View Full Version : Help with initial decisions, confined space.

01-01-2016, 08:50 PM
Hi all,
I am in the initial stages of a new build.
I would like a machine that is capable in wood..... i would also like it to be capable in aluminium.
It will likely be made with Alumnium extrusions as i dont yet weld.
The space i have for it is quite confined it is 1700mm by 1000mm with 3 walls bounding. The access is on one of the 1700mm sides.
I need to maximise my cutting length, 1350mm is probably my minimum.
For this reason i have been contemplating running a long gantry for ease of loading and unloading the machine.
I like this idea from a practical "in use" perspective, but it worries me from a stiffness perspective.

so my question is should i continue and design a beefy long Gantry at 1500-1600mm that will be easier to use once built or should i abandon that idea in favour of the narrower (Lighter) gantry and put up with it being a bit more awkward in use?

thanks in advance for anyone input

01-01-2016, 09:32 PM
you can have the best of the two solutions...


01-01-2016, 10:45 PM
You need to go vertical my friend.? This will solve all your problems and give you room to spare.

Building vertical gives great benifits in space saving with little to no disadvantages. In fact there are really no disadvantages other than you can't use the bed has junk table.!

But there are many advantages over conventional horizontal setup.

Huge space saving.
Better chip clearing due to falling away with gravity resulting in better finish.
Noticeable Longer tool life due to less chip recutting because of better clearing.
Cleaner area around machine again due to gravity and chips falling to floor rather than being slung around workshop.
Cleaner table due to chips and mess falling meaning less cleanup between jobs.
Easier access for material loading, fastening and work area.
Easy to build cabinet around it keeping all mess inside (Think Large wardrobe)

I upturned my old machine years ago to see how it would perform vertical and it worked so good it never came down until day it was ready for a Refurb.
I was Given an unfinished project which suited me to Finish and use my self so the Old machine could be refurbed.(Which I've since sold)
The new machine was horizontal and I used it like this for a few months but soon got tired of clearing the mess off table and hot chips smacking me in the face all the time or coolant being slung or running all over the place, not to mention the bloody room it took up.
So couple of months ago I tipped it up made a few hacks to frame along with small counter balance for heavy gantry and it's now on the wall in vertical position working like a charm.

I wouldn't have a horizontal machine again even if I had the space, which I do, so this should give you some idea to how good I rate Vertical machine.

01-01-2016, 10:55 PM
aha..... now thats an idea...

ill get thinking.... thanks!

02-01-2016, 08:40 AM
Wonderful idea! Do you mean truly vertical, 90degrees from horizontal? Or slightly tipped? How do you control coolant in this way? Should the gantry ride horizontal or vertical? ;)

02-01-2016, 12:17 PM
Wonderful idea! Do you mean truly vertical, 90degrees from horizontal? Or slightly tipped? How do you control coolant in this way? Should the gantry ride horizontal or vertical? ;)

Approx 80deg from vertical. The gantry runs Vertical but mostly because of machine design not being optimised for standing vertical (I didn't build this machine and to make vertical It's just standing on stilts to raise height.!!). It works fine but I do have to counter balance the Gantry to stop it falling down under it's own weight, it also helps take some strain from motors thou they easily handle weight without.

Both positions have there advantages and disadvantages. Vertical needs to account for affect of gravity on gantry but is easier regards building and accounting for chips, coolant etc settling on rails, ballscrews which horizontal position would have. If horizontal is needed then I'd design to help reduce these factors. Also Size comes into play. Obviously 8x4 can't stand vertical unless very high roof but 4x4 fits nice in 6ft x 3ft floor space. The pics should make the space saving and Vertical travel Layout and coolant/chip clearing more clear.

Regards coolant then I mostly use Fog less air mist so it's minimal and gravity does most of the chip clearing just falling into the tempory box's below. Again the pics will show just how little mess is around the machine with 90% of the chips falling into the boxs. These boxs are tempory and proper sheet metal will funnels will guide more chips into purpose built tray on wheels when I find time to make them. (So that will never happen.!)
If I built this from scratch then I'd build it within an enclosure and all messy would be contained.

As you'll see access to the work area is excellent. I'm often asked about Work holding which is probably your next question.?

This isn't much different to horizontal machine because you still have to fasten all parts to stop them being pulled into cutter or flung around room with the only difference (and the only Disadvantage compared with horizontal layout) being that the initial task of holding material while you get a clamp on is harder. But I have Temp holding rest I use for heavy material so it's minimal issue and the other advantages out weigh this one ten fold.

Edit: Oh and it is actually fastened to the wall with brackets not just proped up against it.:cower:
You'll also see if designed to be vertical from beginning it could be made even less deep, there's probably 250-300mm more depth could be saved by removing the legs.


02-01-2016, 07:00 PM
Amazing! Maybe that I adopt this design. It just seems so much smarter ;) just one more question! If you loose the legs for slimmer design, how do you brace the bed to counter twist when raising the bed from horizontal? Because you have to build it horizontal to be able to epoxy the x-rails?
The Madman