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Lex Tue 13 May 2008 07:39

Making First Cuts #56 - Empangeni S. Africa
Hi Gerald, I really feel at home here after I saw the list of local people on the forum. It is only a month or two since I started to look at building my own cnc router. Never thougth it was possiable! I was planning to start off with a small wood route (hobby) until I saw this good looking MechMate. Now I am not so sure.:)
What will it cost to build a machine like this in SA Rands? Mechanical? Electronics?
I had a look at your drawings. Outstanding!
Groete uit Zululand

Marc Shlaes Tue 13 May 2008 08:56

Kobus or Alan,

Gerald is now on vacation, right? Can you give Johan some "local" cost info?

Alan_c Tue 13 May 2008 09:21

Welkom Johan

Final cost would depend on options chosen and source of components, oh yes and what Mr Mittal decides to push the steel price up to this week!!! :mad:

I am building the full size unit with a VFD controlled spindle (direct import from Italy) for about R50 000. There are lists in various places that give details of what is required, read them and FULLY understand the drawings - then phone around for prices on steel, electronics, electrical etc as it takes a bit of time to fully grasp what is needed and how well the design is done. It also depends on your skill base and tool availability as to what you will do yourself and what you will contract out - research, research, research.

Dont let this scare you off, but its addictive...:D

Doug_Ford Tue 13 May 2008 16:35

Welkom Johan,

You are located at the center of the DIY CNC router universe! All of us guys in the US are extremely envious of you. I'd love to meet Gerald face to face just once but that's not an option considering the distances involved and the current exchange rate. Good luck with your build.

Kobus_Joubert Tue 13 May 2008 23:07

Sawubona Johan, Welkom by MM.

This is the machine to build and like Alan was saying, the cost will vary between size and your own ability / drive to do things yourself. If you shop around and do most of the engineering yourself it can come out a lot cheaper. If you want a professional machine like Alan then R 50 000.00 is cheap. I on the other hand is building a MM to cut a standard MDF (2.4 x 1.2 meter) board...I don't have space for a bigger beast. At this stage this is more hobby to me and mine will not run 24 hours 7 day's a week....odd jobs here and there. If it comes to that and buisiness picks up, it is easy to upgrade from router to spindle.

But the biggest thing is to shop around...let your fingers do the can save a lot of money that way.

Hamba kahle! from another Zulu boy..born in Natal

Lex Wed 14 May 2008 02:06

Thanks for the warm welcome guys!
Alan & Kobus - Thanks for the figures. I think I am hooked already :D Space will be a problem so the 2.4 x 1.2 machine sounds like a good place to start for me. I am living here for 23 years now. The rest of the family is in Gauteng (ou Transvaal :) ). Salakahle Alan!
Doug - Wish I had some extra funds to visit Cape town. Haven't been there since 2000. Must be about 2000+Kms from here.
I will start doing a lot of reading on MM and will have some questions to ask.
Apart from lurking here I can offer some of my expertise, which I see are already well covered on this forum. I am a mechanical draughtsman by proffession - also registered as a Proffesional Architectural Draughtsman. I have approx. 30 years of experience. About 16 years on the board. I currently working on Autocad 2008 & inventor (2d & 3d). I also have experience designing jigs, which might be applicable here.

Doug_Ford Wed 14 May 2008 19:25

2000 km!?!?! I guess you won't be riding your bicycle to Gerald's house then. Heck, you might as well be here with me in Arkansas.:)

Lex Thu 15 May 2008 04:27

Yes, you are right Doug. To unfit to do the thing with a bicycle. The beer belly gets in the way as well!
What size board can your machine cut? Larger than the standard 1.2X2.4 that Kobus was talking about.

Doug_Ford Thu 15 May 2008 20:51


My machine will only cut a 49" X 97" sheet.

Lex Sun 20 July 2008 10:37

1 Attachment(s)
I suppose this is as good time as any to start recording my build.
The time available to me in the next couple of months will be very erratic due to my current work situation. Update might therefore not be to regular.
On a new project of this size I usually draw up a 3d model of the mechanical side. This is not to check any sizes! Just a way to build it in my head - first. Some people called it an occupation hazard!:D
I want to thank Gerald for this opportunity and especially for his ongoing inspiration.

I will place orders next week on the large steel sections, profile parts (to save on cost increases) and the main electrical components. The steel components will be stored until a latter stage. My material list does not include any steel for the table legs, bracing and all the smaller items. I will beg, steel or borrow for this until I start fabricating.
I will give the total cost off each batch as I received it. Please Hawk eye and give advice on my progress. I will need special encouragement from everybody on the kitchen project. This part of the build will be the greatest challenge for me.

Max board size: 1830x2750
Table: Bolted
Stepper motors: Motion king 34HS 9801
Drivers: Gecko G203 V
Tool head: Router (make - to be decided)

Planned building sequence (could change if the Blue fever grips me):)
1. Kitchen project.
2. Y and Z car assemblies.
3. Table
4. Grinding of v-rails.
5. Final wiring.

Gerald D Sun 20 July 2008 10:51

The BIG channel you have listed as 180 X 70 x 2. That 2 throws me. It needs to weigh around 20 kg/meter - 2mm won't do it.

The 60 X 60 X 6 is not the best size for the rails. MacSteel does a nominal 65 x 50 x 6, which is actually a 2.5" x 2" 1/4". (The 60 is too tall for the grinder attachment to cut down in one pass)

Lex Sun 20 July 2008 11:00

Thanks Gerald.
The 2 should read 20kg/meter.:o
I will contact Macsteel tommorrow on the angle size.

Gerald D Sun 20 July 2008 11:12

That 1/4" rail is actually a little better than the 6mm rail for carrying area.

For a 2750 x 1830 table, you only need 2 x 6.5m lengths of angle for the rails. Rough cut those lengths at 3760+2740. (If memory serves me right, angle iron comes in 6.5m lengths?)

Lex Thu 31 July 2008 00:13

The large steel sections as per my list was delivered yesterday. Cost = R4832,89 - $637.14.
I had to move everything into my garage last night (Egiptian style) to get it out of the dew. Our little village is 40Km from the coast. The dew is not causing rust here .. more like cancer!
Also placed my order on the laser parts in Pretoria for R1672,93 - $220.55.
The laser cutting company here in Richards bay was a R1000 - $131.80 more expensive. My brother will bring the parts down in a months time with his next visit.
Last night I order the 4 Motion King stepper motors for R4664,93 - $615.
14 guide wheels and 6 eccentric bushes for R1959,42 - $258.32
Had a restless night with strange pains around the stomach area!:eek:

Alan_c Thu 31 July 2008 00:30

Good start Johan, those steel prices seem pretty reasonable, dont forget the pipes for the bracing underneath.

Do the prices that you have quoted include shipping, delivery etc?

Funny that you are trying to get the steel out of the dew, I have just placed all mine on stands in the backyard to try and get some rust on - cuts through the mill scale and makes it easier to paint once lightly sanded, but then again this is the mild Cape, with your humidity and climate the Eifel tower wouldn't last long.

Gerald D Thu 31 July 2008 01:32

It is the curry up there in Natal that chews the metal and leaves that colour :)

Gerald D Thu 31 July 2008 01:55

Natal Curry Contest

Lex Thu 31 July 2008 02:07

Alan - I will get all the pipe bracing from a contractor friend. Its going to be
50NB 60,3 OD pipe off cuts. I will have to weld it together.
My prices includes all added costs.
Yes, I know the dew will help on some parts of the mill scale but if I don,t stack it in plain view I might leave it to long. It will come out again before I start on it. The local joke is if you leave a spade in the garden it is either going to disappear or it is going to start growing.
Gerald - The colour is even close. The shower hand stand variety.

hennie Thu 31 July 2008 02:13

How I would love to have some of that hot Durban curry yum!

Lex Thu 31 July 2008 03:53

The curry will be chowed long before it gets to Plett.:) I you want to I can send you some spices with a good recipe or two.

Kobus_Joubert Thu 31 July 2008 03:56

Nice going Johan, I would like a lamb Bunny Chow and all:p

hennie Thu 31 July 2008 04:46

Would like that, only problem I am the only one in the house that is brave enough to eat spicy food.JA Kobus making one hungry with that bunny chow!:D

Lex Sun 24 August 2008 11:24

The majority of my electrical & electronic spares
1 Attachment(s)
The photo shows just about everything I need for my control box.
Breakout board, power supply & Geckos = R7263,00 ($958.18)
Electical box and spares = R2244.20 ($296)
The price for the steppers and the guide wheels are indicated in a previous message.
Import duty for the motors was R372.80 ($49.18)
And for the guide wheels = R277.98 ($36.67)

hennie Sun 24 August 2008 23:16

Where is the blue paint?:)

Lex Mon 25 August 2008 03:08

It is waiting closer to the end of the production line.

Kobus_Joubert Mon 25 August 2008 05:31

At least a start. Why did you have to pay import duty on the motors. I told the supplier to add that special CODE so mine came in DUTY FREE. Had to pay on the bearings, but that was expected.

Lex Mon 25 August 2008 08:47

Hey Kobus, I do not know that thing! They never mentioned anything either.:confused:

Kobus_Joubert Mon 25 August 2008 22:51

Hi Johan, I read about it somewhere on this forum I think.

It is called the HS-CODE and the code number you use is 8501.20.20

Gerald D Mon 25 August 2008 23:21

I mentioned the customs tariff code here:

. . . . . but that was for import into the USA, using their system. Countries are trying to agree on a "Harmonised" system of numbering their codes. Each country decides independently how much duty (if any) to charge for an import. Generally a country tries to protect its local industry and levies a duty on imported goods which are already manufactured in the home country. If 8501.20.20 worked for Kobus in South Africa, that is a good code to remember. (Right now I don't know what codes I used before, but so far they have also come in at 0% duty). The moral of the story is to do the homework on duties before the import, and get the supplier to print them on the invoice. A customs official regards the invoice as gospel.

Lex Mon 01 September 2008 01:11

1 Attachment(s)
I will have to write the money off that I paid on the import duty as skoolgeld (School fees). Never knew that loop hole exist!:(

I am confident now to post my circuit diagram after spending a lot of time on it. Special thanks to Greg from Edenvale (our local cnc expert) :)for all his help.

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