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Old Sun 18 February 2007, 10:02
Just call me:
Machining of the rails

Hi, I havent read anything on the machining of the rails. It seems like they would be difficult to cut and machine with any accuracy. Can someone 'splain a good way to remove excess material from rail without too much warpage and also how the "V" grooves are machined evenly? Sounds like a cool machine but this is something that I dont understand. Thanks!
Old Sun 18 February 2007, 10:07
Just call me:
Well, I just found a post that 'splains this pretty well. Looks like there isnt a really great way to do it 'cept an 8' bed vertical mill.
Old Sun 18 February 2007, 19:00
Just call me:
Jeff, I did mine on a shaper onto which I mounted a drill. Gerald, Is suggesting a circular saw for this Job.
Old Sun 18 February 2007, 22:20
Just call me:
Jeff, you don't need a mill that big. These rails can be done in shorter sections.

In general, the whole "precision rail" issue is over-hyped when it comes to a production machine making cabinet doors, signs, décor, etc. all day. Some guys use the raw edge of angle iron with great success because it soon wears smooth. We are trying to go one step better and put a smooth, shaped edge on that angle iron from the beginning.
Old Mon 19 February 2007, 00:17
Charlie T
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I paid a grinding place to do X, Y, and the Z plate recently so I know what Jeff is concernd about. These Guys could do a single pass at 12' lenghth. They charged what they needed for the job (about 130$ US per V ,roughly.) IM happy with the results and think it was money well spent. If worst comes to worst and youd like em from Utah US that could happen in a pinch. If you do concider this but would like to see pics of the ones I now have thats no problem just ask.

Congrats on your machine fabrica nice job.

Gerald D I cant wait to make my first cut.
Old Mon 19 February 2007, 00:59
Just call me:
Charlie, your rails will be every bit as good as those purchased rails, and a lot easier to install, plus the rack fits directly onto them. Vadeem is also looking at the grinding of rails - see this thread. This is an economical way to get good solid precision rails.

A lot of guys download the MechMate plans, and are then disappointed to discover they need to make their own rails. "Nah, never, can't be done, won't be accurate, needs a huge milling machine...." To these people I want to say "Think outside the box - try it!"

Even if guys start of with a crude rail, carefully styled freehand with an angle grinder, it will give a machine that is capable of production and earning income. As funds improve, you can make a more "precision" set of rails. It really is no big deal.
Old Mon 19 February 2007, 05:48
Thomas M. Rybczyk
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As they say a picture is worth a thousand words, and to confirmed Gerald's numerous posts on this subject.

Follow this link to see my current cnc machine which has stock mild steel angle iron rails with metal sliding door rollers riding on the top edge.

I used this machine in my cabinet shop everyday and it is capable of making very accurate cuts and I also use it for v-carving signs.

So as you can see exact precision on the v-cut is not necessary.

Old Mon 26 February 2007, 22:52
Loren Gameros
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Hello, I am having a bit of a hard time sourcing a company to machine/grind my rails. Can anybody make a recomendation. I am in the Western United States. Thank You.
Old Tue 27 February 2007, 12:56
Charlie T
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If worse comes to worse Loren we can get you some from Utah. Like some other threads have stated you should try the blade sharpening places. This is where I had mine done.
Old Tue 27 February 2007, 14:08
reza forushani
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What did it cost?
Old Wed 28 February 2007, 13:36
Charlie T
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Well Bill M. emailed me about these and my reply was sent back to me because his email address didnt work. So Bill M. Hope you see this.
130$ per "V" is what it cost. Its in my post above but I guess some didnt see it. My table is planned at 4'x 8' so I have 2 rails at 122", 2 rails at 69" and 1 18" Z plate. 780$ for all grinding including the holes/countersunk in the Z plate. Keep in mind that these are done in one mounting. So the 10'2" ones were done all at once, they can grind 12' lengths. I know its expensive but all I own right now is a peanut grinder and I wasnt about to start my machine off on the wrong foot.
Hope this helps.
Old Wed 28 February 2007, 17:16
reza forushani
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That is not too bad for me, considering I don't have any grinders either. Thanks
Old Thu 01 March 2007, 00:17
Bill McGuire
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Thanks Charlie...
Sorry about my email. My provider is working on it...
Old Tue 06 March 2007, 22:42
Loren Gameros
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OK, Here's what I have from Caltime Metals in Huntington Beach California (USA)

I'm not sure if it's a good deal but they will do it.

A36 Hot Roll Steel Angle
(2) 2-1/2" x 2-1/2" x 1/4" x 20' Lgs. @ $150.00/Lot
To cut 2 @ 10' & 2 @ 5', trim one leg and machine as specified add
Please allow us 2-3 weeks to process all.
Thank you,
Brad @ Caltime Metals (714) 892-3307
Old Tue 06 March 2007, 23:07
Just call me:
Loren, remember that your rails must be quite a bit longer than your cutting area - somehow I don't think you want y-rails as short as 5'.....?
- The raw x-rail needs to be 800mm [30"] longer than your table length, and
- the raw y-rail needs 700mm [27"] longer than the table width
However, some material (about 100mm [4"]) gets trimmed off the ends of the rails later, but you can trim it right at the beginning if you can't fit it into a standard length. The trimmed lengths are X+600mm [23.6"] and Y+500mm [19.7"]

Discussion on "why so long?": link1 link2 link3
Old Wed 07 March 2007, 15:37
Loren Gameros
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I would think that this price is will be the same even if there is a few extra inches. This was a preliminary estimate. I will re-submit for a new price qoute. It took a week to get a response the first time so I/we will have to wait for a new qoute.
Old Tue 27 March 2007, 17:16
Greg J
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Check out these cool tools.
I've seen the "skil saw" operate and it cuts like butter. With a simple jig, it will make the fabrication of the rails almost to easy. I'm buying one tomorrow.
Old Thu 29 March 2007, 10:39
John Fredriksen
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Would it not be easier to just to buy the blade and use it in a conventional table saw with a speed controller?
Or for ~$150 more why not step up to a mill/dril with 45 degee tilt such as this one:

Old Thu 29 March 2007, 11:08
Greg J
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I agree that buying a blade and using a table saw is the simplest. I only have one table saw and I don't want to work metal on the wood working tools. Also, I can cut the rest of the parts (channel, box supports, etc.) with this saw. FYI, I ordered one and the cost was 300 USD. An extra blade was 45 USD.
Old Thu 29 March 2007, 12:22
Thomas M. Rybczyk
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I interested in hearing your opinion of this tool, and seeing how long (how many cuts) a blade lasts.

Old Thu 29 March 2007, 14:56
Greg J
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Not a problem. It's due to arrive next Weds (4/4/07). I'm finishing up the table drawings and then will order materials. I'll take pictures of my setup and be glad to post. My buddy has had the saw for 3 years and says the blades last a long time. He has built numerous metal buildings and metal pipe fencing on his ranch.
Old Thu 12 April 2007, 08:11
Just call me:
Hi Gerald,

It took me a while to find the link, but here is a webpage on how to make long, and accurate, machine ways with simple hand tools:

The longest steel bar I have tried with this method was only about four feet, but it was accurate to within 0.0005" per foot - took about 20 hours spread over a week or so.

Unfortunately, the follow up - creating a pair of ways in the same plane - has yet to be published; and I have been waiting for several years now.

Old Sun 15 April 2007, 18:39
Greg J
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Here's my latest update on using a metal cutting "skill saw" for the rails:

The saw worked great on cutting the 2-1/2 inch leg of the angle down to 1 inch. I made a 10 foot cut in about 3 minutes. But trying to cut the V was another story. I couldn't keep any kind of consistent V shape and hold 0.020 inch with a hand tool. I'll be looking for a machine shop tomorrow. I've haven't cut all that much metal, but the saw cuts pretty nice and leaves a cold cut. Its strange to touch the metal right after cutting and the steel is cold. Anyways, I think the saw will work for the other parts.
Old Wed 20 June 2007, 07:43
John Jasper
Just call me: John
Jasper, IN
United States of America
For those of you who want to go this route, a knock off version of this is available here for $99USD:

I have the Morse Metal Devil circular saw blade which performs surprizingly well in a Makita hand held circular saw. Have not tried making rails yet.

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