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  1. I built an MDF router based on plans from build your cnc...then adapted & improved it. The machine never ran as well as I would have liked - mainly due to alignment issues and a damp/humid environment.

    I've now moved house & have more workshop space to play with. Shortly after the house move my disassembled machine got soaked due to a leaky workshop roof...I now expect the previous alignment issues to be even worse and am thinking about possible ways forward.

    My first thought was to get the machine assembled again & set up as best I can, then use it to cut new parts for a better MDF machine.

    But i've now started thinking about the possibility of using aluminium profile instead.

    I've found guides for 80-20 profile but not a lot else...it also seems that 80-20 isn't easy to get in the UK.

    Looking around i've found numerous sources for other sizes eg, 40-40, 40-80, 45-45, 45-90....i'm wondering about the suitability of these for the job in hand & whether there are any plans or guides out there using these profiles....also would the resulting machine perform better than an mdf one?

    My current machine roughly has a cut area of 4'x2'...i'd like the new version to be the same, or a smidge larger.

    If anyone can give me any input on this i'd be grateful - good sources for ally profiles, plans, guides etc

    Thanks

    Tom

  2. #2
    But i've now started thinking about the possibility of using aluminium profile instead.
    living in the damp old uk it makes a lot of sense to me to upgrade from mdf

    i cant see any reason to use 80/20 if you cant find any... there are lots of other t-slot profiles and suppliers, i bought from valuframe (kind of pricy but they had the sizes i was after)

    i'm wondering about the suitability of these for the job in hand & whether there are any plans or guides out there using these profiles
    it might be worth finding a build on this forum that you like and twist the builders arm a bit to get him to give you his drawings and guide you through any of the pitfalls he experienced (what kind of cash are you willing to splash on rails and screws?)

    also would the resulting machine perform better than an mdf one?
    on a like for like build id buy myself a hat and eat it if it didnt

    if you copy a design from this forum you will be able to see the kind of work thats being done on that machine

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by CraftyGeek View Post
    I built an MDF router based on plans from build your cnc...then adapted & improved it. The machine never ran as well as I would have liked - mainly due to alignment issues and a damp/humid environment.
    Best thing to do is wait for the 5th of november then BURN IT.:heehee:
    The only place in CNC for MDF is to be used as spoil board.!! Even then I'm reluctant.

    Seriously now you'll be far better of using Ali or steel the result will be machine massively more ridged and accurate and wont shape shift in front of your eyes every time you show it a cup of steamy coffee.!

    Personally I'd go with steel due to it being far cheaper than profile. . . Don't have to be a welder and With just a few key tools like drill press etc it's very possible to build an accurate and repeatable machine. . . Welding will help speed the job up but Not required.

    What sort of size cutting area and what material do you mainly want to cut.?

    Edit: Opp's scrap that bit didn't see the 4x2 bit.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by JAZZCNC View Post
    Best thing to do is wait for the 5th of november then BURN IT.:heehee:
    The only place in CNC for MDF is to be used as spoil board.!! Even then I'm reluctant.
    I agree entirely. Perhaps keep the MDF as sacrificial piece.

    Quote Originally Posted by JAZZCNC View Post
    Personally I'd go with steel due to it being far cheaper than profile. . . Don't have to be a welder
    The frame for my machine is the first thing I had welded (done some brazing before but that's about it)... it's not fallen apart so all is good! Aluminium is a good choice for the gantry due to the lower density.

  5. Thanks for the response so far.

    Over the last few years i've done loads of research into mdf based machines...it was only 18 months ago that I finally had space to build one after collecting electronics etc over a period of years.
    So i've had a learning curve already - ultimately I can see that mdf is going to limit me (as well as annoy).

    Right now, after having a quick look into material costs a bit more closely, I don't think I can go for a new full ally profile build as I simply don't have the funds. From a quick glance - ally box & steel box don't actually seem to work out that much cheaper.

    My current thinking now is to start upgrading my existing machine into more of a hybrid - then keep upgrading as & when I can.

    The biggest problem I have at the moment is the main table/base - it just isn't up to the job. So i'm thinking about making some sort of metal frame for the table - then attaching the rest of my current setup to that.

    Tool wise I have most hand held power tools (inc angle grinder & jigsaw) with a circular saw mounted as a table saw & also a router table....no pillar drill. I plan on getting a better table saw & also a chop saw at some stage soonish as well.
    I have very little experience working with steel...i've done much more with aluminium & would be more confident working with it as a result.

    As welding isn't an option - how would you suggest creating an accurate solid frame out of box stock?
    I have a metal supplier near me that could in theory cut pieces to length for me - but how best to join them?

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by CraftyGeek View Post

    Right now, after having a quick look into material costs a bit more closely, I don't think I can go for a new full ally profile build as I simply don't have the funds. From a quick glance - ally box & steel box don't actually seem to work out that much cheaper.
    Box section steel is half the price of Ali box section, I pay around 20 for 7.5mtr 50x50x3


    Quote Originally Posted by CraftyGeek View Post
    As welding isn't an option - how would you suggest creating an accurate solid frame out of box stock?
    I have a metal supplier near me that could in theory cut pieces to length for me - but how best to join them?
    Using plates Drilled and bolted to the frame.! . . . Thats why a decent pillow drill is so usefull, almost essential if you want an easy life.

  7. #7
    http://www.mbsitem.co.uk/

    Not cheap but very stiff, advice is free. I use them a lot for business. They will cut it to the length you want, drill and tap, even will acually design it for you, even put it together. You can also download the profiles and send them a CAD drawing. But, not cheap. It depends what you want at the end of the day.
    Sherline lathe, Chester DB11V lathe, Myford/ Rodney mill, CNC mill Isel/ home made, Sealy Hack Saw, Meddings Pillar drill.

  8. #8
    m_c's Avatar
    Lives in East Lothian, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 13 Hours Ago Has been a member for 9-10 years. Has a total post count of 1,794. Received thanks 189 times, giving thanks to others 5 times.
    Quote Originally Posted by JAZZCNC View Post
    Box section steel is half the price of Ali box section, I pay around 20 for 7.5mtr 50x50x3
    You'd be surprised. I know when I priced a project earlier this year, there wasn't that much difference in price for the box section that I needed. It was all the brackets that bumped the price up. I still went for the alloy though, as it was lighter with less flex which suited the application, and the company cut it all to length so all I had to do was bolt it together, which saved me a lot of time.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by m_c View Post
    You'd be surprised.
    No I wouldn't 50x50x3 Ali is 35 plus vat + Del (Ali warehouse) for 5mtr and as of 2 weeks ago when I last bought some 50x50x3 steel box section was 21 for 7.5mtr. Inc Vat.! (Delivered thou it's only next village so don't count really. .Lol)

  10. #10
    m_c's Avatar
    Lives in East Lothian, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 13 Hours Ago Has been a member for 9-10 years. Has a total post count of 1,794. Received thanks 189 times, giving thanks to others 5 times.
    That's ok if you have the equipment to deal with full lengths, and need the full length.
    But if you don't have the equipment, or don't need a multiple of 7.2m, then price difference can be totally different.
    It all depends on what equipment you have and what you need.

    I can work with either, but not everybody can.
    If you don't have a pillar drill, scribe, centre punch etc. then that's something else you need to factor into the cost, and look beyond the basic material costs.

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