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  1. #1
    Hello,

    What do you think about the Sorotec ALU-line design? I think it looks pretty good.

    Pros: Simple design. Good utilization of work area with the gantry extending all the way out to the sides. This is possible with the y-axis linear rails mounted on the sides. Very sturdy Z-axis.

    Cons: Gantry sides may be a weakness of the machine compared to raised gantry design. Only one ballscrew for the Y-axis may lead to twisting when machining far on one or the other side.

    Shoot your thoughts! Do you agree with me or not?

    Link to their website: https://www.sorotec.de/shop/Portal-M...Heavy-DIY.html

    Youtube video 1 (build): https://youtu.be/lHQrTsjQh_o

    Youtube video 2 (machining aluminium): https://youtu.be/FWbOGrORIPs

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  2. #2
    It depends on what you want to use the machine for. If it's mostly woodworking with occasional light/Medium aluminum work then this design is more than capable. The only negative being at this size it needs two ball-screws on the Y-axis.

    I've built this style of machine for many years and the high gantry sides are not an issue for the type of work described above. This gantry design is stronger than it looks so don't be put off by the high gantry sides. However, if you are wanting to Hogg aluminum away with aggressive cuts and higher feed rates then high sides and gantry sat directly on the rails is a better way to go.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by JAZZCNC View Post
    However, if you are wanting to Hogg aluminum away with aggressive cuts and higher feed rates then high sides and gantry sat directly on the rails is a better way to go.
    What if you would compare these builds:

    1. High sides, Z-axis travel 250mm. Frame made of 80x80 aluminium profiles. Gantry made of 80x160 and sat directly on the rails. Rails top mounted onto the 80x80's.

    2. High gantry sides, same Z-axis travel. Gantry sides made of 30mm aluminium tooling plate. Frame made of 80x80 aluminium profiles. Gantry made of 80x160 and mounted to the gantry sides. Y-axis rails side mounted onto the 80x80's.

    I understand the high sides build will always be stronger, unless you would make the gantry sides out of something much stiffer than what the frame would be made of.

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  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by NordicCnc View Post
    What if you would compare these builds:

    1. High sides, Z-axis travel 250mm. Frame made of 80x80 aluminium profiles. Gantry made of 80x160 and sat directly on the rails. Rails top mounted onto the 80x80's.

    2. High gantry sides, same Z-axis travel. Gantry sides made of 30mm aluminium tooling plate. Frame made of 80x80 aluminium profiles. Gantry made of 80x160 and mounted to the gantry sides. Y-axis rails side mounted onto the 80x80's.

    I understand the high sides build will always be stronger, unless you would make the gantry sides out of something much stiffer than what the frame would be made of.

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    Don't know what you want me to say because you already know the answer.? #1 is stronger it's that simple.
    However, 250mm is a lot of Z travel so I would ask your self do you really need that much travel as it will weaken the machine if you use a typical Z-axis design. If you don't need 250mm of travel but require the clearance for material then you may be better looking at a design with an adjustable bed so can fit tall material but still have a nice strong Z-axis.

    It really does come down to how you want to use the machine and with what materials. If your thinking to cut steels then I would forget both types of moving gantry and build a Fixed gantry machine from stronger materials.

    Edit: If you want a design that's in between high Gantry sides and Sat directly on rails then here's one I built. Again this machine is built for working with mostly woods, it's also got a 4th axis which is why the gantry hangs over the side. The profile is 120 x 80 Item Section and the gantry is L shape design.

    Last edited by JAZZCNC; 02-02-2020 at 08:41 PM.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by JAZZCNC View Post
    Don't know what you want me to say because you already know the answer.? #1 is stronger it's that simple.
    However, 250mm is a lot of Z travel so I would ask your self do you really need that much travel as it will weaken the machine if you use a typical Z-axis design. If you don't need 250mm of travel but require the clearance for material then you may be better looking at a design with an adjustable bed so can fit tall material but still have a nice strong Z-axis.
    The way I plan to solve this is whenever I am machining aluminium / very light steel, I will use a jig that I put on the table, which will then decrease the Z-clearance. This should work the same way as having an adjustable bed.

    Quote Originally Posted by JAZZCNC View Post
    It really does come down to how you want to use the machine and with what materials. If your thinking to cut steels then I would forget both types of moving gantry and build a Fixed gantry machine from stronger materials.
    The requirement is a large work area, so a moving gantry design and making it as good as possible is my goal. This of course means that it wont be as rigid and as effective for aluminium / very light steel. This is a trade-off I need to make, as I don't have the budget or space to build 2 machines right now.

    Quote Originally Posted by JAZZCNC View Post
    Edit: If you want a design that's in between high Gantry sides and Sat directly on rails then here's one I built. Again this machine is built for working with mostly woods, it's also got a 4th axis which is why the gantry hangs over the side. The profile is 120 x 80 Item Section and the gantry is L shape design.

    That is a nice looking machine you've built! Great idea with the 4th axis too.A few questions if you don't mind:
    1. How does it perform in aluminium (tool, cut depth, feed rate)?
    2. Do you have a build log somewhere?
    3. What is the Z-axis clearance and working area?
    4. Any reason why you went with L-shape design, instead of using say 90x180 box section profile?
    5. Are the surfaces where the rails sit on the X-axis machined or shimmed?
    6. What is the reason for having one rail top mounted and the other one front mounted on the X-axis?
    7. Are the gantry sides also made of 120x80 profile? How are those mounted to the gantry?
    8. The Y-axis rails appears to be top mounted. Why not side mounted?`Is it to make design simpler with the profile gantry sides?

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by NordicCnc View Post
    The way I plan to solve this is whenever I am machining aluminium / very light steel, I will use a jig that I put on the table, which will then decrease the Z-clearance. This should work the same way as having an adjustable bed.
    The requirement is a large work area, so a moving gantry design and making it as good as possible is my goal. This of course means that it wont be as rigid and as effective for aluminium / very light steel. This is a trade-off I need to make, as I don't have the budget or space to build 2 machines right now.[/QUOTE]

    That's a good solution and one I'd take if building for my self with your requirements.


    Quote Originally Posted by NordicCnc View Post
    That is a nice looking machine you've built! Great idea with the 4th axis too.A few questions if you don't mind:
    1. How does it perform in aluminium (tool, cut depth, feed rate)?
    2. Do you have a build log somewhere?
    3. What is the Z-axis clearance and working area?
    4. Any reason why you went with L-shape design, instead of using say 90x180 box section profile?
    5. Are the surfaces where the rails sit on the X-axis machined or shimmed?
    6. What is the reason for having one rail top mounted and the other one front mounted on the X-axis?
    7. Are the gantry sides also made of 120x80 profile? How are those mounted to the gantry?
    8. The Y-axis rails appears to be top mounted. Why not side mounted?`Is it to make design simpler with the profile gantry sides?
    #1 Cannot tell you this because I've never used iit myself, I only built it, and the owner only cuts woods with it as far I know.

    #2 No this is a design I build and Sell.

    #3 Z-clearance = 250mm Cutting dims Y1300 x X800

    #4 Yes it's a much stronger design than a single piece of profile. It's my own design that I've used for years and it's well-proven on lots of machines.

    #5 The surfaces are made flat and on the same plane by coating with a fine spread of Epoxy metal (not epoxy resin) and then machine frame is turned upside down and placed on precision Granite surface table.

    #6 The fronted mounted rail is to give maximum clearance under the gantry and the top-mounted rail is to give greater spacing between rails and support the Z-axis rear plate.

    #7 Yes 120x80. They are mounted by bolting into the lower flat profile from the top. The top profile is bolted to the flat profile from the underside, there are also aluminum keys inserted into the slots to stop any movement.

    #8 It's difficult to align the rails parallel to each other when side-mounted. It's also much more difficult in regards to them being on perfectly horizontal and vertical planes. If the surface the rails mount on is not perfectly vertical then the gantry sides will form a V if viewed from front plane, likewise, if the surfaces are not parallel to each other they will form a V if viewed from Top plane.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by JAZZCNC View Post

    #4 Yes it's a much stronger design than a single piece of profile. It's my own design that I've used for years and it's well-proven on lots of machines.

    #5 The surfaces are made flat and on the same plane by coating with a fine spread of Epoxy metal (not epoxy resin) and then machine frame is turned upside down and placed on precision Granite surface table.

    #6 The fronted mounted rail is to give maximum clearance under the gantry and the top-mounted rail is to give greater spacing between rails and support the Z-axis rear plate.

    #7 Yes 120x80. They are mounted by bolting into the lower flat profile from the top. The top profile is bolted to the flat profile from the underside, there are also aluminum keys inserted into the slots to stop any movement.
    #4. Makes sense. It basically becomes an incomplete 120x200 profile shaped as an L, which has way more moment of inertia compared to a 90x180 profile. How are they mounted together? And what about using something like a 100x200 profile? I guess that would be of similar strength as the L-shape made by 80x120, but easier to use.

    #5. This is interesting. So without a flat surface to rely on, you probably woulf have to go with epoxy resin levelling?

    #6. Of course, why did I not think of that immediately. Oh well, it makes sense now. Is it much more difficult to get it aligned like that, compared to mounting both on the front?

    #7. So you are drilling holes through the profiles for the bolts?

    Bonus question: How much approximately do you sell this type of machine for? It looks really good and it sounds like a lot of fun to be making money building CNC machines!



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  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by NordicCnc View Post
    #4. How are they mounted together? And what about using something like a 100x200 profile? I guess that would be of similar strength as the L-shape made by 80x120, but easier to use.
    They are bolted together from the bottom as mentioned in the last post and end plates are machined with L-shape pockets to match the profile then bolted to the ends to support the ends.


    Quote Originally Posted by NordicCnc View Post
    #5. This is interesting. So without a flat surface to rely on, you probably would have to go with epoxy resin leveling?
    Yes, the first version I made used epoxy leveling until I aquired the large surface plate. Epoxy works ok it's just more work and takes a lot longer. The method I use now is dry within hours and can be drilled tapped the next day and rails fitted. You cannot fit rails on epoxy for at least 2 weeks.

    Quote Originally Posted by NordicCnc View Post
    #6. Of course, why did I not think of that immediately? Oh well, it makes sense now. Is it much more difficult to get it aligned like that, compared to mounting both on the front?
    Yes and no. Yes because the rails are not on the same plane so a little more work with a dial gauge to get parallel etc. However, it does offer other advantages regards setting up the Z-axis vertical tram because you can slide the rails back n forth ever so slightly if needed, plus you the X-axis top plate which can have a little adjustment in it. More adjustments the better when it comes to building a CNC machine but Obviously within limits so as not to put a binding on the linear bearings.
    Where if you have both rails on the same plane and the Vertical tram is out then you have to mess around with shims or tilting the gantry etc. Worse still if the gantry as got any twist in it because then it's not so easy to get twist out. With rails on top you can take the twist out easier.

    Quote Originally Posted by NordicCnc View Post
    #7. So you are drilling holes through the profiles for the bolts?
    Yes, counterbore the slots to make a flat area for bolt head and then drill and tap into matching profile. Depending on profile type depends on how far into the profile I drill and counterbore.

    Quote Originally Posted by NordicCnc View Post
    Bonus question: How much approximately do you sell this type of machine for? It looks really good and it sounds like a lot of fun to be making money building CNC machines!
    Yes, it's a lot of fun and frustration at times. As for making money that's a different matter... Not so sure I really do at times...

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by JAZZCNC View Post
    Yes, the first version I made used epoxy leveling until I aquired the large surface plate. Epoxy works ok it's just more work and takes a lot longer. The method I use now is dry within hours and can be drilled tapped the next day and rails fitted. You cannot fit rails on epoxy for at least 2 weeks.
    Can you specify or maybe give me a link for the epoxy metal that dries so fast? I'd like to try that.

    From where/how did you aquire the large surface plate and how much did it cost? I am thinking if it would be possible to make one DIY with epoxy resin, hehe.

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  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by NordicCnc View Post
    Can you specify or maybe give me a link for the epoxy metal that dries so fast? I'd like to try that.
    They have many suppliers around the world I believe but this the company and the type I use.

    https://www.belzona.com/en/products/1000/1111.aspx



    Quote Originally Posted by NordicCnc View Post
    From where/how did you acquire the large surface plate and how much did it cost? I am thinking if it would be possible to make one DIY with epoxy resin, hehe.
    It was gifted to me by a Friend. It's a massive 10" thick piece of fine-grained Granite that is precision ground to a calibrated tolerance and not something that could be replicated with epoxy.
    You can buy them from any good tool supplier or meteorological supplier. However, they are expensive and very very heavy.

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