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  #1  
Old Mon 06 February 2012, 11:08
WTI
Just call me: James
 
Detroit (Michigan)
United States of America
12 foot Mechmate V-rails

After some shopping around, we have found a factory that actually *wants* to make a batch of professional angle iron V-rails (rather than the usual "well...I guess we could...not really what we do here"). They have a horizontal mill with a 12 foot bed, so hopefully 12 foot is a size everyone can work with. You can cut them down or butt them together if you need other sizes.

With the MI sales tax they will cost us $198, so let's just round up to an even $200.

This is a one time run. We are ordering 2 sets for ourselves (one set as spares should the first set wear out or become damaged). We do not have any intention of stocking them. This is just a one time, "give back to the community" thing.

We are in Detroit MI, so you could come pick them up, or arrange for shipping.
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  #2  
Old Mon 06 February 2012, 11:19
revved_up
Just call me: Craig
 
Hartland, MI
United States of America
Is that 200 per rail or 200 per set?
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  #3  
Old Mon 06 February 2012, 12:04
bradm
Just call me: Brad #10
 
Somerville(MA)
United States of America
Hmm. Said factory offering a bundle of 3 12 footers or 6 6 footers (for UPS rather than truck delivery) on EBay might be quite successful - and could potentially manufacture to order. With the 6 footers, it's a quick weld-and-grind to make longer rails, and a Mechmate builder should have both the tools and skills to make that happen.

Thanks for thinking of us, James.
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  #4  
Old Mon 06 February 2012, 12:20
WTI
Just call me: James
 
Detroit (Michigan)
United States of America
Quote:
Originally Posted by revved_up View Post
Is that 200 per rail or 200 per set?
$200 per rail.

We would have no way of knowing what would constitute a "set", as everyone's Mechmate is different.
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  #5  
Old Mon 06 February 2012, 12:30
smreish
Just call me: Sean - #5, 28, 58 and others
 
Orlando, Florida
United States of America
James,
That is a pretty wonderful idea. Back when I was building #5, I researched this heavily and the end result was option #2 with Gerald's epiphany over the architectural aluminum angle and the BWC rail in front of a Chinese food take-out. (inside story, but you can read in in the threads if your that patient)

Moral of the story, I found 2 places that would make it for a much higher cost with similar knife grinding equipment. About 1200.00 for an entire machine worth of grinding.

If I recall - the cost was 200$ per 6', including cutting to height from user provided 2.5 x 2.5 x .25 angle.
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  #6  
Old Mon 06 February 2012, 12:37
WTI
Just call me: James
 
Detroit (Michigan)
United States of America
Quote:
Originally Posted by bradm View Post
Hmm. Said factory offering a bundle of 3 12 footers or 6 6 footers (for UPS rather than truck delivery) on EBay might be quite successful - and could potentially manufacture to order.
This factory is what you would imagine a Detroit factory looking like. 120 year old brick building, black from soot. Office still lit by incandescent lamps. No email, had to fax in a drawing to get the quote (when was the last time you sent a fax?).

I don't think they are going to be offering anything on Ebay, LOL.


We don't want to offer anything on Ebay either, as we have plenty of "real work" to do everyday.


Quote:
Originally Posted by bradm View Post
Thanks for thinking of us, James.
You are most certainly welcome.

I think most of us are here to take care of each other.
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  #7  
Old Mon 06 February 2012, 12:46
WTI
Just call me: James
 
Detroit (Michigan)
United States of America
Quote:
Originally Posted by smreish View Post
James,
That is a pretty wonderful idea.

Moral of the story, I found 2 places that would make it for a much higher cost with similar knife grinding equipment. About 1200.00 for an entire machine worth of grinding.

If I recall - the cost was 200$ per 6', including cutting to height from user provided 2.5 x 2.5 x .25 angle.

Yes, we had many quotes that were in those ranges.

This factory clearly wanted the work, had the mill to do the work, and priced the job accordingly.

The price was 1/2 of what a shop that my friend works at quoted us.
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  #8  
Old Mon 06 February 2012, 13:10
WTI
Just call me: James
 
Detroit (Michigan)
United States of America
To answer a few emails:

1. Yes, we could cut the rails to 6 foot so UPS can ship them.

2. No, we are not going to do this again a year into the future. We don't want to be in the business of supplying V rails, even if you pay us $100 (thank you for your generous offer, though )

3. If you pay for them in advance, we can put them up in the rafters of our shop until you need them - no problem.

4. No, we are not going to do a run of "Z" plates. We are not using a Z plate on our own machine, and any machine shop (or anyone with a mini mill from Harbor Freight), can make a Z plate easily.

5. We really can't do any custom size lengths. We have to keep this simple, so it does not become a lot of work.

Last edited by WTI; Mon 06 February 2012 at 13:18..
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  #9  
Old Tue 07 February 2012, 13:41
WTI
Just call me: James
 
Detroit (Michigan)
United States of America
A few more emails answered:

1. We will place the order as soon as orders from here start to drop off. I know many people only log in every week or so.

2. You can pay by Paypal (add 3% please) or honestly, just a personal check is fine.
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  #10  
Old Fri 10 February 2012, 10:53
WTI
Just call me: James
 
Detroit (Michigan)
United States of America
UPS Shipping:

We are going to cut the rails in half to 6 feet and drop them off at the UPS Store. They will put them in a shipping tube and charge your Credit Card for the shipping.

1. We don't have time to look up shipping prices for every state and country. You can go to UPS's web site (http://www.ups.com ) and get a rough idea. Figure two 6 foot rails are going to weigh 35 pounds a pair. They will ship from:

UPS Store
26300 FORD RD
DEARBORN HEIGHTS, MI 48127


2. You are going to need a Credit Card to pay the UPS Store.


Truck Freight Shipping:

We are still working on who will be the shipper for 12 foot rails. Probably Yellow Freight.
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  #11  
Old Fri 10 February 2012, 18:17
TechGladiator
Just call me: Miguel #94
 
Randolph, NJ
United States of America
James;

For whatever is worth, and I don't know how they did it BUT i just ordered some 8 Ft T-Clamp rails from a guy on ebay last week and they arrived via UPS two days ago. I thought UPS MAX length was 6ft but they apparently deliver 8ft pcs also.
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  #12  
Old Fri 10 February 2012, 18:33
WTI
Just call me: James
 
Detroit (Michigan)
United States of America
Miguel,

You are SO right!

This says 9 feet is the current limit:

http://www.ups.com/content/us/en/res.../oversize.html

I had also always heard the 6' was the limit.

Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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  #13  
Old Fri 10 February 2012, 18:40
TechGladiator
Just call me: Miguel #94
 
Randolph, NJ
United States of America
I think a lot of people (including myself up until 2 days ago) still believe that the max length is 6ft. When i was building the machine I almost ordered linear rails from Isus(sp?) but they wouldn't ship it UPS because they said the max length was 6ft with UPS.. So I decided against it. But as I said, a few days ago I had a nice surprise with the 8ft tubes that came in, and I don't think they charge you a lot more because the different for shipping 4ft pieces vs 8ft pieces wasnt a lot more... I guess I just changed your business plan uh? hehehe
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  #14  
Old Sat 11 February 2012, 03:07
MetalHead
Just call me: Mike
 
Columbiana AL
United States of America
Well I guess I need to be adding new parts to the stable . I'll get busy next week on that !!!
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  #15  
Old Sat 11 February 2012, 05:56
Gerald D
Just call me: Gerald (retired)
 
Cape Town
South Africa
I might have missed something here, but has anyone actually seen the quality of rail and has the factory committed to holding the prices for the future?

Regarding joining sections of rail, I think that welding would be more trouble than its worth. I would first try butting them together - the main beams are firm enough to hold the strength. (The gantry rails should be one-piece)
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  #16  
Old Sat 11 February 2012, 08:34
smreish
Just call me: Sean - #5, 28, 58 and others
 
Orlando, Florida
United States of America
...they are still really easy to make. 1 weekend - and your done.
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  #17  
Old Sat 11 February 2012, 09:30
WTI
Just call me: James
 
Detroit (Michigan)
United States of America
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerald D View Post
I might have missed something here, but has anyone actually seen the quality of rail and has the factory committed to holding the prices for the future?

I saw some shearing edges that were machined on their 12 foot mill and they were beautiful.

This is a one time, "group buy" purchase only.

There will be no future orders, just this one.

(I have a full time telescope manufacturing business to run http://webstertelescopes.com , and do not have the time nor the want to be in the rail selling business. Too much work for something we're not making any money on. If we owned a 12 foot horizontal mill ourselves, then maybe it would be OK to help everyone out once in a while, but I don't see that happening - LOL)
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  #18  
Old Sat 11 February 2012, 23:32
quadtech
Just call me: Prasad
 
Hyderabad
India
Nice Dobsonians you have there. Too bad you are on the other
side of the globe, and anyway, the only thing I could afford at this
time are the lovely T-shirts
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  #19  
Old Sun 12 February 2012, 10:47
WTI
Just call me: James
 
Detroit (Michigan)
United States of America
Thank you for the kind words Prasad.

We have a few of our scopes in India (even a big 1 meter model).
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  #20  
Old Tue 27 March 2012, 12:47
WTI
Just call me: James
 
Detroit (Michigan)
United States of America
We were out of town last week for a funeral, but this morning we started shipping out everyone's rails.

It turned out to be a little bit larger project that we initially imagined, but all of the UPS rails should be out of our shop by 5pm EST. Bill at UPS Store said he will call everyone with their shipping totals in the next day or so. Please have your credit card ready when he calls the contact number you gave us, so things can move along for him efficiently.

I'll be emailing all the local pick up people in the next few days to come get their rails, but if you really need them today, we will be in the shop until Midnight (please call first).

Of course people who are picking up their rails some time in the future, we are putting them up in the rafters with their names on them. No rush, they will be out of our way.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg rail-o-ramma.jpg (19.8 KB, 534 views)
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  #21  
Old Tue 27 March 2012, 13:58
WTI
Just call me: James
 
Detroit (Michigan)
United States of America
Almost forgot the required V-wheel on rail picture...
Attached Images
File Type: jpg rail2.jpg (10.7 KB, 532 views)
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  #22  
Old Thu 29 March 2012, 10:34
mycncrouter
Just call me: Norvo
 
New York
United States of America
V Rail

Hi there.
Is there a chance that I can get hold of that shop selling the V rail angles?

Thanks,

mycncrouter
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  #23  
Old Thu 29 March 2012, 11:06
mycncrouter
Just call me: Norvo
 
New York
United States of America
Hi James.
How do I go about ordering a "set" of V rails?
Please sent a message to my Email address: mthai128@hotmail.com

thanks,

Mycncrouter
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  #24  
Old Thu 29 March 2012, 16:19
WTI
Just call me: James
 
Detroit (Michigan)
United States of America
Norvo,

We have already run all the rails for everyone.

There are a few people who have not responded to our calls or emails, so if anyone is still unreachable in the next week or so, you might be able to buy their rails.

Otherwise, we are probably done with the whole rail thing. I'm glad we got a bunch of new MM builds off and running for everybody, but it was a lot of work coordinating all the addresses and cutting lengths for shipping (I bet there will be a fury of new MMs serial numbers in the next month!).

The shop that did the work will only re-run them in batches of 24+ rails, so there would have to be at least 5 other people who wanted rails besides yourself to make another run possible.
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  #25  
Old Wed 04 April 2012, 11:46
shipbldr
Just call me: Charles
 
Maryland
United States of America
12 foot rails V-rails or 6 6 ok?

Hi everyone!

My name is Charles and I just caught this thread about rail grinding.

We could probably make these rails in my shop on a regular basis... but the way I am setup now we are limited to 8 foot unless I do a little extra tooling out. And we are willing to consider tooling out.

How important is it to cut 12/13 foot sections? The 12 foot sections sound like a problem to ship... Shipping by truck would probably add $125 to the shipping costs (my "guesstimate").

With a little trouble I could make the rails an inventory item (in stock shipping today) at about the same prices you paid for this group buy.

Is it really worth the cost/trouble of truck shipping to get a 12 foot rail instead of joining a pair of shorter rails? Or would having 8 foot sections get the job done just the same?

Thanks you for your guidance,

Charles
SEI
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  #26  
Old Wed 04 April 2012, 12:21
revved_up
Just call me: Craig
 
Hartland, MI
United States of America
12ft rails were done because some of us were local and able to pick them up ourselves, James cut down the rails that needed to be shipped via ups.

Thanks, James 1 less obstacle to the build process so maybe after all these years I will be getting started soon.
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  #27  
Old Wed 04 April 2012, 12:25
shipbldr
Just call me: Charles
 
Maryland
United States of America
Thanks Craig!

I was wondering about that.

Going from an 8 to a 12 foot rail seemed to add a lot of shipping cost and hassle that didn't seem to justify itself (if you can do a touch of welding and filing...).
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  #28  
Old Wed 04 April 2012, 13:06
Gerald D
Just call me: Gerald (retired)
 
Cape Town
South Africa
The rails could be butt jointed, without welding, with only a little effort. (the strength member is under the rails, the rails themselves don't add strength - forget welding for X-axis)

The effort would even less if you could make ends match each other exactly. Height, center of V same horizontal distance off vertical face, and some more little details.
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  #29  
Old Wed 04 April 2012, 13:14
shipbldr
Just call me: Charles
 
Maryland
United States of America
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerald D View Post
The rails could be butt jointed, without welding, with only a little effort. (the strength member is under the rails, the rails themselves don't add strength - forget welding for X-axis)

The effort would even less if you could make ends match each other exactly. Height, center of V same horizontal distance off vertical face, and some more little details.
Gerald you are reading my mind. My concern was that if we had a variation in height between 2 rails (wear, bad load into the machine, really anything that throws it off a few thousands) then we would have a bump.

I was just sitting here flowcharting the G code and thinking about the material handling. I think I have thought of a way to run rails up to about 16 feet (one piece and any thickneww/height) without making the fixturing cost prohibitive. (This is going to make a great youtube video...)

I am going need to run a few test grinds... but this is looking more and more doable.

Than you for the help Gerald!

Last edited by shipbldr; Wed 04 April 2012 at 13:16..
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  #30  
Old Wed 04 April 2012, 23:11
Gerald D
Just call me: Gerald (retired)
 
Cape Town
South Africa
Even if there was a step at the joint, very few of the typical MM users would notice it, because...

- shims could remove the step
- the gantry has 4 wheels, far apart, only one wheel (a quarter) would feel the step at a time. (joints should be staggered left to right)
- the step is most likely to be in height; very few users are critical on height control

To prove my point, I don't believe that anyone here has a serious problem with sawdust/chips that their wheels are rolling over at the moment.
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