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  #1  
Old Thu 28 July 2011, 20:22
Spadman
Just call me: Dean
 
Melbourne
Australia
Another one in Australia - Melbourne AU

Hello All,

I've been a lurker here for a few years. I have followed the progress of a number of MechMates (thanks all for the inspiration) during this time and have finally decided it is time to start my own.

I am an IT Consultant and dabble in many and varied hobbies...I live in Melbourne (out West).

My budget comes in dribs and drabs, basically what I can earn as "extra" on the side, my wife controls (oh so tightly ) the main income, but I get to keep the extras!

So far I have purchased some items;

4 x PK296A2A-SG7.2's - Mark from TRI-R
1 x Set of V-Rollers and bushing - Rick from Superior Bearing Co.
1 x Set of CNC parts - Rick (rnixon from MM forums)
1 x PMDX-126 and PMDX-107 - Steve from PMDX
4 x Gecko Drive 203V's and Mach3 License - Peter at Homann Designs
Various bits for an unregulated PSU
1 x Older Dell (from the pile of many crappy old PC's I have laying around)
A couple of DIN rails populated with 2.5mm Terminals (approx 190) from eBay (yes, I know it's too many, but it cost me $50 for two DIN rails full of terminals).
A dual port LTP card from eBay (will let you know if this works OK).

I have a bit of work to do in the shed that will eventually house the MechMate first and as soon as that is complete the steel order will go through.

Not having welded anything in my life, I decided to go to an introduction to welding course run by the Centre for Adult Education, it was a great course and set me up to hopefully tackle the steel of the MechMate (thanks Ruth).

I picked up a 170A CIG stick welder at a Total Tools sale recently, I found I liked stick better that MIG; somehow MIG always made me feel rushed about my welds! I think it is the constant feeding of the wire or thought thereof! I also was a bit shy of the need for gas and other consumables to keep the MIG healthy and happy. Stick is simpler and I like beating stuff with a hammer when I'm done.


A couple of thank you's so far;

Thanks Mark from TRI-R, great bloke and very helpful

Thanks Rick. Went and had a chat and look at Ricks machine, great job on the MechMate and a very friendly guy. Got some very helpful hints and tips from him. Who's have thought double sided tape would hold the rack upside down so well!

Steve from PMDX who questioned my sanity when purchasing stuff from him, not many product sellers care enough to make sure you know what you are buying.

Peter from Homann Designs, great price and fast service, thanks.

Rick from Superior Bearing Company; great support. My bearings got lost in the mail due to a shipping label mishap, Rick was very supportive and did what he could from his end. Aussie Post finally came through and I received them all in good condition.

Thats it so far. Will post pictures of the future home of the MechMate and progress as it goes.

The first step will likely be the Kitchen Table project, I have enough to get that sorted and make sure everything works.

Anyway, that's it so far, I will post again soon with more details on the planned size of the MM and my reasoning behind the decision plus some bits and pieces on my learning process so far.

Dean.
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  #2  
Old Thu 28 July 2011, 21:34
MetalHead
Just call me: Mike
 
Columbiana AL
United States of America
Welcome and we look forward to your build !!!
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  #3  
Old Thu 28 July 2011, 22:16
Red_boards
Just call me: Red #91
 
Melbourne
Australia
Welcome, Dean
I got a few quotes for steel. Let me know if you want who I went with (good price, friendly service and they welded my gantry true)
Red
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  #4  
Old Sat 30 July 2011, 13:02
domino11
Just call me: Heath
 
Cornwall, Ontario
Canada
Welcome Dean!
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  #5  
Old Sun 31 July 2011, 07:08
Spadman
Just call me: Dean
 
Melbourne
Australia
Origin story...

A bit of an update;

I've spent the weekend working on the shed; the sooner this is done, the sooner I'll have a proper place to work.

This is my shed at the moment.... and my dog (who is patiently waiting for the ball to magically move). The clutter doesn't look so bad in this, but in reality, I have to move everything from one side or corner to another whenever I need to get places, it is full of junk from when I moved and is poorly organised.

I realised after a while that a shed without an inside wall is a pain....things roll off my workbenches and end up wedged behind one of the steel studs. My aim is to frame the inside (I'll lose almost nothing in useable space) and line with either a high-impact plaster, or blueboard. I'm still tossing up whether to build a mezzanine at the back to store stuff on and hold some overhead dust management for the MM.

The shed is 6 meters by 9 meters, so the MechMate will eventually take up a bit over 1/3 of it.

I originally found my way into the CNC world because of model (Radio Control) airplanes. I wanted a machine that would cut standard balsa sheets so I bought some plans from HobbyCNC and downloaded some plans for Joe's CNC and other machines that were freely available on the Internet. I used to travel a lot with work to the US and purchased various items whilst on trips (the last of these were 3 six foot lengths of acme threaded rod which I packed into their shipping tubes to stop them ringing together and jammed into the longest ski bag I could buy.... Delta & Qantas shipped them for free for me; apparently sporting goods don't count as extras!)

Anyway, my first real stumbing block was getting someone to route parts for a Joe's (my final choice) machine; sure I could buy a kit from the US, but at just under a billion dollars to ship, it wasn't worth it. I then started to call around to places that would do CNC work to see if they would cut parts for me... no luck. Most shops either 1) did not deal with one-off's, 2) had moved to laser cutters or 3) had some wierd pricing scheme that involved me paying for their retirement.

This then brought me to the MechMate, I figured I could build this and provide CNC services to other folks who want small one-off or production runs done, give me a great big toy to play with (yes, I do have other plans for it!) and it would also serve me in my increasing ineterest in woodworking.

So....

The ultimate aim for me is to get a MechMate off and running with a cutting area of 2700mm x 1800mm (based on the most popular sizes of MDF and Plywood available in Australia).
Attached Images
File Type: jpg P1010043-r.jpg (128.9 KB, 679 views)

Last edited by Spadman; Sun 31 July 2011 at 07:13..
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  #6  
Old Wed 03 August 2011, 04:23
Spadman
Just call me: Dean
 
Melbourne
Australia
Electricals coming along

Had my IP55 box delivered today, 600 x 600 x 250 with a nice orange mounting pan in it, will clash nicely when I paint it MM blue I shopped around a fair bit for this and the prices were hugely different, from about $550.00 to the one I bought at $160.00.

Also had my 2 blocks of terminals delivered, what a bargain. I'll post a notice here when I'm done with them and anyone who is interested can buy the remainders for some nominal charge + postage. These things cost about $2.50 ea here in Australia, with the Earth Blocks being around $10.00, so I'm stoked with what I got.
Along with these blocks, there were a few bootlace terminals left in them, I can see why they are used for this purpose, the metal sleeve is very soft and deforms easily when the terminal is screwed down. The main thing I don't like so much about the bootlace terminals is the width of the insulating shroud, it would seem to stop you putting too many of them too close in a busy terminal strip.

Took a trip to Radio Parts and picked up a selection of hook up wire for the box, shouldn't be too long until I can wire up the panel and test. Just waiting on the delivery of a new crimping tool and some pin crimp terminals.

Till next time.... enjoy!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg P1010048-r.jpg (73.9 KB, 615 views)
File Type: jpg P1010049-r.jpg (77.4 KB, 614 views)
File Type: jpg P1010046-r.JPG (132.8 KB, 616 views)
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  #7  
Old Wed 03 August 2011, 19:45
aussie_mick
Just call me: Mick
 
Nowra
Australia
Welcome

Dean

Welcome to forum. I myself am building a MM at this moment when funds are availble. Putting in a same sized shed. Keep the updates coming.

Also interested in some of the blocks if available.

mick
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  #8  
Old Wed 03 August 2011, 22:41
Red_boards
Just call me: Red #91
 
Melbourne
Australia
On your shed - consider a "room in a room' approach as this will help with soundproofing.

I'm so jealous of the big flat undercover area you have to work with.

Just throw the ball, will you!
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  #9  
Old Sun 07 August 2011, 06:51
Spadman
Just call me: Dean
 
Melbourne
Australia
Hi Red,

Yes, a room at the back was going to be the original plan, but when I drew it out it would end up making my shed a bit too small at the front. With the MM being about 3300mm by 2300mm and leaving say, 1000mm around the outside for access, it was going to take up a little over half the shed to make a room. The alternate plan was instead of a solid wall at the front, I'll use a couple of steel posts to hold a cross beam and then create a ceiling/mezzanine using that and the rear wall. This would give me an open fronted rear 1/3(ish) of the shed with a ceiling. If, in future, I want a room, I can then just frame out the front of that section.

I'm taking Friday and Monday off to have a solid 4 days to work on the shed this weekend. I should get all the framing done and some or most of the electrical i.e. lights, power points etc. I have 3-phase in the shed, so I'll run that to where I'll put the main control box for the MM, just in case I need it later on. For the time being, I'll just use the different phases to power different parts of the MM.

My contactor, main power switch and a bunch of other control parts arrived last week. The contactor was smaller than I thought it would be, funny how some pictures do not convey size. This is my first foray into this kind of industrial componentry and I love some of the stuff you can get, the main power switch which prevents you opening the control box door is neat. I also like the way I can buy an addition unit that clips onto the front of the contactor to give more N/O or N/C contacts, great!

I ordered my e-stop buttons, light tower and a few other bits from eBay. I stuffed up the e-stop button order and got ones with 1 N/O and 1 N/C switch on them, so ordered another set with just a single N/C with room for another and separately got an extra N/C switch to suit. Again, stuffed up on the e-stop buttons an paid about 3 times what I should have, oh well, live and learn.

Will soon start the Kitchen Table project, but I'm going to rename it the Card Table project on account of the better half telling me in no uncertain terms that my panel was not going on the kitchen table

Mick, re: Terminals, no problems. I'll let you know when they're available.


Till next time...

Last edited by Spadman; Sun 07 August 2011 at 07:04..
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  #10  
Old Sun 25 September 2011, 20:09
Spadman
Just call me: Dean
 
Melbourne
Australia
MM home update

Hi all,

I have some time on my hands at work at the moment, so thought I'd post this quick update (pics to come later).

It has been a few weeks now, the shed framing and walls have taken longer than expected. As usual; what I plan and what happens in reality somewhat differ! Mainly due to things like.. well.. life.

The wall framing for the outside walls of the shed is completed, including the installation of 4 x 15A power points, 6 x 10A GPO's, 1 x 3 phase socket down the back where the MM control panel will be mounted.

I also finally have lights! I installed 3 banks of 2 batten with 2 x 36W tubes in each. I can switch on the rear, middle or front as needed.

When I planned for the lights, I thought to myself "more is better", so I got twin batten lights with the highest tube wattage I could find. When the installation was completed I called my wife in to show her the incredible light I now had. The first thing she asked was "That's nice, but how much is this costing us to illuminate the shed?". I was about to say "Don't worry, they are just fluro's, very efficient and low cost" but then realised I had 12 x 36W tubes running for a total of 432 watts. Ooops

I found some insulation on eBay for $6.00 per bag for R3.5 batts, glass fiber which is a pain to install, but heck... cheap! It cost me a total of $48.00 to insulate the new walls and I have a couple of bags left over (seems coverage was a bit better than advertised).

I decided on sheeting the walls with cement sheet. It will be pretty industrial but will do the job. I'll try to pick that up this weekend if I can rope a mate to help me lift it. When that is done, a bit of paint and a huge tidy up and then the steel order for the MM will go in.... finally!

Cheers,

Dean.
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  #11  
Old Mon 26 September 2011, 19:11
Spadman
Just call me: Dean
 
Melbourne
Australia
Pics

Pics as mentioned...

The side walls have studs 600mm on center, and the rear wall 450mm on center (it will eventually load-bear a mezzanine for storage of items sometimes referred to as "crap").

The batts I bought for $6.00 per bag were 420mm to suit 450mm studs, so I had to cut up one in every 4 as filler for the 600mm sides.

Cheers.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg P1010081.JPG (116.8 KB, 355 views)
File Type: jpg P1010083.JPG (159.4 KB, 356 views)
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  #12  
Old Tue 27 September 2011, 02:30
Alan_c
Just call me: Alan (#11)
 
Cape Town (Western Cape)
South Africa
Send a message via Skype™ to Alan_c
Not much room in there for a MechMate, better get that mezzanine up quick!

Nice construction, does it all come in a Kit?
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  #13  
Old Sun 02 October 2011, 19:34
Spadman
Just call me: Dean
 
Melbourne
Australia
Kit

Hi Alan_c,

The shed was basically a kit made by Paramount, I think they've since gone out of business. I bought it through a company called Sheds'n'More, the whole experience was not a good one, but the shed is great!

Dean.
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