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  #1  
Old Sat 02 May 2009, 17:37
lumberjack_jeff
Just call me: Jeff #31
 
Montesano, WA
United States of America
A year of lurking pays off - Montesano, WA

Hi all,
To start off, thanks everyone, but especially Gerald for collaborating on such a robust and well thought out product.

"Introduce yourself"? Well, at risk of oversharing, I am an engineer from Olympia, WA, USA who has a fair amount of Mechanical and steel design experience (including steel detailing, but very little actual welding) and pretty good computer skills. After a couple of voluntary and not-so-voluntary career changes, I've decided that working from home is the optimal situation.

I built my house and shop with that in mind.

I see a few possible ways to leverage my experience into gainful self-employment, but a cnc router is near the top of the list.

Consistent with my chosen username, I purchased a small sawmill in October, and although the local timber market is the worst ever, I do have free access to lots of Western Red Cedar, Maple, Fir and Red Alder - cut to whatever dimensions I need.

The MechMate seems perfect to me.
a) It is massive and rigid enough to damp vibrations when cutting aluminum.
b) It is made of all-steel so (unlike an mdf machine, of which there are several good ones like Joe's2006) it is immune to the crummy and changeable weather here.
c) It is large, so I can build it to cut 48"x96" sheet goods.
d) The design is flexible enough that it can be built (or retrofitted) to work as a plasma torch or an indexer. This flexibility also allows me to adapt to my best market niche.
e) It allows the builder to choose steel shapes which are economical to him (or her).
f) the cost (even accounting for the sweat equity) is affordable.

This summer I'm going to start. My machine base will be a bolted design similar to buibui's machine. I will use the geared steppers and a chinese watercooled hf spindle. I intend to use EMC, but that is subject to further evaluation.

It is my hope that it I will be making dust by October/November.

My first target market is cutting out panels and bulkheads from marine ply for boat building. My second target market is signmaking (nice to have a sawmill ) and stencils. My third choice is toys and other ebay stuff. My fourth is parts for electric vehicle conversions.
... I have other ideas besides these. Did I mention that the thing I really love about this machine is the flexibility to support whatever it is that I want to be when I grow up? (some might suggest that at age 47, I ought to be have a pretty good idea by now. )

I have a couple of questions:
1) anyone in southwestern washington want to do a collaborative build like DeadGuy in Oregon?
2) my budget is $6000, but I really think I need the geared steppers and the spindle. My wife (the beloved finance minister) is the bookkeeper at a machine shop, so I may be able to leverage that into some savings. I also did some steel detailing for a nearby company with a large scrap pile and some unpaid karmic debt to me.

Are my expectations realistic? Do you think that my budget is realistic? Are there any upgrades that I should consider given my poorly-defined requirements?

Thanks again Gerald.
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  #2  
Old Sat 02 May 2009, 21:53
domino11
Just call me: Heath
 
Cornwall, Ontario
Canada
Welcome Jeff! Looks like you are well suited to start your build.
Let us know how it is coming along.
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  #3  
Old Sun 03 May 2009, 02:31
hennie
Just call me: Hennie #23
 
Roodepoort JHB
South Africa
Hi Jeff , beg ,borrow, and barter ( not steal we don`t do that ) and you should be able to build one for that budget.Goodluck.
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  #4  
Old Sun 03 May 2009, 09:54
lumberjack_jeff
Just call me: Jeff #31
 
Montesano, WA
United States of America
Thanks for the welcome Heath and Hennie. After reading Gerald's common sense advice about spindles, I think I'm leaning back toward a router... apparently they are adequately capable of milling the occasional aluminum job too.

... and that would make my budget about $500 more attainable.
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  #5  
Old Sun 03 May 2009, 10:23
sailfl
Just call me: Nils #12
 
Winter Park, FL
United States of America
Jeff,

I did the same thing. I wanted a spindle but I have gone with a Milwaukee 5625. They are quieter than the Porter Cables unless you have a router now.

Later this summer PreciseBits.com are coming out with a collet set that will give it more tolerance and will improve the silence even more.

My router is perfect for now.
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  #6  
Old Sun 03 May 2009, 10:53
J.R. Hatcher
Just call me: J.R. #4
 
Wilmington, North Carolina
United States of America
Send a message via Skype™ to J.R. Hatcher
Jeff if I were you, I would complete my machine then decide if I could afford the spindle. Lots of things could change during the construction ..... you might win the lottery .......... then you wouldn't even need the machine .
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  #7  
Old Sun 03 May 2009, 11:17
sailfl
Just call me: Nils #12
 
Winter Park, FL
United States of America
JR

If I played the loto and I won, I would build a building and make more things with the machine.
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  #8  
Old Sun 03 May 2009, 11:42
lumberjack_jeff
Just call me: Jeff #31
 
Montesano, WA
United States of America
Quote:
Originally Posted by J.R. Hatcher View Post
Jeff if I were you, I would complete my machine then decide if I could afford the spindle. Lots of things could change during the construction ..... you might win the lottery .......... then you wouldn't even need the machine .
Lately, luck tends to run the other way. Either way, your advice is sound.
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  #9  
Old Mon 04 May 2009, 16:15
ChiknNutz
Just call me: Chris
 
PNW
United States of America
Hello Jeff, I'm about 40 miles north of Seattle, so not exactly close but closer than many I s'pose. I too am an engineer, at least by education and somewhat by trade ;-) While I'd love to get in on a build, too many things are up in the air for me at present. A recent pay-cut at my primary career and very poor economic times at the "other career" helped to squash what little budget I had to go towards this.

One point to consider, be absolutely certain of your "Home Occupation" requirements because I was dealt a nasty blow by a pompous neighbor, bringing the county down on me and forcing me to MOVE or SHUT DOWN our home-based business. I know many many people who operate for decades out of their home, but I was not so fortunate.
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  #10  
Old Mon 04 May 2009, 21:30
lumberjack_jeff
Just call me: Jeff #31
 
Montesano, WA
United States of America
I used to work up in the Anacortes/Burlington area, nice country.

Although I live about 10 miles from the nearest little town, (when I make the trip, I always see more elk than cars) the low-profile home business is good advice.

I still have neighbors but they are a live-and-let-live bunch.

Of course there's a downside to the rural thing. If they're going to put up with me, I have to put up with them. I try to remember that at 10 pm on Friday night when they decide to do target practice by floodlight. Wild, wild, west baby!

Last edited by lumberjack_jeff; Mon 04 May 2009 at 21:34..
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  #11  
Old Wed 06 May 2009, 16:47
jeffh
Just call me: Jeff #21
 
Bellingham WA
United States of America
Send a message via Yahoo to jeffh
Hey Jeff! Welcome Back!

I wondered what happened to you. Glad you're back in the game.

Looks like we've got a lot of us engineers up here in the Pacific Northwest.
Always good to see that.

I think your budget is well within target to do everything.
The OM geared steppers are a little pricey but well worth the money.
As for your spindle, I'll eagerly watch how that goes.
I have a Milwaukee router but I long for a spindle with an automatic tool changer. Maybe some day.

Good luck with your build. I've got a spare skate if you or ChiknNutz wants it.
(Although if you buy your cut and bent steel from Joe Mcclain you'll get that included).

Cheers,

-Jeff
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  #12  
Old Sun 17 May 2009, 02:14
lumberjack_jeff
Just call me: Jeff #31
 
Montesano, WA
United States of America
don't call it slow... call it deliberate.

I've considered the geared steppers, the motionking steppers, and the RS steppers from HomeshopCNC.

I've also read every thread about the g540. It seems to me that it'd be a great match for the geared steppers. Unfortunately, it's unsuitable for the ungeared ones... and I really can't justify the investment of $1000 in geared steppers alone.

So, the cost of the G540 is $299. The cost of the G201 is about $525 (including pmdx). The cost of the G203v is about $645 (with pmdx).

I'm leaning strongly toward buying (4) RS34-960 and (4) G203v. The price including a pmdx will be about $1120. Nontrivial, but if I eventually retrofit timing belt reduction, the performance should be really good.

Rationale;
It's nice to deal with one vendor
they give a little price break when buying a package
When I was younger, "foolproof" would have seemed like an unnecessary feature. I've learned better. Now I realize that fault tolerant is a good thing.
I like the idea of driving two geckos from one pmdx channel. The power requirement of the g201 would not allow me to retain a spare channel for the retrofit of an indexer someday.
I'm leery of the motionking steppers because I have heard mixed reports from buyers who import directly, and I really don't want to get hung up waiting for delivery.
I chose the 960 oz-in motors because the general consensus seems to be that the 600 oz-in steppers are marginal, unless used with a gear reduction. I do intend to add belts, but not right away.
I like Mariss' explanation of recirculation. It seems that one could run a little higher voltage and not suffer overheating.

What do you think? It's not the cheapest possible, but it seems a reasonable price/performance/risk compromise.
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  #13  
Old Mon 18 May 2009, 21:46
lumberjack_jeff
Just call me: Jeff #31
 
Montesano, WA
United States of America
I try to remain open to serendipity. I do make plans, but I often find myself making directional changes quickly.

I bought four steppers off Ebay last night.



They are 7.5 ratio chinese nema 34 gear steppers, sold by Fulling motor.
http://www.fullingmotor.com/jsp/productshow.do?id=172

The price was right, far less than the cost of a set of direct drive motors, and about 1/3 the price of the OM gearmotors. The big question I have about them is the published backlash spec of 4

If that's real, I'll try to mitigate it through software backlash compensation. If I can't, I can always either take off the gearboxes from the steppers and put in timing belts or, ebay the motors and learn a lesson.

I said I'll own up to all my cheapskate mistakes. Here it is for all to see. Who was it who said "you don't learn anything by doing something right the first time"?

Who knows? Maybe they'll work.

...It could happen.

I'm also using this time to get my shop in shape. A few years ago, we moved from a big house in town into a little mobile in the country. First thing we did was build a 36x36 shop and filled it with all our belongings, while I built the new house.

The new house is done, but I find I'm still tripping over the... uh... "belongings" (I think they have another word for the stuff that the wife decrees "I'm not putting that thing in my new house"). So I'm doing some major shop cleaning, adding lights, circuits and air manifolds. It will be a really serviceable shop in about two weeks.

I've dedicated about 1/3 of my woodshop bay (call it 12' x 7' to the MechMate itself)

Oh, I also put an ad in the local freecycler seeking a busted microwave. (I need to harvest the transformer for the power supply). First microwave I got, was beautiful! In fact the stainless box had me planning how to use it as a control box. (a glass front allows one to display the geckos in their Green LED glory).

Tragically, the MW simply had a bad fuse. I can't kill a perfectly good, one-year-old microwave, so I await another. I'm an optimist. I'm sure there's another american out there somewhere who actually uses a device until it's irreparable.

I'm thinking that I can get this done on a really modest budget. We'll see, but so far, so good.

Speaking of budget... I know I said in the previous post that I'm planning to use g203v's, but does anyone have any experience with Keling stepper drivers? Specifically, the KL6050

Last edited by lumberjack_jeff; Mon 18 May 2009 at 21:52..
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  #14  
Old Tue 19 May 2009, 12:53
domino11
Just call me: Heath
 
Cornwall, Ontario
Canada
Jeff,
The drivers you are looking at from Kelling are only $7 cheaper than the 203Vs. Read up on all the features the geckos have compared to the Kelling and I would spend the little extra on the Geckos. They work really well.
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  #15  
Old Tue 19 May 2009, 14:36
Gerald D
Just call me: Gerald (retired)
 
Cape Town
South Africa
On the face of it, the KL6050 does not reduce the current to the motors when they stand still.
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  #16  
Old Tue 19 May 2009, 15:14
lumberjack_jeff
Just call me: Jeff #31
 
Montesano, WA
United States of America
Heath; am I misreading the Keling site? I think the drivers are $59.95. At first glance, it seems like a person could save almost $350.

Gerald; wouldn't the absence of recirculation (reduced idle current) make them comparable to the G201?

The specs also indicate that the Keling unit will allow you to choose between 1/8th step and half-step. Am I right that the Gecko is factory-set for 10 microsteps?
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  #17  
Old Tue 19 May 2009, 15:49
domino11
Just call me: Heath
 
Cornwall, Ontario
Canada
Jeff,
Sorry for the misquote, I looked quickly at the first driver on the list. They are a little cheaper, but do not have all the features of the geckos. For example

# 7A 80VDC 10-Microstep Drive
# Mid-band resonance damping
# Short-circuit protection
# Reversed-polarity protection
# Over-temperature protection
# Over-voltage protection
# Optoisolated STEP, DIRECTION and DISABLE inputs
# Optoisolator COMMON is ground
# 2.5V, 3.3V and 5V logic compatible inputs
# Recirculate mode while motor is stopped
# 350 kHz maximum Step pulse frequency
# Top settable adjust trimpot
# Power and error LED indicators
# No user settable jumpers inside
# Internal socketed fuse
# Power-on reset
# 20 kHz switching frequency

Geckos are know for their midband resonance damping and microstep to full step morphing. This enables the motor to produce the maximum power to the load regardless of the speed at which you drive it. Also dont forget that gecko has probably the best warranty and support in the business. PS, I dont work for Gecko, just like their products and service.
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  #18  
Old Tue 19 May 2009, 21:50
Gerald D
Just call me: Gerald (retired)
 
Cape Town
South Africa
The G201 does have a reduced current (33%) for standstill (no pulses after 1 second).
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  #19  
Old Wed 20 May 2009, 05:02
hennie
Just call me: Hennie #23
 
Roodepoort JHB
South Africa
Jeff ,I have 4 fulling motors with 3:1 gearboxes with G202 running them and they work every day must say up to now have had no problems.
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  #20  
Old Tue 25 August 2009, 08:13
sprayhead
Just call me: Francis
 
sydney
Australia
Hi Jeff

Im just wondering how did your motors went about that 4deg. backlash...

Was that right? did you have to use backlash comp?

thanks,
francis

Quote:
Originally Posted by lumberjack_jeff View Post
I try to remain open to serendipity. I do make plans, but I often find myself making directional changes quickly.

I bought four steppers off Ebay last night.



They are 7.5 ratio chinese nema 34 gear steppers, sold by Fulling motor.
http://www.fullingmotor.com/jsp/productshow.do?id=172

The price was right, far less than the cost of a set of direct drive motors, and about 1/3 the price of the OM gearmotors. The big question I have about them is the published backlash spec of 4

If that's real, I'll try to mitigate it through software backlash compensation. If I can't, I can always either take off the gearboxes from the steppers and put in timing belts or, ebay the motors and learn a lesson.

I said I'll own up to all my cheapskate mistakes. Here it is for all to see. Who was it who said "you don't learn anything by doing something right the first time"?

Who knows? Maybe they'll work.

...It could happen.

I'm also using this time to get my shop in shape. A few years ago, we moved from a big house in town into a little mobile in the country. First thing we did was build a 36x36 shop and filled it with all our belongings, while I built the new house.

The new house is done, but I find I'm still tripping over the... uh... "belongings" (I think they have another word for the stuff that the wife decrees "I'm not putting that thing in my new house"). So I'm doing some major shop cleaning, adding lights, circuits and air manifolds. It will be a really serviceable shop in about two weeks.

I've dedicated about 1/3 of my woodshop bay (call it 12' x 7' to the MechMate itself)

Oh, I also put an ad in the local freecycler seeking a busted microwave. (I need to harvest the transformer for the power supply). First microwave I got, was beautiful! In fact the stainless box had me planning how to use it as a control box. (a glass front allows one to display the geckos in their Green LED glory).

Tragically, the MW simply had a bad fuse. I can't kill a perfectly good, one-year-old microwave, so I await another. I'm an optimist. I'm sure there's another american out there somewhere who actually uses a device until it's irreparable.

I'm thinking that I can get this done on a really modest budget. We'll see, but so far, so good.

Speaking of budget... I know I said in the previous post that I'm planning to use g203v's, but does anyone have any experience with Keling stepper drivers? Specifically, the KL6050
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  #21  
Old Tue 25 August 2009, 23:38
lumberjack_jeff
Just call me: Jeff #31
 
Montesano, WA
United States of America
So far the steppers are working well without any kind of software backlash compensation.

I think that 90% of the minimal chatter that I'm currently experiencing is due to a somewhat primitive router mount.

I think that as I climb the learning curve, most of the limitations will go away.

One note, if you use these steppers, and you want 400+ ipm, don't select too small of a pinion gear; the Mariss formula shows that they are limited in rpm. Use a larger gear and more microstepping.
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