View Full Version : 1010302S Cross Support Beams under table top

Robert Cheal
Sat 07 October 2006, 18:35

I have some surplus Galv. steel left over from some idustrial projects in the yard and I wonder if some of it would make sense to use until I get to the: main beams, XY-gantry, and YZ-car.

For example I have 7 ea. of 4x4- L -1/2" thick 78" long and I wonder if they could be used for cross supports or would they be to heavy for the main beams to support.

I have only briefly looked at some of your drawings as I am just starting look deeper into buiding another machine. When I see steel lying around that will likely end up hauled as scrap it makes me think of a friend who like to say "free goes along ways."

I admire your work on this forum and forward to learning more.

Thanks, Robert

Sun 08 October 2006, 01:07
Hi Robert. The idea of L-section as a cross-support puts me off a little. C-section is just so much better. My book on "sections" is at the office and I'll have a look at the numbers there tomorrow. The weight doesn't worry me because it is static. When the main x-beams sag a little under that weight, the x-rails are shimmed to get them straight.

Mon 09 October 2006, 01:32
Hi again Robert. Had a look at the data tables and seen that those angles would be great as cross-supports. Have fun drilling them! http://www.mechmate.com/Forum/clipart/happy.gif

Note added July 15, 2009:

Robert's L-sections are particularly "heavy". Here are the minimum L-sections that will be about as stiff as the C-section in the drawings:
80x10 [ L3x3x3/8 ]
90x6 [ L3.5x3.5x1/4 ]

Further note July 23rd, 2009

Minimum square tube is:
80 x 80 x 7 mm
90 x 90 x 4.5 mm

Minimum rectangular tube is:
100 x 50 x 6 mm

Robert Cheal
Mon 09 October 2006, 09:41

Thanks for your response and I agree in the first person drilling will not be the fun part of possibly using them. I am going to take stock of what is lying around before it all gets hauled off. And just because it is free does not mean it has to be used at all costs. The fun part is finding workable pieces... then the work begins $500 worth a drill bits for $200 work of steel.

ralph hampton
Mon 04 December 2006, 15:23
I have in my mind a system that has a work area of bout 2500 x 500 x 200 (xyz) for joinery and small solid wood part work - 99% of my work would fit into 1000 of the x of such a table. How well would your system adapt to such a size, and what could the minimum footprint be (seriously teeny workshop).

Just fishing at present, regards, r./

Mon 04 December 2006, 23:47
Ralph, the motor/gantry arrangement of a ShopBot or MechMate must make them of the worst systems for small footprints. Inboard motors would help a lot. A single-beam gantry would also help.

However, I don't see a serious obstacle in adapting the MechMate down to that size. A lot of the x-rails would probably be covered by a board to serve as a general purpose worktop most of the time. Therefore, you might build the whole thing lower so that this worktop is at a convenient height.

I have a design brewing in the background for a wall-mounted system..... The x-rails fixed to the wall (one high, one low). The "car" running on them to have an arm (ala radial arm saw) extending horizontally over a standard workbench, with the y-rails. Then a y-car and z-slide running on this y-arm...

ralph hampton
Tue 05 December 2006, 00:49
Will ponder a while...

Paul A
Tue 05 December 2006, 01:09
Hi Gerald

There was a school teacher in the UK who built a wall mounted router as you described, the guy posted a build history on cnczone.com.

Lee Wenger
Tue 03 April 2007, 21:51
CamTech makes a router that generally fits the description... http://www.camtech.ca/products/routers/spacemaker/SpaceOverview.cfm

Is that what you were thinking?

I've always liked this idea due to the improved space utilization of this design but it seems to me that the idea is reliant on having a vacuum table. Or maybe a t-slot table at a minimum. I've also wondered about how beefy of a Y motor you'd need for such a design either that or a hefty gas spring or counter-weight.

See this thread (http://www.mechmate.com/forums/showthread.php?t=276)

Wed 04 April 2007, 00:21
Lee, we are talking of something quite different....

Imagine a standard workbench against a wall in a small workshop....and then a CNC machine that is attached to the wall above the bench, cutting a workpiece that is lying horizontally on the workbench. Naturally this is for smaller stuff, but these are mostly the type of guys that need "spacesavers". One-man sign companies, for example. Or guys using high-end natural timber planks. The really big machines are for the MDF brigade. http://www.mechmate.com/Forum/clipart/happy.gif

(Attaching to the wall implies a solid brick_&_mortar wall, which is common around here.)

Kim Mortensen
Wed 04 April 2007, 12:01
Gerald.. I'm thinking of making my own crossmember bearers. I'm going to cut them in 5mm mild steel, and then bend them 2 places to make a C-channel like piece. it will be 40mm high and 80mm wide, the main board is going to lay on the 80mm side of the beam. is this possible.??? If you want a picture pls. let me know...

Wed 04 April 2007, 12:08
I have a difficulty to understand your description (main board?) - a rough picture will be appreciated.

Kim Mortensen
Thu 05 April 2007, 05:29
Gerald, offcourse I meant the Support board... Sorry, my mistake....

Thu 05 April 2007, 05:36
Hi Kim, do mean with the 40mm legs pointing down and the 80mm horizontal? If so, that will unfortunately be quite weak.

Rotate that channel to the vertical and then it is about 5 times stronger to carry a vertical load. 80x40x5 Channel will be okay when vertical.

Kim Mortensen
Sun 08 April 2007, 19:11
I'm not sure why this would be weak. I can't bend them, twist them or anything, If I stand on them they don't even bend. But now they have been bent, and pre drilled and such, so I'm going to use this setup for now, then I'm going to see how weak it really would be. And make changes later if needed.

Mon 30 April 2007, 18:39

my local steel shop have 5 Kg/m (76mm X 38mm) channel (instead of 7 Kg/m); would that be stiff enough for my cross bearer. I intended to have 7 of them instead of 8 as per MechMate drawing... fit better on my already built frame... upgrading here...

Tue 01 May 2007, 13:22
Hi Paco, what cross-bearers do you have now? I can tell you the difference in stiffness between your existing cross-bearers and the 5kg/m channel. That should give you a feeling of how much you are "upgrading"

Tue 01 May 2007, 13:39
Right now my frame has 2" X 2" X 3/16" angles over 64"; that's 51mm X 51mm X 4.76mm over 1626mm.

We already discuss this and you suggested me to go with channels and I look on the MechMate drawings and that's where I picked up the 7Kg/m (76mm X 38mm channel). I could do the upgrade this weekend with 5Kg/m 76mm X 38mm channel instead but I wonder if I would be as stiff as what the MechMate drawings suggest which I use as a reference.http://www.mechmate.com/Forum/clipart/proud.gif

Right now I have 7 of those angles as cross bearer so I would upgrade with the same number of 76mm X 38mm @ 5Kg/m if that's stiff enough.

I have problem with the vacuum that cup my machine bed up to 0.03" in the center over hours and mess up my pockets and sign carvings; that's why I need an upgrade.

Tue 01 May 2007, 14:07
Paco, I do not have my reference tables here at home, but 5kg/m is probably about 85% the strength of 7kg/m and about 300% the strength of the 2x2x3/16". (I am guessing from my (big) stomach). Let us just say it is a HUGE improvement over the angle iron.

Tue 01 May 2007, 18:20
I end up ordering 6.12Kg/m for a fast delivery (no 7Kg/m in stock)... I can't wait to have this part of my life resolved.

Thanks Gerald!

Wed 02 May 2007, 00:48
This morning at the office I see my tables only list one weight of 76x38 channel, 6.72kg/m

If I compare that channel to 50x50x4 angle (my handy table is metric only), the channel is 825% "stiffer". Compared to 50x50x5 it is 675% stiffer.

Even if we compare that 6.72kg/m 76x38 channel to the same mass of angle iron 70x70x6, then that channel is still 200% stiffer. The point is that channels are inherently a much stronger beam than an angle iron because of their shape.

When I talk of "stiffer" I am comparing the amount of deflection caused by a vertical load when the beam is horizontal and supported at the two ends. It is not true that channels are always better than angles, because the force directions and supports can be different.

Wed 02 May 2007, 09:25
Thanks a bunch for the details! It should help keep my bed straight even under this deformation force from the vacuum... I hope... it's a must...

Wed 02 May 2007, 10:05
We had a 40mm thick MDF bed on our old ShopBot (96x48"), built up over the years of glueing on and skimming off "spoilboards" all of MDF, and we removed it after about 5 years because it had too many holes through it. Well, when we loosened the screws, that board curled up by about 30mm! Imagine if you try to pull a 40mm thick MDF, curled by 30mm, flat onto some 50x50x4 angle irons......you can be sure that angle iron will bend by about 10 to 15mm as it fights with the heavy MDF. We want to be sure that the cross-bearer always wins the fight with the table.

Wed 02 May 2007, 12:00
My problem happen with the vacuum usage; say I'm carving a sign (no matter what material) with intricate pockets (raising letters and logos from the background), as the vacuum hold flat the material, the bed start to cup upward. This happen over hours; I generally don't have problem with 15 minutes milling but when I pocket or 3D raster carve where the tool machine from one section to another the get back later over long period of time, I can see that the material slightly raised.

It doesn't help me look like a PRO in front of customers...

Thu 31 January 2008, 23:20
Hi Gerald,

Could you tell if a 2"X3" rectangular tube with 1/4" wall thickness is as strong/stiff as a 1 1/2"x3" channel? I know that channels have different weights (lb/ft), is there one that has equal strength/stiffness as the tubing.


Gerald D
Fri 01 February 2008, 00:29
I don't have tables to hand for the inch sizes, but I can safely say that tube will be much stiffer than the channel. I don't think that you will get a channel as thick/heavy to compare with the 1/4" thick tube. Snag with the tube is to bolt through it without collapsing the sides, but 1/4" thick sides should be okay for spoilboard bolts.


Fri 01 February 2008, 11:15
Hi Gerald

Thanks for the reply. I was concentrating, too much, on the attachment of the cross members to the main beams that I had overlooked the attachment of the support board. You're right, other than longer bolts being required, there would not be enough torque to crush the 1/4" tube walls before pulling the carriage bolts completely through the support board material.
That brings up another question. Is MDF board,more commonly, used for the support board or is another material (eg plywood) a better choice?


Fri 01 February 2008, 11:31

I seem to recall an earlier post from Gerald where he said either one will work. For what it's worth, I'm currently using mdf.

Gerald D
Fri 01 February 2008, 12:28
Plywood might be a slightly better choice, but we havn't tried it because here it isn't available in big sizes. The reason I say this is because we did have some problems with the bolt heads tearing out the bottom of the MDF. Decent plywood might be better for this. The typical plywood we have here would be a disaster because it splits with the slightest provocation. The drawing mentions pouring epoxy over the bolt head to soak into the MDF and reinforce the area - this has cured our problem.

Fri 01 February 2008, 14:57
Have you ever tried thin Cyanoacrylate adhesive for strengthening the board holes? It is very thin and would soak right into the pores of the mdf. Lots of people use it when they want to thread a hole in mdf to strengthen the threads. Just a thought.:)

Robert M
Sat 29 March 2008, 11:32

Another alternative in material Iím wondering/considering for on the cross bearers (#1010302) & for the main beams (1010322) is; would it be seine to substitute those c-channels for some laser cut & bent ones !
Obviously with an appropriate gauge, witch btw I have no certainty on my estimated conversion, but say the 1010322 @21kg/m (14.08lb/ft) should be close to in std inches size to 3/8íí thick.
This is still bentable for some laser places that Iíve ask about !!
So, do you think it is seine and right to take that route?
No quote yet, but I estimate to be = or less cost than regular C-channels, with all itís benefitís we know about laser drawn parts !? ?!

Gerald D
Sat 29 March 2008, 17:00
The price will be much higher if laser cut and bent. Add the transport price from the laser cutter to your town. (Channels can normally be found in your town). The channels will normally be straighter than the bent parts.

Mon 31 March 2008, 14:42

You can have a look at my setup, it has been made by lasercut sheet metal and then bent, it works great for me.
Offcourse I have an advantage in the sense I'm working with lasers so I'm not paying much for something like that...

Gerald D
Mon 31 March 2008, 23:57
See post #14 in this thread

Fri 13 June 2008, 15:23
Hello ,

I'm thinking to make a MM for MDF boards of 122 x 244 cm.
The main beam will then 3040 mm and the cross bearer will be 1640 mm.
Today I have informed by the supplier of c-chanel's and the tube's.

The specified C-channel are not used in Belgium.
C-channel are called here UPN-profile.
I have some questions about these profiles because the sizes and weights do not fully match ,before I order these profiles.

About the router table.

For the main beam, I will order a c-channel 180 x 70 , but the weight is 22.4 kg/m instead 21kg/m.
Is that a problem? I do not think so.

For the cross bearer is the smallest c-channel 80 x 45 x 8.8 kg/m instead of 76 x 38 x 7 kg/m.
It is the smallest in their series. Are these profiles too heavy?

I would like to use 8 cross bearer or are 7 suffice?

About the gantry.

The cross member tube must be 100 x 50 x 2 mm but the thickness is 3 mm instead of 2 mm.
Is this a problem?

Thank you


Gerald D
Fri 13 June 2008, 22:05
Goeie MŰre Bart

About the router table.

For the main beam, I will order a c-channel 180 x 70 , but the weight is 22.4 kg/m instead 21kg/m.
Is that a problem? I do not think so. Absolutely no problem because that is static weight. Extra weight is better.

For the cross bearer is the smallest c-channel 80 x 45 x 8.8 kg/m instead of 76 x 38 x 7 kg/m.
It is the smallest in their series. Are these profiles too heavy? Again, there is no problem, same as above

I would like to use 8 cross bearer or are 7 suffice? If you prefer 8 cross bearers, that is better.

About the gantry.

The cross member tube must be 100 x 50 x 2 mm but the thickness is 3 mm instead of 2 mm.
Is this a problem? I think that will match the "more solid" table you are building. You will have a good industrial, tough machine and the heavier/stiffer mass will reduce the chance of vibrations. You might have a slight penalty on speed when cutting around a sharp corner, but overall you should have a better quality of cut finish. It is not a big difference either way - I have 2 gantries, 2mm and 3mm, and I can't say that one is better than the other.

Sat 14 June 2008, 02:52
Thank You,
Now I can order this at my work .

Gerald D
Sat 14 June 2008, 04:09
. . . I have 2 gantries, 2mm and 3mm, and I can't say that one is better than the other. . .

I must add that the two gantries are different lengths:
Table width (Y) = 1830mm = 2mm thick gantry
Table width (Y) = 1220mm = 3mm thick gantry

Sun 24 August 2008, 07:01
First and last Cross Bearer placement

I need to understand the placement of the first and last cross bearer, on drawing 10 10 240 the stop block is X +205 apart, do I take 102.5 plus 29mm from the stop block or do I use half the width of the Y gantry from the stop block, On drawing 10 10 300 is it correct if I say the 0,0 stop block is inward from the spoil board edge ?


Gerald D
Sun 24 August 2008, 07:47
The stop-blocks are positioned to stop the gantry from running off the ends of the rails. Do not try and figure out the cross-support locations from the stop block locations.

Because the router is not in the center of the gantry, the cross-supports are offset by the same amount relative to the ends of the x-rails. Typically, the router is 100mm offset in the y-car/gantry, and that gives the 100mm offset mentioned on 10 10 300 W

Mon 25 May 2009, 14:24
I have two questions.

I think I would rather use 4" x 7.25# as the 1010302SB with the legs facing downward instead of theway the 3" x 4.1# are install in the plans. Would this be fine?

Also,... the plans do not cover bolting the 1010302SB's to the 1010322SA's. What size bolts are being used for that task? I was thinking about using one big bolt but then again, having two smaller bolts per end I think maybe would be better? Maybe two 3/8" bolts?!?!

Mon 25 May 2009, 17:06
I think the intent is to weld them instead of bolting. They also serve a role in preventing the table from going out of square, assuming a parallelogram shape, so for this reason, one bolt would be suboptimal. (Granted, the deck and the spoilboard will act to resist this deflection)

Also, a channel shape has most of its rigidity perpendicular to the plane of the flanges (the legs). The web (or the back) of a channel should be oriented parallel to the anticipated load, usually vertically.

If you place them with the legs down, they'll be less resistant to deflection when you load a sheet on it. Will they still be resistant *enough*?.... I dunno.

Short answer: I would weld them in the orientation shown on the plans.

Mon 25 May 2009, 22:48
I can't weld them. I need to be able to dismantle the machine for transportation.

This is what I'm going to do,... I'm going to use the 3" x 4.1#. I am going to bolt them to the xBeam but,... I'm going to weld the channels together as two sets of 4. This way when I bolt these 2 sets to the xBeams, I won't have to worry about my table going out of square.

Tue 26 May 2009, 07:46
Your spoilboard will do the same function and save you some work. You will need a spoilboard anyway. :)

J.R. Hatcher
Tue 26 May 2009, 09:44
My thoughts exactly Heath

Gerald D
Tue 26 May 2009, 13:19
I think I would rather use 4" x 7.25# as the 1010302SB with the legs facing downward instead of theway the 3" x 4.1# are install in the plans. Would this be fine?

I am out of town and away from my data tables, but my gut feel is that you are reducing the strength by more than 50%

Tue 26 May 2009, 15:09
Oriented legs down (or up), a C4x7.25 50" long with a uniform 150# load will deflect .026" at midspan. (the kind of loading from very heavy sheet goods)
The same C4x7.25 50" long with a single-point load of 150# will deflect .11" (the kind of loading resulting from standing on the crossmember to change a light bulb)


Structural steel has a modulus of elasticity of 29,000,000.

In the y axis (legs down) C4x7.25 has a moment of inertia (I) of .432. It has a section modulus (Sy) of .343. It has a radius of gyration (Ry)of .45. It has a neutral axis distance (Z) of .459.

In the x axis (legs horizontal) it has an I of 4.59, an Sx of 2.29, an Rx of 1.47 and a Z of 2.

It's about 1/8th as strong oriented horizontally as it is vertically.

By comparison,, a 2x6 placed on edge experiencing the same point load at the same span will deflect .014"

Charles, in your other thread, you show the crossmembers oriented the traditional way. Am I misunderstanding your question?

Wed 27 May 2009, 00:20
Well,... im changing things around. i am going with the 3" x 4.1#. At the time I made the change back to the 3" beams because of the weight. the 3" is about half the weight of the 4" according to inventor.

Im just going to build according to plan.

Wed 27 May 2009, 00:34

I think that following the plans is a great idea. It is a proven design and you will be happy with the machine you build. Gerald has designed an excellent machine.

Gerald D
Thu 28 May 2009, 00:57
Jeff, thanks for fielding that question - nice to have someone else around to explain "strength of materials" :)

I am out of town and away from my data tables, but my gut feel is that you are reducing the strength by more than 50%

Back this morning and glanced through my tables. A channel typically loses 80% of its stiffness when rotated 90 degrees. That is a lot!