MechMate CNC Router Forum

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Axel1966 Sat 18 February 2012 08:53

Thank you very much Gerald.

I have no more questions except those you did not awnser.

WTI Sat 18 February 2012 14:05


I think what Gerald is trying to tell you is that the MM is done being designed. It is already version 2.0 (for a while the second version was being called Mamba, now it simply IS the Mechmate).

All of the engineering of whether it is stiff enough, the motors large enough, the weight heavy enough, the V-rails accurate enough - has already be worked out years ago.

Gerald worked for 6 years to help us all build our own MM and is now "retired".

So if you want to build a proven design (there are already well over 150 MM working and making money), that lets you own a $35,000 router for $5000, just download the plans and build the machine.

If you want to talk about re-engineering the plans, making it lighter (which will make the cut quality poorer), using sprocket and chain (gets filled with wood fibers), using ball screws, or any other ideas that were tested and rejected many years ago; then the place where people like discuss those things is the DYI Router Table group on CNC-Zone:

Here on the MM forum people just want to quickly build a commercial quality machine from proven plans - not reinvent the wheel.

Axel1966 Sat 18 February 2012 14:17

Thank you very much James.

Kobus_Joubert Sun 19 February 2012 00:11

I personally know of a couple of people that came to my house to look at my MM....then I hear all the KNOWLEDGE poring out...I will change this, I will do that etc.
I warn them and say to them to just stick to the plans like I did.
What happened, most of those start the build, change things and run into all sorts of problems...Bottom line 2 years later they still don't have a working MM.
I am happy with the MM as it is....too stupid to re-design it, and it works for me.;)

KenC Sun 19 February 2012 02:11

Agree with Kobus, we don't have to go far, we are not short of such "knowledgeable" individuals posting in this forum...

MetalHead Sun 19 February 2012 05:26

I am going to have to agree with Gerald and the others on the building of the Mechmate.
If you want to design a machine,this is not the forum for that. We are here to help you build a MechMate and the reason everyone does basically the same build has also been covered. So feel free to read as much as you like, buy a set of plans and get busy building a MechMate. We will be there for you on those questions but you will find this group not to focused on talking about non MechMate systems.

Axel1966 Sun 19 February 2012 12:55

Oh, come on !

I was friendly and gentle with anyone here.
I studdy CNC router solutions for more than one year, I did not land here with no reason...
to come.

I said it at the start, I'm not a mech engineer.
Like in all forums, you have people of all kind. Sorry to be of an unexpected one.
There's no offense to try to understand the meaning of a complex structure you're going to build during weeks.

I'll have to build a MM with half the comfortable budget needed.
Unfortunately, parts are more expensive in France than in the States, when you can find them. Those are two very important factors to me.

That's why I started to question each point that could have an incidence on budget.
Starting by the question "Is Light Right ?"
Instead of any pertinent awnsers, I had "do not reinvent the wheel" ; "Go to CNCZone". A bit short to understand, especialy, if your English is not realy good.
So I tried to present arguments to see what could be wrong.

An understandable awnser comes at last in message #32, thx James :
Originally Posted by WTI View Post
(...)making it lighter (which will make the cut quality poorer), (...)
Good ! So weight is important to cut quality. That's all I wanted to know at this point.

So I'm now working on my table dimensions. I will make and submit a rough as soon as possible, to valid the global shape. I studdy meanwhile "welding for dummies".

According 6 years is old for technologics these days,
I wish we will not have a new version of the MM in a close future...
I don't want to spend months of work for an obsolete or dysfunctional table.

Thanks again for those who gave their help without judgement.
I promiss to explain better (as possible) the reason of my questions,
to avoid bi-lateral missunderstanding or waste of time.

I try to be a suitable MM builder. ;)

WTI Sun 19 February 2012 13:42


Like on a job site, we have to pick on the new guy a little bit - just to make sure he is tough enough to hang around with the rest of us.

Looks like you will be fine, and we look forward to helping you build your MM.


Do you have a scrap yard in your city? Or Craigslist on the computer? It is pretty easy to find inexpensive I-Beams that can be substituted for the less common C-beams.

Sometimes giving a couple of bucks to one of the scrappers is worthwhile if he'll set aside material that comes in and call you.

Axel1966 Sun 19 February 2012 13:58

Many thanks James,
Well I make my searches in this way...
A have a contact with a steel provider who cuts for the industry.
So he have 3000 tons of unselled ends, i'll find my stuff there with a piece of time.
I don't worry with the metal.

I guess I'll rent a good MIG Welder for a week end when all the cutted parts will be ready.
I own a dedicated (not so) old computer. This is not to be buyed.

I guess it will be more difficult to find rollers, morors and controllers cheaper.
We'll see. I'm just at the start and I know I must go slowly. :o

Red_boards Sun 19 February 2012 18:55

There are very few MM builders with fewer skills than myself. It can be done. The welding takes practice. There is good info here and on welding forums about welding, but it's all about getting the "feeling" for yourself. One of the nice things about the "heavy" (thick) steel of the MM is that a poor welder can get away with grinding and rewelding (a lot, in my case).

If you're an engineer, then you have the ability to read the plans and figure out the electronics - for me these were the most interesting, but also the most worrying, because that's where the $$ are invested and so you don't want to fry components.

The thing I noticed during the build was that things magically fit together right at the end. If you change something from the plans, you suddenly discover that there is insufficient clearance for a bolt head or something when you assemble things. I've seen this a few times on the forum.

I've also noticed that builders who spend too much time worrying about fancy and "optimised" components often seem to bog down, go quiet, and seldom finish.

I guess I read some threads in the Structure and Mechanics and other parts 10 times during the build. Each time I understood a little more what was being discussed. Also, I found a few local builds to follow (surfCNC and Tony, in my case) because that helped with sourcing components.

Axel1966 Sun 19 February 2012 19:41

Thanks Red,
Your comment is very instructive.
For Electronics, I feel confident. At last that reminds me University. :D
Even if I would, I'm affraid to be forced to advance step by step.
For three reasons :
  1. First, I'll start when all will be checked, the whole plans learned and building lists verified.
  2. Second, money because MM is not our family priority, just mine...
  3. Third, I don't have a workshop ready for metal work, so I must invest on the necessary tools (at last a bench mounted drill, correct angle grinder...)
I guess it will be exciting, from start to end. :)

KenC Sun 19 February 2012 20:58

1. You must produce the list all by yourself, consider it an examination on how much is your understanding on the plan.
2. Who doesn't worry about MONEY, :mad:
3. You can build with minimal tools. I built mine with a circular abrasive disc chop saw, an angle grinder, a tiny 350W bench drill (which is the cheapest bench drill which I can find for around 40euro) & a borrowed stick welding machine (I've bought a 120euro Chinese 140Amp welding machine since than), a power hand drill & a sledge hammer.

KenC Mon 20 February 2012 00:29

Since you are a acoustic engineer, can you suggest a solution to the vacuum pump noise?

Axel1966 Mon 20 February 2012 03:58

Thank you for your advices Ken.

There's solutions for the vacuum pump noise, of course. I thought about it.
The most simple may be to put an Electrical Relay on the spindle circuit :
the spindle is turning, the vacuum starts.
The cutting spindle should makes more noise than the vacuum.
If it's a workshop vacuuming station, you may isolate the wacuum in a box,
with specifications to avoid warming and aspiration noise.
Is there a dedicated topic where I could post roughs and schemes ?

Axel1966 Thu 23 February 2012 15:06

I awnsered here : Quieting a vacuum system ;)

Gerald D Thu 23 February 2012 19:55

You were asking about using aluminium instead of steel to reduce mass, but see what this guy says about mass and vibrations:

Originally Posted by Axel1966 View Post
. . . . Low frequencies needs more mass and surface to be reduced. . . .

Axel1966 Fri 24 February 2012 02:11

Absolutely true... :o

normand blais Fri 24 February 2012 04:32

Salut Axel beau texte sur l'acoustic ,mais ce qui m'impressionne le plus c'est ton traducteur . C'est tu une personne en chair et en os ou un logiciel? Tout est tellement parfait .il n'y a pas d'erreur de syntaxe .J'ai jamais vu rien te tel,rendu la pas besoin d'apprendre d'autre langues . C'est quoi le nom du logiciel de traduction que tu utilise?

normand blais Fri 24 February 2012 04:35

aussi j'oubliais connais tu ce site de cnc . Beaucoup d'info dans la langue de Molière

Axel1966 Fri 24 February 2012 05:35

Merci Normand, oui je connais le site. J'y suis également inscrit. Très bonne adresse pour l'usinage en général avec une petite section CNC. Ils parlent plus de l'usinage de précision, mais il y a beaucoup d'informations.

Je n'utilise aucun logiciel de traduction, je fais ça avec ma petite cervelle.
Ceci dit, tu es sans doute très indulgent, il doit y avoir largement à redire... :o

Axel1966 Tue 28 February 2012 07:05

Hi all,
I move forward in the understanding of the steel construction of the MM.
I wonder if the flattening of tube tube ends (see #13 or #17 below) is structural (to give more strenght to the tubes)
or is it to make the welding more simple ?
How to flatten tube ends easily (without heavy equipment) ? With a vice ?
Another question : my supplyer have various tube diameters starting from 12 to 80mm tubes,
but only 2mm thick, is this ok for the table structure and to be flattened ?

KenC Tue 28 February 2012 07:39

I used hydraulic jack to flatten my pipes. Vice can be use if the pipe wall thickness in less than 2mm.
Sledge hammer can do the job too. Honest.

Gerald D Tue 28 February 2012 07:56

Flattening was only to make welding more simple. 2mm will be okay - you could flatten that with a vice.

Axel1966 Tue 28 February 2012 08:30

Many thanks :)
I'll submit soon my table dimensions to the comunity wisdom. :o

Axel1966 Fri 02 March 2012 16:06

Hi all,

Well, I bought a welding box, grinder and most of the metal work tools today. Budget 313€.
I'm affraid I started up without any idea of the final budget... :o

I spent all my freetime this week thinking about the main table and wakling around the house with a meter in hand.
I know the initial design is simple and perfect.
Unfortunately, I don't own a 60m² workshop, only a blind room in the cellar of my rented home.
First, that means the MM may be dismantled to move move with me someday.
Second, the wide side must be the Y axis otherwise I won't be able to feed the MM without diging some place into walls.
Third, because of this small room, I'll have to store new wood boards under the MM.

The max working board must be 1220x2440mm.
I dunno if this would be done someday, but I'ts wise to plan a 4th axis improvement to lathe r250mm stuff.

You know all about the specifications... :o

I tryed to adapt less as possible the initial design.
Bad news, mine is of course more complex and will cost a bit more (assumed).
But as far I'm not a mech engineer, I'm might be wrong on many subjects.

Please be indulgent. Here's the rough :
Front view :
Right view :
Top view :
Possible 4th axis :
Elements view :é.jpg

Let's explain a bit.
So the MM will be close to a wall corner in the rear Y axis and right X axis. A door opens near the left X axis. I only have two meters open space in front of the Y axis.
The control box and computer will be racked under the left X axis.
I thought the less bad idea was to weld each X axis parts together.
The two "ladders" on Y sides will be bolted on X axis, and several beams (to be bolted) will make the working table and the storage table.
The front Y "ladder" is wide open to help on load/unload.
I did not put the reinforcement tubes on X left, I may adapt triangulations to the control box dimensions "on the fly".

I tryed to be as optimized as possible on materials.
I live in the countryside, and not all the steep profiles are avalaible.
I manage to find UPN instead of C profiles.
The X beams are made of UPN 200x75mm.
The legs and work table are made of UPN 70x40mm.
The storage area are made of Square 40x40x2mm tube.
Reinforcements are made of Round 40x40x2mm tube.
Fixation deck are cuted into a flat 40x5mm steel bar.
As UPN don't have parallel profile, it's impossible to use sandwich bolts.
I thought about tapping the holes, they are at last 8,5mm thick.
I thought about using Allen M12 (X legs) and Allen M10 for beams.

What do you think ?
Before going forward I would like to check all this with the community.
Feel free to reveal my mistakes, I'm bashing proof ! :D

danilom Fri 02 March 2012 16:15

Don't know about that 250mm round stock, will it rack the table, maybe move legs a bit further upfront?
Also, gantry that wide has not been used until, mine is for 2050mm board and I think that's max. Maybe some more additional braces where the X motors are?
My gantry tubes (100x50) are 2550mm 3mm thick and I can sag them by pushing down with hand. They might vibrate at your length.
This really pushes the design to the limit

KenC Sat 03 March 2012 02:26

Is it mandatory for you to cut 1220x2440 board?
I concern more about safe working space...

Axel1966 Sat 03 March 2012 02:31

Thanks Danilo,
You're right, my gantry tubes (2940mm - to be confirmed) should be at last 5 mm thick for this lenght to avoid low frequencies vibrations.
A topic is talking about huge Y dimensions :

I forget to say I need (reasonable) precision, rather than speed.

For the additional braces I don't know. The 10.20.451-452 are 5mm thick and could be increased to 6 or 8mm but I don't know the max cut possible with laser cutter.
The experts will say.

KenC Sat 03 March 2012 04:07

Increasing tube height is a more efficient solution, using a 50mmx150mmx3mm or 30 x 200mm if you are brave enough) square hollow section as gantry beams, it improve the deflection factor batter & its lighter too in comparison to 5mm thin 50x100 square hollow section...
What precision are you expecting? 0.0001mm? 0.1? or 0.3mm

Axel1966 Sat 03 March 2012 04:14

@ Ken
Well 1220x2440 is the standard board size, available anywhere in France.
It seems to me logical to use this format, especialy I build a MM to work about furniture.
Entertainment units, beddings and cabinets calls large boards.
I wish using those boards would be possible.

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