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IndustryArena Forum > WoodWorking Machines > DIY CNC Router Table Machines > Small Composite Router Build 1000 X 600 X 300
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  1. #1
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    Small Composite Router Build 1000 X 600 X 300

    I couldn't tell you why. Maybe I just like to do things the hard way, maybe I like the looks of things built with composites.

    Maybe, we'll see, if I'm just another dreamer.

    Standard Chinese Stuff:

    US SBR20 Linear Rail Set+3 Ball screw RM1605-350/650/1050+BK/BF12+Coupler CNC EBay
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/391930155935

    US SBR20 Linear Rail Set+3 Ball screw RM1605-350/650/1050+BK/BF12+Coupler CNC EBay
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/132846144299

    CNC Spindle Motor Kits, 2.2KW Water Cooled Spindle Motor 2.2KW Inverter + 80MM Clamp Mount +13PCS ER20 Collet + 5M Water Pipe + Water Pump for CNC Router
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1


    UC300ETH-UB1 comes as a complete ready to use set , consisting of the UC300ETH and the UB1 board.
    https://www.cncroom.com/interface-ca...n822i1du9cj117

    Tecnik 3437 Servo Motors Discontinued from a previous project. More on that in a future story.

    Instrument-grade motor, 400 oz-in, 4000 count/rev encoder and step and direction drivers.

    That pretty much sums up the main stuff.
    Still need to get wires to make harnesses, a power supply for the axis motors, and wire chains.

    The composite materials will be outlined in future post.

    This is my second CNC project. The first was a knee mill conversion, with many mistakes, and some really cool results. I had intended to make something a lot more ambitious, but my better angels prevailed. The next post will be the Fusion 360 designs images. I hope you guys have fun following along and I am looking forward to your incites, observations, and advice.

  2. #2
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    Re: Small Composite Router Build 1000 X 600 X 300

    Someplace on the net there is an example of a router / Bridge mill made out of composites. If nothing else it would offer some inspiration, unfortunately I don't have a link.

  3. #3
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    Re: Small Composite Router Build 1000 X 600 X 300

    US SBR20 Linear Rail Set+3 Ball screw RM1605-350/650/1050+BK/BF12+Coupler CNC EBay
    1610 ballscrews are a much better choice, as are profile linear rails over round supported shafts.
    Gerry

    UCCNC 2017 Screenset
    http://www.thecncwoodworker.com/2017.html

    Mach3 2010 Screenset
    http://www.thecncwoodworker.com/2010.html

    JointCAM - CNC Dovetails & Box Joints
    http://www.g-forcecnc.com/jointcam.html

    (Note: The opinions expressed in this post are my own and are not necessarily those of CNCzone and its management)

  4. #4
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    Re: Small Composite Router Build 1000 X 600 X 300

    Quote Originally Posted by ger21 View Post
    1610 ballscrews are a much better choice, as are profile linear rails over round supported shafts.
    Thanks Gerry,

    I couldn't agree more. But this little machine is going to be used primarily for making wood signs. I am going to try cutting some aluminum as a test of accuracy under heavier loads.

    The immediate need is to make signs, The 600 X 400 Chinese Routers would solve it, capacity wise.

    I started to research them and found out they have lots of problems. So I stated looking for kits and components to keep my cost within this range. Worst case I will try adding distance to the blocks to minimize movement. As far as travel speed is concerned, The affordable kits I found all have 5 mm pitch. These motors are capable of 3000 plus rpm at 60 volts so that is 590 ipm. Not fast by industrial router standards, but the travel for this application is short.

    If this machine starts to make money then improvements will be much easier to justify.

    Please continue to give me opinions and advice. This is the first of several machines I have in mind.

  5. #5
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    Re: Small Composite Router Build 1000 X 600 X 300

    Well, here is the concept model.


  6. #6
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    Re: Small Composite Router Build 1000 X 600 X 300

    Looking forward to seeing more about this project.Will the composite be epoxy/concrete or will there be something like carbon involved? I noticed you mention an immediate need to make signs and I hope it isn't too pressing a need as just the cure time for the composite will be a few days and they you have the attachment of the rails,ballscrews and steppers not to mention populating a control box and calibrating the control software.

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    Re: Small Composite Router Build 1000 X 600 X 300

    The Table will be a wood product composite, that I will do a report on during the construction phase. The Gantry will evolve into a molded, cored, Fiber Reinforced Epoxy, which will be fiber glass or carbon depending on test of actual machine. The first one will be used to make the subsequent ones and will probably not have all of the same style as the model.
    Thanks for asking, the need for the engraving is part of a new product launch that will be in February.

  8. #8
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    Re: Small Composite Router Build 1000 X 600 X 300

    The basic shape is much like my router I made years ago.

    I think its a nice clean looking setup but I found that having the Y screw under the table locates it further away from the point of cutting. The greater the distance the more flex you will have.
    Having two screw located right above the rails is a better setup.

    I know it cost more.

    Most people don't like the round rails, I have not used them but you can get the China rails fairly cheep thees days.

    I really like the look of the mill so far. Better than most.
    youtube videos of the G0704 under the name arizonavideo99

  9. #9
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    Re: Small Composite Router Build 1000 X 600 X 300

    I agree with you guys 100% about this not being strong enough. The system is way out of balance. The problem is the budget. The saving grace is that this is a very small machine.

    I just will have to find out how hard it can be driven. I have some machine tools so I may make a step up belt drive to add to it. In the mean while, the frame will need to be tested, and I can make some engravings, and woodwork.

    The math says that the maximum force will be about 50 kg. of force at the table or about 70 kg.. at 100 millimeters from the lower rod. 70 kg, even 50. is a pretty substantial woodworking force.

    Either way, can't turn back now.

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    Re: Small Composite Router Build 1000 X 600 X 300

    This keeps getting better. I opened the package and what do you think I found? LOL
    Flex couplers equivalent to something you might find in a printer.

    The ones I just order are rated for 12.5 nm. About 4 times what I need. One weak spot down.

  11. #11
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    Re: Small Composite Router Build 1000 X 600 X 300

    Gosh, I am just confused a little when it comes to building these small footprint machines out of anything but real metal. What exactly is the advantage ? Light weight ? Portability ? One could make a CNC out of horse hair reinforced paper mache too, but WHY?

    Using Cast aluminum plate for example, the overall dimension would be smaller for any given work area and the final rigidity would be far more predictable / controllable by comparison. If we've seen one, we've seen a hundred stories of people building a second, third, fourth, etc. machine because the earlier attempts never really were rigid enough. Why not just build as substantial as possible ?

    I've included a build picture of a 12" x 15" work area machine I made some years ago from cast aluminum tooling plate and thk supported rails throughout. The plate is very inexpensive because you can purchase it as cut-offs or drops in such small sizes. It's plenty easy to cut part profiles from it even with carbide wood working tools, and much of a machines accuracy can simply be calculated... dictated even by the "stack-up" of the already reliable uniformity of the specs for Alcoa5 or Mic6.

    At least when your done, you have a machine that > really can < cut a variety of things because it is very rigid and contains at least some level of built in mass not found in plastics, wood or whatever. I don't really bring this up just to be negative... I just see so many machines that are built so "light duty" that I have no idea what people really end up cutting with them..... marshmallow V-Carving ? Maybe that a thing ?

    To me it seems it takes about the same amount of design, build and assembly effort either way whether you use something strong and with mass of light and flimsy. Why not make the end result a bit more of an actual guaranty ? Even at the OP's size of roughly 40" x 24", the cost of a 1/2" aluminum tooling plate would be worth every nickle, and serve as an adequate backbone for a formidable machine.
    Chris L

  12. #12
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    Re: Small Composite Router Build 1000 X 600 X 300

    How close can the spindle get to the table ?
    Anyone who says "It only goes together one way" has no imagination.

  13. #13
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    Re: Small Composite Router Build 1000 X 600 X 300

    Neat design!!

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    Re: Small Composite Router Build 1000 X 600 X 300

    The collet can touch depending on how you have it mounted. Drawing are coming soon.

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    Re: Small Composite Router Build 1000 X 600 X 300

    I'm switching out the SBR20s on the Z and Y axis to EGR25s plus I added 100mm to both so I can have some extra space between the blocks.
    Images coming.

  16. #16
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    Re: Small Composite Router Build 1000 X 600 X 300

    Quote Originally Posted by MachineRising View Post
    I agree with you guys 100% about this not being strong enough. The system is way out of balance. The problem is the budget. The saving grace is that this is a very small machine.
    To be honest this isn't what I was expecting. Just considering the current renderings the gantry system will be extremely heavy, probably much heavier than a similar implementation made out of steel.

    Frankly you mentioned a time frame above that has me thinking that you will be really pressed to bring this all together before February. One of the biggest problems with anything made in a mold is that you have to make the mold first. This especially if the gantry is one piece. I kinda doubt that the gantry is one piece but the beam spanning the table is really thin in my opinion.

    When you posted this i was actually expecting a moving table design to better leverage the mechanical properties of composite materials. With this approach you avoid having to manage moving a heavy piece of structure. That structure would be easy to damage in a composite form.

    The only machines I have had direct experience with when it comes to composite "epoxy granite" type structures are some diamond turning lathes used in the optic's industry. Those castings are surprisingly easy to damage and this was with commercially produced epoxy granite castings. Now fiber reinforcement might help some but unless you intentions are to produce a composite based 100% on fiber reinforcement I'm not convinced that the common composite (epoxy granite) materials makes sense in a moving gantry design.

    I'm at my laptop so at least I can find a couple of links. For example: https://hackaday.com/2016/05/01/prec...epoxy-granite/, a long reprap thread: https://reprap.org/forum/read.php?148,9376. These still are not what I was trying to fine but can be useful.
    I just will have to find out how hard it can be driven. I have some machine tools so I may make a step up belt drive to add to it. In the mean while, the frame will need to be tested, and I can make some engravings, and woodwork.
    I suspect how hard it can be driven will come down to what you have in the way of reinforcements. I wouldn't expect much torsional performance from plain epoxy granites. One option considering your tight time frame, is to use epoxy filled steel tubing instead of a full epoxy granite design. This would give you a greater confidence in the mechanical strength of the machine considering the limited time to properly design and model an all composite design.
    The math says that the maximum force will be about 50 kg. of force at the table or about 70 kg.. at 100 millimeters from the lower rod. 70 kg, even 50. is a pretty substantial woodworking force.

    Either way, can't turn back now.
    If your airplane is in a tailspin you have all the time in the world until you hit the ground to pull out!!! If you don't pull out somebody comes by with a bucket to sweep you up.

    I don't know how much time you have to devote to this each day but I just find the time frame to be tight. Hopefully some of this build is already underway.

  17. #17
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    Re: Small Composite Router Build 1000 X 600 X 300

    Quote Originally Posted by wizard View Post
    To be honest this isn't what I was expecting. Just considering the current renderings the gantry system will be extremely heavy, probably much heavier than a similar implementation made out of steel.
    Sorry my previous responses are a little out of context. The weakness I referred to was about the round rails.


    Quote Originally Posted by wizard View Post
    Frankly you mentioned a time frame above that has me thinking that you will be really pressed to bring this all together before February. One of the biggest problems with anything made in a mold is that you have to make the mold first. This especially if the gantry is one piece. I kinda doubt that the gantry is one piece but the beam spanning the table is really thin in my opinion

    When you posted this i was actually expecting a moving table design to better leverage the mechanical properties of composite materials. With this approach you avoid having to manage moving a heavy piece of structure. That structure would be easy to damage in a composite form.

    The only machines I have had direct experience with when it comes to composite "epoxy granite" type structures are some diamond turning lathes used in the optic's industry. Those castings are surprisingly easy to damage and this was with commercially produced epoxy granite castings. Now fiber reinforcement might help some but unless you intentions are to produce a composite based 100% on fiber reinforcement I'm not convinced that the common composite (epoxy granite) materials makes sense in a moving gantry design.

    I'm at my laptop so at least I can find a couple of links. For example: https://hackaday.com/2016/05/01/prec...epoxy-granite/, a long reprap thread: https://reprap.org/forum/read.php?148,9376. These still are not what I was trying to fine but can be useful.

    I suspect how hard it can be driven will come down to what you have in the way of reinforcements. I wouldn't expect much torsional performance from plain epoxy granites. One option considering your tight time frame, is to use epoxy filled steel tubing instead of a full epoxy granite design. This would give you a greater confidence in the mechanical strength of the machine considering the limited time to properly design and model an all composite design.


    If your airplane is in a tailspin you have all the time in the world until you hit the ground to pull out!!! If you don't pull out somebody comes by with a bucket to sweep you up.

    I don't know how much time you have to devote to this each day but I just find the time frame to be tight. Hopefully some of this build is already underway.
    It was too thin, I fixed that.

    This project is really about Fiber Glass, Carbon Fibers, and Epoxy, and cores made from foam sheets or various kinds of wood products. But it will also have some laminated aluminum components as well. When I said composites, I should have explained that I meant all different kinds of composites.

    Thanks for being interested.

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    Re: Small Composite Router Build 1000 X 600 X 300

    Don't get too hung up on getting the collet to the table-its a simple thing to add a slab of MDF, skim it and use the new surface for working.The rendering doesn't show any kind of structure I would choose to make from composites with all those tiny webs at the bottom of the gantry side plates.I think a more fundamental problem is likely to be gantry skew with a single central ballscrew.I think you should also be a little cautious about mixing glass and carbon in the structure as they have different coefficients of thermal expansion,it may not be too significant if your working environment has a stable temperature.

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    Re: Small Composite Router Build 1000 X 600 X 300

    Quote Originally Posted by routalot View Post
    Don't get too hung up on getting the collet to the table-its a simple thing to add a slab of MDF, skim it and use the new surface for working.The rendering doesn't show any kind of structure I would choose to make from composites with all those tiny webs at the bottom of the gantry side plates.I think a more fundamental problem is likely to be gantry skew with a single central ballscrew.I think you should also be a little cautious about mixing glass and carbon in the structure as they have different coefficients of thermal expansion,it may not be too significant if your working environment has a stable temperature.
    I've built several structures using both carbon and glass. Carbon is mostly useful in high load areas. The webs would not be laminated. They could just be plywood with colloidal silica filled fillets . The loading on the webs will mostly be linear. If they did require additional strength the way to do it would be to pre-laminate them and then use epoxy to attach them.


    I had originally though to build it with 2 X axis, but thought maybe such a short gantry span it would be ok with the center screw. I've since change back to 2 screws and have ordered 2 new ones. The reason 2 is that the length will now be 1500mm instead of just 1000.

    Making the collet touch the bed was fairly straight forward. It requires either a way machined into the Z plate face, or a series of mounting holes for the spindle bracket combined with utilizing the built in adjustment of the bracket to the spindle connection. This router needs to be able to have a wide range of bit lengths from very small engraving bits to 5" ling spiral router bits for shaping corbels.


    I think a large problem that will go away in the next round of changes is the flex in the aluminum plates in the Z axis. I can bend the 1/2" 6061 T651 plate I have by hand. Aluminum is strong in point loading, but for weight, fiberglass sandwiches are stiffer.

    Anyway, next is a major change in the design of this router.

    1. (2) X axis motors
    2. EGR25 rails
    3. Sandwiched aluminum plates to wood, plywood, or Advantech subflooring. More on Advantech in the next few post. This stuff is unbelievably strong, and stiff, and flat.
    4. maybe get rid of the beam underneath although is does add stiffness while transferring mass closer to the center of force.

    Thanks for your input. Several times the decision to go one way of the other has been influenced by feed back from you guys.

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    Re: Small Composite Router Build 1000 X 600 X 300

    Quote Originally Posted by datac View Post
    Gosh, I am just confused a little when it comes to building these small footprint machines out of anything but real metal. What exactly is the advantage ? Light weight ? Portability ? One could make a CNC out of horse hair reinforced paper mache too, but WHY?

    Using Cast aluminum plate for example, the overall dimension would be smaller for any given work area and the final rigidity would be far more predictable / controllable by comparison. If we've seen one, we've seen a hundred stories of people building a second, third, fourth, etc. machine because the earlier attempts never really were rigid enough. Why not just build as substantial as possible ?

    I've included a build picture of a 12" x 15" work area machine I made some years ago from cast aluminum tooling plate and thk supported rails throughout. The plate is very inexpensive because you can purchase it as cut-offs or drops in such small sizes. It's plenty easy to cut part profiles from it even with carbide wood working tools, and much of a machines accuracy can simply be calculated... dictated even by the "stack-up" of the already reliable uniformity of the specs for Alcoa5 or Mic6.

    At least when your done, you have a machine that > really can < cut a variety of things because it is very rigid and contains at least some level of built in mass not found in plastics, wood or whatever. I don't really bring this up just to be negative... I just see so many machines that are built so "light duty" that I have no idea what people really end up cutting with them..... marshmallow V-Carving ? Maybe that a thing ?

    To me it seems it takes about the same amount of design, build and assembly effort either way whether you use something strong and with mass of light and flimsy. Why not make the end result a bit more of an actual guaranty ? Even at the OP's size of roughly 40" x 24", the cost of a 1/2" aluminum tooling plate would be worth every nickle, and serve as an adequate backbone for a formidable machine.
    I've had a life time of experience working with composites. I've made them considerably stronger than it would have been possible using the same weight in "Real Metal" (aluminum).
    As it turns out though, this machine has evolved into something entirely different than 4 weeks ago.. You'll be happy to know that one of those changes is to use aluminum for some of the skins in the cored structure.

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