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Greeny Sun 23 August 2009 19:38

Hello from the UK. Very interested in building a MechMate. (Possibly with a twist!)
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Hi Everyone.

My name Greeny, from the 'sunny' north of the UK.
I am very interested in building a MechMate, and have spent the last week or so reading as much as possible.
I would want to cut long and narrow wood almost exclusively , typically 8ft long x 10 inches wide.
With that in mind i am thinking about a moving X table utilising a standard gantry, slightly widened, that is
approx 10ft long and 2.5ft deep (requiring 5 ft of X movement).
The X table (gantry) would be lightly braced to stiffen it. Perhaps with a centre rail for support.
The Y Rail beams would be fixed and part of the main table frame. A Std Y car would run on them with a standard Z axis.

The advantages of this configuration being that loading & set up would be easily accessible
The reasoning behind fixing the Y Rail beams is so they can be made as beefy as neccesary, without worrying about weight.
The wood to cut will not weigh much (~2-4lbs) so i'm guessing it will be ok to move the table instead.
I have included a picture to try and clarify my ramblings :)
(Note: it is only a concept and not meant to be an accurate representation)
I know it seems a bit of a radical departure, but other than the table mods, i think i will only have to widen 2 of the laser cut
parts (The carrier plates 10 20 451 & 10 20 452) . The rest utilises std mechmate kit ie, Y car,z axis,V rails & bearings,
motor mounts, rack & pinion etc, so I hope it is not to far outside the accepted bounds of the mechmate design :eek:

I would be very interested in anyone's comments & thoughts.
(I'm thinking i might be trying to run before i can crawl, and should have a crack at a std mechmate first, but i quite like the idea of a moving table:) )

Lastly a huge thankyou to Gerald. This forum is nothing short of amazing.


Castone Sun 23 August 2009 19:57

The old mazak lasers use to be made that way years ago, then they went to the gantry style. But if it where me I would just stick with Geralds plans that are offered here, all of the bugs have already been worked out and there are lots of very nice people to help you out along the way. I dont see that weight would be a problem with the MechMate design. Stray to far and you might be on your own.

domino11 Sun 23 August 2009 20:05

I would agree with Leo, Just size the MM to what you want and build away, unless you like working out design problems. :) These have already been worked out on this design.

Gerald D Sun 23 August 2009 22:50

A moving table requires double the floor space. The x-rail length is double the x-dimension of the workpiece. The x- driving system gets down into the really dirty part of the machine.

Have a look at ShopBot "Buddy"

Greeny Mon 24 August 2009 01:39

Oops, the drawing should say "Work area approx 10ft x 2.5 ft" as the table is 2.5ft but needs to move 5ft.
Thanks for everyones input, my head agrees entirely that it's much more sensible to go the standard route.
I would probably to go 10ft in X & 2.5ft in Y though as i think the other way round might be too long for the gantry.

There is still a masochistic part of me that would like to go with a moving table though.:)

Greeny Tue 25 August 2009 13:23

Sense has prevailed.
I have decided to go with the standard MechMate design.
Work area 1m (in X) and approx 3m (in Y)
Hoping to start soon. :)

Doug_Ford Tue 25 August 2009 14:54

Welcome aboard. Are you from Newcastle?

jhiggins7 Tue 25 August 2009 15:51


You say you are going to build a "standard" MechMate, yet your Y is 3 times your X. This is the opposite of "standard". Is this just a slip, or do you have a reason for this approach?

Greeny Tue 25 August 2009 16:35

Hi Doug, Cheers, I'm not far from Newcastle, a small town called Whitby.

Hi John, sorry for the confusion :). I meant standard as in working off Gerald's design, but just altering the dimensions.
I had previously talked about a very non standard (for MechMates at least) moving X table design. Which, due to good advice, I have now abandoned
The reason for making Y the largest dimension is mainly for easy acces to the table. I was worried about the weight & stability of such a long gantry,
but have since read that it should be ok if slightly heavier steel is used for the beams.

jhiggins7 Tue 25 August 2009 20:09


I had read your earlier posts. I'm still wondering about the mechanical strength of a 1 meter X by 3 meter Y versus the other way around. I would think you must have severe space constraints to justify this design. Just my opinion.

Have a great build. Can't wait to see more as you progress.:)

Doug_Ford Tue 25 August 2009 20:29


I had relatives in Dudley and have been to Newcastle and the area several times. I love Newcastle Brown Ale. :p

Greeny Wed 26 August 2009 00:34

Thanks for your input and good wishes. I agree it is pushing things with respect to stability, and am now considering going with a 3m X and 1m Y and put up with loading over the X rails.
Basically i need to make up my mind:)

Doug, ahhh Newcastle Brown known locally as 'the dog' (i'm not sure why). It is a fine drink, but if not treated with respect, can wreak a terrible revenge the day after.:eek:

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