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  #1  
Old Fri 09 November 2007, 00:05
Gerald D
Just call me: Gerald (retired)
 
Cape Town
South Africa
Cable chain ("E-chain") - sizes and sources

The Classic version of the MechMate did not have any prescribed cable chain specs. There were a couple of choices by builders, most of them going for cable chains that were too big, and some cases too tight a radius. The earlier history of this thread is in the archive. After learning what chains were available from where, it surprised me to discover that the sizes have been largely standardised across various manufacturers, that Igus is a very popular brand and that McMaster-Carr actually has fairly good prices on a smaller range of cable sizes. Here follows a consolidation of the posts in the archive . . .

1. Cross-section:

The outside diameters of the typical cables in the chain: source

4x Motor cables (M), 4 core, 1.0mm2 [18 AWG], diam.: 7.3mm [0.287"] (only 2 motor cables in Y-chain)
1x Router cable (R), 3 cores (maybe 2 only) 2.5mm2 [14 AWG], diam.: 8.9mm [0.35"]
1 Signals cable (S), 7 core, 0.5mm2 [21 AWG], diam.: 7.5mm [0.295"]
1 E-stop/aux. mains cable (E), 4 core, 0.5mm2 [21 AWG], 6.5mm [0.256"]
1 Ground cable (G), single core, say OD of 6mm [0.25"]
1 Air hose maybe one day - say OD 18mm [3/4"]

Drawn to scale, inside a common 24mm [0.98"] internal height chain:


As can be seen, an internal width of 38mm [1.5"] is sufficient for all the cables (the chain producers typically want 20% clearance around the cables) and in the case of the y-axis with less motor cables, there is even enough space for an air hose.

On the Mamba, the shelf and bracketry for the X-chain (10 60 210 and 10 20 457) will take either the 38 or 57mm [1.5" or 2.2"] wide chains. The Y-chain fittings are designed for the 38mm [1.5"] wide chain only

No problem to use 38mm [1.5"] chain on both axes for economy . . . . things like air hoses can be dropped from the ceiling, or a couple of other routes. (air hoses are tougher and cheaper than our cables!)

2. Bending radius

Chain with an internal height of 24mm [1"] can be found in a number of different bending radii. The cable producer decides the minimum bend radius of their cable. Ölflex says 6 times cable diameter, others say more. Our application is not particularly demanding on the cables, and although I don't know where you are all getting your cables and their specs, I feel a bend radius in the range 75 to 100mm [3 to 4"] is quite adequate. Too small and the chain doesn't roll so smoothly and strains the cable a bit. Too big and the chain becomes clumsy, unsightly and more expensive because more chain is needed in the loop.

The Mamba brackets are designed for 75mm [3"] radius chain. If using 100mm [4"] radius chain, the bracket on the y-car (1060325P) needs to be bent up or a spacer must be put under the end of the chain where it connects to the bracket.



3. Open and Opening

We use "open" style chain - meaning that we can see the cables inside. Sawdust can get in, and fall out again. "Closed" chain is nearly dustproof, and very expensive.

"Opening" (or "snap-open") chain allows one to flip open the bars to lay the cable from the side/top of the chain. That is a luxury that is more trouble than its worth on a short chain such as ours. I found myself feeding the cables from the end, despite having "opening" chain. Suggest we get "non-opening" chain.

4. Suppliers

My current suggestion on cable chain suppliers and part numbers in the USA:

Igus part 20-2-075-0 .98H x 1.5W x 2.95R. End bracket set 202-12,

McMAster-Carr 4516T22 0.98H x 1.5W x 3.94R (the next smaller Radius that they stock (4516T21 at 2.2") is too small) $73.80 per 6' without end brackets - $9.68 per set of brackets (4556T56)

MSC direct : don't seem to give the options on bigger radii - their "stock" sizes are too tight?

Kabelschlepp 0450.20 (1.5"W) and 0450.40 (2.2"W) at 3.7" Radius are suitable

www.brevettistendalto.it, SR325040075 for 40mm wide 75R, or SR325060075 for 60mm wide 75R

www.murrplastik.com represented worldwide, maybe the MP300037095 (37mm wide) or MP300056095 (56mm wide) - 95mm Radius

Kumbhojkar Plastic Moulders radius is too small

Please check my numbers carefully.
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  #2  
Old Fri 25 January 2008, 03:24
Kobus_Joubert
Just call me: Kobus #6
 
Riversdale Western Cape
South Africa
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Hi Gerald,

I suppose it is somewhere in this vast ocean of information, but can you tell me what lengt's I need for X-Axis and Y-Axis for the MAMBA version.

This is when I use IGUS cable carrier chain.
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  #3  
Old Fri 25 January 2008, 04:35
Gerald D
Just call me: Gerald (retired)
 
Cape Town
South Africa
Would somebody else please venture a second opinion on this. . . .

- Take X or Y dimension and divide by 2 (two) (half the table size)
- add 50mm [2"] because the design allows the tool to move past the edges of the table.
- add the half-circle that the cable uses in the "fold" - cable radius X Pi (3.1416)
- add one cable link for spare (tolerance)
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  #4  
Old Fri 25 January 2008, 05:39
J.R. Hatcher
Just call me: J.R. #4
 
Wilmington, North Carolina
United States of America
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Later this morning I will measure mine. This is from McMaster Carr website.

<LI class=PageHdrNm>Cable & Hose Carriers



About Cable and Hose Carriers


Carriers are designed to guide, contain, and protect electrical cable and hose during machine movement. They are ideal for use in dynamic applications between fixed and moving portions of machines. Carriers reduce wear on cables and hoses, prevent cable and hose entanglement, improve machine operation and appearance, and reduce safety hazards to operators. Good cable and hose management extends machine life and reduces machine failures and maintenance. When installing, evenly distribute cable and hose weight within carrier cavity. To select the correct carrier size and length, use the following guidelines: 1. Select the carrier with an interior height (C) that's 20% larger than the largest diameter cable or hose, or match existing overall height (A). 2. Select the carrier with an interior width (D) that's 20% larger than the sum of the cable and hose diameters, or match existing overall width (B). 3. Ensure that the bend radius (R) is greater than the minimum bend radius of cables and hoses being used. 4. Ensure that loop height (H) is less than the available vertical space. 5. Ensure that the overall width (B) will fit the designated space. 6. Ensure that 1/2T is less than the maximum unsupported length of the carrier. 7. Determine required carrier length: CL= Carrier Length, T= Total Machine Travel, L= Loop Length • If the Fixed End is located at the center of Total Machine Travel, use the following formula:
CL = 1/2T + L • If the Fixed End is offset from the center of Total Machine Travel, use the following formula:
CL = 1/2T + L + Offset
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  #5  
Old Fri 25 January 2008, 11:14
Greg J
Just call me: Greg #13
 
Hagerman, New Mexico
United States of America
Kobus,

I haven't installed mine yet (maybe this weekend), but I just ordered two, 6 foot sections from McMaster Carr. They come apart, so I'll use the un-used Y axis chain on the X axis chain. If, I'm short, I'll order what I need. For me, McMaster has been great on delivery times.

On another note: There is an enormous amount of information here. One of the most time consuming aspects of this project was re-locating information on this forum. In the early stages, I would read something, that would pertain to some aspect further down the line. Well, that part of the project would come up, and I would spend hours trying to find that one post. I finally got to the point, that the first time I read a post, I would print it and file it. Sounds simple, but I had to learn the hard way.
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  #6  
Old Fri 25 January 2008, 12:14
Kobus_Joubert
Just call me: Kobus #6
 
Riversdale Western Cape
South Africa
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Thanks guys, I will wait for the actual measurements from J.R.

That file must be huge by now Greg....tell us how many pages already.
The search facility helps, but still there are soooooo much.

What about a nice big fat glossy book Mr. Gerald....that will be something.
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  #7  
Old Fri 25 January 2008, 12:25
Doug_Ford
Just call me: Doug #3
 
Conway (Arkansas)
United States of America
Kobus,

I'll measure mine also this evening and post what I find.
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  #8  
Old Fri 25 January 2008, 13:13
Greg J
Just call me: Greg #13
 
Hagerman, New Mexico
United States of America
I lost count of the pages.

I keep a file for every component. I put all the file in one of those plastic containers for files and easy transport between house and shop.

Also, have binder for all drawings.

I'll post pictures of progress Sunday evening.
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  #9  
Old Fri 25 January 2008, 17:34
Doug_Ford
Just call me: Doug #3
 
Conway (Arkansas)
United States of America
Kobus,

I used 77.5" on the X-axis and 51" on the Y-axis. I think I could have used a bit less if necessary. Good luck.

Doug
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  #10  
Old Fri 25 January 2008, 19:51
J.R. Hatcher
Just call me: J.R. #4
 
Wilmington, North Carolina
United States of America
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Kobus I used 4' of the small and 6' of the large. Go here for all the details if you have Excel.

http://www.msnusers.com/NCMechMate/D...ed%20Parts.xls
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  #11  
Old Fri 25 January 2008, 22:32
gmessler
Just call me: Greg #15
 
Chicago IL
United States of America
Thanks J.R. and Doug.....I've been milling over those sizes for a while now.
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  #12  
Old Sun 27 January 2008, 12:16
Kobus_Joubert
Just call me: Kobus #6
 
Riversdale Western Cape
South Africa
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Thanks you guys, this will give me something to work from.
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  #13  
Old Tue 29 January 2008, 12:05
Belli
Just call me: Greg
 
Johannesburg
South Africa
Drag chains/Energy chains

Hi Kobus,

I buy mine from Cavotec in Benoni, a 25x40mm is around R260/m and I am very fond of this one, it doesn't fall apart like the IGUS one does after a great deal of use.

RS Components also stock the same brand:
http://za.rs-online.com/web/search/s...duct&R=4546314
http://za.rs-online.com/web/search/s...duct&R=0599516

Cheers,
Greg
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  #14  
Old Tue 29 January 2008, 12:19
Gerald D
Just call me: Gerald (retired)
 
Cape Town
South Africa
Greg, on quality, I'll take the Igus over Cavotec's chain any day. We want a 75 to 100mm bend radius - those two rs references are for 40mm radius.
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  #15  
Old Tue 29 January 2008, 12:28
Kobus_Joubert
Just call me: Kobus #6
 
Riversdale Western Cape
South Africa
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Quote received today......

ONE METER OFF 0450.40 KR 094 KABELSCHLEPP CHAIN
BENDING RADIUS 3.7”

Price: R 98.00 Nett Excl Vat

ONE SET OFF END CONNECTORS

Price: R 15.00 Nett Excl Vat
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  #16  
Old Tue 29 January 2008, 12:38
Gerald D
Just call me: Gerald (retired)
 
Cape Town
South Africa
Kobus, that quote is too good to be believed! Grab it with both hands!

I'll swop you a set of V-tyres for a set of those chains
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  #17  
Old Wed 30 January 2008, 03:37
smreish
Just call me: Sean - #5, 28, 58 and others
 
Orlando, Florida
United States of America
buy it now. That's better than I can get it for in the states!
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  #18  
Old Fri 01 February 2008, 04:17
Kobus_Joubert
Just call me: Kobus #6
 
Riversdale Western Cape
South Africa
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Hi Gerald,

I have just confirmed with the supplier. The price / meter is correct. Only full meter lengts must be ordered.
If you need the contact number, phone or e-mail and I will make it available.

Thinking about wheels for chain.

Last edited by Kobus_Joubert; Fri 01 February 2008 at 04:18.. Reason: Added Wheels for chain
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  #19  
Old Wed 13 February 2008, 14:30
Alan_c
Just call me: Alan (#11)
 
Cape Town (Western Cape)
South Africa
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I found this interesting idea over at the Zone, might be interesting to try as a first project or if the budget is tight, from post 105 onwards
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  #20  
Old Wed 13 February 2008, 16:35
sailfl
Just call me: Nils #12
 
Winter Park, FL
United States of America
Cable Chain Purchase

I am not starting my build yet but I was in Skycraft located in Winter Park, FL and found Igus cable chain. It is not the exact size Gerald has recommended but I only paid $7.50 for each 24" length. It was such a good deal I figure it will work. I think I picked up enough chain for about $57.

They have two sizes, the Larger is 250.05.055 and the small size is 250.03.055.

They only have a small quantity. You can not buy it online but you must call them. 407 628-5634. If you need some help, send me a PM.

Good luck.
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  #21  
Old Wed 13 February 2008, 23:07
Gerald D
Just call me: Gerald (retired)
 
Cape Town
South Africa
Nils,

What is the . . .
- inner height
- inner width
- bend radius
. . . . . of those chains?
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  #22  
Old Thu 14 February 2008, 05:50
sailfl
Just call me: Nils #12
 
Winter Park, FL
United States of America
Gerald

250.05.0550
Inner Width Outer Width Radius Curve Height H Curve Length K Weight
2.24 in 2.87 in 2.16 in 5.51 in 10.87 in 0.61 lbs/ft

250.03.0550
Inner Width Outer Width Radius Curve Height H Curve Length K Weight
1.5 in 2.13 in 2.16 in 5.51 in 10.87 in 0.55 lbs/ft

From the Igus website....

Some of them have end pieces. I have to buy one male piece to connect the end to the MM.
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  #23  
Old Thu 14 February 2008, 06:39
Gerald D
Just call me: Gerald (retired)
 
Cape Town
South Africa
The 2.16" radius is rather small - makes for a rough running chain and cables which may be bent too much.
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  #24  
Old Thu 14 February 2008, 07:19
sailfl
Just call me: Nils #12
 
Winter Park, FL
United States of America
Gerald,

Thanks for the input. I will try them when I build my machine. I don't think I will get burnt on this. If they are not useable I can sell them on ebay for 7.50 a ft and get my money back.

Everyone else: I would suggest you not use them based on Gerald's experience.

Last edited by sailfl; Thu 14 February 2008 at 07:26..
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  #25  
Old Thu 14 February 2008, 08:37
Gerald D
Just call me: Gerald (retired)
 
Cape Town
South Africa
Nils, I wouldn't be so negative about them - they could very well work out for you and others. In the first post of this thread I motivated why I was shooting for a certain spec, and it's my job to take a fairly "conservative" middle-of-the-road approach.
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  #26  
Old Thu 14 February 2008, 09:16
sailfl
Just call me: Nils #12
 
Winter Park, FL
United States of America
Gerald,

I talked to Sean today and mentioned them. He said he saw them at Skycraft also but thought they would have a radius problem. He thinks I should take them back. Since I got them for such a good price I am thinking of holding on to them. I know I can sell them on ebay for much more than I paid. I may give them a test.

I appreciate your input. I know you were looking out for my best interest... I want to have the best machine I can build.

Thanks
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  #27  
Old Fri 22 February 2008, 23:13
Roadkill_321
Just call me: John #7
 
Wiseton, Saskatchewan
Canada
I have been shopping around trying to find a good source of cable chain in Canada and I think I have found one.
http://www.ontor.com/ They are a distributor for Murrplastik cable chain, now I don't know much about the quality of this particular brand of cable chain, but just from looking at the catalog I think it looks OK to me. The price is very comparable to other suppliers in the US for the particular chain I ordered. The staff that I was in contact with in Edmonton,AB was very helpful and courteous too which always helps.
The chain I ordered was #30003709500 (1.46"/37mm inside width, 3.74"/95mm bend radius), 10' long. I hope this information can help someone.

John
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  #28  
Old Fri 22 February 2008, 23:43
Gerald D
Just call me: Gerald (retired)
 
Cape Town
South Africa
That part number corresponds to my first post - Murrplastik is a good brand.
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  #29  
Old Sun 18 May 2008, 20:23
dmoore
Just call me:
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerald D View Post
McMAster-Carr 4516T22 0.98H x 1.5W x 3.94R (the next smaller Radius that they stock (4516T21 at 2.2") is too small) $73.80 per 6' without end brackets - $9.68 per set of brackets (4556T56)
I used the cable chain from McMaster-Carr, part #4516T22 for both my X and Y. A few notes on it:
  • McMaster Part #4516T22 is really Igus Part #200.03.100
  • I'd recommend purchasing 4516T25 (2.24"w instead of the 1.50) for the X axis if you have additional cables for proxies coming back and it would help it lay a bit better on the cable supports
  • With the 3.94" radius, it does bend up a bit as Gerald says (see photo below) on the Y Axis. The total height from the cable support to the top of the y-car is 7", the loop height is 9.25", hence the bulge at the top.
  • On the X Axis, you will need to move up the mount point and lower the brackets (I have 7" tall main beams) - see photos below. If you don't move them down, the chain will push up the gantry when it gets to the end. The cable bulge pushes up on the chain support tray.
  • Ideally (as mentioned by Gerald), the radius should be closer to 3" than 4"
  • I ordered 12' of cable chain and used 11' for my 49"x97" table

I would recommend that the legs on the X brackets should be extended another 1-1.5" to allow for main beams that may be less than 8" in height.

Hope this helps...
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  #30  
Old Mon 19 May 2008, 07:33
Robert M
Just call me: Robert
 
Lac-Brome, Qc
Canada
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Hi David,
Thanks for your post, recommendation & comments ! Your fast !!
Question arouses after David’s comments :
Quote:
Originally Posted by dmoore View Post
[*]McMaster Part #4516T22 is really Igus Part #200.03.100...
Can anyone explain why it’s recommended 3.94 radius if purchasing from McMaster-Carr & 2.95R if w/Igus since both seems the same ?
Has any other one had problems with Igus 2.95R

To David : From what I can see from the tech drawing at those respected manufacturer, the radius is the dim from the center line not the total outside height !. If you select say the Igus w/100mm (3.94”) radi #200-05, the actual total outside height of this radi will be 235mm(9.25”) You MUST take in account the thickness (height) of the E-chain !!
Same for the Igus w/75mm radi = Total H = 185mm (7.28”) !!!
The radiuses given dim are the values from center thickness of those E-chains.
Quote:
I would recommend that the legs on the X brackets should be extended another 1-1.5" to allow for main beams that may be less than 8" in height.
David, I believe there would be No need if you get 75mm (2.95”)R ?

Keep up those exiting pics & update posts as I ( and other I may assume) enjoy them very much !
Amicalement, Robert
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