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IndustryArena Forum > WoodWorking Machines > DIY CNC Router Table Machines > CNC Wood Router Project Log > Last One - 4'x6' Steel, Epoxy and ClearPath servo's
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  1. #1
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    Last One - 4'x6' Steel, Epoxy and ClearPath servo's

    Well, I've got a good start on my final 3 axis CNC router. This will be my 3rd machine and I thought it was time to start the build log. My first machine was for me. The second was for my friend and it resides in his workshop and I can use it anytime I want. After I built his, I sold my first router on CraigsList. I was pretty surprised by the amount of interest. I got a fair price for it and sold it to the first guy who came to see it. So the proceeds from that sale became the seed money for this build.

    This machine will be mostly steel but more importantly, it will be built around some main components; Primarily, A Thomson 8" linear actuator for the Z-axis and ClearPath Servo's paired with NEMA34, 10:1 low backlash planetary gearboxes driving helical rack and pinion gears on the X and Y axis'. Z- axis uses a 20mm ballscrew with a 10mm pitch. The linear bearings are 30mm Hiwin units that were bought new, old stock.

    I want this machine to be very rigid and able to cut aluminum and non-ferrous metals with a good finish and of course, hardwood, and various plastics. Basically a fast machine and a rigid frame.

    2.2KW watercooled spindle - They worked well on my first 2 builds

    VFD - To be determined. I'm happily surprised with how well the LaPond unit I got from Amazon is working for my friend but I'm curious about the Hitachi units.

    UCCNC for software - Worked well on my first two builds and I'm familiar with it and its getting better all the time with lots of support on their forum. I'll probably use the UC300ETH board for this one. I used the UC400ETH on my friends.

    All input is appreciated so if you have a suggestion please post it in this thread. Here's a couple pics of the router I built for my friend. It wasn't 100% done (are they ever?) in the pics.

    This is the build thread: http://www.cnczone.com/forums/cnc-wo...10480-cnc.html

    On with it then...

  2. #2
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    Re: Last One - 4'x6' Steel, Epoxy and ClearPath servo's

    That is a nice looking machine. Yup the more of these you build the more things you learn and you add all those bits of knowledge into the next build and they get better and better.

  3. #3
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    Re: Last One - 4'x6' Steel, Epoxy and ClearPath servo's

    Some of the components and where I got them:

    This is the Thomson Linear actuator I got from Ebay seller, xyz_axis_cnc_2011. I've got all my Z-axis' linear actuators from him and I cannot recommend him as a seller highly enough. I've steered a couple other forum members to him for their Z-axis actuators as well and nobody has complained. The gearbox in the pic is a GAM NEMA34 10:1 planetary gearbox that will drive the Y and X axis also sourced from Ebay (not from xyz_axis_cnc_2011). I needed 3 of kind for the gearboxes. There were sellers on ebay who had one or two but only one other seller had 3 NEMA 34 gearheads and he wanted far too much for them. I'm happy so far with these as far as I can tell they must be new, or barely used. The ClearPath servo's are NEMA 34 so they'll fit the gearboxes with a minum of fuss. I did have to get shaft adapters for them however. The servo's have a 1/2" shaft. The gearboxes require 3/4" shafts. I got the adapters from McMaster Carr for about $10each. The specs for the gearboxes indicate less than 10 arc-mins of backlash. I hope its less but, if my ciphering is correct that equates to about .002" of actual backlash. I'll measure it when its in operation and if necessary I can compensate for it in UCCNC.

    8" Z-axis - $700 plus shipping; Ebay

    10:1 NEMA 34 planetary gearbox - $200 plus shipping; Ebay.

  4. #4
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    Re: Last One - 4'x6' Steel, Epoxy and ClearPath servo's

    The linear bearings and helical rack and pinion sets came from Automation Overstock, surplus automation equipment, overstock automation devices, manufacturer overruns, linear bearings, variable speed drives, circuit breakers, contactors, starters, relays

    The linear bearings for the X and Y axis' are new, old-stock HIWIN 30mm sets. Including shipping they were $1079. Automation Overstock cut them to my requested length. I would have preferred 20mm or 25mm units but they were all sold out. Not a big deal and with 30mm bearings I dont think I will ever have to worry about them wearing out. Ever!

    The helical rack and pinion gears were $326 including shipping.

  5. #5
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    Re: Last One - 4'x6' Steel, Epoxy and ClearPath servo's

    Yeah, all the prices on ebay used to be pretty reasonable and you could find deals from time to time. Over the last few years prices have just sky rocketed and it gets very hard to find stuff at a reasonable price. This hobby has become very expensive. LOL

  6. #6
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    Re: Last One - 4'x6' Steel, Epoxy and ClearPath servo's

    Since I'm going to use ClearPath servo's I have to kinda do this build in reverse (lesson learned from my second build). Because - ClearPath servo's have an auto tune routine. Basically, they do a series of movements and then measure how the mechanical system responds to these movements. It then tunes itself to the system its connected to. It sounds like someone is thumping the machine with a deadblow hammer when it's autotuning. Pretty neat. Except, it is impossible to auto tune a dual driven gantry on a CNC router! See the tenth FAQ here: http://https://www.teknic.com/faq/
    They dont say its impossible in their FAQ's, but they will when you email them.

    Sooo, my solution is to start this build from the X axis gantry and have it and the Z-axis completed entirely (except for some of the cabling) and then weigh the whole thing. Once I have its weight, I'll rig up an artificial load that is half the weight of the gantry, and auto tune the Y axis motors with it. Thats a ways down the road yet but that will explain a lot of the process as I build it.

  7. #7
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    Re: Last One - 4'x6' Steel, Epoxy and ClearPath servo's

    Quote Originally Posted by CNCMAN172 View Post
    Yeah, all the prices on ebay used to be pretty reasonable and you could find deals from time to time. Over the last few years prices have just sky rocketed and it gets very hard to find stuff at a reasonable price. This hobby has become very expensive. LOL
    I've bought much high end linear motion parts over the years. It's getting harder to find good deals on eBay now. All of my profile linear rails, servo motors, drivers were purchased crazy cheap. I need another THK linear actuator for a 3d printer but for the high prices now, I'll pass.

  8. #8
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    The Gantry

    I wanted a carbon fiber gantry. Bad. For rigidity and light weight it cant be beat. But alas, I dont have the money to have one built or the talent to do it myself. Bummer.

    I though a lot about using 80/20 extrusion like I did for my friend and I probably would have except this Z-axis is a lot bigger and I thought the 80-160 profile extrusion wasnt big enough and thats the biggest they offer. So that left steel. I'll cut to the chase; after a lot of research comparing weight/cost and availabilty I went with a 10"x6"x 3/16" wall rectangular steel tube. I considered 1/4" wall thickness but decided against it due to weight. A 1/4" tube would still have to be internally braced (see fluxion's 3rd build thread). The 3/16" wall tube would need internal bracing also but its about 35 lbs lighter than a comparable 1/4" wall tube. Lighter=less inertia=more speed.

    So my Dad and I set about internally bracing it. You can see in the pics where I laid out slots to cut in the corners. We slid some flat stock through these slits and welded them in place and in the center of the X where they crossed. The slots were laid out to miss any bolts for the linear rails. The braces were welded on the top first, all the way across. I didnt want to induce any twist with the braces. After all the braces on the top were welded, we flipped it over and started on the bottom working out from the middle and alternating on each side of the middle.

  9. #9
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    Re: Last One - 4'x6' Steel, Epoxy and ClearPath servo's

    Nice work. I really want welder for my next build.

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    The Gantry

    More pics of the bracing process:

    When the internal bracing was done I started laying out the linear rails and deciding where best to mount them.

  11. #11
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    The Gantry

    We welded some 1/4" flat stock onto the tube where the linear rails will be. I found a machine shop that can fixture a piece this big and eventually they will cut grooves for the linear bearings in these pads. A piece of 1" x 1/2" flat stock was welded across the back of the gantry for the helical gear rack. The machine shop will also cut a shoulder in this for the gear rack. Had to have all the major welding done on it before it is machined in case the welding induced any twist the machining would straighten/flatten it out. On the bottom we welded a couple pads on the ends that will bolt to risers or, directly to the Y axis bearings. I drilled these on the drill press before we welded them on. I also drilled and tapped 2, 1/4-20 holes for jack bolts for leveling the gantry front to back and sided to side if necessary. Hopefully it wont be as I'll be epoxy leveling the Y axis.

  12. #12
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    The Gantry

    Thanks Jfong and CNCMAN.

    To close up the ends of the tubes we welded a plate on one end and the other, some angle iron to bolt a plate to. The plan is to fill the tube with high density poly-urethane foam. So I needed one end left open.
    One of the disadvantages of using a "thin wall" tube is that is subject to resonance. And you can tell when your grinding on this one that it rings like a bell. I've heard some people recommend filling these types of tubes with concrete or epoxy granite mixture. No doubt this would be rigid and not resonate but it would also make it extremely heavy. And slow. On my friends machine I thought about filling the gantry extrusion with Great Stuff foam but I decided not to. My thought was this would dampen any vibration induced in it. It was just a hunch I had that developed from another one of my hobbies. So I started doing some research on the use of high density foam as a filler for steel tubes. And it turns out that there was some research done on this in 2014 and it was for application to the auto industry where manufacturers would fill the frames of their cars with high density poly-urethane foam to dampen vibration and add crush strength. So it seemed to me that it would dampen vibration in a router gantry like I'm building. It also adds rigidity by bonding to the tube and imparting similar properties to a composite beam.

    So for about $45 I got a gallon of poly-urethane foam for setting fence posts from these guys https://www.secureset.net/

  13. #13
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    Re: Last One - 4'x6' Steel, Epoxy and ClearPath servo's

    Thats it for now. The gantry is at the machine shop and they said it would be about 3 weeks before they could get to it. I'll pour the foam when it gets back from the machine shop when, hopefully its a little warmer.

  14. #14
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    Re: Last One - 4'x6' Steel, Epoxy and ClearPath servo's

    Nice work. Looks like a good build.

  15. #15
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    Re: Last One - 4'x6' Steel, Epoxy and ClearPath servo's

    30mm rails nice!!!. I have a new pair of 25mm NSK for x axis and my current cnc has a 30mm THK SHS rail. I kinda chuckled when I received it. Didn't realized how big 30mm rail was when I made the eBay bid. It was only $50, probably one of the best deals I ever found. Certainly a bit overkill for my 80/20 extrusion machine but not complaining.

  16. #16
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    Re: Last One - 4'x6' Steel, Epoxy and ClearPath servo's

    Yep. They are certainly beefy

  17. #17
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    Re: Last One - 4'x6' Steel, Epoxy and ClearPath servo's

    Looks Great! I'm excited to follow along! Thanks for your detailed posts and pictures!

  18. #18
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    Re: Last One - 4'x6' Steel, Epoxy and ClearPath servo's

    Great looking build! I'll be trying to autotune my CP Y axis this week. I've weighed everything. right now thinking I will rig something (pulleys, cable, load) up to the mounted gantry upright (no gantry) with the load hanging over each end and the CP in its spot on the R&P. will let you know how it goes.

    Sounds like you might be picking bigger motors for that beefy steel gantry?

  19. #19
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    Re: Last One - 4'x6' Steel, Epoxy and ClearPath servo's

    Good luck with your tuning Dokwine. Definitely let me know how it went.
    I'm going to use the same class motors for this except I think I'll use their higher speed "P" model. They'll be geared 10:1 so they should handle the load.

  20. #20
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    Re: Last One - 4'x6' Steel, Epoxy and ClearPath servo's

    1J10 - the deed is done and I am autotuned! Don't intend to hijack your thread but wanted to see if you had any feedback before I tear down my tuning rig and get on to the next challenge Autotune was very uneventful. Here's my setup:Attachment 349848 The weightlifting plates (hey, we all have a past) are sized to represent 1/2 of the missing gantry weight on either side. The only thing that seemed spotty to me was the cable (1/16") stretching a small amount and bouncing on fast moves - transients completely different than what I would expect on the final system. FWIW I ran it twice and saved off the .mtr files in the hope I might crack them and see what differences there might be. I may yet add some weight and rerun for another data point (if I can view the .mtr file). I may yet go to some stiffer cable and re-run.

    Would really appreciate your comments before I tear this down!

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