shirt line extending to my elbow pits!! (They were too big to be called blisters) Never made that mistake again!

I think a nice Camo paint job would look trick!

07-20-2004, 03:53 AM
Moondog: It looks good! I like the gantry to be as straight as possible, not a portal. That way you get less tilting forces on the rail bearings. And the rails gets further away from the dust and debris.
You write you would not use C-section unless having it milled. Did you consider smearing the rail tops with car body putty. Put some thin plastic wrapping over it to avoid sticking, then bolt down your rails not too firmly (so not to warp or distort them). When the putty is half-cured, cut with a knife along the rails and scrape off the squeezed-out putty. When fully cured, tighten down the rails. This way you use the virgin straightness of the rails to mold the putty into a straight and level surface.

07-20-2004, 06:43 AM

We are pretty happy now with the C Section having spent so much time getting it right. If I could be assured of getting some section straight.. maybe.

The other problem with the C section is that the the 2 faces (ie shorter) are exactly square to the side (200mm). We had to carefully tilt the section a mil or so to ensure the top surface was perfectly flat accross both rails.

I like your idea about the putty. I have done something similar with Epoxy to bed down winches on boats. The rails will be 3100mm am I right to assume they will be dead straight. I'll keep your idea on board. Thanks

IJ... that would have been a painful lesson. I'll make sure that when I do any welding in the future it will be appropriately dressed and with gloves etc...

Now what is a Camo paint job?.... :)


07-20-2004, 06:50 AM
Camo as in camouflage :)!

I'll tell ya a few more welding "lessons" Hot spatter from the Mig in either the ear or nose!! !! ;) (one stinks and the other sounds like bacon frying)

Next one is down the top of the work boots I have permanently scared ankles!

07-20-2004, 07:24 AM

Wherabouts are you located in OZ?... workboats?... down here our workboots are thongs...

Never tried MIG welding, heard it is pretty good.

Are you building or completed?...

07-20-2004, 07:34 AM
I'm in Melbourne :)!

I've just finished a retrofit on a BP Clone!

Mig welding is a blast I always teach my Girlfriend at the time to weld so they can help out and usually it only takes 20 mins before they can lay down a decent bead!

My Mill (http://www.cnczone.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4327)

07-20-2004, 05:30 PM

Welding is definitely a skill that All women should have (along with cooking etc)...

what is a BP clone...(still coming to grips with the terminology of cnc)

07-20-2004, 06:02 PM
MoonDog: LOL that's one of the first questions I ask when meeting a new woman "Can you weld? if not would you be willing to learn" ;)!

It's surprising how many of their friends when they hear about it want to learn as well!

My current spent 3 months in the workshop helping run machines when I got snowed under :)!

"BP Clone" = Bridgeport Clone Asian built Bridgeport copys that are so close they can use genuine Bridgeport parts!

10 or 15 years ago these machines were of questionable quality as their metalurgy lagged behind but these days they're pretty good for light use.

07-20-2004, 06:03 PM
BP = Bridgeport (the milling machine that everyone clones)

07-27-2004, 07:24 AM
last weekend welded up most of the Gantry.

I was looking at methods to attach and line up my X Axis rails and came up with this idea to mount the rails onto steel, drilled and tapped and fix to the C Section using adjustable bolts (like big grub screws).

I have attached my plans for this method for your opinion.


10-12-2004, 07:36 AM
After months of harrashment from YNNEB I went out and bought a digital camera. I haven't learnt how to use it properly yet so please excuse the photos in the following threads... :)

Here are some photos of my gantry...

1. Overview of the Gantry.. Specs... 200*200mm RHS 8mm wall thickness. Length 1850mm.

2. End View of gantry showing the X Axis drive shaft, the Y Support block and servo motor mounting. Motor is mounted inside gantry.

3. Same as 2 above but also showing the Alum plate that will be for the X Axis belt drive pulleys.

4. Pulleys . Larger pulley 60 tooth (5mm pitch * 16mm) is the first reduction pulley from the motor. Smaller pulley is for the drive belt to the belt drive assy.

5. End gantry view with motor mount removed showing the X Drive shaft and self aligning bearings. 25mm shaft.

stay tuned for more..... :cheers:

10-12-2004, 07:48 AM
these are 2 photos of the Y Axis Lead assy.

The first pic is showing the Lead Nut on the 25mm lead screw. The nut was made from 70mm Delrin tapped to 1inch. The Y drive attachment is 20mm alum. The delrin nut is bolted into this housing between the attachment and an Alum plate/washer. The plate/washer is from 8mm alum turned with 6mm bolts.

2nd pic is the Y Axis support block. Made from Alum 30mm it has a 20mm bore, 47mm overall double angular contact bearing. The bearing is retained by the 8mm front plate. A spacer was fitted then the nut tightened into the assy so there is no movement of the lead screw in the support block. The support block is through bolted with 10 High Tensile bolts.

next the Z Axis

10-12-2004, 07:56 AM
continuing with our theme..... here are some photos of the Z Axis assy.

10-12-2004, 08:01 AM
A selection of some belts and pulleys for the Y, Z & X drives.

Pulleys are. 10mm for the Z and Y axis and the 16mm for the X axis drive shaft and servo motor. The belts are 5mm pitch HTD with the steel tensile cords. There are more belts to be purchased for the X belt drive system.

10-12-2004, 08:11 AM
This is my pride and joy Felder combination woodworking machine. I bought this 15 years ago. It helped me build 2 houses, numerous pieces of furniture, kitchens etc. It also spent 3 years working as a full time furniture maker.

After 15 years it is still as accurate as the day I bought it. Never needed any repairs or parts (except for 1 belt). It has a 30mm tilting spindle moulder, planer/thicknesser, mortising attachment etc.. 3 * 3hp motors.

The sliding table runs on a bearing setup with (0---0) on machined steel tracks. This has never needed any adjustment and today there is no movement.

I remember the day I walked into the showroom. To demonstrate the machines stiffness the salesman slid the table out and then stood on the end of it. That is a 1200mm unsupported table end... wow... I bought it there and then...

I hope to one day pass this machine on to my son.

10-12-2004, 08:15 AM
Bought this about 6 weeks ago. A cheapie but a goodie so they say. Spent the best part of 2 days pulling it apart cleaning out all of the bearings. You wouldn't beleive the aount of dirt and filings that washed out of the bearings... then repacked and adjusted everything. Works perfectly now...

Used this to make the bearing support blocks etc...

10-12-2004, 08:21 AM
for the benefit of people coming into the posts late here are a couple of shots of the machine frame.

This is the frame in the raw state.

size: 3100 * 1800mm
100*100 * 4mm RHS.
Top rails 200*75mm * 8mm C section.
Paralellism of top of C rails is 10 thou as measured with straight edge and feeler guages.

Things to complete:

Adjustble feet to be fitted.
End caps welded on..
bed fitted etc...

10-12-2004, 09:00 AM
I see you are blaming me for going out and buying a digital camera. Personally I think it is a nececity for any CNC buider. It gives others a far greater idea of what you are doing and allows them to comment more accurately and copy more accurately.

I recon this thread will become the number one thread for a large CNC machine from now on.

10-12-2004, 11:52 AM
Great pictures, Moondog.
Nice work!
Now aren't you glad you got that camera?
You've given me many insights for my project.

10-12-2004, 04:02 PM

Thanks for your kind comments. What is your project?

10-12-2004, 06:24 PM
Here are some closeup detail pics of the Y Axis Lead nut assy.

Made from 70mm Delrin and tapped to 1inch 8 TPI.

10-12-2004, 07:33 PM
The Y axis Drive bearing. #30mm alum with Double Angular contact bearings.. Bearing size is 20mm bore and 47 width * 20mm

10-12-2004, 07:40 PM
Pics of the Z Axis Drive & Support blocks. Drive block houses a Double Angular Contact Bearing. Support Block is Delrin...

The Ball Screw and Ball Nut is 16mm ISEL. The Ball Nut is adjustble. The ISEL unit has a very nice smooth movement.

10-14-2004, 06:54 PM
Your doing well Moondog, I love that piece of square box for the gantry. That looks very solid. It appears the gantry is to be driven from both sides and the drive shaft will be running through the middle of the gantry ?

Can we see a picture of your servos, and can you post the specs to them ?

What stage is the electrical control box at ?

I wish I had bought a mill for when I made my machine. It makes such a difference in terms of making a nice finish.

10-14-2004, 10:22 PM

still learning how to use the Mill..... but it definitely helps without having to outsource some of your machining and you also learn new skills.

The gantry is driven both sides by the shaft, 25mm shaft on 2 self aligning bearings.

I'll post some pics of my servos soon.

The electrical is about 50% completed.

10-20-2004, 09:44 AM
For those of you who have read my previous posts I returned the IGUS linear.

Just received my new SBC Profile Rails and Bearings. The rails are 20mm and the bearings are the SBC20's. The bearings are the re-circulating type.

Fitted the rails to the Z axis, aligned the rails to within .01mm over the 450mm lenght. Fixed one side first, added the carriages and then adjusted the other rail.

The bearings have very little clearance and they slide beautifully. I love the sound the bearings make...lol

Fitted the top plate to the Z Axis and then hooked up my electric drill to the lead screw. It is a great feeling seeing the linear movement for the first time.... even with an electric drill...

10-20-2004, 09:49 AM
These are some photos showing th Z and Y axis with the rails fitted.

10-20-2004, 11:35 AM
Gonna post the plans for this machine?

10-20-2004, 05:26 PM

Hadn't thought about it yet...Definitely something I should think about. Problem is that I haven't documented everything. Do you think people would want these plans?

10-20-2004, 06:52 PM
Are you trying to make us feel envyous?
You are succeding ?

You dont need to post plans, these pictures are just as good. If people want to copy the machine they can tailor the design down to what they want.

I think it might be an idea to also post a cost run down. Put it in one post of this thread and edit it as you go. Also have a another post in this thread where you put all the links of where you bought stuff. If there are no links just post an address.

10-20-2004, 07:35 PM
What size is this machine?

10-22-2004, 06:30 AM

machine size is:
Lenght 3100mm..
Gantry width 1850mm
Table width: 1560mm.

Cutting area should be: 2600mm * 1350mm. Z travel 200mm.

11-02-2004, 04:46 AM

11-02-2004, 04:58 AM
My X Rails arrived today and I couldn't wait to see how they fitted. They are 25mm profile and 3100mm long.

I attached one of the X Carriage plates to the carriages. The Gantry will mount to the carriage plates and be adjustable for alignment.

In each rail I had to drill 52 7mm holes through 8mm steel. Not looking forward to drilling the other rail but I will attempt that this weekend.

Once I drill the other rail I'll mount the other carriage and align the rails paralell and level. Then I can mount the gantry and align.

11-02-2004, 05:13 AM
Whislt I was in the fitting mood I mounted the X and Y Motors and belts to check for fit and alignment. The X Motor Mount (left pic) fitted as planned and has an allowance of around 5mm for additional belt tension. HOpefully they won't stretch. The X belt is 16mm with a 5mm pitch and drives the X shaft through the gantry.

The motors are mounted on 8mm Alum plate and boled to 25*25 angle in the ganrty. The angle plates have the nuts welded to them to make adjustment easy.

The Y Motor mount needs to be adjsuted. If you look closely at the pic the belt is loose. I'll need to re-mount the motor about 10mm to the side. I will need to drill some holes in the top of the gantry for the wires.

Haven't mounted the Z axis plates yet. Waiting for my mill to arrive so I can mill the plates perfectly flat.

When you buy Alum plate it is not perfectly flat or uniform thickness. I will only need to take about .10mm off each face.

11-02-2004, 04:57 PM
Fantastic job Frans. By far the best project log I've seen so far. ( A lot better than those posts where you see a picture of some linear rails they bought off ebay and thats the end of it. :) )

It looks like you will have to elongate those servo mounts a bit more in order to tighten the drive belt. But I guess you already knew that.

Considering youve never built a machine b4, and dont have a engineering background, and are mainly a pen pushing accountant, I am very impressed at the thought and planing you are putting into your machine.

I can hardly wait until we see a video of it in action.

EDIT: I have given your post a 5 star thread vote. I dont know why it isnt showing though. Probably it needs more voters.
I know you may feel a little discouraged by the lack of comments from others here, all I can think is either people are assuming you are doing a good job as it is, and they dont know what to advise, or they just havnt discoverd this thread.

Graham S
11-02-2004, 05:41 PM
Yeah keep posting it is looking great!

11-10-2004, 05:05 AM
Tonight I finished the Z Axis. All appears to work... As you can probably see the motor is a tight fit. When I first tried to fit it the base of the motor was hitting the Lead Nut. I made a new spacer and added 4mm. This seated the motor 4 mm higher and gave just enough clearance.

Still have to refit the Y Motor mount over the next few days. Hope to have the Gantry fitted to the X rails this weekend.. Have to con some mates to help me lift it...I can see this will cost me a few beers... :cheers: but what r mates for....

11-10-2004, 07:37 AM
Z-Axis looks great. Looks like it should be pretty solid!

How much travel do you have?

EDIT: 200mm, just saw it a few posts back. (chair)

11-10-2004, 02:39 PM
Javadog.... good question.... As it is set up now there will be around 200mm of travel. At present I am unsure how much I need because I haven't decided on the thickness of the bed.

I am also able to adjust the lenght of travel as well. The lower bearing carriages can be moved approx 50mm lower. The reason I did this was to provide more support for a spindle(less flex of the Alum) The tradeoff was 50mm less travel (150mm).

11-20-2004, 03:51 AM
I fitted the gantry today to the X Rails, checked alignment etc.. slides along the rails without any binding etc. Refitted the motors as well. You will notice at the bottom of the ganry their is an Alum plate 25mm thickness. The plate will form part of the X Axis drive for the Belt Drives. I need to make another plate with spacers and fit bearings, pulleys and Idler Pulleys.

11-20-2004, 03:59 AM
I decided that I would attach my router base to a dovetail slide system that would then allow me to easily replace the router with other tools. Another benefit of the dovetail attachment is it will enable me to adjsut the router mount depedning on the lenght of cutter I use without losing any Z lenght.

I am making the dovetail from a piece of 35mm stainless steel that I had lying around. The angle is 60 degrees and it will use a carbide insert. In this pic I've only taken about 5mm cut.

The batteries in my camera were low so I only got 1 photo at present. Don't know how successful it will be.. worth a try.

11-20-2004, 10:56 AM
Now I see what you mean about the x-axis rack being protected from debris, nice design. I just read through this whole thread, and it has been great. I am interested to build a machine too, so great to see someone else go through the motions. I have no advice I'm afraid, just questions! Why did you get rid of the Drylin rails?

11-20-2004, 11:39 AM

Thanks for your kind comments. What is your project?
Hi Moondog,

I want to say again that I think this project you have going is Great!
Sorry I didn't answer your question earlier,so...
I'm making a sturdy (similar to yours with high rails and minimal gantry "arms") router of 3' y travel and about 3.5' x travel. Xaxis will be rack a pinion drive, Y-axis will be belt, and Z-axis will be Ballscrew. All of the parts, i.e. Ballscrew/nut, racks/pinions, belted y-gantry, motors, etc., have been collected over the year from ebay.
If I do half as well in getting all the parts together as you are, I'll be alright!

Thanks SOOooo much for recording your project here!


11-20-2004, 04:12 PM
Hello Michael.. the X axis will be as protected to a certain extent, amazing how chips/dust get everywhere. A good dust extractor and the periodical blast with air should keep it reasonably clean.

The Igus rails were just not suitable for this design especially for the Y axis. According to the engineers I need to have the rails over twice the distance apart for Igus to work correctly. Unlike the THK style the IGUS have very specific distances that have to be maintained. They didn't tell me this originally. They may have been alright for the X but I preferred to have them all the same.

Keep the questions coming. That is how we all learn. I've learnt so much through this forum, it has enabled me to get this far. If you have the passion to build... go for it you won't be alone. There are many experienced and knowledgeable people on the Zone. I'd recommend finding one as a Mentor to guide you thru your build.


11-20-2004, 04:17 PM
Hi Moondog,

I want to say again that I think this project you have going is Great!
Sorry I didn't answer your question earlier,so...
I'm making a sturdy (similar to yours with high rails and minimal gantry "arms") router of 3' y travel and about 3.5' x travel. Xaxis will be rack a pinion drive, Y-axis will be belt, and Z-axis will be Ballscrew. All of the parts, i.e. Ballscrew/nut, racks/pinions, belted y-gantry, motors, etc., have been collected over the year from ebay.
If I do half as well in getting all the parts together as you are, I'll be alright!

Thanks SOOooo much for recording your project here!

Hello Bloy.... thanks again for your response. now there should be no stopping you as you have all of the parts.. when are you going to start your build.. Make sure that you start a Log so we can share your progress.

Are you building in steel or Alum. What will be your primary cutting materials, wood, plastics?... Good to see you will also incorporate a Belt Drive. You didn't want to drive the X with a belt?....

How much Z travel will you have?...

11-20-2004, 09:11 PM
Barkster... your private message box was full... so here is my reply to your message..

Great machine your building, looks as though you stopped posting pics of the progress a few months ago. You finished with it yet? Anyway, I was looking through you pictures and on your y-axis I was wondering what type of screw you were using? http://www.cnczone.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=3635 Looks like you made your own nut and would like to know more about how you made it. If you have some time I would love to hear about it. Thanks


Hello Barkster... soory for not responding earlier... didn't check my messages...

I have been postings pics again for the last month or so... didn't post for awhile whilst I was getting a new camera.

The Y lead screw is good old fashioned Allthread 8TPI and 25mm. Don't know how good it will be though. Time will tell.

The nut is made from Delrin. The outside diameter is 70mm. It is tapped to suit the Allthread. If you use the Delrin be sure to tap it whilst it still in the lathe. This is so you grip it better and the tap runs true. If you clamp it in a vice you will deform it whilst tapping.

I then made an Alum flange from 8mm alum and this was use to clamp the Delrin between the Flange and the Y bracket.

The nut appears to have none or very minimal backlash.. not noticeable yet. A lot of people have used the Delrin successfully. Delrin is self lubricating. I think if I were to do it again I might try the ACME thread instead about 4 or 5 TPI.. I didn't because ACME Taps are very expensive here.

Hope this gives you some info.. If not..let me know



12-18-2004, 09:52 PM
Even though I haven't posted for awhile I have been busy designing and machining components for the X belt drive components.

The photos below are the components used for the Drive assy. Some duplicate parts are not shown.

The 2 plates sizes are 160*155 and 155*85mm. The larger plate is 25mm thick and the smaller one is 20mm. The bearings are 42mm sealed with a 15mm bore. The main shaft has a 30mm spacing between the bearings.

The idler pulleys (2) are 40mm*40mm and have a 30mm bearing at each end and held in place by a circlip.

The large pulley is a 60 tooth T5 for a 16mm belt.

The smaller pulley is the drive pulley for the belt and is a 20 tooth T5 to suit a 25mm belt.

I will post some pics of the completed assy in about an hour. It's hot here and my son is begging me to take him in the pool.


12-18-2004, 10:39 PM
As promised...he is one of the X drive assy's put together.

I just hope this all works?...

12-18-2004, 10:45 PM
This is one of the drives mounted to the gantry. This is only temporarily fitted so I can check belts etc. As yet there is no adjustment for belt tension.

I need to make an Idler pulley to tension the belt.

I don't have any idea yet how to make an adjustable Idler so if anyone has any designs of ideas I'd love to hear them.


12-22-2004, 06:28 AM
That is a very nice job. How much spent so far ?
Is aluminum expensive? Looks very thick. Is necesary to be so thick?

12-22-2004, 03:04 PM
Hello Pythagoras

Thanks for your comment..

How much has it cost me?.. so far around A$10,000. that was last count... The machine will be the basis for my business in 2005. Once it is complete I'll post the total costs.

Alum is not too expensive, probably only spent about $500 so far for all of the Alum. As to thickness?.. I figured that you need reasonable thickness for rigidity. Most of the Alum is 20mm except for part of the X drive in (post 73 & 74). Because I am using mostly steel I din't want to compromise rigidity with using too light an Alum. Sometimes it is better to over engineer.


PS.. A Merry Christmas to everyone on the Zone.

01-06-2005, 05:46 AM
Here are some pics of the belt clamps just completed. The belt is 25mm. The clamp size is 70mm * 45mm *20mm.

It took some trial and error to work out the spacing for the belt. In the end it worked out as 2mm flat alternated with a 3mm * 1.2mm slot.

The milled out section is 8mm to suit the clamp. I decided to make these after being quoted over $60.00 each.

01-06-2005, 05:57 AM
Well I've finally completed the X Belt Drive. Haven't tested it fully yet. Did hook up my RC 7.2V battery to the motor and it turned about 20 RPM. At least it moved along the belt.

Not sure how much tension the belt needs. If anyone can provide some tips/advice on belt tensioning I would appreciate it.

Also there some photos of the belt drive system including the idler pulley to adjust the belt tension.

Now comes the electrics. Have done about 50% ( the easy part)..

I think I'll have to ask the zone for some help with the electrics.

01-06-2005, 07:16 AM
While I am temporarily out of retirement, ( so piss weak, I know ) I just cant pass up making another comment about your machine.

Each photo you post never ceases to amaze me. For a first time machine, and for a non trades person, you are doing a FANTASTIC job.
I really appreciate you taking the time to post all your work here.

I was thinking that with all that gear reduction you will probably need to use the step multiplier switches on the Rutex cards in order to get that gantry moving at a respectable rate. I doubt Mach2 will drive it fast enough if you dont.

You did a fine job on the belt clamps. Much better than my flatplate sandwich jobby :)

I noticed that PIES has thier name on the drive belts. Since I posted the link to PIES, I have found a much cheaper and better supplier. You can visit their site here. www.powergrip.com.au
After purchasing stuff from Powergrip I am feeling rather ripped of by PIES.

By the looks of things you are not far away from wiring the machine.
Give me a ring if you need help with the wiring part of the job.

01-06-2005, 03:07 PM
Hey Ynneb...

Thanks for your kind comments.... I'll check out Powergrip..

The gear reduction is 9 to 1.... The motors are rated at 1750 RPM and at max RPM I should have around 400 IPM.

Step Multiplier Switches?..... Are they already on the Rutex Drives?.... I am showing my Electronic Ignorance here...lol... suppose I need to read more of the manuals.....

02-16-2005, 03:54 AM
Well guys it has been some time since I last posted...

I ditched the X Belt drive that I had installed. No matter what I did I couldn't get it tracking correctly. It had a lot to do with flexing the drive unit when the belts were tightened. Ynneb doesn't have a problem with his setup, but his design is different and I think more suited to how I tried to set up. No ventured nothing gained....

So I went back to my friends shop ( 4 routers) and had a good look at the belt drive system on his machine. He came out to my workshop and helped me re-design my X drive.

We opted for a shaft driven setup at each end of the table. The shafts are 25mm and run thru 25mm self aligning bearing systems. Belt width is 50mm and the pulleys are 10mm 30T alum pulleys keyed to shaft.

02-16-2005, 04:02 AM

We re-designed the drive system to a self enclosed system housing the motor, pulleys. The drive sys gives me 27:1 reduction. The drive system sits vertically at the end of the X axis and just below table height.

The last photo shows how the belt is attached to the gantry...

Verdict... Should have done it this way to start with....The belt tracks perfectly and the motor housing assy gives heaps of torque.

Next on the agenda is the Cable Carriers, dust extraction, limit switches.


05-04-2005, 05:16 AM
Moondog, you've done an amazing job.
I just had to bump this thread back to the top of discussion for those of us looking to build a large machine.
Reading threw your thread has really been encouraging.
I love your belt drive system on the X.

Keep up the good work and keep us posted =)



05-04-2005, 04:24 PM

05-04-2005, 06:25 PM
Very cool!

05-04-2005, 06:54 PM
WOW! Awesome!!!


bill south
05-05-2005, 02:34 PM
Did Moondog finish this project? I'm assuming he did. Sure would like to see some finished pix's of the machine in action. Excellent work, excellent design, excellent documentation, but needs an ending! I feel as if I've read a great book and someone has ripped out the last page. Moondog, just kidding. Great job and hope your business is doing well.

05-05-2005, 09:13 PM
Hello Bill, Tausanc, Dieguy, Bloy2004 and Thazul

This thread did go quiet for awhile, thought people had lost interest in my project. Nice to know there is still interest there, thanks.

Well I have finished it and using it in my business. There are a few things I would like to improve on... such as changing the Allthread on my Y axis to a ball screw ( too much whip), a larger router (currently only 1.5 HP) and a vacuum hold down.

Overall I am pretty happy with it. Sometimes it seems to have a mind of its own though..lol.... I think it takes awhile until you become fully relaxed with it... everytime I use it I still keep close to the Estop... just in case....

I have sent it a couple of times to the limit switches by accident, pressing the incorrect button or entering the wrong info..... thank god for the Estop and Limit switches...

I'll try and post some new pics of the machine and it cutting.

Thanks for responding guys.



10-24-2005, 06:41 PM
hi, nice project. where did you buy the belts and pulley.
Cannot seem to find these lenghts that you have online....

10-24-2005, 08:08 PM
hi, nice project. where did you buy the belts and pulley.
Cannot seem to find these lenghts that you have online....
This is where we get our belts from. They are the cheapest suppliers I have found.

You can always try here too, but they are more expensive for the same products.

10-25-2005, 04:19 AM
hi, nice project. where did you buy the belts and pulley.
Cannot seem to find these lenghts that you have online....

Thanks Benny for answering this.... As Benny said try those 2 companies. I found Powergrip to be cheaper than PIES. Funny.. since Powergrip buy their stuff from PIES....

The belts on the X drive are open ended and you can buy it virtually in any length.

Hope this helps



11-18-2005, 03:35 PM
MoonDog, do you have any pictures of the boat parts you're cutting? The boat in your first link looks really awesome. It'd be fun watching one go together.

11-18-2005, 04:01 PM
Hello Lionclaw.

Here are a couple of pictures of some boats & parts that we are building. All the parts are cut on CNC.

We start with paper plans and then re-draw the plans in Rhino3D. Rhino3D is excellent for a 3D view of the boat. Within Rhino we then develop the Planking shapes for the hull using the Loft function. This gives us a 'developable' shape which is then converted to a 2D drawing for cutting.

Also check our website www.capeboatworks.com.au



12-01-2005, 07:51 AM

I am intrested to know how the backlash and accuracy is on you x axis with those belts? Did you measure that? (asking because I would also like to this kind of setup)


12-02-2005, 01:34 PM
Hello smoker..

I haven't actually measured the amount of backlash... it is minimal and certainly accurate enough for the parts we make.

I don't think it is the 'perfect' setup but I feel it is better than rack & pinion.

I will change the X axis one day to Twin Ballscrews with rotating ball nuts. In my opinion this will give ultimate accuracy and speed. Depending on your budget go for the Ballscrews if you can.

Hope this helps.


12-05-2005, 08:01 AM
Thanks for your answer Moondog, in the twin ballscrew setup, would you drive it with 2 motors or just one?


12-05-2005, 01:36 PM

With a Twin Ballscrew setup you have 2 Ballscrews, one either side for your X Axis. The Ballscrews do not rotate and are fixed into support brackets.

Motors are on each side and drive the Ballnut thru belts and pulleys.

I have attached 2 photos showing a Twin Ballscrew setup on a large router. This machine is used to cut MDF doors and cut around 600 + per day.

Hope this helps.

02-20-2006, 08:18 PM

What a insperation this thread has been!

05-06-2006, 12:45 AM
Around 3 weeks ago my Z axis motor (Reliance 660 Servo) burnt out. Not sure of the cause but it appears the bearing failed causing the rotor to stick thereby melting everything. This meant production was halted. Damm.

I must admit I was never very happy with my original setup. Relaince Servos and Rutex drivers. I often found that the motors/drives lost position. I know they say that Servos always know where they are... but that is only true in a PROPER closed loop system. Most so called closed loop are really on Hardware closed loop meaning they are closed to the extent of the drivers and therefore the software (Mach) doesn't know if the drives lost position.
A True Closed Loop Servo system is many thousands of dollars and if you go that far you should then use Brushless Servos as well. Beyond my budget.

As the machine is the lifeblood of my business I decided I needed to have a system that was 1, Reliable and 2, was warranted and serviced within australia.

Previously I had many discussions with Steve from LowCostCNCretrofits and always found him to be very helpful and knowledgeable on this subject.

After several phone calls discussing the merits of systems I engaged Steve to build me a reliable system including motors, drivers and power system. I wanted a system from one source and that was matched to my needs.

We decided on using large steppers. 1 Mycom 1300ozin for the X drive and 2 MAE 1070ozin for the Y and Z axis. This was a large increase in Torque over my Reliance motors.

It meant I could change the gearing on my X and Y axis for greater speed and cutting ability. My original X drive was geared to high before so we went from a 27:1 down to a 9:1 reduction which basically meant that for every Motor Revolution my X travel would be 1 inch.

My Y axis was always a concern as I had an Allthread with approx a 1/8 inch pitch which meant high rpm's and whip. Decided to change to a NSK Ballscrew I inch diameter with a 1 inch pitch. The ratio for the Y Axis is is 1.5 : 1 which results in a Y travel of approx 18mm for every motor RPM. As stepper are high torque in the lower range I could afford to have this gearing.

If I find I want more speed in the Y axis I'll change the ratio to 1:1.

con't next post...

05-06-2006, 12:51 AM
I left the Z axis the same as it would already travel at over 100mm per min, more than enough for a Z axis.

Steve from LCCRF (Lowcostcncretrofits) put all of the new drives into his new Steel controller box and we also asked him to make us a industrial quality pendant.

In the photos below are photos of the Logitrol Contoller box and the Industrial Pendant that Steve made for us. The pendant is in an Aluminum box with a flexible metal conduit. Very sturdy.

more pics next post.

05-06-2006, 01:01 AM
In the first photo is the X Axis Drive.


Mycom 1300ozin
Pulleys: 20T, 25mm wide belts and 5mm tooth.
60T, 25mm wide and belts 5mm tooth.

Using a series of 2 this gives me a 1:9 ratio. As the final belt drive is 300mm of of X travel I felt the ratio would give me lots of speed and grunt.

Next is 2 photos of the Y Axis showing the new NSK 25mm Ballscrew and Nut. Purchased this from Action Bearing in Melbourne who also machined the ends to my specs. All done within 1 week. Great Service.

Y Axis specs:

MAE 1070ozin
Pulleys 20T and 30T. 10mm belts and 5mm tooth.

05-06-2006, 01:15 AM
well we come to the last lot of photos.

These are some photos of the Z axis and the Gantry system. I apologise for the quality of these and previous photos. Bad light and in a hurry.

For anyone contemplating building a new system of retrofitting I can not recommend highly enough to speak to Steve at www.lowcostcncretrofits.com for a matched complete system. Steve spent many hours on the phone with me in setting up my new system and is always willing to discuss.

If you are looking to build a relaible Industrial quality machine, don't scrimp by buying bits and pieces from ebay etc... if you build cheap.. that what you will have.. a cheap unreliable system.. especially if your livelihood depends on it... A lesson learnt the hard way.

Now I need to get back to work and clear my large order backlog...

10-18-2006, 10:52 PM
Hey Moondog.
Must say you have been an inspiration to get off my As:_$#&5.and start a build.You really need a spindle to match your machines capability.
Try www.ekstromcarlson.com