View Full Version : BUILD LOG: Rockcliff Router Build, MDF

Lee Roberts
30-07-2007, 06:22 AM
Today i started my very own rockcliff machine cnc router build, so far i have cut all the parts from MDF.

I only have basic hand tools, so should be intresting to see how i get on.

Below is some pics of the parts all cut ready for the next stage, next i will be drilling each part with pilot holes ready for assembly and so on. The rockcliff machine can be simply glued, however i will be using wood screws for mine. The guys over at rockcliff have now also updated the plans to use screws and consider it a good move.

Lee Roberts
31-07-2007, 04:21 PM
ok so I got the base all marked up and drilled ready for assembly, I have also built the base ready for the next stage (see picks).

You can see from the picks that I have marked out all my drill points and then drilled them, we have also used a bigger drill bit to skink the screw heads (5mm) this will help when we come to place other parts over the top of the screw heads and is a must really if you’re looking to do the same and use screws on your build.

There is the option then to also fill the holes if you would prefer a flushed finish. (I may do this at the end of the build, not too sure yet :)) With the screws giving such a good hold we have decided not to glue unless we have to, this will help if I do need to disassemble the machine for let’s say relocation or a paint finish.

Again it is advised that you pre-dill your screw holes as the MDF will have the tendency to split and this isn't really any good. Once everything was screwed together I gave all the edges a good sanding down just to flush everything off that little bit (see picks).

The screws I have used are Fermacell Cross-Slot Screws 3.9 x 30mm (http://www.xella.co.uk/html/gbr/en/fermacell_products.php?language_id=2&countries_id=5&area_code=3&dyn_section=detail&product_id=540); you can buy these from places like jewson.co.uk (http://www.jewson.co.uk/) or travisperkins.co.uk (http://www.jewson.co.uk/). Most other wood screws would do a good job, I just happened to have a box of these in stock and found them to work well with MDF, they are designed to be used for Dry Lining.

I have also added to the base, two additional TABLE SUPPORT PLATE's these are not really a must I just decided I would add these to the design to give that little bit more rigidity and surface contact. I used additional MDF for making the extra table support plates. (see picks)
Well that’s it for now onto the next stage, if I was to build the base again I would more than likely mitre all the joints on the base and maybe add a 3rd table support plate in the middle of the base.

Lee Roberts
02-08-2007, 08:50 PM
Ok well today was a busy one for me so I didnít really get much done today, I did manage to get something done however.

Today I realized I have misplaced my spade wood bits in a recent house move so Iíve now ordered some new ones and they should be with me soon enough, I got some in a nice wood box to help keep them together for one and as I like to look after my stuff (lol yea right, is that why youíve lost your others?!).

Anyway moving on, here you can see Iíve fitted my Y-Axis Rod End Support Plates. If your building this machine or using MDF for your build I cant stress enough that you should use screws as well, be sure not to over tighten your screws as I found out today one too many turns equals a split in your work piece. Iíve also added side screws to my Table Support plates.

04-08-2007, 09:53 PM
The machine's looking good so far! What are you doing about the electronics and linear hardware?

I built a set of the micro-stepping 3977 boards from PMinMO, and I'm fettling with relatively small ex-printer (cliche I know) steppers combined with turbocnc at the moment to get a feel for the motor driving art.

I've spent some time trawling catalogues from many companies and I'm starting to think that the 'rockcliff packs' that Marchant Dice do are good value... Any thoughts on this?

I wonder if it might be worthwhile getting together with other builders to get better prices on the linear side of things? Internet strangers, I know, I know, ;)

Lee Roberts
05-08-2007, 02:49 AM
The machine's looking good so far! What are you doing about the electronics and linear hardware?

Welcome to the forums, take a look at this post Visit Post (http://http&/#58;//mycncuk.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=41&t=10) looks like the link I’ve posted sell the 3977 that you have built. Tell me about your DIY controllers I’m very interested in how you got on with the building of them and how easy you see them to make, read my post you’ll understand why this is interesting for me right now.

Lee Roberts
05-08-2007, 03:21 AM
I've spent some time trawling catalogues from many companies and I'm starting to think that the 'rockcliff packs' that Marchant Dice do are good value... Any thoughts on this?

The same as that there trading on eBay to, I’m only going to be doing really light work most of the time and I’m thinking that the 1/2" rods will do for what I need. To be confirmed!

I got this email from David - cncbasher (http://http&/#58;//mycncuk.com/forums/memberlist.php?mode=viewprofile&u=60)

Hi lee
yes the larger the rail the better , but dont go too mad marchantdice are expensive if you dont check everything

so i did some checkin

16mm Ground rod is about £6.50 a foot , i recon you need 12' , so working an that assumption his prices are not bad concidering their heavy and any metal being sent by post is expensive

hollow tube and bearings can be used as per the JGRO router on cnczone but it dpends on what you call LIGHT !

i'd go for the rods myself , it's money well spent in the long run but yes i know what you mean , you need to look after the pennies but using tube will give you all sorts of troubles , and by the time you've sorted it all out you'll have wasted quite a bit on time and money which you'll no doubt spend later

Link to marchantdice (http://http&/#58;//myworld.ebay.co.uk/marchantdice/) on eBay, post up your build log if all you’ve got is the parts right now load some picks and list them it’s getting lonely being the only one with a build log. Seems quite a few builders are waiting to get all their parts before they start on anything, I’m looking to get my machine built as soon as.

I may just be different and I am currently looking to use this machine to automate the production of some products I currently make by hand as I cant fill the orders quick enough right now.

05-08-2007, 10:53 AM
The boards I made were from a bare PCB that I bought from PMinMO.com. I didn't design them, just nailed them together :lol:

I can't say how they rank amongst the collection of DIY drivers out there but I am more than happy. They're microstepping chopper boards that appear to be well liked.

I recommend this site for its knowledge base, it's a good jumping-off point for learning about drivers.

I briefly thought about using less expensive (hollow) shaft but fully supporting it. But I think if Rockcliff had thought this a good thing to do to reduce costs, they'd have said so... Care to comment on that Nick?!

I'll post pictures of what I've got so far on Monday or so.

Lee Roberts
05-08-2007, 12:53 PM
Yea fair point about rockcliff! I’ve decided to buy already built drivers now anyway.

After chatting with you and looking at the other choices I decided that www.routoutcnc.com (http://http&/#58;//www.routoutcnc.com) was the best choice for me, you can read about my new drivers below:

Microstepping Bipolar Stepper Motor Driver:

The RoutOut CNC stepper motor drive has many uses including for CNC retrofitting / robot control or driving you own CNC machine. It is simple to wire and operates with no external current setting resistors needed. The RoutOut CNC stepper motor driver is a single axis, pulse width modulated (PWM), Micro-stepping Bipolar driver with Full / Half / Quarter / Eighth stepping capabilities.

It is directly compatible with all of the major CNC software including but not limited to RoutOut CNC ,Turbo CNC, Mach 2, Mach1, KCam, Ability systems – LPT Indexer, etc., the list goes on.

• 2.5 A 30V Output Drive Capabilities.
• 3V to 5V logic inputs.
• Synchronous Rectification for low power / heat dissipation
• Internal UVLO and Thermal shutdown circuitry.
• Small PCB foot print only 66mm x 77mm
• Internal 5V logic driver onboard (no need for 5v Supply)
• Enable – Turns the motor off when not being driven.

For a wiring diagram for use with Routout CNC see the PDF File (Link Below).
Microstepping Bipolar Stepper Motor Driver (http://http://www.routoutcnc.com/RoutOutCNCStepper.pdf)

Routout 25 Way D Quick Connect:

The Routout CNC 25 Way D Breakout has many uses including for CNC retrofitting / robot control. It allows you to wire to the parallel port / LPT port using screw terminals, this makes wiring limit / sensing switches to you CNC machine a breeze.

• All connected printer I/O lines have screw terminal connector.
• Very easy to wire limit / control switches.

For a wiring diagram for use with Routout CNC see the PDF File (Link Below).
Routout CNC Quick Connect 25 Way D PDF (http://http&/#58;//www.routoutcnc.com/25WayD.pdf)

I managed to get this lot for £86.49 Inc P&P, they do charge more on their web site (£130.00 Inc P&P) but if you go to their eBay shop you can pick these up for less. They have a fast email response and seem like a good choice with just 2-3 days for a delivery, you can find there eBay link by Clicking Here! (http://http&/#58;//stores.ebay.co.uk/The-WorkShop)

Cheers and thanks again.

Lee Roberts
11-08-2007, 12:05 AM
Tuesday, i recived my RoutOut CNC 3 Axis Driver Kit, how excited was i !

From start to finish purchasing from Mike Gaylor over at RoutOut CNC was fantastic! I was very impressed with how everything was packaged and the products themselves.

I would recommend anyone looking for motor drives to go with Routout CNC (http://http&/#58;//mycncuk.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=64&t=46); email response was second to none, there after sales support is top-notch.

Ok, lets see what is in the box.

Lee Roberts
11-08-2007, 12:29 AM
Picked up my Bearings, Nuts and threaded rod today. O and some 6mm washers!

The stuff I got was all stainless steel. I would recommend you get the same for your builds, its more expensive for stainless but you’re getting what you pay for.

Lee Roberts
11-08-2007, 12:59 AM
So the sun was out, Jackie (wife) and Hanna (daughter) went shopping and I was left to get on with the build. Sweet!
Right Iíve got a few ideas on things Iím going to change with the default rockcliff plans, you donít have to do what Iím about to show you, but you may as well as it will make for a better machine in the end. (I think)

Iíve decided to add skate bearings to my threaded rod to support them, as I say the plans donít suggest to do this but when your machine is doing rapid movements you can get whatís called "whip" in the threaded rod if itís not supported. At first I was only going to support my threaded rod at the opposite end to the motor, but then I thought well why not do it both ends. It will only make it better anyway, so thatís what I did.

You can see Iíve cut out a 22mm diameter whole to receive the skate bearing, the skate bearings are 8mm inside diameter by 22mm outside diameter and they are 7mm deep. Iíve bored 10mm so the bearings sit 3mm from the surface. Before I did this I drilled all the way through with a 14mm bit so the threaded rod and nut can pass through and spin, that would be the smaller hole you can see in the pic viewing from the leadscrew side.

Iíve also drill out two 14mm holes for the rails to pass through.


Lee Roberts
11-08-2007, 01:20 AM
So the sun was still blazing and the girls still shopping, so I pushed on and got some more done.
I decided before I went on to the next stage, I would test fit the rods and rails and the bearings of course, you'll notice that Iíve put my bearings on the outside of the machine. This isnít a must but I would like to put some tension on the rods so by putting them on the outside we can do just that.

To test fit the rails I had to make the 50mm x 50mm rail support plates, again I just marked the centre and drilled out a 13mm diameter hole to receive the rails. You can see the rails are to long so ill cut them down later on in the build, I may not though as I could just rebuild the machine to a bigger size !

Lee Roberts
11-08-2007, 01:57 AM
Guess what? Yuup! The suns still out and the girls are still shopping!

Ok so everything looks good to go, there is a couple of things Iíve noticed at this point so ill talk about them now.

The 14mm holes I cut in the rod support plates are small; the rail supports allow me to move the rails in all directions so as to get everything square, parallel and lined up correctly. There is enough space with the 14mm holes but I think given the choice I would have preferred 16mm holes so there was just that bit more room and clearance for the rails so I may re drill these holes at a later stage, though there isnít really a need.

The other thing Iíve discovered though it was expected is that I will need to rout out some of the table on the underneath where my transmission nut will be fitted, again Iíve deviated from the plans and Iím going to be using a different type of transmission nut to the wing nut in the plans.

What my plan is, is to mount the transmission nut in the middle of a piece of MDF under the table, ill post some picks of this so itís more clear what Iím talking about later on in the build log.

Ok so Iíve cut my routs to receive the oilite bronze bearings, I went to every shop in Wigan trying to find a 5/8" - 15.85mm round end router bit. Could I get one?

Yep for £63.27, so no that didnít happen, instead I went for the bit I already had and that was a 5/8" flat bit.

You can see in the picks that Iíve test fitted the bronze bearings and mounted the table onto the rails, I also started with the Bronze Bearing support plates that go underneath to secure them, again the plans call for 50mm x 50mm blocks but Iíve made mine 50mm x 330mm so they are one piece and very accurate. Iíve got one cut and routed and the other is done and just needs cutting from the sheet of MDF Iím working from, I will post about them tomorrow once they are ready to be used and fitted to the table.

Itís now 01:55am and my eyes need a rest so ill say good night.http://www.mycncuk.com/forums/photoplog/images/2/medium/1_DSC02326.JPG

Lee Roberts
13-08-2007, 11:57 PM
Yep you guessed it! The girls went shopping and I had time to work on my build.

Ok so today I managed to work on my transmission nut system and finished cutting the bearing support plates or whatever you want to call them. I will be using some small nuts and bolts to fix these in place along their full length, ill post on them later in the week.

I also started making some beta transmission nut holders as well, after I made them I test fitted everything to see how it all looked, I needed to make a rout out for the holders to sit in so the transmission nut sits in line with the rod and bearings. I need to rework this as the transmission nuts are still to low by about 3mm.

Lee Roberts
14-08-2007, 12:05 AM
After that I reworked the transmission nut holders only this time I made my very first ever jig to get them spot on with a router, rather than the bench dill as I found the drill wasn’t doing a good enough job with accuracy and so on. (or was that just me?)

Try not to LOL till you pee yourself, it’s my first ever jig don’t forget! And besides that it does the job. I managed to get some new further beta holders made; by then it was time for dinner and time for "family time" so I had to stop.

So my setup is hand tools and I couldn’t really do a good job at getting the drive nuts spot on. I’ve now moved onto making delrin drive nuts as the ones I made above are just no good really.

20-08-2007, 06:50 PM
Great build Lee and am following this very eagerly. How do you find the bronze bearings to be with the ground rails are they smooth ?? I am at the moment finalising my list of components and am torn between the Pacific ceramic bearings or these bronze bearings any advice would be greatly appreciated CHEERS! :D

Lee Roberts
20-08-2007, 08:44 PM
Hiya, been a busy guy these last few days not had a chance to work on the build.

I would say they are ok, I’m building with 1/2" size rods and they seem to be fine for what I’m going to do. Pen5 has the 16mm rods and is more than happy with them; my father in-law said that they are great until they wear down (bronze bearings). I can’t see they will with the light cutting I’m going to be doing, but I guess it’s fair to say they will at some point.

Only thing I found that I can say I noticed about the bronze bearings was, I put them upright on an off cut of MDF and the impregnated oil started to soak into the MDF a little. Also if you can, try and keep everything clean as dust seems to get in between the rods and the bearings. I know that’s probably obvious but I didn’t think about it when I was test fitting everything and I noticed small scratches on the rods, nothing major but still not what we want.

Can’t really think of anything at this point mate sorry, I’ve got to points of contact for suppliers if you need a price or anything like that.

Lee Roberts
24-09-2008, 05:42 AM
Some time has passed and Iíve not been detailing as much of my build log as I should have, anyway it is now starting to look like a machine:

Lee Roberts
24-09-2008, 06:00 AM
So i started looking at how i was going to mount my motors and this is what i did:



So i used some Stainless Steel Tube, and some M5 Threaded rod, now i just needed some ali plates.


So i did some testing as i'v never worked with ali befor:




Ok i can see what its going to be like so lets crack on and see what we can come up with:


above i used some Center Drills to try and get my holes as good as i could, its taken a few gos at getting these right but after i printed some markings to work for on stick backed papper it was that bit easyer!

I managed to get all 4 holes done and also counter sunk them ready to recive the ss tubes above:



Lee Roberts
24-09-2008, 06:18 AM





Then it was just a case of cleaning it all up with hand files and drum sanders:


and mounted to a motor:


i used a whole saw cutter on the bench drill to to the big hole for the motor face plate, not an easy job on a cheap drill but i got there in the end! only 2 more to do !

Lee Roberts
24-09-2008, 06:51 AM
Now i just needed a motor mounting plate i could use to mount the motor mount to the machine, still with me ? lol:


Ok so it looks ok from above:


and from the side:

Humm, not so good! ok ill have to remake the mdf plate then:




looking good, "or-right at tha front", "or-right at tha bek":


Lee Roberts
24-09-2008, 06:58 AM


Ok, "al-right at top" ?


Looking good!

"al-right at side" ?


MUUUCHH better!, the image is a bit "iffy" the leadscrew lines up allot better then the image shows.

Ok so leadscrew is looking fairly strate also:





Lee Roberts
24-09-2008, 07:09 AM
I'v hooked this up to a driver and tested how it runs/jog's and everything is nice and smooth, now i need some delrin drive nuts for my other 2 axis's:


So now i'v got my gantory table built and the delrin drive nuts mounted:


again the image i a bit "iffy" everything is allot more square and strate then the pic is showing:

So i'm going to need one of my drive nuts off center because of the fixing screw placments, i'v also now got an issue with the leadscrew hitting the heads for the delrin nut:



On the other side my delrin nut is also sitting to low because of the channel i routed out in error:



Ok that sides not a problem, i quick do-dar with a hand file across the what-u-ma-call-it soon sorted that problem out:


Lee Roberts
24-09-2008, 07:13 AM
Right onto the next bit:


Ahh the counter-bore, my new best tool! lol

Cheers Steve-m for telling me about these, ill soon be buying some more to compleate the set ! :beer:

on we go:




for some reson i got it in my head that i would need two plates at each end but i dont so i'v done away with them now, next i needed to make a motor mount from ali again and make a new mdf plate for the ali mount to fix to.

The mdf plate was fine i got that right the first time, however it was getting late and i rushed the ali plates and they dont line up good for the M5 rods and so on so its a bit of hang filling on them, i'm in abit of a rush to get the machine up and running now as its taken far to long due to other things getting in the way/ coming first so i'm not going to keep to the supa fine detail i have done in the past! The new objective is to just get this machine up and running and make parts, as and when ill come back and replace parts with new "cnc'ed" parts that are right the first time. May end up using this machine to build machine number 2 however!


That brings me upto date so far on what i'v done to the machine, i'm hoping now to get this done for the weekend (26/09/08).

I'v got a few other things on the go as well so you'll see them poping up on the forums here and there as well, hopfully ill have some more progress pics and maybe ever some Vid's of the 2 axis's jogging for the end of the week.


24-12-2008, 07:10 PM
Cable tie.

Nice build :rolleyes:
What is the white "thing" around the shaft in this picture?
Looks like it could be a cable tie, but I'm sure I'm wrong.

17-02-2009, 01:27 PM
This has been a great build log and I found it very informative. Any further updates?

Lee Roberts
05-03-2009, 04:34 AM
Its a rockcliff machine, i will update soon !

Lee Roberts
11-03-2009, 06:37 PM
Yes i used 19mm MDF.

Lee Roberts
12-03-2009, 10:20 AM
19.05 = 3/4". I believe thats what the Rockcliff guys intended. I can only get 18mm. I wondered if the 1mm difference was going to be a problem?

I have modelled it now.
Considering the machine I will build is going to be very basic, can I just get screwed rod from the hardware store?

Yea 18mm will be fine, yes threaded rod is what you need.

15-03-2009, 09:19 PM
Hi Lee

I have just joined the forum. I have purchased a set of Rockcliff plans and I am putting together my shopping list.

I have a lathe and milling machine, so I can fabricate some stuff. I see from the forum that you have made some Delrin nuts to use with the drive rods. Looking at Google, Delrin seems to come only in round rod or flat sheets. Do you make your nuts from sheet and cut to size, or do you have a source for rectangular Delrin?

I am also trying to sort out the guide rods for the various axis. Marchant Dice do a kit of parts, but the rods and bushes are metric, I can only find large diameter imperial router bits (from Axminster tools), did you use metric bushes and find a metric router bit for your Rockcliff?

It is great having a UK forum, to be able to track down UK suppliers.

Many thanks


Lee Roberts
16-03-2009, 12:29 PM
Hi Lee

I have just joined the forum. I have purchased a set of Rockcliff plans and I am putting together my shopping list.

I have a lathe and milling machine, so I can fabricate some stuff. I see from the forum that you have made some Delrin nuts to use with the drive rods. Looking at Google, Delrin seems to come only in round rod or flat sheets. Do you make your nuts from sheet and cut to size, or do you have a source for rectangular Delrin?

I am also trying to sort out the guide rods for the various axis. Marchant Dice do a kit of parts, but the rods and bushes are metric, I can only find large diameter imperial router bits (from Axminster tools), did you use metric bushes and find a metric router bit for your Rockcliff?

It is great having a UK forum, to be able to track down UK suppliers.

Many thanks


Hi Kevin,

Yea I work from sheets of delrin, works out cheaper buying it in that way.

You can find a few sellers on eBay selling off-cuts of delrin fairly cheaply if you want to make some. Rectangular Delrin would be a good point to make though, would save me running it all down on the table saw: D.

No, I used 1/2" Round Rail on mine, they also come with the bushings to match.

Do not go anything under 16mm for your rails on your Rockcliff, my machine may as well be a paper weight.

The 1/2" rails are far too small to do anything substantial, the machine may as well be a PCB machine only. I wonít comment on Dice's 20 years+ of engineering experience that should have told him 1/2" on such a machine was just not viable. O well you live and learn, make of it what you will.

I can supply you with metric or imperial bushings/rails, if you want to send me a PM i can get you some prices.

16-03-2009, 03:58 PM
What sort of price is 18mm 3/4inch MDF at the moment?

16-03-2009, 04:21 PM
What sort of price is 18mm 3/4inch MDF at the moment?607mm x 1220mmx18mm in B&Q is £10.79 plus 4 free cuts.

2440mm x 1220mmx18mm is £14.99 plus 4 free cuts.

2440mm x 1220mmx25mm is £21.68 plus 4 free cuts (in you can find one that stocks it).

16-03-2009, 09:41 PM
Having looked at the price of ground steel and oilite bushes at £60+, together with a 20mm router bit, I am beginning to think that I might modify the Rockcliff type C using 20mm rails, support pillars and pillow blocks from Zap, they aren't much dearer, and would probably be easier to fix in place and align.

Lee Roberts
17-03-2009, 04:58 PM

yes i would suggest that to, i can also supply you the same kit as zapp for the the same prices to :).

11-06-2010, 11:53 AM
Hi Lee,

I've read through this interesting (old) thread and wondered if you managed to finish the machine and if you did how useful you found the machine to be.

Does it do what you wanted and is it fairly accurate?

I'm planning my first build but don't know whether to jump in with both feet and build a big (expensive) aluminium job straight away or do a cheaper MDF one to get a grip on it. There's so much to learn.

I want my machine to work wood and make a lot of items which I hope to sell to earn much-needed money so the machine will have to do some production work.

Many thanks.

27-09-2015, 05:35 PM
Just bought a part finished Rockliff D with a working size of approx. 900mm x 600mm not sure of the Z. The guy who I bought it from had to give up the workshop that he had. I have taken it apart and propose to strengthen it in various ways in the hope of getting a bit of speed from it. I'm using 4no. 270oz Nema 23s driving M8 threaded stainless steel rod for screws. I am making some anti backlash nuts although I'm not looking for super accuracy. My reason for contacting was to ask if Lee Roberts ever finished his Rockliff as I can't find any trace of it.

27-09-2015, 10:55 PM
I built a JGRO design from MDF a few years ago. I won't talk about strength issues here, but using around 900mm M10 threaded rod as a leadscrew (with Delrin anti-backlash nuts) I find that I'm limited to around 900mm/min top speed on the X axis. This is down to leadscrew whip. The JGRO only has a single X leadscrew but that won't make any difference to leadscrew critical speed. If you want it to go faster, use a bigger leadscrew. Bigger diameter means higher rotational speed possible as well as coarser pitch for more speed at same revs. 3nm Nema 23 seems more than adequate to drive it.

28-09-2015, 06:01 PM
Thanks for the info, a bit dumb of me not to realise the bigger the dia. the faster it goes. I am currently looking at extending the X and Y screws and to fit another bearing support about 100-150mm further forward with a rubber doughnut damper. From what I read this can have a good effect on speed and reduces whip considerably. Any thoughts?

28-09-2015, 09:03 PM
As a very rough guide, going from M10 to M12 with a 1000mm distance between fixed and simple bearings (typical setup) gives a critical speed increase from about 950 to 1200RPM (according to one online critical speed calculator). Given the increase in pitch as well, that's a useful increase in max speed. I don't know what a well-built MDF machine can take by way of cutting forces and hence max cutting speed, although having a decent "rapids" speed is a good thing to have even if you can't cut at that speed.

I seem to remember someone showing pictures of a damper assembly that claimed to increase max speed recently on the forum; it used some kind of fork that straddled the leadscrew to stop or reduce whip with a lever arrangement to lift it out of the way as the nut went by. Whether or not it would be easier to just fit a larger diameter leadscrew in the first place is moot, although reducing rotational inertia by reducing leadscrew diameter is a good thing in itself. Engineering is very much the art of compromise.

28-09-2015, 10:27 PM
Or better still not bother and buy some cheap Acme lead screw with a more fitting Dia and pitch. You'll nail several birds with one screw.!! So to speak.:whistle:

Threaded rod is a multi edge gotcha sword in that the pitch is small which requires you to spin it fast and still get low speeds. The Thread is poor and abrasive which at high speed wears nuts away very quickly. The thread pitch varies wildly along it's length so isn't accurate. It's highly inefficient so zapping motor torque which you don't have spare because the motors have to spin fast just move at what is a relatively low feed rate.

If you can't afford ballscrews then Lead screw is the next logical choice. Threaded rod isn't and shouldn't even be considered other than for bolting the frame together.!!

29-09-2015, 09:22 AM

29-09-2015, 01:13 PM
I seem to have inadvertently dropped into that deep black hole that is called threaded rod ,to use or not to use. My object in starting this cheap build was to have some fun and put my 72 yr old brain in gear again. I already had a design in my head using toothed belts when I stumbled across the part built Rockcliff on ebay, so I decided to stay with the Rockcliff design and see if I could finish it fairly quickly. The next 3-4 week should see it done then onto version 2 with Acme screws, Dumpster anti backlash nuts, 1200mm x 900mm bed, Kress spindle and Artcam Express if I can afford it. I read as much as I can on this site and its American cousin so with the positive help that always seems available here version 2 should be the one

29-09-2015, 03:26 PM
Given where you are coming from and where you are going, then I would have thought that threaded rod for a short-term, cheap, solution would be fine. Can it handle high speeds? No. Can it handle heavy or 5-days-a-week commercial-type use? No. Will it wear out nuts fairly quickly? Probably - but see below. Will it work and give you something to play with, as well as do something useful, while working on Mark 2? Yes. Use stainless rather than BZP as it's much smoother, but if it's any reassurance, the M10 leadscrews on my JGRO router together with the Delrin nuts have been in use, intermittently, for the last 3 years and have done many useful jobs in that time. They are far from being the weakest part of the design. And I've never needed to adjust the anti-backlash nuts in that time.

It's always possible that this machine will encourage you to be even more ambitious for the Mark 2!

29-09-2015, 06:16 PM
Don't see the point because You'll buy TR16x4 for around £15 mtr which provided you build the frame strong means for just a few dollars more you'll only need to do it one time and have usable machine not something your constantly chasing issues with.
You'll have none of the hassels that come with threaded so won't be chasing accurecy or reliablity issues meaning you can get on with using the machine for the purpose intended.

V2 can then be down properly with Ballscrews and Linear rails if required.!!

I've seen too many people give up on Cnc because of these machines. Mostly because they used inferior and wrong components which makes think building a working machine is much harder or costly than it really is. When the reality is if they'd just spent a little more on the right stuff and took a little more care with building they'd have working machine that usable and reliable.!!

27-03-2016, 12:09 PM
Posted at the end of September about finishing off a part built Rockcliff moving gantry design that I bought on ebay. As usual thing got in the way and only the last couple of weeks have seen it in running order, not finished you understand but working. I had no trouble with the mechanics and the electrics were fairly easy(arduino uno, protoneer cnc shield, 4 A4988 drivers and 4 Nema 23 motors). My problems start with my lack of knowledge about g code, everything I try to cut is back to front and a mirror image of what is on screen in UGS or Grbl Controller also I don't seem to be able to know where the job is going to start despite setting all axis to zero and positioning the router to the bottom left of the bed (1000mm x 500mm). I generate the g code file in either Easel or JSCut. Any help would be greatly appreciated