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  #1  
Old Mon 08 December 2008, 18:27
ChiknNutz
Just call me: Chris
 
PNW
United States of America
Where to start, no really!

Yes, I've read thru quite a bit on here, but after a guy figures out the size and intended use, where do you go from there? I find so many options, alterations, opinions on this and that, ideas to consider, etc. etc. that I am having a hard time making sense of it all. I'm actually a mechanical engineer (also a sign maker), and because of that, I tend to overthink and overbuild things. Seriously, I could spend months on here w/o ever buying a thing just gathering intel if ya know what I mean! I've looked over the plans for the most part, but when the plans are bounced against all the ideas floating around here I kinda get lost. How up-to-date are the plans relative to all this? While I love "getting into the weeds" on things, I really don't have that much time anymore to devote to pouring over every shred of info. So, are the plans good enough as-is for a guy to build a decent rig or do they need to be tempered with the understanding of customizing based on need? Surely, this has been asked a ton before, but I didn't see it answered to my satisfaction. Curious...how many of these are out there now...anybody know for sure? Thanks in advance.
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  #2  
Old Mon 08 December 2008, 18:45
sailfl
Just call me: Nils #12
 
Winter Park, FL
United States of America
Stop over thinking it and start.

The plans are up to date. They have been used by many users across the world. The advantage of this site over others like CNCZone is that everyone here is building the same machine. The size might be different and there may be some slight modifications but the basic machine is the same. Everyone is following the plans because the plans work. The design is excellent.

The first biggest decsion you have to make is what size do I want. If you have that then you need to build the table. If you can work with steel you have an advantage. If not find some one or pay some one to build your table. Next is the controller box and the kitchen table project. Or you can start with the kitchen table project.

Once you have the table and the kitchen table project you put them together with the wires, sensors and some other things.

When you have the machine built, you have one yeck of a cutting machine and you will learn a thing or two.

Besides free plans, you have the support of people that have built or are building the same machine. You also have the help of the designer and some one that has built the same machine. You will not find that on too many websites.

Good luck. We look forward to hearing about your progress.
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  #3  
Old Mon 08 December 2008, 19:03
Doug_Ford
Just call me: Doug #3
 
Conway (Arkansas)
United States of America
Chik,

Start building the table or start with the control box. While you're working on it, you can be reading the rest of the posts. I have a basic machine and that's all you really need to start producing stuff. Construction will take several months if you are working part time so you'll have lots of opportunity to decide on the other options you might want to add.

The hardest part is deciding to get started. Like Nils said, we're all sitting around here waiting to help another builder.
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  #4  
Old Mon 08 December 2008, 19:15
ChiknNutz
Just call me: Chris
 
PNW
United States of America
Well, that is a start right there...just having a plan of attack...knowing what is best to start off with. Although I've not fully decided, leaning towards a 5' x 10', but at least a 4' x 8'. Would like a single spindle, but not sure if it's necessary at this point. Won't be starting out as a full-time production machine, but want something that can make chips just the same. How easy is it to switch over to a spindle from a router or is it just better to start off with a spindle if you think you'll end up there eventually? Initial intention is for making dimensional signs and possibly letters. The letters make me think I need a vacuum table, but some initial research indicates that may really not be necessary based on ROI. Either way, thanks again!
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  #5  
Old Tue 09 December 2008, 03:15
sailfl
Just call me: Nils #12
 
Winter Park, FL
United States of America
Chris,

When I started to build, I wanted a spindle but when I saw how much a spindle was going to cost and I didn't have a business or income from that business, I decided to go with a router first. You can always add a spindle later. You have to make some changes in your controller box. You have to add some components and change the wiring.
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  #6  
Old Tue 09 December 2008, 05:42
MetalHead
Just call me: Mike
 
Columbiana AL
United States of America
For Starters

I bought the Laser Parts first because they are available and now I am building the control box. "Kitchen Table" project. I see people starting in the area they are most comforatable with then progressing to the things that are harder to them so they can be making progress and learning at the same time.

Go ahead and get your wife something nice before you start and keep doing that through the project. The MechMate should be called MechDog House until you get it built. . I am sure there is a dollar factory with this we should apply to the cost... Like 15% Wife/Family expense .

Most of all read. If you have ideas explore them the info is in this site. But like everyone has said...start! If you are sure you will "over do" something just hold your nose and follow the plans.

I am like you, I have a tendance to overbuild, but I feel that has been built into this table from the start to make it rigid.

The only thing I am exploring is adding an indexer for round stock. But for mechanics and eletrical I am sticking pretty close to the core design.

START and don't forget the familia
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  #7  
Old Mon 15 December 2008, 21:06
Delamination
Just call me: Travis
 
Delavan, WI
United States of America
Chris,

I had the same reaction when I started seriously looking into building - there is so much excellent information here that it gets overwhelming. I started a companion site mechmatewiki.com that anyone can contribute to and will hopefully someday capture much of this good information in an easy to follow, step-by-newbie-step format. Unfortunately, being a newbie myself, and trying to build one of these things at the same time, I haven't put alot on the site yet.

I try to put stuff up there as they come up in my build, but I hesitate being unsure if I have any of it right until the chips start flying.
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