MechMate CNC Router Forum

MechMate CNC Router Forum (
-   MechMates already cutting (
-   -   Cutting Letters, Airplane parts and Dinosaurs! #18 - Horsham, Australia (

Jayson Sat 20 December 2008 00:21

Cutting Letters, Airplane parts and Dinosaurs! #18 - Horsham, Australia
3 Attachment(s)
OK you have all forced me to start building. I have wasted far too much of my life logging into this forum every day to see what the rest of you have been doing. Its now my turn. I was hoping to grab serial #14 but alass I have felt my run too late, so maybe now I will have to aim for #21 or so. :)

First off I would like to thank those that tried to help me get some rack a while ago. Unfortunately I have had to bow to the extortion demands of the Australian suppliers and I have purchased locally. I have been a victum of the financial situation that is currently affecting a few regions. Our dollar dropped substancially compared the the US$ which made it uneconomical to get anything sent here from overseas.

I did find an Australian supplier of module 1 rack that was half the price of anywhere else that replied to my quotation requests. So with a great deal of courage I emptied my moneybox (literally) and ordered 5 x 2 meter lengths of rack and 4 pinions. 5 days later the parcel arrived.

and so it begins...


Gerald D Sat 20 December 2008 01:42

This is probably the first time in my life that I a cheering for an Aussie - go Jayson, GO! :D

sailfl Sat 20 December 2008 02:57


Good luck with your build and you are right it is not impossible. It just took me longer than I thought it would. I some times wondered if I was actually go to finish. Now, I am very pleased and it was worth the effort.

Greolt Sat 20 December 2008 04:57


Good to see a Mechmate started in Aus.

Did you get the rack from TEA? Or somewhere else.

Greg (Geelong)

domino11 Sat 20 December 2008 07:14

Welcome Jayson! Getting all the parts sourced is not an easy task anywhere. Especially if you are looking for good deals. :)

gmessler Sat 20 December 2008 14:40

Good luck with your build Jayson. It's a long process (for most....not mentioning any names:p) but well worth it!:)

Jayson Sat 20 December 2008 15:10

Hi Greg,

yep the rack came from TEA. No one else could get close to their price. I'm a little unsure why everyone else is so much more expensive, the rack I received looks like it is good quality.

Hopefully I will have my machine finished in a reasonable timeframe, the main problem is getting everything together as stated.

Watch this space...


Jayson Mon 22 December 2008 04:59

2 Attachment(s)
Well just for fun I decided to see if I could make the rail skate plates myself. I considered gluing paper onto steel and cutting it out on the bandsaw but then I remenbered that I had a cnc mill :)

Only broke 3 end mills makeing both these... not too bad... oh wait yes it is, at the cost of 3 endmills it would have been cheaper to get them laser cut, but would not have been as much fun.

Will get them bent soon.


smreish Mon 22 December 2008 06:05

I did the glue, stick and bandsaw method for the protype which is a lot like your pictures. So, if anyone want's to get started before the laser parts, you do have options that are easy!

Nicely done.

Jayson Wed 24 December 2008 05:42

37 Attachment(s)
Ok well here is a little update...

I had started to build a router a little while ago before I actually decided to go with the Mechmate so I had a little bit of a head start. Here is the base which is similar to that in the plans but not exactly the same the main difference is that it is a bolted design. Also the main rails are only 100mm high which I will address later
Attachment 3045
Ok so the first thing to do from the plans was making the rollers
Attachment 3046 Attachment 3047
Cutting the stock to a rough length and Boring for the bearings
Attachment 3048 Attachment 3049 Attachment 3050
Homemade bearing puller to remove roller once machined
and the completed roller wheels
Attachment 3051 Attachment 3052
Next were the eccentrics and the spider plate spacers
Attachment 3053 Attachment 3054
Those who are eagle eyed will notice that there are a few too many parts...
I decided to extend the end plates by 50mm to compensate for the smaller main rails. I got the original parts cut also just in case my alterations did not work correctly, then I will make the Y axis as designed and drop the bed by 50mm below the rails.
Attachment 3016 Attachment 3017 Attachment 3018
I was very happy with the fitting on the parts from the laser cutter / bender and proceeded to weld things together. I have not done a lot of welding and this is the first mig welding I have done so please forgive what you see...
Attachment 3019 Attachment 3020
I next made the spider plate and then the z slide. Those who have completed these parts will know that this is NOT the correct order in which to do this. You can see (hopefully) that the spacing for the bearings is 126.33mm which did not allow the plate to fit the spider so I pulled apart the bearings and remachined the wheels. I now have a spacing of 122.8mm which does allow the plate to fit. Lesson learned, make sure you make the parts in the correct order.
Attachment 3021 Attachment 3022
I drilled and countersunk the z plate and stiffener on my mill. This made things extremely easy (I love cnc :))
Attachment 3023
I could not get a gas spring with enough travel so I have 3 sets of mounting holes as suggested elsewhere on the site. Works great.
Attachment 3024 Attachment 3025
Next were the stop blocks.
Attachment 3026 Attachment 3027
Having made the stop blocks I welded on the stops. Knowing everything about this design since I have studied the plans so well I knew that the stop adjust screws were only needed at one end of the gantry so I welded on undrilled stops at one end. It seems that Gerald was not aware that this is the way the design was meant to work so I cut off the blocks and make them the other way and reattached them :rolleyes:
Attachment 3028
Fitted up the cable chains that I purchased from a second hand shop. Surprisingly they were exactly the right lengths for both the x and y axis. It must have been fate.
Attachment 3029
I next unbolted everything and applied a few coats of undercoat in preparation for painting.
Attachment 3030 Attachment 3031
Attachment 3032 Attachment 3033
Next applied the filler and then another layer of undercoat.
Attachment 3034 Attachment 3035
Attachment 3036
Must be time for painting.
Attachment 3037 Attachment 3038
This is how I made the feet. Large washers with the hole half filled with weld and a bolt drilled and tapped in the head for a retaining screw so the washers don't fall off.
Attachment 3039 Attachment 3040
Started bolting everything together... It’s starting to take shape.
Attachment 3041 Attachment 3042
Due to the main beams not having exactly parallel flanges I needed to shim the cross supports. I used .5mm thick steel strapping for this purpose.

Well I seem to have used up most of my allocation... geez you don't get many posts before running out of space :)

There was not much left to show anyway, just the rack welding.

Hope you all have enjoyed the pics. I hope to get the machine finished early next year.

Oh and by the way Merry Christmas to all.

Regards all,


Gerald D Wed 24 December 2008 05:59

Bowl me over! Wow Jayson, you are obviously not watching the cricket at this pace! :D

(Your pic allocation has been increased.)

sailfl Wed 24 December 2008 07:50


You are making the rest of us look bad. Nice job and great work.

gmessler Wed 24 December 2008 08:44

Great pics Jayson!!:)

Jayson Wed 24 December 2008 13:13

4 Attachment(s)
Thanks all, I usually don't watch sport anyway and with such a project going on in the shed it is hard to find time to even eat! Thanks for the Pic increase Gerald.

So the most dreaded part of the build so far was welding the rack together. I was not looking forward to this part of the build and I knew it would be exceptionally hard to do, especially since I had to sell an arm and a leg to be able to afford the rack. This makes it both hard to stand and also hard to weld :p.

Attachment 3062 Attachment 3063

Imagine my surprise when the welding went perfectly. I will tell you all my secret to success, follow Gerald’s directions. He knows his stuff.

Attachment 3065

The next most dreaded part of the build was the rail making. Now I know that many of you have said that it is not hard but until you do it yourself you can just not appreciate how easy it actually is. The angle for the x rail that was supplied was not as thick as I requested but decided to use it anyway, mainly because I was sure that the process would not work and I would end up buying linear rails. :eek: Well the process was so easy and went so well that I have a slightly under spec rail but I am sure it will be fine. I have bolted the rail down at centres of 120mm. The reason for this was that is the spacing required for the linear rail that I may have required oh and it adds extra support for the thinner rail :rolleyes:

Attachment 3064

The rail cutting was very easy and from reading some other posts I think that I may have been very conservative with the rail cutting. I used a total of 4 disks for all the rails. I did use very light cuts and was ever mindful that the angle grinders usually do not survive a Mechmate build. My angle was 2 1/2 inch on both legs so I could not use the whole disk as the skate plate hit the rail before it was totally cut through once the disk wore a bit. If I had used differed rail I may have gotten away with 2 disks I think.

Christmas is underway here in Australia so I will have to go now, I will give an update in a few days when I get time to get back to the machine.

Cheers to all.

Its time to enjoy some food...

Jayson Fri 26 December 2008 04:29

2 Attachment(s)
Did a little more bolting today. Its starting to take shape

I am happy with the way its looking, I've already got plans on what I'll do differently for the next one :eek: :D

Attachment 3085 Attachment 3086

For those interested my machine was designed to have a cutting area of 4 feet by a tad over 12 feet. The reason for this size is because that is the size of aircraft aluminium sheet in Australia, just in case I ever want to build one :)


YRD Fri 26 December 2008 04:59

Originally Posted by Jayson View Post
have a cutting area of 4 feet by a tad over 12 feet. The reason for this size is because that is the size of aircraft aluminium sheet in Australia, just in case I ever want to build one :)

I see that I am not alone :D

Jayson Fri 26 December 2008 14:20

Hi Yuri,

it seems like a perfect project for the Mechmate :)

The Sonnex looks good and a friend of mine has purchased the plans. Its a shame that they are not available in CAD format already, it would save a lot of work.

I will build a Zenith CH601 or ch650 but thats down the track a little.


Jayson Wed 31 December 2008 18:20

It Moves... a bit of it at least
I have been a little buisy trying to get my machine going. Its all the little things that take ages. I have installed all the motor mounts but am short on springs, these will take about a week to arive. I had enough parts to get the Y axis going.

Here is a little video, not very exciting unless you were there :)

Must go and build some more.

Its getting close now


Gerald D Wed 31 December 2008 21:01

Very impressive Jayson!

Gerald D Wed 31 December 2008 21:08

You could use a heavy rubber band (o-ring) as a temporary spring.

Jayson Wed 31 December 2008 21:14

Thanks for the suggestion, I might just do that.

All I have to do is purchase the MDF for the table, mount the remaining 3 motors and wire everything. Should only be a few more days work, I hope.

I was a little worried about the motors as they were "rescued" from some photographic equipment. They are 5 phose motors, 500 steps per rev. The drivers only have full and half step. Until I am finished I will reserve judgement on them but initial thoughts are that they will be fine.


YRD Thu 01 January 2009 07:26


It seems now that will cut.

On this site (AirFox) in my friend Beto, you see Sebastien. Here am I the left.

My first flight was in XL601 ZOD.

The 650 project seems to be very good.

Jayson Mon 05 January 2009 04:58

7 Attachment(s)
Well things have slowed down a little. I am now finding out just how many things I had forgotten to order.

Attachment 3212

The tape I purchased for the rack is distributed by Husky (Google "Husky Tape"). They told me that it was exactly the as the 3M tape. It might be I'm not sure but it has so far worked fine. The tape is foam cored 2mm thick and was 18mm wide and was 16m long. This meant that I had to trim the tape a little but once it had been applied to the rack it was easy to run a knife along the edge to trim it.

Attachment 3213

Today I cut out some stickers to go onto the machine. At work we have a CNC matt cutter for cutting mats to go around photos. I found that if you placed some vinyl underneath the matt, the knife would go through and cut the vinyl along with the matt. This resulted in individual letters which may have been hard to align but I had a plan

Attachment 3214 Attachment 3215 Attachment 3216

I kept the mats and used them as "stencils" to align the stickers.

Attachment 3217

I also stuck some onto the door of the controller box.

Attachment 3218

I have made a start on the controller enclosure. It is a little large however I am fairly certain that I will not run out of space in it. For reference the enclosure is made from a parts washer. I plan on screwing it to the wall and placing the PC in there too. All the parts in the control box have been "rescued" from a photographic machine.

I ordered some shielded cable today. It is 7 conductor .5mm wire. I hope it will be ok. My motors require 5 conductors but I could only get 7 in .5mm. There was 5 conductor available but it had 1.5mm conductors and was way more expensive.

I am hoping all the parts will be here by the weekend so I can get it finished.


William McGuire Tue 06 January 2009 00:34

WOW! December 20th to January 5th... and already have one of the axis turning.

In post #7 you stated "Hopefully I will have my machine finished in a reasonable timeframe". Looks like you will need to slow down a whole lot to attain a "reasonable" timeframe:D

wheelygood Fri 09 January 2009 17:05

Hi Jayson. Do you have a link for the supplier of the rack you used.
Any one know of anyone building a MechMate in New Zealand?

Jayson Fri 09 January 2009 18:52

Hi Steve,

Here is a link to TEA that I got the rack from.

Not sure if they have a New Zealand distributor or not.

Good luck.


wheelygood Fri 09 January 2009 21:48

Thanks, I am onto it already.

Jayson Sat 17 January 2009 03:18

3 Attachment(s)
Hi everyone, just letting you all know that I haven’t fallen off the face of the Earth...

The wiring seems to take ages but I am happy with the way it is coming along.

Here are a few pics

Attachment 3340 Attachment 3341 Attachment 3342

I am still amazed at all the small details that have been accounted for, like the holes for the wires to make everything neat :cool:

I am using EMC2 for the control software. I use it on my CNC Mill and am so pleased with it I can not recommend it enough. You do need to have some patience if you want to deviate from a standard configuration (like pause/run buttons) but once it is configured it works great.

I have been cutting lots of air as I do not yet have a suitable router to mount on the MM but this will be fixed soon. I am amazed at the speeds some of you have been getting and am having trouble achieving them myself. The best I have been able to achieve was 660mm/second but this lost steps so I have backed it off to 450mm/second which is totally reliable but far short of the 1000 some of you have been getting. Maybe my motors are just no good... I should build a belt reduction to take the load off the motors which should make it go faster.

I have been having a great deal of trouble finding MDF for the base the right size. As stated before the main purpose of my build is to aid in the construction of an aircraft. Aircraft aluminium comes in 4 foot by 12 foot sheets however MFD is metric at 1200 x 3600 mm or 1800 x 3600 mm sheets so I will have to make do with 3 pieces on the table of 32mm thickness. I will do the same for the sacrificial board (16 or 19mm) but will offset the joins from that of the table to add strength. I hate the metric / imperial thing it causes so much confusion and just makes some things hard.

That’s it for now.


Appimate Sat 17 January 2009 04:27

Hello Jason

Nice build, do you ever sleep or are you like the reality shows, lots going on behind the scenes but one front guy!.

You should be able to get 25mm ( I think even 32mm ) from Laminex Industries, down side is that it isn't cheap nor is it light, I used some 25mm to make a sound proof box when I was using a Triton router and needed a hand with the 2.4 by 1.2 meter sheets.


Jayson Sat 17 January 2009 04:40

Thanks Ed,
I'll give them a try and see if they can help.

Sleep, now that would be a novel idea... ;)

I'm really looking forward to getting this thing completed.I need to start building my plane :)


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 14:22.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.3
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.