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IndustryArena Forum > MetalWorking Machines > CNC "do-it-yourself" > Bare cast iron frame for machine build - any documented builds?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007

    Bare cast iron frame for machine build - any documented builds?

    I'm planning a new home shop and evaluating options for a DIY mill build and came across these cast iron machine frames. Has anyone used them or have thoughts on doing a build with them?


    I would want to build out the head with a high speed spindle (10-20K). Primiarly used for aluminum prototyping and parts (~150mm x 300mm x 80mm). Surface finish and accuracy are important points to optimize around. For fun I'd run the system off a Beckhoff IPC controntroller with Beckhoff or Mitsubishi servos. Idealy I think a DIY Datron like machine would work out well for the work I do, but having the option to do heavier cutting would be more versitle for my use.

    Haven't found any builds with these bare cast iron frames, out of all the options I'm considering it seems like a solid path to go down.

    Options considered:

    + Extrusion Frame - Vibration are stiffness are to much of a concern to go down this route.
    + Aluminum Bolted Plates - Would turn on looking nice, but vibrations are a concern
    + Steel Bolted Plates - Vibrations are a concern
    + Expoxy Granite - Don't have a machine large enough to mill the entire frame after casting - could outsource but seems like a ready to go cast iron frame might be easier
    + Welded Steel - I like the flexibility of getting plates laser cutting and designing a frame, but don't have a great welding setup at the moment
    + Sieg/Grizzly Conversion - Well documented path, but I'd likely end up replacing everything expect the frame

    The comps for the machine I'd like to build it a DIY version of a Tormach (slightly smaller is fine) or a Datron. If I went the Datron path I'd likely get a small manual mill for general work as well.

    My CNC background: I've converted an X2, had a Tormach and VF2SSYT. I design automation equipment for my day job. Looking for something small to keep around for weekend projects (and for this built to be a weekend project itself).

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2018

    Re: Bare cast iron frame for machine build - any documented builds?

    Hi Kuba - Seems your leaning towards a Datron and the casting is not a Datron style machine. Datrons are all double column, moving gantry I'm sure your aware of this. There are lots of successful bolted steel and aluminium mills in the forum so vibs may not be an issue. Bolted connections are damp due to the connection friction.

    Datron use granite bases and you maybe able to start there. Second hand surface plates or the local stone mason will be helpful. Maybe some reject or second hand headstones are the starting point... Again there are a few solid granite machines in the forum. It's a small machine so a granite base, fixed columns and gantry will be stiff and damp. Cheers Peter

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007

    Re: Bare cast iron frame for machine build - any documented builds?

    Thanks, [mention]peteeng [/mention] - Fixed column granite definitely seems like the most robust solution. I do have access to Some VMCs at work and like the idea of going all aluminum plates if possible. Simplified the need to weld up and mill a large frame.

    Would likely look into casting epoxy granite in the frame to dampen it. Similar to this build: https://www.cnczone.com/forums/uncat...uminium-2.html

    The Dayton I was looking at is the Neo version which has fixed columns and looks to be an aluminum table. This work envelope would be perfect for my work, but scratching my head on how to exactly build out the frame without welding one.

    For the spindle I’m considering a CNC Depot S30C, but open to any other high speed and reliable spindle out there if there are any strong opinions.

    I’ll likely start modeling it this weekend and will share the progress.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2018

    Re: Bare cast iron frame for machine build - any documented builds?

    Hi Kuba - Yes the Linuxfan build is exceptional. I recommend no welding, bolted connections with machined fits and epoxied together. Aluminium so no painting needed and easy to work with. Initially stay away from Epoxy Granite unless you really want to cast the parts. Regards Peter

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