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MarkRH Tue 17 November 2015 17:15

Grasping this project, Maryland USA
Hello from Maryland, my name is Mark and I think the mechmate design (without having seen one in person) is solid and worth the effort. About me, carpenter 26yrs 14 of those being cabinet maker and carpenter, atm mostly ripping panels with a track saw/and or table saw from 1965 and cross cutting on a small sliding table (less than 8ft). Drilling on a old Ayen 23 line boring machine for shelf pin and construction.
My preliminary thought is to process panels with a 3/8" spiral & 5mm drill, shelf pin holes 5mm, 8mm construction holes, cut out being with the 3/8".
Have previously used a cnc service taking a dxf file to them from cabinet planner, without having the tool paths the cost was exorbitant , but the parts fit very nice! needless to say I need a cnc that is open source for small production. Just purchased the plans for the MM and am trying to get my head around it, my first question is..
X measurement = the size of the panel you will be cutting?

panels I will be processing will be 48.5" x 96.5"

Software I plan on buying is Vectric V care pro, or any other vectric that has the templates.
Another thought is having 2 routers for the tasks , but have no idea about it.
Any guidance is greatly appreciated.

servant74 Tue 17 November 2015 20:15

Doable. Without vacuum chip pickup, you could mount 2 routers, but chip pickup is important! Design for z-axis is to have easily swappable router carriers. They could work well.

You could also go with 2 gantries, (and extra long x or extra wide Y) to allow 2 carriages at the same time. I don't know of anyone who has done that, but MM is not limited to what others have done before you!

Automatic tool changers could be done, but just buying one could be about the cost of building a 2nd MM!

If you are running hard and long, putting in spindles rather than using routers in the long run. Using routers you already have is not a bad way to start.

Oh yes, .... Welcome aboard!

To get up to speed, I suggest read the forums. Then read them some more, if still interested, buy the plans, and read those, ask more questions, read the forum some more, wash, rinse, repeat. And did I suggest read the forums till your eyes bleed, then read some more!

We are all here to Help educate each other. If you have a question, please ask. There is no dumb question,

timberlinemd Tue 17 November 2015 21:53

X measurement = the size of the panel you will be cutting?

Yes. Or any other size you choose. Usually,the size of your spoil board. 49"x97" common for the States.

Two routers would be cumbersome. Software would need to be unique. One router or spindel with tool changes would do the job. Ger's screenset for Mach3 would automate it somewhat, without having to go to a ATC.

MarkRH Wed 18 November 2015 02:31

Thanks for responses,
It will be hooked up to 2hp dust collector, thats what I figured about the ATC. KISS is how id rather keep things , one router , is it possible to cut everything with a 5mm bit at a slower rate or would this be way to slow? (mostly veneer core ply and melamine)

So, X + 23.6 = 120.6 , what would be the absolute most this would cut in length?

timberlinemd Thu 19 November 2015 14:43

Read this...

MarkRH Thu 19 November 2015 16:12

Thank you, great thread, going to read that several times over , Gerald's advice on building the Y gantry first with the motors spinning is what I was looking for I think, it makes sense. (to me anyway) and got a chuckle:)
"The logic is that you build the gantry in a small corner of the garage, get the x-motors to turn, get the y-car to run, get the z-slide to move. etc. Thats 95% of the sweat. THEN you build the big table and explain to your wife that her car now has to sleep outside."

smreish Sun 22 November 2015 06:13

Another good point is that you may find you don't need the large table. If you build the gantry and then only have work bench area space, you can still have a small 3 axis table that moves only a few feet on the long axis. (like a work bench) and expand later.
Think Shopbot buddy size that can grow quickly when/if needed.

MarkRH Mon 23 November 2015 02:11

Hey Sean,
Yeah that is a nice aspect of this design, will definitely start with the software and motors, gantry and Y car. Starting from scratch I'm not seeing much of a price difference in using Clear Path servo's vs oriental and gecko, BOB , . I'm thinking of going with the servos, have you seen these and what do you think?
Thanks for your advice

smreish Wed 25 November 2015 07:57

I haven't used servo's as it relates to MM so I don't have an opinion.
I have used direct drive, 3:1 belt transmission and 7.2:1 Geared - all steppers with varying success.

For the cost, the 3:1 transmissions are the best value & performance to date.

Good luck.


MetalHead Thu 26 November 2015 05:49

Ditto what he said :) !!

MarkRH Thu 26 November 2015 07:31

Sean and Mike, thats good to know, after reading some into teknic servo support is mostly for large OEM's I'm scrapping that idea. Also not sure if they would have the torque at low speeds for the rack without a transmission? So , the stepper w/3:1 sounds good, do you have a favorite motor for this set up? oriental or off brand? And Mike do you sell the 3:1 gears belt and brackets?

smreish Thu 26 November 2015 17:57

sells affordable and reliable steppers and many MM have used them. I personally have only used the Oriental Motors with great success.

Search the forum and you will find the part #'s and many versions of the transmission builds. I don't have the link to the threads handy.

I would suggest the Gecko drives for any of your choices.


MetalHead Fri 27 November 2015 05:00

I sent you a PM of my parts list

MarkRH Wed 17 February 2016 15:57

Thanks for the list Mike, am definitely in for the y car and the belt reductions after I can get some motors spinning. I've purchased vectric 2d cut pro and am very pleased with the ease of use, and ability to make toolpath templates, nesting on full sheets of plywood. Paid $450 just starting with it and cut parts on a machine I dont own and have very limited access to, it worked! Next on my list is Mach 3 and stepper drivers , have some I'm looking at and if anyone has feedback would be appreciated

Tom Ayres Thu 18 February 2016 03:16

Mark those are pretty much the equal to what I purchased (along with steppers, very reasonable) from Longs-Motors and I've had no known problems. You might want to see what they offer

MarkRH Thu 18 February 2016 14:00

Thanks Tom, am checking the kits, are your drivers the DM860A? And what oz rated motor do you use

Tom Ayres Thu 18 February 2016 18:01

I think so, my motors are the 34HS5850 which is way overkill, you might want to come down a notch. I'm using 1100 watt 70 or 72 volts ps for those (if you were wondering why so much, I had planned to run a 4th axis, which I am working on now). They run cool at 5amp.

MarkRH Fri 19 February 2016 16:42

Tom, how much work have you run through it so far? are you pleased with the quality of the cut? Like yourself my frugal bone kicks in against better judgement of people in the know when it comes to sound advice :) yeah im cheap, weighing the risk reward of hooking all this up the learning experience and they may actually work acceptably for drill, pocket, profile plywood. The Chinese drives are what are intimidating and enticing atm with the lack of good instructions and support, also noticed some kits come with individual power supply's. I'm leaning towards buying one 203v gecko and one keling/or other stepper 600 to 800oz to try to make it spin, (stupid question) if you run the mach 3 roadrunner test cut with just one axis connected will it turn the one motor?

Tom Ayres Fri 19 February 2016 17:22

I've done enough to cover cost of the mm at least 3 times over. Yep the accuracy is fine, there are several of us using the Chinese stuff to acceptable results, remember there are a lot of builders not in the US. I did the very same weighing that you are currently, OM vs Longs Motor, Gecko Driver vs DM860A, etc, in the end the Chinese brand won out purely because of price nothing else...and for difference saved I was willing to risk it. I bought an extra stepper and driver just in case. Luckily it worked out for me. The kelings are identical to the longs, same factory, same specs, different part number that's all. Do your research, you'll find it's true. Oh, yes the motor will run by itself.

MarkRH Sat 20 February 2016 16:14

Cool, they are all profit now:) and for what id be cutting they should be more than accurate enough. Probably safer to stick with the matched kit and leave the engineering to them
you are right about the initial price, and once the machine makes money a $2000 upgrade will be a easy choice, thanks for your input .

racedirector Sat 20 February 2016 16:24

Mark, I use the AM882's, they are great controllers. Tunable via an app on Windows or they can be auto tuned with dip switches. Stall protection too. No resistors to work out either. Well worth the money.

MarkRH Sat 20 February 2016 16:33

Hey Bruce , had them on my list but there is just so much info on motors, can you give me the model motors you use?

racedirector Sat 20 February 2016 16:47

I am using 34H280-45-8A motorsbought locally but they are from MS Motor from China - 640Oz-in 50V 8amp wired in Parallel mode. I would have gone with the Motion King 34HS9801 motors but these came up in Australia

lonestaral Sat 20 February 2016 20:35

I have used Longs stepper motors, board and power supply on 2 machines.
The motors on my MechMate are
34 HST 9803-37B2
They will be 3 years old this year.
No problems at all.
The NEMA23 motors run my lathe, they are over 4 years old now.
No problems with them either.

MarkRH Sun 21 February 2016 02:23

Thanks guys, that saves me a lot of reading and guessing

MarkRH Sun 05 March 2017 03:41

I,m considering adding the 6" for the 10 40 014 A z slide, does anyone know the biggest culprit of additional flex , is it adding to the main beams? the z slide?

MarkRH Mon 06 March 2017 17:38

The reason I ask is I see several mechmates using H beams instead of C channel , this would limit the 2" space around the spoil board? I'm thinking of a 60" y to be able to cut Baltic birch.

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