View Full Version : Almost done with 1st Router project..phewww

11-07-2004, 12:09 AM
Well it's been a long road with many late hours after work but my first CNC router table is almost done. Or is it? I guess you are really never done since you always seem to find some addition or modification that you want to add.
I know that I already have a few ideas of things that I want to add to the machine like a vacuum shoe, a spotcooler, a 4th rotary axis, and a vacuum table. Still have to finish wiring the Home and limit switches plus mount the MDF table top but I will do that after I move the machine from my work to my home.

When I started this project about 6 to 7 months ago (I really can't remember anymore how long it's been exactly) I just wanted to build a small cnc router table which I could used to help me get into the interesting world of CNC machining. I figured if I had a small 3 axis machine I would have a better understanding on how to learn CNC programming. After all it makes things alot more fun if you can design a part in CAD then actually see a real machine going through the motions of making it, rahter then just looking at the simulation on a screen and since I don't have access to any real CNC machines were I work this was my only option.
But after I started picking up some of the linear rails and bearings off ebay I realized that this was not going to be a cheap venture to build, so since I was already commited and didn't really have a final design in mind I decided to go bigger. So a machine that originally was suppose to fit on a small table has grown to a machine that required it's own steel frame to be made which measured 54"L x 32"W x 28"H.

The table dimensions are 54" x 31" but I still need to measure the actual working or cutting area. I am estimating it will be around 45"(X) x 26"(Y) but it could be abit more in the (X) axis. I have around 6 3/4" clearance between the top of the table and the lowest part of the Z -axis mechanism with 8 1/2" of travel in the Z-axis.

The main frame has both casters and leveling feet on it, so I can wheel it around easily but once in place I can turn the leveling feet down to give it a good solid footing. In hindsight I only wish I would have used a heavier wall tubing for the frame because I am abit worried that with the frame being so light that it doesn't have enough mass to help dampen any vibration that the machine may have when running at higher speeds. I guess I can always add some sand to the inside of the tubing to give it more mass.

The only real vibrations I have noted to date while testing and doing some sample cuts seem to come from the (X - axis) and (Y- axis) ballscrews. The vibration in the (Y -axis) seems to be more evident in higher feed rates and seems to by amplied by the aluminum gantry. It's almost acting like a tunning fork. The (X-axis) vibration is also more evident at higher feed rates but I believe this is due more to the longer length of the ballscrew and smaller diameter (1/2" Dia.). If I put some pressure on the ballscrew with my hand I can dampen the vibration quite abit. I am not going to worry too much about these vibrations since the don't appear to affect the operation of the machine plus they are only there during rapid movements which are faster then the feed rate I would be cutting at.

My controller consists of a 24VDC / 5VDC powersupply, Xylotex 3-axis stepper control board, Xylotex Single axis stepper control board (for the future addition of a rotary 4th axis), two Opto-relay for activating the spindle and vacuum, all mounted in a Hammond enclosure. I am using Nema 23 Pasci PowerMax II, double stack, stepper motors on all axises.

Well enough of my babbling. I just wanted to share with the rest of the Zone on the progress of my machine and to say thanks to the Zone and it's members for all the great information I picked up. I wouldn't have started a project like this if I hadn't found the CNCZone.

In the meantime here is a picture of what my CNC router looks like now plus there are a bunch more in My Gallery.


Carl :cheers:

11-07-2004, 01:24 AM
WOW!!!!!! :) That looks great. Awesome job!!!!

11-07-2004, 03:20 AM
What he said! I particularly like the oversize cross-member on the gantry which must really stiffen the machine :)

11-07-2004, 08:05 AM
Thanks for posting that nice picture Beezer.
You have done a very nice job on your machine.

11-07-2004, 08:23 AM
Wow! A very impresive machine. I'm just about to make a decision on what design to go with. I think I will be buying plans from Campbell. But your machine is realy nice. What plans did you work from, or did you totaly do this from scratch? I'm hoping that the moveable table will cut down on vibration. But it also is going to cost me operating space wich is scarce at my house. Anyway thats a nice machine and I only hope I will be as succesful in my project as you have been in yours. Its realy kind of scary for me to plan on spending this kind of money not knowing what the end result will be.

11-07-2004, 02:05 PM
I am pleased that you like it guys.

Yes the oversized cross member really does make the gantry very stiff. Not going to be any flex there. I still need to align all the the plate soeverything runs square to their relevant axis's, then I will drill and ream for dowel pins on each side to keep them that way.

I didn't work from any plans. I looked through the members gallery at all the different styles of machines people had built and chose the style that I felt would meet all my needs. In particular it was important to me that I had plenty of clearance between the table top and the lowest part of the gantry cross member along with lots of Z travel so I could do more 3D routing in the future.
I knew building higher might cause more vibrations in the system but if it did I would just run slower cutting feeds.
Basically I started out with the Z-axis since I only had a ballscrew and linear rails long enough for that part of it. As I started to buy more parts from ebay and other places the design progressed. I would design each part in Autocad first then machine it making any changes as I went, then modifying the drawings as required. It adds time to the build but I wouldn't have been able to keep tight tolerances if I did it any other way, plus I know if a part will fit properly before it is machined and having the CAD drawings will allow me to incorporate and additions much easier in the future.

I am a machinist for an N.D.T. company and we sometimes make Ultrasonic scanning systems that are very similar to a CNC router or plasm cutter, except instead of a table you have a water tank and instead of a router your have ultrasonic probe. Having experience in building these scanning systems really came in handy when I designed and built my router.

I will say that if I would have done anything different I would have used large linear profile rails, like THK instead of the Thomson round rails for the X-axis.
I found that the Thomson round rails ended up being alot more work for me to use since I started out with just standard rails that did not have the mounting holes drilled and tapped into them. I had to drill and tap all the holes myself and let me tell you that the case hardenen on them is tough and pretty thick.
Thank goodness for carbide center drills. I will be keeping my eye out for some more of that Thomson rails support profile so I can make my rails supported all across the whole length. What I used was just some left over pieces we had lying around the shop. I was surprised how expensive that stuff is if you want to buy it new. Just not in the budget at that time.
Will also consider changing the THK rails I have on the Y-axis for larger ones if these ones don't stand up. They are kind of small being 9MM.

Thanks :)

11-18-2004, 05:55 PM
That looks fantastic. As I'm in the early stages of pulling my design together I can learn a lot from your picture. Thanks.

11-18-2004, 06:12 PM
You wouldn't be willing to share the CAD files, would you? :cheers:

It is a very nice looking machine, I would love to see some of the work you do with it...

11-18-2004, 06:18 PM
Ohhhh Cad files would be great :)

High Seas
11-18-2004, 11:05 PM
Verry NICE!
Look forwared to hearing how it performs - you know all the feed rates and stuff. Nice and sanitary when just finished - bet ya cant' just can't wait to see it all messed up with product though! Cheers - Jim

11-19-2004, 02:44 PM
I wouldn't have any objections to giving out my CAD files once they are near completion. Right now all my drawings are in a single CAD file and I want to clean them up abit, removing any layout lines that are not needed. I have to mention that not all parts have dimensions lines and some parts may have been modified on my machine to make them fit properly but the drawing for that part may not reflect any minor changes I made, but all drawings are to size so if there is a missing dimension you can easily check that yourself.

At the moment I am working on a dust collection shoe and vacuum tube which will be mounted just in front of the router motor on the Z axis. After that I will work on the mounting of a Vortex tool cooler, then after that the 4th rotary axis which I already bought a right-angle gearhead for it, off ebay.

I still need to do some reading up on all the feed rate stuff and what the machine will actually be capable of. I recently switched over from Master5 to Mach2 on my computer so I really haven't had a chance to setup the machine with this software yet. Stil trying to understand how this software works. Seems alot more complicated to setup then the Master5 version.

Now the project moves more into the next phase with learning how the software works. HEHE

Once I get the CAD file ready I will either post it here or just have people email requesting I send it to them. It is around 2.5MB right now.


11-19-2004, 03:11 PM
I will work on the mounting of a Vortex tool cooler

Those Vortex coolers are damn cool, aren't they! No pun intended... :p

I wanted to use one, and I was pretty surprised at the fact that they weren't all that expensive...

11-19-2004, 03:15 PM

Really appreciate the offer for the plans. They will be ideal to work some ideas from.

Look forward to seeing your post.


11-19-2004, 06:01 PM
JavaDog, I bought my Vortex cooler from "BradBlazer" here on the Zone. He had a bunch of used ones for sale but I could hardly tell mine had ever been used and the price was good. I was also very suprised on how big it actually is. You just have to make sure you have a good compressor that can supply the volume of air the Vortex requires to run effectively.

Here is the link to his classified ad: http://www.cnczone.com/classifieds/showproduct.php?product=67&sort=1&cat=6&page=1

11-19-2004, 06:56 PM
Ol' Dusty, we're all in the same boat! For two years I'm thinking about this project, but only came across this site last month. It has been an enormous help! The level of interest is encouraging. I was going to buy a car for 15,000 euro, but now will go for something about 8,000 euro. I am claiming that as a justification to go ahead with this project!

Beezer, that's a lovely machine!

11-19-2004, 09:20 PM
You are the Man. I wish to see your drawings. So I can build my own just a little bigger. Like 60" x 20" 6" cutting size. To make my own CNC mold for RC Air planes.

Kevin Matney

11-24-2004, 03:33 PM
I like it. Very nice work.

12-01-2004, 03:52 AM
Ok guys and gals. Sorry it took so long but I have really been busy trying to get the dust collection shoe and assembly for my machine done, so I haven't had much time to get my drawings cleaned up till now. Please remember that I am not a trained CAD person and I basically taugh myself how to use AutoCad over the last 8 years to help me be a better machinist at work, so if the drawings look like an amateur did them, well that's because they where. ;) LOL

There are probably some parts not shown but that is probably because the part was an after thought or I just made it from a hand drawn sketch or from my head. I didn't make any seperate dimensional drawings of the steel frame but you can snap dimensions from the assembled frame. I always try to use multiple layers with different colours representing individual parts in the assembled views. I find this to be more user friendly when trying to see how each part fits in it's proper place, not to mention allows you to hide parts by turning off their respective layer. As you will see I used quite a few layers in this project. All parts are drawn to scale and the default drawing format is metric. If you don't see a dimension you can always snap a dimension in yourself.

Please feel free to use or modify any of the drawings for your own personal use. If they can help, in the smallest amount, someone come up with a idea for their own machine then I will be happy. I gained quite a few ideas from looking at the gallerys of other Zone members so if I can give a little back, would be great.

Enjoy :cheers:

12-01-2004, 03:58 AM
Ok. I had to split the drawing files into two seperate .zip files since a single file exceeded the allowable attachment size to be used in the standard discussion forum. Guess I could have just uploaded it to the Files section but it's done now.

The first .zip file contained the individual parts drawing. This second .zip file contains the assembled machine drawings. :)

12-02-2004, 09:48 AM

Thanks very much for sharing these files.

Really appreciate the work in this.


(Off to look at them now !)

12-02-2004, 10:34 AM
Great plan , very impressive on how complete they are! I have combined them and moved them here- http://www.cnczone.com/modules.php?name=Downloads&file=viewfile&id=36

12-02-2004, 11:42 AM
Thank you Paul.

If there is anything in the drawings that you don't quite understand or would like an explaination on, were a certain part fits please let me know. I will try to explain the best I can.


12-02-2004, 12:01 PM

Nice job!

You're using M22 or P22 steppers? Could you tell me what sort of rapids and cut speeds you're getting? And what lead your screws are? I'm working up the drive gearing for a new machine right now and you're system is very similar to what I have on planned..



12-02-2004, 01:30 PM
Thank you Paul.

If there is anything in the drawings that you don't quite understand or would like an explanation on, were a certain part fits please let me know. I will try to explain the best I can.


Do to you're contribution to the site you and the other members that have posted plans for us to build from I will be sending you all cnczone hat to say thank you! Please pm me with your address to send the hats to.

12-02-2004, 05:23 PM

My steppers are all M22's. Unfortunately I don't have any solid info for your on the cut speeds and rapids I am able to get since I really haven't done any cutting with the system other then some sample test cuts I have done. If I recall correct, the one test cut I did, which was the word "HELLO", it was set for 25 or 35 IPM with a 1/4" endmill at a depth of .060" in MDF. It worked very well but the HSS endmill started to get dull and heat up halfway through the cut. I am sure if I had a proper carbide cutter it could run faster. Since I am still trying to complete some minor mechanical parts on the machine plus I really haven't had much time to do any testing with it since I brought it home. I also wanted to switch over from Master5 to Mach2 so I had to install Windows 2000 on my laptop and that created some other problems with getting things to function properly. I have now resolved the problems with the computer so I am hoping to finally do some more testing with the machine this weekend and hopefully some cutting.
I hope to have some more answers for you with regards to the cutting and rapids speeds in the next couple weeks. I am not sure what are ideal speeds to achieve with a machine of this size with the size steppers I have. Maybe someone else could provide some input in regards to this. I would like to know myself what goal I should be striving for. :D

I appoligize for not providing more info on the ballscews I used, in my drawings. I will make the changes to my drawings and when I am finally done with the whole machine try to clean them up abit more and upload a new set.

For both the Y and Z axises I used 5/8" diam. Thomson, rolled, single start, ballscrews with a .200 lead. I just used the cheapest Thomson, single row ballnuts I could get. No anti-backlash. I bought these from McMaster-Carr.
I figured $29.00 for a single, square ballnut versus $150 for one of the round double ballnuts was an easy decision. For what I want to do with machine these will be accurate enough. I don't think there is anymore then .003" - .005" of backlash which I can live with. I left myself some room on the Y axis to add a double-ballnut at a later date if I needed to. I had also though I could just get another one of the $29.00 single balllnuts and make my own anti-backlash nut from the pair.

For the X-axis I used an SKF 12.7x12.7 x 47" long. I believe this one is made from stainless and I am pretty sure it is ground, not rolled. The lead is 12.7mm (.500") and it is a double start. The ballnut is round and had an odd metric thread on the end which I was not able to get a tap for, so I had to screw cut the thread on the lathe into the block that the ballscrew nut attaches to, which was a pain but finally got a working thread on the second attempt.

Thank you very much for the offer of the hat. I will wear it with pride. :)


12-04-2004, 03:06 AM
Well I have finally got the "dust collection" attachment done and mounted. I have to say I am quite pleased how it turned out. I am going to change how I mount the brushes to the shoe but I need to first place another order with McMaster-Carr for the proper parts. The new method will make it alot easier to change brushes if they get worn or damaged plus will allow me to use different height brushes depending on the length of cutter I am going to use.


12-04-2004, 08:38 AM
Grrr, I need that dust shoe man!
I built one last week, but I love the idea of having the long ali tube carrying the entire shoe, and the height adjustment screws are in just the right place too! Nice :)

12-04-2004, 08:41 AM
Really good looking vacuum. And especially like the plexiglass top piece that lets you see the cutting progress as it happens.

I just looked at your photos in the Photo Gallery and you did a very good job of documenting the details of your CNC. Keep up the good work. :)

One suggestion, how about posting the basic dims and motor, stepper, rail, ball screw specs in the photo section. Otherwise we have to look through each posting looking for these details and it may save you time in answering the same question over and over. Just a thought.


12-04-2004, 02:00 PM

That is an excellent idea. I never thought of that. I will start gathering all that info and specs that I have to date then add that to one of my gallery images.

12-06-2004, 12:32 AM

I have a couple of questions about your construction.

How did you handle the vertical/parallel alignment of the rails that are bolted to the base?

1. Did you fabricate the base and then machine the top so the front and back sides are parallel vertically?
2. Or did you build the base the base the best you could then shim the rails to achieve vertical, parallel alignment?

It looks like you milled out a groove for the “Z” axis rails to fit into, was this to further stabilize them and keep them from shifting under load? If so why wouldn’t you also groove the “Y” axis plate? X-Y I’m never sure which to call this. I’m referring to the back plate that the “Z” axis rides on, that is attached to the two side pieces.

In you’re control box photo, one of the connections to labeled “A” axis, what is that ?

I don’t have access to a milling machine, shaper or commercial CNC so I am building a fixed gantry machine that I hope to use to make my metal machine on. I started my machine a year ago and was interrupted by retiring, selling our house in Austin TX and moving the Tucson AZ and getting everything settled here, those honey do lists seem to get bigger when one retires. But now I am finding time, so it’s back to work.

I really like your design, and your drawings are super. I downloaded them and looked at them in my old TurboCad 7.0. You are really generous to post all of your plans and very detailed photos, they will be so invaluable to so many hobby builders.



12-06-2004, 02:07 AM

When you refer to the "base", what part of the machine do you mean?

As for the linear rails on the Z axis they are not actually recessed. They are just sitting flush against the surface of the plate. I actually like to call this plate the Y-Z plate since it has both the bearing carriages for the Y-axis and the rails for the Z axis bolted to it. In some of my photos you may notice that there are two recesses or wide slots milled out on the back side. This was done to give the bearing carriages for the Y-axis somewhere to sit into. I did this for 2 reasons.
The first and most important reason was to have all that weight of the complete Z-axis assembly, along with the router motor, to be supported by the bearing carriages rather then just the screws that bolt the carriages to the plate. The linear rails and bearings that I used for the Y-axis are quite small for this type of application and the screws to attach the carriages are only 3MM. That would have been alot of weight for these tiny screws (16 in all) to carry in that particluar direction. All the shear load would have been directly on the side of the screws and I didn't trust them to hold especially under a cutting load. By cutting a slot for the carriages to sit in allowed all the downward or shear load to be supported by the aluminum plate and not the screws. The screws only hold the carriages tightly into this groove and only have one load force on them instead of two.

The second reason was to provide a accurate way of keeping both sets of bearing carriages parrallel to each other which resulted in not having to spend time lining them up during assembly. It also meant that if I made sure to install the Z-axis rails parallel to the edges of this aluminum plate I knew that both the Y-Axis and the Z-axis would run square to each other.

Recessing the Y-axis carriages also had another minor benefit. It reduced the amount the Z-axis stuck out away from the main Y-axis plate. Not very much, but I think anytime you can keep weight from sticking further out from a central point can keep thinks more balanced and hoepfully run better. That's just my theory. HEHE

The connection labeled "A-Axis" on the control box is for a 4th axis (Rotary)
which I will be adding in the neat future I hope. I just have to build it. When I first started with this project I knew I wanted to have a rotary axis in the future so I decided it was best add that part of the electronics now while it was being built rather then try and add it at a later date. When I ordered the
Xylotex 3-axis stepper board I also orderd a single axis stepper board at the same time. In the future I want to be able to do some custom engraving on round or even square wood part or perhaps make some custom banister spindles. The rotary axis will give me that option for the future.

I have never built such a large project for myself before, come to think of it I haven't even worked on such a large project like this for my work before. At least not one that I did all the work on by myself, but I have learned alot while doing it and the experience plus ideas I have gained will come in handy in the future. I am lucky that I do have access to lathes and milling machines on a daily basis which I am free to use after company hours. I wish I would have had access to some larger mills with longer bed travel. It would have made life alot easier with some of the longer plates. I doubt I would have done this project if I didn't work in a machine shop since projects I do around the house just seem to take forever to get done and I don't have the greatest attention span. LOL :) I do have to say that I am very impressed with the machines people have been building in their garages and basements at home without access to all the machinery.
Goes to prove that ole' saying "Were there's a will, there's a way".

I got alot of ideas when I was designing my machine from looking at other peoples gallery images and what they did with their machines. When ever I got stuck for an idea of a part I went back to the gallery to see how someone else did it. It was a very valueable resource for me as where other areas of this site, so when it came to the thought of sharing my drawings I didn't have to think twice about it. Wellll.... Ok I did think twice, but that was only because I thought people would think my drawings where done by an amateur, which they where. HEHE I really just wanted to give back to the forum and hopefully the drawings will help someone else with their project and save them some time.


12-06-2004, 02:17 AM

The "base" I'm referrring to is the square tube welded stand on which two rails are mounted. These rails must be parallel in both directions, just wondering on your approach to accomplishing this.

That's what I thought grooving was for, extra support. And having it used as an alignment feature is a bonus.

12-06-2004, 03:12 AM
I basically tried to keep the top section of the frame were the rails would be mounted to as square and parallel as possible when I welded them. I knew the metal would want to warp and twist from the heat generated by welding but I tried to all the part to be welded securely clamped to the welding table and to alternate the areas I welded so I didn't introduce so much heat in a single area for a long time. iI figured I would use shims to correct any alignment problems after the frame was painted and when I was installing the rails. I still haven't used any shims but I also haven't check to see if the rails run level with each other. I worried more about the gantry running smoothly along the rails without binding rather then if it was running at an equal height all along the the length of the axis. That is something I can fix by adding the correct amount of shim under the appropriate rail support as needed. This will all be done at the final tuning stage when I align and square all the axises then level the table top but I wanted to get the dust collection setup done first so I could at least start to play with the machine. I did do a quick check of the top of the frame with a piece of precision ground flat stock and it appeared to be pretty level all across but I will not know for sure till I check it with a dial indicator. If it is out by .005" I doubt I will worry about it. If I where to have used rail supporta over the full length of the rails it would have been alot easier to keep things level and parallel since they don't flex very much unlike the way I have it. I do plan on adding full length supports in the future but right now I just don't have the money to spare to get them.
It might just work fine the way it is and the extra supports won't be needed.


12-06-2004, 06:08 AM
Sounds like you have everything pretty much in good alignment already.

For my second machine I have two 48” 25mm IKO (Nippon Thompson Co) model LHKT25 linear bearings for my “X” axis. I tried to find some specifications on them but IKO requires that you supply your life history before they will give you access to CAD files or any specifications. Looks like they are more than adequate, for a all aluminum machine. And they will have full rail to base contact.

The machine stand in your design is an integral part of the design, and the more accurate it is the easier the construction will be.

Below is my best guess at cutting and assembling the tubular base and mounting the “X” axis rails. My hobby has been wood working so I’m not too metal savvy, but I getting there slowly. If you have any suggestions I would appreciate, that is after you stop laughing. He He

Stand assembly
1. I’m thinking to chop saw cut all like length tubes at once with a very secure stop to insure repeatability.
2. Layout the front side, consisting of 2 legs, upper and lower members and the center brace. Using a square and measuring diagonals. Clamp in place.
3. Tack joints sequentially little by little on each connection. Turn over and repeat tacking. Then fill in the tacks.
4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for the back side frame.
5. Stand front and back sides up and place end pieces in, use square and measure diagonals. Clamp in place.
6. Tack joints sequentially little by little on each connection. Then fill in the tacks.

The trucks will have to be perpendicular to the Gantry Base, so mounting holes will be drilled on my, to be completed CNC. Tap holes.

Procedure for mounting “X” axis rails to stand.
1. Bolt trucks to Gantry Base, and slide to right end of rails.
2. Place rails/Gantry Base assembly on machine stand. Center rails, drill and tap the right end holes (one hole ea) in stand for both rails and bolt lightly.
3. Slide Gantry Base to the left end of the rails. Clamp rails.
4. Slide Gantry Base back and forth to see if there is any binding.
5. If it slides freely, drill and tap stand and bolt securely. (last hole only) If not free?? Got a problem…
6. Securely tighten all four end bolts. Slide Gantry Base back and forth to see if there is any binding. ) If not free?? Got a problem…

Sorry for so many questions,

12-10-2004, 04:16 AM
Sorry I haven't responded sooner. Been putting in some extra hours after work refining my dust shoe design. Think I got it just the way I want now.

Looks like you have got it pretty much planned out how you are going to build the frame and set your X rails. When I did my frame I welded the up the top section of tubes first. Since this was the part of the frame that my rails would be mounted to I took more care here, making sure it was square and parallel. We have a large 4' x 8' welding table at work with a steel top which is pretty flat and even. I laid out my up frame on this table and clamped it directly to the table after making sure everything was square. I tacked all my joints then proceeded to finish welding all visible joints. Once the one side was done I ground all the welds flat then clamped the frame back on the welding table with the opposite side up so I could finish welding the other side. Once this was done and all these welds where ground flat I check to see how much, if any, warping had occured, by laying the frame flat on the concrete to check for high spots. To my surprise very little warping had occured and it was not enough for me to worry about. I could fix it with shims if I needed to. Next I welded on the legs then the bottom cross tubes and finally I added an uprite support in the middle on either side.
As long as you get a sturdy frame that you are happy with in the end is all that counts. I don't think it really matters what part you decide to weld up first. I will say one thing. If you don't mind spending abit extra money and weight is not a issue get a heavy wall steel tubing. The added weight will make your machine more solid and there will be less chance of any vibrations transfering through the frame. I used 2" x 2" steel tubing for my frame with only a .100" wall. I wanted a machine that I could move around easily by myself if needed on casters but I get some vibrations in the machine mainly which I don't think would be as noticable if the frame was heavier. I have considered filling certain parts of the frames tubing with sand to add weight and dampened any vibrations that occur.

When I first installed the Thomson rails I pretty much did it the same way you mentioned you are going to do your X - axis rails. It worked out very well.

Do you plan on using leveling feet on your machine? If you haven't considered them I would highly recommend them. I used both casters and leveling feet. I welded pieces of 3/8" thick steel plate at the bottom of all four legs and threaded them to fit the threaded stud on the leveling feet. With the feet turned all the way up the machine sits on the casters. When it's in place the feet are turned down till the casters no longer touch the ground. They really help and are worth the extra time to install. Just a thought.

I don't mind the questions so don't be sorry. HEHE


12-10-2004, 04:29 AM
I almost forgot to mention what I did with the new dust shoe. I basically changed the way the I mount the strip brushes to the lexan shoe body. I should have done it this way in the beginning but such is life. I ordered the proper holder for these strip brushes from McMaster-Carr and modified them to fit my needs. Now it is much easier to change brushes if needed plus it is easier to make the lexan body since there is no need to mill slots for the brushes to sit in.
I also ordered a lower style brush for special applications.

Here is a picture to show you what it looks like. I also put more photos in my gallery with better descriptions. Once I have cleaned up the Cad drawings for it and the drawings for the mounting assembly I will post them in the download section.

12-10-2004, 09:44 AM
Thanks for the details. I will be welding the frame up on the garage floor, not so lucky as to have a 4x8 steel welding table. (envy - envy) As you say where there's a will there's a way.

I looked at your table drawings again and now understand the construction of the top four pieces. (Front, back and ends) and the importance of making this first. I was confused before about the leg and top frame orientation. It makes sense now. I didn’t look closely enough at the end view of your top section. I haven't bought any steel tubing yet but will use the heaviest wall I can, balancing cost with availability.

For sure I will be using big leveling screws and wheels for the same reason you did.

Now that you’re up and running is there anything you would have done differently in your construction?


12-10-2004, 12:19 PM
Well there are a few things that I would have done differently, like using heavier wall steel tubing on the frame for one. I kind of wished I would have just spend the extra money for the full length Thomson shaft supports. I may still do this if I find too much flexing with the rails as they are now. Perhaps used a larger diameter ballscrew for the X - axis. Now if I would have had the space I would have made if much larger. Once I really start to do some cutting with it to see it's true capabilites I will know for sure if I need to make changes. I think it will all work fine though.

Now to finish mounting the table top to the table frame. Then I can do some more cutting. I have also started to think of how I am going to do the 4th rotary axis but this is not a rush project. First I want to enjoy the machine. :D


03-27-2005, 05:27 AM
Well I have finally completed the main part of the 4th Axis (Rotary) addition to my router table and it looks like it is going to work out very well. Initial testing shows that everything is functioning fine. Now I just need to build a simple, but sturdy tailstock, to be finally done with this addition.
Now I just need to learn how to use it. LOL


03-27-2005, 09:22 AM
Good looking.

Is you'r 4 axis direct drive off a stepper motor or a rotary table assembly?

03-27-2005, 04:45 PM
The stepper is directly connected to a right-angle gearhead which has a 50/1 ratio. The chuck is mounted directly to the output shaft on the gearhead using backing plate I machined. This thing has alot of torque. :)

There are some more photos of it in my gallery that show the construction better.

03-27-2005, 06:26 PM
Guess I'm doing something wrong, can't find your photos in the photo gallery. Can you give me a link.

03-27-2005, 06:39 PM
Try this http://www.cnczone.com/gallery/showgallery.php/cat/500/ppuser/2982 .