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darren salyer Fri 22 October 2010 22:33

Man I'm having fun with this machine #101 - St. Louis Mo.
2 Attachment(s)
Having been a lurker here for 18 months or so, (downloaded and printed the plans well over a year ago.) and having gathered a few bits together, I finally pulled the trigger and ordered the laser cut parts from MetalHead.
I'm a full time remodeler/ part time cabinetmaker and currently have a very small homemade tabletop CNC machine I bought used, and ended up rebuilding most of.
That machine taught me the basics of Mach3 and i do quite a few Vectorart carvings with it.

I have decided belt drive is the way to go, and have spent the last 3 hours re-reviewing bookmarked threads trying to find details of the parts necessary to complete the belt drives.

Having 4 20' long C channel beams, I'm still debating size, but am intrigued by the idea of utilizing the entire 20', and machining sheet goods on each end. Seems I could unload and reload a new sheet on one end, while a panel was being machined at the opposite end. This evolved from the idea of two machines with one operator cycling back and forth between them, loading and unloading. One long machine not only saves on motors and electrical components, but also allows the occasional big project that 2 smaller machines wouldn't.
I have 2000 sq. ft. to devote, at the rear of my shop,so space isn't an issue.:)

Thanks in advance to Gerald, Mike and everyone else here who have contributed so much to make my journey easier.


darren salyer Tue 02 November 2010 22:20

I'm thinking a 5'x12' table size will allow me the ability to cut radius work out of stock, finally retiring my shop built "compass" router jig.

Bearings are ordered from Superior, laser parts should be here this week, and I'll be picking up some more steel next week.

BIL is a commercial electrician and is on the lookout for an enclosure box.

And so it begins.....

KenC Wed 03 November 2010 01:40

Welcome to the club!
Regarding size, you might also want to accessing the cut parts in the middle of the table without climbing onto the table top... I made the mistake of going for the largest possible table size but after advises from Gerald & others also after I dry fitted the table that I realised that 6' x 16' is insane... Consider this as a reality check.

darren salyer Wed 03 November 2010 21:43

A very good reality check. Thank you for that.
My scenario:
I have a supplier who drives past my shop to have a competitor cut the occasional job on a 5x10 machine.(Who buys nothing from him) He has stated they sometimes have to creatively position at an angle to fit the material he needs cut. He has further stated he can throw some work my way, and a bigger table might make it easier to make me the go to guy for all of it...
As an aside, I have 4 (+1 spare) Chinese 12 MM diameter x 4 MM detection proxys from Ebay on the way.

smreish Thu 04 November 2010 07:35

The two tables I use frequently use all of the 5' x 8' or 5' x 10' area.
MDF is available stock sizes in 4 x 8, 5 x 8 and 5 x 10 and 5 x 12 in my area. Only once in the past 2 years did I wish I had a 5' x 12' table.(acrylic comes in 5' x 12' sheets) ...the rest of the time, 5x8 was plenty. I will say though, having that 2' of extra "not used" space on the end of the machine makes it nice to leave duty specific blocking and hold downs for small parts. I often have to cut plastic in small sizes for prototyping parts....thus nice to have a little are to work with.

Just my thoughts.


darren salyer Mon 16 January 2012 21:11

Wow. Over a year has passed and I'm just now getting back to this.
Welded up the Y car this weekend and made a cutlist for a 5x12 table.
Pulled all the stuff I've been accumulating for the past year off the shelf and inventoried it.
Heres to continued momentum.

MetalHead Mon 16 January 2012 22:18

Glad to have you back. I have added a good bit of stuff to my offerings, so let me know if you need anything.

darren salyer Wed 18 January 2012 16:00

A little progress last night. They are flat but the 1/4" plywood laying on the horses is bowing and they look bent.

darren salyer Thu 19 January 2012 18:17

Got the main beams cut to length today (14')
Ends mitered. Need to get some material for end caps.
Put a laser along the top edge and they are very straight.

How do you eat an elephant?
One small bite at a time.

darren salyer Sat 21 January 2012 10:15

Gantry all clamped up ready to weld
The gantry is all leveled, squared, checked and double checked ready to weld together.

darren salyer Sat 21 January 2012 10:18

Another Gantry shot
This shows the far end of the gantry ready to weld.
you can also see the main beams up on the sawhorses in the background and the legs underneath them.
Also shows what a mess my shop has become in the last week.
Next week should show some serious progress on the table.

melissa Sat 21 January 2012 14:29

Lookin' good! :)

Two tips for your gantry welding:

1. make sure the holes are countersunk for the motor bolts. It's easy while the parts are loose, and a right pain after the gantry is welded.

2. I used threaded rod inside the gantry tubes to hold the end brackets flush to the tubes while I tack welded. Easier (and more out-of-the-way) than clamps.

MetalHead Sat 21 January 2012 21:31

3 Attachment(s)
Here are some shots of the bushings I made Darren for his motor plates.

Yeah Darren I'ma little slow :) but these will be in the mail Monday !!!

Thought you'd like some pics of them being made.

darren salyer Sun 22 January 2012 08:22

Thanks for the great service, Mike!!

darren salyer Tue 24 January 2012 15:45

Started welding the legs and spreaders onto one of the main beams.
Still need to add the diagonals.

darren salyer Tue 24 January 2012 15:47

Haven't welded anything major in quite a few years, but these should hold, even if they aren't as pretty as some I've seen here.

MetalHead Tue 24 January 2012 19:43

So your joking huh :D . Mine look WAY worse than that !!!

TechGladiator Tue 24 January 2012 20:43

@Darren: I think my best weld doesn't look half as good as that. Great Job!..

domino11 Tue 24 January 2012 23:54

I think for stick, I would be happy with that no problem!

darren salyer Sun 29 January 2012 10:52

Welding in the bearing spacers Mike sent me....

darren salyer Sun 29 January 2012 10:54

Should be able to finish these as soon as the pulleys and belts arrive..

TechGladiator Sun 29 January 2012 11:02

Wait a minute. Weren't we suppose to just use locktite to attach those bearings to the plate????.Kidding..

Good job. Looks like it's coming along nicely.

darren salyer Sun 29 January 2012 12:32

I've been watching your build closely, and have used it as inspiration.

Putting my skate together now.

darren salyer Sun 29 January 2012 15:30

1 15' rail cut down......
2 to go.....

darren salyer Mon 30 January 2012 20:58

All 3 15' pieces of rail cut down.
Guess I start grinding them tomorrow night.

Leg closure plates all cut out, drilled and a nut welded on for the levelers.
Guess since I went with 6 legs, I'll have to talk to Mike about getting a couple more rubber feet.

Nothing sexy, but progress none the less.

TechGladiator Mon 30 January 2012 22:29


Thats great. Grinding had me a little scare but it ended up being pretty easy. Just be careful and take plenty of breaks with the grinder as you dont want to burn it. When I was grinding my rails if I felt the grinder get hot I took a beer break. With the 3 rails I probably had a six pack :) are you using the sanding paper on the grinder? That worked great for me.

darren salyer Tue 31 January 2012 07:26

Yes, I'll pick up some this afternoon, and get started this evening. Guess I'll grab some beer too.:)

Cutting the rails was certainly more pleasant than I had anticipated. My 10 yr. old Dewalt grinder had no problems keeping up, but I still didn't force it.

darren salyer Sat 04 February 2012 16:10

Everyone seems to have a picture of their v-rollers sitting on the ground rails, and I now know why.
While it was by no means a difficult task, I'm certainly glad to have reached what to me is a milestone.
Rails are all cut and ground, with the obligatory picture.....

smreish Sat 04 February 2012 19:26

...did you use the 36 grit sanding disks backed by the grinder disk?

darren salyer Sat 04 February 2012 21:20

Yes I did.
Used two 36 grit discs per 15' rail and 1 50 grit to dress all 3.
Worked like a charm, and my 10 dollar Harbor Freight grinder lives to tell the tale.

smreish Sat 04 February 2012 21:54

....I love it when people follow directions! Good work - nicely done.

darren salyer Mon 13 February 2012 20:18

I SHOULD have the base table final welded and upright by the end of the week.

So now I'm exploring PMDX numbers like mad, trying to decide how to best build a control box that will allow me to use the proxies I already have, and be able to add a laser pointer, touch off plate, spindle control, dust collection switching, etc. in the future without having to backtrack.
Then there is that whole smoothstepper question.....
If anyone has any insite to a plan of attack, I'd be very appreciative.

baseball43v3r Mon 13 February 2012 23:56

go for the PMDX 126, plenty of inputs, and if you decide you have more then that can handle, you can add a second 126 to the mix. but out of all the boards, that has the most inputs and outputs (i think).

MetalHead Tue 14 February 2012 06:37

I agree with John. go the 126 route and if your using Geckos use the 133 or 134 boards to reduce wire clutter in the cabinet.

darren salyer Tue 14 February 2012 09:20

That is the way I was leaning.
Thanks for the replies.

Anyone have an opinion on using these type connectors to connect to the control box?

WTI Tue 14 February 2012 11:43

Originally Posted by darren salyer View Post
That is the way I was leaning.
Thanks for the replies.

Anyone have an opinion on using these type connectors to connect to the control box?
I used them, but it is better to pay $1.69:

Than it is to pay $6.00.

Get a few extra for later servicing.

domino11 Tue 14 February 2012 11:51

You can also find the Paralell card he sells here for cheaper too.

Newegg parallel card

darren salyer Tue 14 February 2012 20:13

Man I learn something new everyday.

Hours spent reading threads and seeing comments about XLR connectors, and I STILL didn't make the connection that those are XLR connectors.

Thanks for the link.


darren salyer Tue 14 February 2012 20:19

BTW, got a couple sheets of 3/4" x 5 x 12 MDF headed this way....
Anyone wanns help unload it?
My back hurts already...

domino11 Tue 14 February 2012 21:26

Actually, the ebay connectors referenced in the above posts are not really xlr connectors. They will work fine but are not interchangeable with real xlr connectors as far as I know.

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