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-   -   New Z-Slide or Prefab Rail Ideas! (

carcan Fri 01 February 2013 04:16

New Z-Slide or Prefab Rail Ideas!
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Instead of using a plate, that is difficult to grind, why we can use two "classic" rails ?

smreish Fri 01 February 2013 06:50

Actually, the slide plate is super easy to grind.
If you plan on using a ground method as in your second picture, you just buy a 36" length of 100mm x 7mm Cold roll steel plate, then profile like the regular rails.
Then, cut to length on each end so you cut off the run off area of the skate profile.
Without checking the spider plate, I don't think you have enough clearance between the 45 deg bend in the spider to accommodate that extra width the angle profile adds.

I did this grind method 3 times - once for #5 with regular steel and the suggested tool steel on #28 & #58 - it was super fast with 36 grit paper.

Plus, doing in your second picture you may run the possibility of "less-than-parallel" slide from point to point based on you assembly method.

Just thoughts,

KenC Fri 01 February 2013 19:02

I agree that the "current" slide isn't rigid enough. BUT when looking at it as a whole, i.e. compact, weight & difficulties to fabricate. It is the best compromise... so far.
IMHO, The "New" design works too. The "less-than-parallel" can be corrected with some shims using the Fish line + filler gauge. The point to consider is whether do you really wanna go through the hassle?
Also, unless you use thinner & smaller angle iron, I don't see any benefit in weight saving.
If you are too lazy to hand grind, just get is on a milling machine.

Nevertheless, it is still a good attempt to improve on the current design.

litemover Fri 26 April 2013 09:11

Has anyone seen the makerslide design? This was interesting to say the least, very similar to the mechmate slide, cheap, and perhaps it could be incorporated into the mechmate somehow. It is a custom extrusion with rails for about $60 for 6'.

BTW, I think the mechmate slide is very cool, and griding the plate is easy.

Gerald D Fri 26 April 2013 12:48

Having seen the amount of wear on a mild steel slide, and upgrading to tool steel for the z-axis, an aluminium slide will simply not give enough life.

jasoncarter Fri 26 April 2013 15:19

Those sort of extrusions need steel raceways to be very useful.


litemover Fri 26 April 2013 19:03

That's fantastic looking stuff Jason.

I'm sure it does wear much faster than steel but the extrusion from makerslide's targeted price is at $3 per foot.

KenC Fri 26 April 2013 21:19

Extrusion is cheaper, but do you really enjoy replace the worn AL extrusion every now & than? I would rather waste my time doing other unproductive activities... ;)

carcan Sat 27 April 2013 02:52

My idea is to have a system that you can build with the L steel grinded with the "skate". Also you can adjust the parallelism simply with very thin washers.
If you want to change the "nature" of the Z-slide probabiy the best solution is a pair of HIWIN rails.

Jason Marsha Sat 27 April 2013 05:32

My problem with the makerslide extrusion is the protrusion of the running surface past the side of the extrusion. It looks somewhat weak may bend under pressure from the bearings.

Gerald D Sat 27 April 2013 23:54

Jason, bear in mind that they are talking plastic wheels . . . . . don't think they will bend the extrusion.

Gerald D Sun 28 April 2013 00:02

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This thread is about the Z-slide. But if someone wants to do a useful extrusion for the other long rails, all we need is this:

The hard insert is readily available from a couple of suppliers, including Rick at Superior Bearings. Any old glue would hold the hard part in place.

If someone does want to go this route and borrow the idea from here, please give us credit by sizing the profile so that it fits within the MechMate dimensions :)

Tom Ayres Sun 28 April 2013 04:33

Our aluminum supplier will do the extrusion but we'd have to commit to 1500-2000 lbs/year. That's a whole lot of rail.

Jason Marsha Wed 01 May 2013 05:36

Originally Posted by Gerald D View Post
Jason, bear in mind that they are talking plastic wheels . . . . . don't think they will bend the extrusion.
I did not realize the design used plastic wheels for the makerslide design. Will the plastic be as rigid, compared to metal bearings when taking cutting forces into account.

The design will certainly save fabrication time but It won't not allow the Mechmate to cut to its full potential.

I like that design Gerald, a drop-in and glue.


bradm Wed 01 May 2013 06:24

Looking at Gerald's drawing above, I wonder if that could be cut from appropriate sized aluminum C channel on a table saw. The channel may need to be oversized to get the required thickness in the fillet.

First pass, with web against fence, trim one leg to height.
Second pass, trim the other leg.
Third pass(es), web up, dado the first leg
Fourth pass(es), dado the other leg.
Fifth pass, web down, split into two finished Ls.
Sixth pass, if needed, trim the larger L if they weren't equal.

smreish Wed 01 May 2013 07:01

just an idea? off the shelf components
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Attachment 13887
...then use the epoxy method?
Or maybe just structural adhesive for the entire assembly?

Percy Sat 04 May 2013 16:40

I have worked with Iowa Aluminum who will make extrusion dies and do 500 pound runs with no setup charges. Runs down to 350 pounds can be done for a $200 setup charge. Don Wityshyn was my point of contact.

Originally Posted by Tom Ayres View Post
Our aluminum supplier will do the extrusion but we'd have to commit to 1500-2000 lbs/year. That's a whole lot of rail.

danhamm Thu 06 June 2013 00:08

1 Attachment(s)
I don't know if this design will work on a mechmate, but cheap and easy to build, the one in picture is using bishop wisecarvers v-roller guides, the one I built is using rollon
v-roller guides, the diff being the rails and rollers on both are hardened steel but the body on rollon is steel also, I double trucked my z-axis as I have and adjustable gantry from 6 inches to 16 for timber carving.

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