Thread: Smiler's Build

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  1. Jeff,

    That looks really impressive. Some questions & thoughts...

    The Y-axis looks like ally box section welded to some end plates, is that the case and if so what did you weld them with? and how did you get them square? The y-Axis supports, are they the thick PVC you mentioned earlier? were they milled to the T-shape for the mounting on the X-axis pillow blocks or is that 2 pieces joined?

    Even tho my first MDF build isn't yet complete I'm already planning a ally and/or steel build, poss a 4-axis job that can act as a lathe too...

    Instead of energy chain, which is expensive and bulky IMHO, have you considered using a spring pole (think of a bendy fishing rod) and bringing the cables down from above?

  2. I think you will find that the Y axis is steel painted silver not ally?

    Quote Originally Posted by irving2008 View Post
    Jeff,

    That looks really impressive. Some questions & thoughts...

    The Y-axis looks like ally box section welded to some end plates, is that the case and if so what did you weld them with? and how did you get them square? The y-Axis supports, are they the thick PVC you mentioned earlier? were they milled to the T-shape for the mounting on the X-axis pillow blocks or is that 2 pieces joined?

    Even tho my first MDF build isn't yet complete I'm already planning a ally and/or steel build, poss a 4-axis job that can act as a lathe too...

    Instead of energy chain, which is expensive and bulky IMHO, have you considered using a spring pole (think of a bendy fishing rod) and bringing the cables down from above?

  3. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by irving2008 View Post
    Jeff,

    That looks really impressive. Some questions & thoughts...

    The Y-axis looks like ally box section welded to some end plates, is that the case and if so what did you weld them with? and how did you get them square? The y-Axis supports, are they the thick PVC you mentioned earlier? were they milled to the T-shape for the mounting on the X-axis pillow blocks or is that 2 pieces joined?

    Even tho my first MDF build isn't yet complete I'm already planning a ally and/or steel build, poss a 4-axis job that can act as a lathe too...

    Instead of energy chain, which is expensive and bulky IMHO, have you considered using a spring pole (think of a bendy fishing rod) and bringing the cables down from above?
    Hi Irving,

    The frame of the router is steel box section welded to plates which are then bolted to the PVC ends. To keep things square I started with a flat surface, in this case an old RSJ I borrowed from work. I clamped a largish vee block to one end and clamped my end plate vertically to it. Next I clamp the box sections down to the RSJ with a space at each end to ensure parallel. The end plate is then tacked to the box section. I leave the box sections clamped down and move the vee block to the other end of the RSJ, clamp the other endplate to it and repeat. Once I have both ends tacked, I weld the plates in position. After that I check the diagonals and adjust if needed to bring it back to square.

    I never get hung up on getting a small fabrication like this super square before fully welding. It's pointless as the welding will pull your corners in. Keep all your welding balanced i.e. if you weld one side of the box section, weld the other side too, I only welded the two vertical sides, welding all three would be overkill and introduce warping that is not easy to get out. Do the absolute minimum welding necessary.

    If I had decided to do the gantry in Aluminium I would have used our Dual Pulsed MIG at work, faling that TIG would have been my next preference. My frame looks like Aluminium because I sprayed it with AluZinK cold glavanising spray to protect it while the build continues :)

    The PVC end plates are in fact two pieces, the bottom piece is bolted into the vertical one (6 X M8 socket heads). I just cut them with my table saw (slowly) and then planed them on my 10" planer. As long as you treat it as very hard wood and take small cuts and slowly, you could be using MDF but of course it is a much superior material (IMO:)). I am very pleased at how it has worked with the steel frame.

    Re: your idea of a spring pole, THAT'S A REALLY NEAT IDEA :D. I have two joists above the machine which I could mount it on and the controller could live up there out of the way of the dust too. Thanks for the idea, I'll set it up and post some pics :)

    Thanks for the input Irving, much appreciated.
    Nothing is foolproof......to a sufficiently talented fool!

  4. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Gary View Post
    I think you will find that the Y axis is steel painted silver not ally?
    Spot on.

    Gary, it must give you a buzz seeing the bits you supply fitted to actual working machines. Thanks for bringing down the cost to the level that Joe public can get in on such a fascinating hobby!
    Nothing is foolproof......to a sufficiently talented fool!

  5. Quote Originally Posted by Smiler View Post
    Hi Irving,

    The frame of the router is steel box section welded to plates ...
    ah.... are RSJ's that flat then? I was wondering about getting something flat to work on... I have my eye on a granite worktop I have seen in a skip nearby (some people have more money then sense), but I have no idea if I could lift it out and get it home.

    Quote Originally Posted by Smiler View Post
    The PVC end plates are in fact two pieces, the bottom piece is bolted into the vertical one (6 X M8 socket heads). I just cut them with my table saw (slowly) and then planed them on my 10" planer. As long as you treat it as very hard wood and take small cuts and slowly, you could be using MDF but of course it is a much superior material (IMO:)). I am very pleased at how it has worked with the steel frame....
    Table saw, planer???... wish I had the space for these, best I can do is a cheap Skil jigsaw and a B&Q circular saw... and a hand planer :D

    Quote Originally Posted by Smiler View Post
    Re: your idea of a spring pole, THAT'S A REALLY NEAT IDEA :D. I have two joists above the machine which I could mount it on and the controller could live up there out of the way of the dust too. Thanks for the idea, I'll set it up and post some pics :)

    Thanks for the input Irving, much appreciated.
    You're welcome Jeff, I have used something similar in the past, two sections of 16mm dia tubing joined by a old door return spring. Cables ran inside some square section lidded 16mm trunking screwed to tubes with a spiral wrapped loop at the spring junction. Look forward to the pics

  6. #16
    I must say the PVC dose look very nice here mate, how much is it and whats your source?

  7. It sure does.
    I hope you dont mind, but i have pointed a few customers here to look at your post so they can get some ideas.

    Quote Originally Posted by Smiler View Post
    Spot on.

    Gary, it must give you a buzz seeing the bits you supply fitted to actual working machines. Thanks for bringing down the cost to the level that Joe public can get in on such a fascinating hobby!

  8. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Roberts View Post
    I must say the PVC dose look very nice here mate, how much is it and whats your source?
    Smiler ?????????

  9. #19
    Hi everyone,

    Irving, Old RSJ's were that flat, back when it was British Steel and they took a pride in their product and maintained the rollers. A granite surface would do perfectly but don't let the arc stray too near or you'll crack it for sure:). Circular saw would eat PVC, just run it against a guide and the planer was only so I could guarantee 90 degree edges and to get rid of saw marks :)

    Gary, yes please point anybody you like to the thread. If I can help them by answering any questions they have, I'd be more than pleased to.

    Lee, I got the PVC from work as offcuts. We use it for fixtures for a candle molding production line at a factory here. It was much cheaper than Aluminium both to buy and machine plus it is impervious to moisture and the acids they use.

    We buy it from the Pipeline Centre in Glasgow (plastics dept) but we have bought it from Direct Plastics . I think I worked it out at around 80 ish for the amount I used. Luckily i got mine for nothing as they were offcuts as I said but I would regard the price as more than worth it considering I was going to the trouble of building a steel framed router. I wouldn't like anyone to think PVC is a replacement for Aluminium but it allows you to have much of the rigidity of metal with the ease of working wood. If you go to the direct plastics site and read the data on PVC, you will see why I chose to make the parts I did from it.

    Once I have the wiring sorted out (going to try Irving's suggestion this weekend), I'm onto the base frame. Again this will be steel and extremely rigid. At the moment I have the Router top frame just sat on my worktop bench which mimics how the real working surface would be. This way I can try the router and make any mods before I have it permanently mounted on its real base. One good thing has emerged from doing it this way. My workbench is very solidly built (I know 'cause I built it :)) and you cannot move it by pushing it. The router gantry weighs a good 100 pounds and you would not believe how much inertia is passed from the gantry down into the bench, I could literally shake it to bits by moving the Y axis back and forth with too much acceleration so I have adjusted the acceleration to such a rate that the bench almost doesnt react to the movement of any axis, not a very scientific approach but it should ensure a long life for the machine.

    I'll post more photos as I continue.

    I don't know if this would be of any advantage to anyone but once I've finished building my machine I will have a full CAD drawing done in Solidworks which I would be willing to upload. I could upload it as an E-Drawing (Solidworks own viewer) which would allow other forum members to view it as a model to get ideas or even generate a drawing for making their own.

    Take care all,
    Nothing is foolproof......to a sufficiently talented fool!

  10. #20
    Thanks Jeff ill add that link to the links database now.

    Yea i may just give the pvc a go for the little mini mill i wanted to build, ali costing more money ! maybe once i get my rockcliff up and running maybe then ill use ali and get the rockcliff to machine it.

    Nice machine Jeff congrats !

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