My First Router, Built in Steel


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Thread: My First Router, Built in Steel

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    Talking My First Router, Built in Steel

    Been having a look around the zone for a while now and decided many moons ago to give it a go. Well, after accumulating gear for a while my machine is nearly finished (thank god I hear her indoors scream!). The frame is all steel, no welds, every joint is steel epoxied, bolted and pinned, takes longer than welding but my frame is within the tolerances of my ball screws (approx 0.01mm/300mm) and isn't stressed at all.
    I intend putting up some info on how I built it if anyone is interested. I only have to wire it up, fix a few cover plates on (y axis ballscrew mounts etc). Parts of the gantry and all of the z axis were made in aluminium. The z axis parts and motor mounts were made manually on the machine. I still have to make a mount for the spindle.
    I designed the controller for my needs, based on Geckos and a Campbell breakout board. This is all done bar limit switch connections and my external e stop (ie on the router).

    If anyone is interested i'll start putting info up and more pics.

    Nearly smiling

    Similar Threads:
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails My First Router, Built in Steel-nearly-done-jpg   My First Router, Built in Steel-nearly-done-2-jpg  


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    thats a great looking machine....are you sure the decision to bolt the frame together rather than weld was for dimensional tolerences or did it have somthing to do with the effects of sparks on the hardwood floors

    I know I am intrested in seeing more.
    Jim



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    Congratulations.
    It is a very nice looking machine.
    I wish to know how you true the frame when assembling it?


    Konstantin.



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    Quote Originally Posted by jmc View Post
    thats a great looking machine....are you sure the decision to bolt the frame together rather than weld was for dimensional tolerences or did it have somthing to do with the effects of sparks on the hardwood floors

    I know I am intrested in seeing more.
    Jim
    Jim,

    You haven't seen my welding! Part of the reason for not welding is that the machine can be dismantled and transported elsewhere if need be. The tappered knock pins would need to be replaced though. (I hope to never move from my workshop!)



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    Quote Originally Posted by Konstantin View Post
    Congratulations.
    It is a very nice looking machine.
    I wish to know how you true the frame when assembling it?


    Konstantin.
    Hi Konstantin,

    The bed of the machine was assembled on my bench as square as I could get it using precision squares. Steel box section is never very flat or square. I then transported the bed to an engineer friend who has an 8'x4' surface table. I covered the table with cling film and sprayed this with silicone mold release agent, a bead of steel epoxy was run over the whole of the bed side of the steel and the whole thing was then lowered carefully onto the surface table. When everything had set, I lifted it off checked it with the help of my engineer friend and presto, I had a surface flat to the tolerance of the surface table. The legs were then fitted and everything levelled with an engineers level (I put concrete pillars under the floor where the legs sit) and a long grade a straight edge to check for any twists.



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    Quote Originally Posted by Haydn View Post
    I intend putting up some info on how I built it if anyone is interested.
    If anyone is interested i'll start putting info up and more pics.

    Nearly smiling
    You better get started.... Nice unit



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    Hi Haydn,

    Thanks for the PM I also would like as much detail as possible on the construction of your frame.
    Very nice looking work btw.

    Regards,

    John



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    Ok,
    I will dig out the pics and take any more i may need and post some more info tomorrow.



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    I deffinately want more information on this build. Really nice looking machine.

    Dwayne



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    Nice machine. Looks like your router had an accident on the table surface. Just kidding. Please post info about your steel/epoxy joints. Did you use straight epoxy or mix with a filler?



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    Nice looking router there. Turn the camera around and let us look at the rest of your shop. The floors look great!

    Wayne Hill


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    Default Impressed

    I'm now building my first cnc, it's the "Jgro", wasn't yet ready for a steel frame router but had it in mind for a final build, your build my friend is really a nice one and looks like it's gonna be my final build, thanks for the inspiration.

    Jordan



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    Ok, so its becoming old at this point, but I'll say it again anyway! Very nice build, looks really great. Any more pics of during the build and/or work youve done with it?
    Thanks.



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    Ok guys thanks for the comments.
    I'll start with the basic structure. The bed is built from 80x40x4mm steel section, the legs and braces are 50x50x4mm. I started by cutting the two long lengths of bed steel the same length, followed by the cross members. Some 70x6mm equal angle was chopped into 50mm lengths to use as angle brackets and drilled for the M8 cap screws. The two long lengths were clamped together and marked out for positioning the braces. The two outer braces were held with sash cramps between the two x axis lengths with only enough pressure to lightly hold the braces, not enough to cause distortion/stress. Steel epoxy was mixed and each angle bracket was coated with mold release agent, a generous coating of epoxy was then applied and the angle brackets pushed into the corner joints and lightly clamped ensuring epoxy squeeze out all around. After 20mins or so the clamps holding the brackets were tightened so I could drill and tap the beams and braces. The rest of the braces were then done the same way. The legs were cut to length and some 50x50x75mm solid steel was machined down to fit inside the bottom of the legs, tapped and drilled to take the feet. The legs were then fitted to the bed, again using epoxy to ensure a precise fit, drilled and tapped. If your wondering why use epoxy well, if you look at steel section it isn't square and not very flat, all faces are usually concave, if these faces were bolted together you would eventually end up with a frame with quite a lot of stress built into it. I don't have a mill so couldn't machine the sections, even if i had I think i'd have to machine all the faces to keep the section stable (or at least oppsite faces). I didn't want to pay an engineer to do this either. Epoxy is reasonably priced depending on what you use and easy to work with.

    Once the bed was checked for reasonable squareness the angle brackets were drilled and reamed for the dowel pins. Ensuring no movement in the joint and, offering the chance to dismantle and reassemble with a reasonable chance of accuracy!

    All steel joints were done following this method. As I progressed with the joints it became easier to drill and tap before applying the epoxy, then epoxy coat the joint and lightly bolt straight away instead of clamping (the bolts were sprayed with mold release), the squeeze out would fill around the bolt hole making an even more rigid joint.

    The steel was really cheap!! All the steel cost about £60, should have been about three times the price but the merchant that I buy from turns over a lot of stock and offcuts of full lengths were negotiated for beer money

    If I did it again I would use 5 or 6mm taper pins as the reamer for the 4mm pins didn't last long!

    More later, time for food and a few beers!

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails My First Router, Built in Steel-knock-pins-jpg   My First Router, Built in Steel-bracket-pins-jpg  


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    Haydn,

    May I ask how many moons ago you started? My build has been on the go for over two years now and it's still not complete

    Your machine looks excellent and I like the idea of using it manually to cut the Z axis parts, very good. Did this mean actually turning the screws by hand or did you have enough wiring done to jog the X and Y axis?

    The rest of us Brits are going to have to work hard to keep up the standard

    Mike



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    Hi Mike,

    This has been ongoing for a while now, I started buying parts about 18mnths ago, a pair of thk rails for the x axis - ebay, then followed the x axis screw. I didnt have a y axis so had to wait to start bolting things together, waited so long I bought some new from www.marchantdice.com. About 12/13mnths ago I finally started bolting. Took ages, two kids to look after in the morning, work afternoon & evenings and an hour here, couple of hours there on the machine. Finally it's nearly done, the plus side was plenty of time to go over the design in my head and finding ways to avoid maching and beyond me engineering.

    The first part I needed to machine was the plate to mount to the Y axis rails.
    I put four dobs of steel epoxy in the corners of the plate and turned this down onto the bed of the machine (covered with cling film), leaving me with four flat pads to mount the carriages on. A temporary bracket was bolted on to mount the router. I could then surface the aluminium for the actual plate, I had no ballscrew fitted any axis so it was truly manual!! If I wanted to travel along x I would clamp chocks either side of the temp y plate to stop it moving. Then manually feed along x, taking care to make very shallow cuts and no climb milling! This was slow to do but, free. I had the plate (17"x8" checked on a surface table and the engineer said he couldn't mill it any flatter which was nice to hear, big confidence boost! Once I had the screws on, I turned them with a temporary handle, much easier.

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails My First Router, Built in Steel-manual-machinig-motor-mount-bracket-jpg  


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    Found a picture of the initially assembled frame. From here the legs were removed so I could get my flat surface for the bed to sit on. The knock pins haven't been fitted but this was done on the beams before the legs were removed. The table structure was rock solid.

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails My First Router, Built in Steel-basic-frame-jpg  


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    Here you can see the master rail and how I got this straight. The beams for the rails were again made flat by applying a bead of epoxy steel and laying them on the surface table. For the master rail beam a reference edge was cast, again in epoxy. This was done by covering the straight edge in cling film and spraying with mold release (the cling tends to stick to the epoxy otherwise and tears when you peel it off), the edge was clamped to the beam and an epoxy bead was scraped along the edge, a bit like putty round a window. This gave a really good reference edge that the master side of the rail was pushed up against, drilled, tapped and bolted.

    You can see the steel epoxy coating on the bed side of the table, this was difficult to do because of the large area to be covered, I ended up doing it twice, the second time I chose a cold morning which gave me considerably more time to work as the curing time was increased dramatically.

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails My First Router, Built in Steel-epoxy-rail-bed-jpg  


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    Once the bed had been epoxied and the master rail mounted it was time to mount the rail beams. A set screw was fitted in the bottom of the bed in each corner and the straight edge was clamped (across the y axis)butted up to the set screws. A dial indicator was used to set the straight edge the same height from the bed (the set screws were used for fine adjustment). When these were all the same the position of the top of the x beams were set. A second set of adjusting set screws was screwed through the legs to adjust the tilt and seperation of the x beams. Devcon 16hr epoxy was used for these joints to give plenty of time for fine adjustment. You need to remember that you can only tighten the beam mounting bolts, if you had to loosen them you would have voids in the epoxy and not a good joint. You can see the master rail epoxy casting clearly in the picture. The set screw to adjust lateral movement goes through the leg and pushes against the side of the x beam. The beams are 1600mm long and 100x50x6mm section. You can see the cling film in the joint, this was just burnt off with a blow torch as the beam was spot on and I didn't want to take it off. The same was done for the secondary beam but this one was going to need to be removed as I had to line up the second rail, clamp it drill and tap it for the rail.

    Any questions i'll do my best to answer!

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails My First Router, Built in Steel-set-screw-jpg   My First Router, Built in Steel-x-beam-mounting-jpg  


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    Hello Hayden
    I am in the UK (East Yorkshire) and looking for advice and help. Your machine looks the 'business'....
    I have only just started to build a cnc router so could do with some advice.

    What software are you going to use to make this machine run and could you tell me where I go in the UK for plug and play electrics ( I have looked at the Marchant Dice options and Motion Control Products).

    I have noticed that since I decided to bulid a cnc I am spending a lot of time on the computer doing research.
    So far I have managed to keep my latest project quiet so no problems from the household just yet....but they know me well.



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