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  #1  
Old Tue 05 January 2016, 23:45
CPAC_CNC
Just call me: CPAC
 
Groton
United States of America
Educational build for fab lab & scene shop in Massachusetts

Happy New Year to everyone.

While researching and nearly pulling the trigger on a SB Alpha I stumbled across the MechMate. Intrigued and dozens on hours of reading (and list making) later I am sold on building a MechMate. Between the experience gained, customization to our needs and value for the $ it seems hard to beat.

The MM will be built, housed and operated in the scene shop of the theater. I expect it will be used frequently for the theater and sporadically by students working with the fab lab. We are planning to do the build with student involvement this spring. Starting with a parallel build of the the tabletop test bench and controls in the lab and the gantry and y-car in the shop. Hopefully managing the table build by summer. Both personally and in the shop we feel comfortable with the metal fabrication, especially considering the well thought out laser plate approach to the important bits. I have some higher level experience with automation technology so looking forward to the learning process in the details of putting together the control system.

Minimum table size will be 4'x8', considering up to 4x10 or 5x10 to allow for a 4th axis and/or end of table work area.

We have a semi-dedicated room off of the main shop that is great except the double doors are not wide enough to roll even a 4x8 unit through. Thinking of welded side and lateral frames that will bolt together to allow for future relocation. Sold on the heavier is better approach. Planning to go with the capped aluminum extrusion.

I expect the majority of cutting will be in 1/4"-3/4" plywood & lauan, 2" XPS foam and certainly some pine boards. Occasionally various plastics, masonite, MDF, vinyl and maybe even some thin aluminum.

I am intrigued by BillT's use of the Clearpath Servos and the HiCONIntegra from a wiring simplicity point of view.

I have a parts list about 50% filled out and what feels like ever more reading to do. Awaiting quotes from Superior Bearing for the v-wheels and track.

Have made contact with BradM and hoping to arrange a visit to his machine in the coming weeks.

Very much looking forward to getting some parts ordered and in hand. Laser plates from Mike and some combo of controller and motors.

Now off to sleep and probably dream more CNC fabrication. Early to rise to get the kiddos to school and a full day of real work ahead.

Many thanks already for all the time you have all spent documenting your experiences here.

Cheers,

Brandt
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  #2  
Old Wed 06 January 2016, 03:11
lonestaral
Just call me: Al #114
 
Isarn
Thailand
Send a message via Skype™ to lonestaral
Welcome.
It sounds as if you have enjoyed yourself already.
Enjoy the flight but remember you are the pilot.
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  #3  
Old Wed 06 January 2016, 15:47
hflwaterski
Just call me: Herb #126
 
Genesee, WI
United States of America
Welcome to the club! It's a terrific group of very talented people. Enjoy!
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  #4  
Old Thu 07 January 2016, 03:58
Tom Ayres
Just call me: Tom #117
 
Bassett (VA)
United States of America
Welcome! I like the idea of youth being involved, need more of that.
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  #5  
Old Thu 07 January 2016, 20:55
smreish
Just call me: Sean - #5, 28, 58 and others
 
Orlando, Florida
United States of America
Brandt,
A few Theatrical scene shops currently have MM in use. 3 that I know of, and 1 that was built as a 5'x5' plasma table.

I had the pleasure of coaching my BFA and MFA students through a build and it was well worth the automation lesson and use after the build.

Build as BIG as you can for Scene shop use. 5 x 12 bed would be my choice. (you can do entire custom flats with this size in one set up)

Good luck and PM me with specifics if not answered directly here on the forum.

Sean
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  #6  
Old Sun 10 January 2016, 15:42
CPAC_CNC
Just call me: CPAC
 
Groton
United States of America
Hi Sean,

Thanks for reaching out. I almost went to NCSA way back in the day. I remember it being an impressive program when I visited. The video for the PlasmaMate is great, impressive work.

I would love to hear more about the shops who are using MMs and how they are using them. Particularly in configurations larger than 4x8.

5x10 we can manage, 5-12 starts to interfere with egress in the room when clearance for loading/unloading is kept on on side.

Do you know if anyone has made bolt on extensions for the main beams? I would think somewhere between 2-4' in length would be useful for those odd jobs that seem to be more regular than not. Maybe sections that are hinged to the main beams with a leg each. Assuming the joint can be made to register in the same location each time the rail and rack joints should work. Ok, back to teching the show at hand.
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  #7  
Old Mon 11 January 2016, 14:44
smreish
Just call me: Sean - #5, 28, 58 and others
 
Orlando, Florida
United States of America
Brandt,
The folks at "I think it" Seattle Rep have a 4'x8' MM and it was built with actually using 2" square tube for the main beams and slightly modular.

I don't know more than that, but you being of the theatrical mind, the process to make the table modular for your use should be easy. I made the Table surface on #5 removable and added a 4th axis to cut statues and "other 3D" foam scenic items.

Good luck. PM me if you have anything direct you want to talk about that affects your line of work!

Sean
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