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  1. #1
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    Lightbulb 18x18 Linear Rail Tormach Build.

    Its been a while since I have been here so I figured I would start posting some pics of the linear rail machine I have been building. Maybe with some motivation (and input) from the community I can finally finish this build I have been working on for what feels like years.

    The frame for the machine is 4 x 4 feet. The actual table will be 4 feet wide by 3 feet deep.

    I used 3" aluminum I beams (which I just found out are warped) and some 8020 2x4 main beam which I filled with four pieces of 0.5" rebar and 10 lbs of concrete poured in there. It feels like it weighs 50 lbs now and seems unearthly rigid. There will be somewhere on order of 1000 lbs on the table, so I think it will hold up pretty well. Each leg will support 250 lbs, and the rear 8020 which is anchored to the foundation will support the other 500 lbs.

    Here is the basic frame:
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    I made some custom Gusset plates for the 2040 because I couldn't find any anywhere. Let me know and i will post the DXF if anyone wants it.

    Unfortunately I found out that the I beams are warped:
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    I put them down on a granite surface plate and put a level on top of them to show the company I purchased them from how messed up the lot was. They intend to file a claim with the carrier saying it was warped in transit. I just don't see the old UPS guy bending I-beams all Hulkamania style since he is to lazy to even take them to my front door. New ones should be on the way, so the company did OK in my book.

    Here is the layer of wood which will be the "underlayment" for a concrete pour:
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    1.5" of MDF (which will be waterproofed). A 2x8 frame will be boxed around to hold the 10 or so bags of concrete and probably a few threaded rods to keep the generally square shape. 800 lbs should do a wonderful job of dampening for the relatively light machine work that I do.

    Feel free to SUBSCRIBE to the thread and watch me learn all my lessons the hard way.

  2. #2
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    Could you shim the i beams at the bottom to get them close and then skim the top once the machine is running to get it true?

    Looks like a beefy build
    Matt

  3. #3
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    ANY extruded aluminum piece is going to have very significant dimensional variation, and the larger it is the larger the variation. Things like I-beams are never intended to be "precision" components. If your design depends on the beams being dead-straight, then you've got a serious problem. You will also see VERY significant dimensional variation with changes in temperature, as aluminum has a very high coefficient of thermal expansion, and will expand, and contract, and twist all over the place, even with relatively small changes in ambient temperature.

    Regards,
    Ray L.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by HimyKabibble View Post
    ANY extruded aluminum piece is going to have very significant dimensional variation, and the larger it is the larger the variation. Things like I-beams are never intended to be "precision" components. If your design depends on the beams being dead-straight, then you've got a serious problem. You will also see VERY significant dimensional variation with changes in temperature, as aluminum has a very high coefficient of thermal expansion, and will expand, and contract, and twist all over the place, even with relatively small changes in ambient temperature.

    Regards,
    Ray L.
    Not to mention that they are not good from a "torsion resistant" point of view.

  5. #5
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    Jun 2011
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    I will be watching. I love these types of builds.
    Hurco KMB1 Build
    Wholesale Tool 3in1 conversion
    C-Constant
    N-Nonworking
    C-Contraption

  6. #6
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    Thanks! I wasn't looking for "precision" I-beams, just something I didn't have to over torque screws from the I beam into the wood. I was hoping they would sit flat, and cost less then more 8020 extrusions. The only decent priced extrusions that came in bulk were 40x40mm.

    I have most of the table completed, but I still need a way to figure out the motor mount/ball screw/dbl nut situation.

  7. #7
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    While waiting for the new I-beams I did some leveling, and replaced the slotted screwdriver bolts with socket cap screws:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    The leveling results:
    Front
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    Back:
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    Not sure how "off" the back one is since there is no markings. Debating upon leaving well enough alone, or trying to fix that half a degree or whatever the interval off it is.

  8. #8
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    If it makes you feel any better, you'll have at least that much error (probably considerably more) front-to-back, due to thermal expansion.

    Regards,
    Ray L.

  9. #9
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    heh... thanks. The basement stays cool year round (obviously more so in the winter).

    I just figured trying to level it wouldn't be a bad place to start. I-beams should be arriving this week (I HOPE?!)

  10. #10
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    new beams arriving friday. Just in time for me to not be able to touch them over the weekend.

  11. #11
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    Interesting build approach.

    How will this be similar to the Tormach mill?

    Mike

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelHenry View Post
    Interesting build approach.

    How will this be similar to the Tormach mill?

    Mike
    Because I am using a Tormach V770 Milling head.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by nateman_doo View Post
    Because I am using a Tormach V770 Milling head.
    There must be an interesting story behind that acquisition - has it been told yet?

    Mike

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelHenry View Post
    There must be an interesting story behind that acquisition - has it been told yet?

    Mike
    Tormach sells them off the shelf at a very reasonable price: 31758 - Complete PCNC 770 spindle head. It is a great starting point for something like Nate is building.

    bob

  15. #15
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    Yup. Started with an X2 head for my current build. Found it has many limitations. I was looking for a BF30 clone or perhaps an X3 head but I narrowed it down to 3 selections...

    1st was the Tormach V770. It has the fastest spindle speed, uber expensive

    2nd, was the Tormach 1100 head. slower spindle, Larger motor, uber expensive

    3rd. IH head. It was almost a third of the price, and I could have driven to the facility to pick it up so shipping costs would have been cheaper. The company said it was roughly 500 lbs.

    I opted for the V770 head because it was considerably lighter then the IH head (which I would have had to make a 500 lbs counter balance, and have a total of 1000 lbs hanging from the ceiling above-which is the floor of my kitchen) and it had the fastest spindle speed. Also just always wanted to own one.

    Back to the build:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    I assembled the base and tossed the wood back on top. I am debating on the method of screwing the I-beams to the wood, but it will probably end up being some self tapping screws through each I-beam into the wood.

    Gravity will be doing the work (roughly 500+ lbs of concrete) so the screws will just keep everything together. See the level in the picture?


    Here is a close-up of it:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Pretty level table to begin construction with

  16. #16
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    Someone PLEASE put a foot in my rear to make me finish this build!!!

  17. #17
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    Just do it!

    Stop thinking about it and just do it...even if it is 30 minutes a day get out there and you will be done before you know it.

  18. #18
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    I just want it perfect. I have my current machine working non stop, that I can't find the time to do the Y axis. I got the frame all done sorta, but I keep hearing about Ph levels in concrete and aluminum extrusions. I filled one of the extrusions with rebar and concrete, and it is incredibly stiff. I don't see any eroding of the extrusion.

    I plan to use quickrete countertop mix. It has the super plasticizers in it which will help in the pour. Nice to have a quickrete factory in town... BUT, they only deal with big box stores. I went to them, and they told me to go to lowes. Now i gotta pay lowes for no reason. Not like quickrete wouldn't get their money.

  19. #19
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    Forgot to post a picture of the table:
    Click image for larger version. 

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  20. #20
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    Finally started back up on the build. Here is the X axis motor mount:







    And a small mod I did to my bandsaw that has nothing to do with this build

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