MechMate CNC Router Forum

MechMate CNC Router Forum (
-   Rails & Rollers (
-   -   Personal angle iron cutting, grinding, tools, solutions - a collection of experiences (

Gerald D Sat 19 May 2007 09:10

Personal angle iron cutting, grinding, tools, solutions - a collection of experiences
A collection of posts from various threads . . . . . . .

J.R. Hatcher Mon 11 June 2007 14:25

3 Attachment(s)
As the work continues! It took about 9 hours to cut, grind, and bevel the rails (2 pcs 12' and 2 pcs 8' rough lengths) and they came out even better than I expected (Gerald, the skateboard works great).

Doug_Ford Mon 16 July 2007 20:13

1 Attachment(s)
I have attached a photo of my setup for cutting down the side of my angle iron. That was some hard work because I didn't have any help but I finally finished. My last 11 foot stick probably took me only a little over an hour to do.

Greg J Sun 09 September 2007 11:00

3 Attachment(s)
Here's my version of J.R.'s Skate (rail edge grinder).

I used 14 gage for the base plate for two reasons. First, it is easy to work with. There are slotted holes, and I don't have an end mill to machine these features. Instead I used a jig saw with a metal cutting blade. Second, 14 gage plate is what I had laying around the shop.

Because I used the 14 gage, there was allot of flexing. So I added 1/4 inch thick bars for stiffeners. These stiffeners were left overs from cutting the 2-1/2 inch leg of the angle down to 1 inch. Waste not, want not.

The bearings were stock from The other parts (handle, nuts, bolts, etc) were McMaster Carr.

I tried to fabricate this tool, so anyone without lathes, end mills, etc. could make one. The cost is resonable also.

smreish Tue 06 November 2007 11:19

fun time skating!
4 Attachment(s)
I built the Beta version of the skate from Gerald's plans.

I have to say - it works really well.
I did have to do a few tweaks, but they were minor. Gerald, I will have to send you the dwg file I updated, the hole centers need a little adjusting.

The good.

- easy to fabricate
- Instead of laser cutting, I just printed the dxf file full size and spray glued it to a piece of "COLD" rolled 1/4" plate and worked from it.
- drilled all the holes
- cut along the lines with a band saw.
- after all machining and dressing, I parted the plate on the bend line and then welded back together @ 45 degree angle. Simple, quick...
- Welding hardened the plate which made re-drilling a couple of holes REALLY hard. (I guess I shouldn't have quenched it to be in a hurry:)
- adjusting nut/rod assembly aft of the grinder is amazing. Super easy to set the grind angle. Bravo.

In the photo's below, I haven't even adjusted the grind angle yet and it's almost dead on perfect from the assembly setup.

The challenges.

- the eccentric bolts from Superior are 12mm - not 1/2" as indicated. Thus, I had a bearing problem that I ordered from VXB. If you order your bearings, make certain that you get 12mm ID - NOT 1/2" To correct this I had to make up a .030 flanged bearing sleeve. Not fun, but not a hurdle either.
- Brass bolts for height adjustment....they wore down after 1 pass and were sticky to move on. Changed to Hardened Stainless Steel.....zippie skippy! Yahoo.....worked like a champ!
- I don't have a bosch grinder like Gerald, but the home depot Ryobi AG402 has the same bolt circle as the bosch. To use the Ryobi, you must enlarge the clearance hole to a slightly larger diameter and add 1/4" standoffs to the frame for the plate to bolt down securely. All in all, easy change.
- have to add a guard. It's really easy to want to grab the grinder body to push with. Glove's and the proper safety gear was a blessing today.

I have 2 really nice handles that will go in the holes just below the adjusting rod. This will keep my hands on centerline. I will post photo's of it with the rail grind later in the week.

The pictures tell the rest of the story.

Gerald D Tue 06 November 2007 12:13

Never in my life have I seen such a collection of screws, nuts and washers! :D:D
(Wouldn't say this is one of my prettiest designs, but rates high on function.)

Sean, glad to hear we are heading in the right direction. I can't believe I got those hole centers wrong while the ones for the long screws actually worked out :o

Is there enough space to remove the disk? Somebody will assemble the whole skate before they put the disk on.

The hole can be enlarged for the larger grinder, but I think to leave surplus metal at the back for each user to trim to his own grinder.

Before someone asks, the unused holes in the top pic are for when grinding the height of the rail down......when the grinder is rigged horizontal to the table

The correct bearings for the wheels on the eccentrics are 6001-2RSR

smreish Tue 06 November 2007 14:13

I have already transfered the hole pattern on the front to the "moving bed" for the cutting down sequence. I knew what they were for the moment I saw the trash can thread you had started a few month's ago!

My craftsmanship on the band saw was a little shaky! I didn't have the correct saw tooth arrangement and I was forced to be a little aggressive in my cuts! That plate looks I had it for lunch:)

I'll try removing the disk soon and let you know.
This one's a winner. I have added the Bosch layout with the adjusted holes to the laser part list. If you have any further corrections, I will add them too.

Gerald D Tue 06 November 2007 16:48

A safe(ish) "handle" could be formed by enlarging the upper plate and bending its lip up. I havn't got the feel of the device, so I don't know quite where one has a tendency to grab it.

Hardened stainless screws are a bit exotic for the average DIY guy. Would standard allen cap screws do? (Allen caps are a good bit harder than normal screws).

Further discussion on the grinder moved to:

Alan_c Sat 09 February 2008 13:31

Cutting rails
Started cutting the Y axis angle iron for the rail - the cutting jig works great but seems to use disks at a rapid rate, went through 3 1/2 disks to cut just one rail, and no I wasn't pushing too hard. When the disk is new, it cuts with a good flow of sparks, but once past halway, the sparks get less and the disk wears at a much higher rate. I was using the thin (1mm) disks from both Norton and Klingspor. The Norton ones wore down much faster.

As I didn't have any more disks on hand and the closest supplier is over the Mountain, I decided to call it a day and join the Kids in the pool.

Gerald D Sat 09 February 2008 14:13

The good cutting disks are by Pferd - ask them for the thin Inox (Stainless Steel) disks.

Alan_c Fri 15 February 2008 14:11

Pferd disks rule, cut the second Y rail tonight with only one disk and it stayed cutting all the way down to the centre. Will do the bevels tomorrow.

Gerald, What is the tolerance on the height of the track - I currently have a variation of about 0.2mm along the length

Gerald D Fri 15 February 2008 22:34

Height of track tolerance . . . .

I don't actually have a figure for it. All I know is that at the end of the day the rail is shimmed as straight as you can with the methods at your disposal. (we laid an extruded alu section on top and checked the gaps with a feeler gauge - light finger pressure closed the last gaps). Suppose you have to figure out how much shimming you want to, or can, do?

Alan_c Sat 23 February 2008 11:19

Mission Acomplished (well this part anyway)
2 Attachment(s)
Finally got the Y-axis rails ground complete today, had a slight detour after the first grinder started emitting puffs of smoke (it was a cheap Ryobi I had on hand) so hauled out some cash, bought a Bosch grinder and modified my jig plates to accept this grinder. What a difference! more power, less vibration and almost lash free gear head.

I also had problems with the disk glazing which ended up with it just rubbing against the bevel and not producing any sparks, so then I tried a trick I read about here on the forum (cant remember whose thread but thanks very much) Adjust the height bolts so that the skate is slightly lower on the front leading edge - this makes the disk grind more with the outer edge so that the whole disk is not in contact with the bevel. On the final pass, lower the back edge of the skate so the whole width of the disk makes contact. A slow process (maybe I was just being carefull - wanted to avoid anymore escaping smoke) but still the cheapest and I would guess most accurate way of producing the bevel, as long as the angle is cut accurately to height.

Attachment 1286
Final version of the grinding skate with front handle

Attachment 1287
Yours truly happy to have this stage completed

Gerald D Sat 23 February 2008 11:23

Interesting handle application! :)

How bad is the grind dust in the garage? For me that would be an outdoor job. (Open drum of thinners under the rail? :))

Alan_c Sat 23 February 2008 11:29

Grind dust is everywhere :eek: major clean up tomorrow.

Dont worry, thats an empty (cleaned out) paint drum I use as a dustbin - extra carefull after a recent fire in Somerset West where a guys garage, car and some of his house burnt down after sparks from a grinder ignited old oil on the floor :eek::eek::eek:

Gerald D Sat 23 February 2008 11:40

Ja, I know you would be careful about open drums. Just mentioned it so that other folk realise there is a fire hazard involved - glad to have your reinforcement of that message! This is a looong grinding job and folk might not notice the flames before it is too late. Old oily rags, sawdust, paper, lawnmower, are all flammable - another reason to do this outside.

Marc Shlaes Sat 23 February 2008 12:38

I really like the handle. Good Job. I'm going to do the very same thing! Unless you have additional improvement ideas once you actually used it.

Alan_c Sat 23 February 2008 15:39

Thanks Marc, the only improvement I would consider is to dream up some sort of compact bearing arrangement for the height adjusting mechanism. Even with using HT bolts and rounded over ends,I had a lot of galling and the ends of the bolts developed a groove very quickly. I found using a spray lubricant helped, but the smaller the top land became the more it galled.

Need to get creative before I do the X rails.

Kobus_Joubert Thu 01 May 2008 12:51

1 Attachment(s)
Today managed to cut the Y-Rails down using the top part of the skate. Used about 5x Pferd 1mm thick disks to do the job.

turnerseng Thu 01 May 2008 15:01

Trimming the angle iron
Just a thought,
Why not fit a cutting disc to a table saw and then send it, using the fence as a guide??

domino11 Thu 01 May 2008 19:23

Gerald actually proposed this for the rails and or the z-slide plate. He posted pictures of this on one of his threads. :) See this old thread.

Gerald D Thu 01 May 2008 21:35

Table saws are too slow for the cutting disk.

Kobus, how long did it take you to cut all the rails down?

Kobus_Joubert Fri 02 May 2008 00:38

2 Attachment(s)
Cutting the rails was one of those jobs that I thought would be a pain. So much that I got a quote from the company that did my laser cutting. Luckily for me he came with a mad price (almost the same as all the Mamba parts) and I had to supply my own steel this time. This forced me to do it myself. And what a piece of cake. Firstly I thought of using my table saw with a cutting disk. Did a short piece of rail, but this was hectic and too dangerous to my liking. I eventually clamped the angle iron onto my table saw top and grinded piece by piece using the table saw as a nice straight reference surface. All in all it took no more than one hour to do one rail. Much easier moving a small grinder than a BIG LUMPY piece of steel.

Gerald D Fri 02 May 2008 04:04

I think that Kobus will agree that this is a dusty and gritty job - I feel sorry for the planer/thicknesser standing behind there and being showered in this dust.

I see you had the bolt heads riding direct on your saw's table top. I hadn't intended it to work that way, and think that there is a risk of grinder tipping down at the nose due to the narrow footprint. A wider shoe onto the four bolts would remove the tipping risk......

Let us know how the bevelling goes . . . . .

On evidence so far, the Pferd discs are crucial for this operation. Can they be found easily everywhere?

Kobus_Joubert Fri 02 May 2008 06:34

2 Attachment(s)
I had no problem of tipping the way I used it, just made 100 % sure that the thing was level...all 4 bolts firmly on the table saw top. I used the Pferd SG-Elastic INOX-Stainless 1mm disks. Got them from my local Mica, but the price of R19.00 / disk I thought was a bit rough.

Grinding was more of a job. I have an very old Bosch grinder that is only 500W. Even with light cuts it struggled. Did about 20 passes dropping the bolts every time by just a fraction. My son has a small Ryobi (900W), but it does not fit onto the skate and I did not want to modify anything, so I finished the job with the old Bosch.

Gerald D Fri 02 May 2008 06:59

Kobus, I gave you a better picture of the disk :)

We buy about 2 boxes (50 at a time) and pay about R13 each. R19 for Mica is about right. (1US$ = R7.60)

INOX is the French word for "Stainless Steel". These "INOX" disks are designed for cutting stainless steel. Disks for the professional grinding of stainless steel must contain zero iron, and therefore not contaminate the stainless. Should you be using a plain old grind disk on stainless, some speckles of rust will appear with time - that is iron contamination.

DMS Fri 02 May 2008 07:09

One major goal achieved
3 Attachment(s)
Well this thread tempted me to post my achievement.
The cutting and 45 degree grinding of angles was easy with skates but a lot of dust, one should invariably use mask, ear plug goggles and gloves. Cutting disk INOX 1mm (3 consumed), grinding disk BOSCH.
I suggest using little grease on surface while grinding so that skate bolt moves smooth. Removing scales/smoothning out of both sides and under the angles is also necessary for free bearing movement and flat surface. I must say this was piece of cake with SWEAT :) .
Thanks Gerald.

p.s. I am working in very cramped space so can't take good photos from distance.

Kobus_Joubert Sat 03 May 2008 05:25

When cutting the angles, it is much easier to 'ANGLE' the skate so that the disc is cuting with it's edge and not the flat mentioned somewhere on this fantastic forum:D. Thanks Gerald, your picture of the disc's are MUCH better than my camera phone version.

Gerald D Sat 03 May 2008 07:51

The skate was designed for the flat, not "angle" cutting. Given that "angle" cutting is much better, do I need to slot holes, or anything else, in the skate design to allow for the "angle"?

Also, the extra lengths added at the ends of the rail, that the skate needs to ride on, so that the correct usable/ground length of rail is obtained, becomes 160mm [6.3"] on the one end and 40mm [1.6"] on the other end. The notes on drawing M1 10 110 M need to be revised.

smreish Sat 03 May 2008 09:54

When I posted "tipping" the skate the method was to simply make the leading edge of the skate lower than the aft. Easily achieved by setting the 15mm adjusting bolt about 1/2 turn offest from the other. The final couple passes run perfectly flat for a final polish.
Once I figured that out in the beta model. The rails cut 3x as fast and with far less disk wear.
No modifications needed. Just a user manual!

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:13.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.3
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.