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Old Fri 02 April 2010, 19:04
Just call me: Geoff
sydney new south wales
New Sydney Mech Mate, 3700x2100

Hello All,

Just introducing myself here, sorry if it is a bit long

Jumped on the forum last Thursday (1st mar) & I am very enthused.

I currently own/run a sign company in Sydney, Australia, & have been researching the forums over the week end.
The MeckMate I have in mind would have a working/cut area of 3700 x axis & 2100 y axis & 250 Z axis, I was also looking at multiple head/routers. I would also convert to vacuum clamping for the table at some stage but that is not critical.

The majority (65%) of my routing work would be in aluminium composite panel (special order sheet size of 3500x1000) which would require v cutting to a set depth for bending & profile cutting. Secondary machining considerations (of about equal significance) would be for aluminium, acrylic, Polly carbonate, mdf. Lastly the 3rd consideration would be for vinyl cutting which is a cinch.

I have never built a CNC before & I am a total newbie when it comes to electronics’, metal fabrication I am quite well versed in having built pylon signs & frames for years.

Through out my career before starting my own shop I had the privilege/pain to operate 3 multicams & 1 mat cam? Routers with cutting bed sizes 8x4 to 8x6. All were single head machines & the last time I played was 4 or so years ago.

I have a couple of questions at this stage which I will put below here & would appreciate it if anyone could help/give me the link to the appropriate section of the forum for answers
• My thoughts on the y axis of 2100 is to run 1 program on 1 side of the table while I unload/load the other side, this is not critical & if recommended I can reduce it to 1900 or smaller. Is It worth while beefing up the main gantry beams? (Floor space I have available for the Mech Mate is 4500x8500, this area to is to stand, operate & load/unload etc)
• With the multiple heads I was going to have them on the same Gantry, as I don’t need them to operate simultaneously could I have them on the same y car? (I want two spindles as opposed to an auto cutter changing set up which I think is more reliable & cheaper from experience, only one spindle will operate at 1 time)
• Having 2 spindles does that then mean I need a 4th axis (z1 & z2) or is each head assigned to plunge in a set sequence during programming?

With respect to the kitchen table project for which I am ordering parts for, this week.
• I will need 1 extra stepping motor for additional x axis, & a 2nd additional stepping motor for second y car (if I cant run 2 spindles off the same car) I was sticking with recommendations of PK296A2A-SG7.2, would these be up to the job of moving the larger gantry?
• With the power source I am a little confused, I think I will need to vary it to accommodate additional stepper motors, how/where is the posts to help me work this out?
• I know I need 2 BOB’s, PMDX-122, for additional outputs. I am unsure if I need an additional driver (gecko G203v is what I had in mind) Any thing I have missed?
• Previously when I operated routers I used the supplied software, from what I can gather I need an operations program such as mach 3, a path setting program such as enroute, or are these programs a cross over/do the same thing. I assume that just mach 3 or similar is required to get the drivers etc functioning on the kitchen bench top program?

Lastly the link to Rick in Australia who has previously supplied laser cut kits was broken, any one be able to put me in touch/supply the link?

Thanks in advance guys
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Old Fri 02 April 2010, 22:17
Just call me: Heath
Cornwall, Ontario
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Old Sat 03 April 2010, 05:25
Just call me: Tony #71
Hi Geoff,

Welcome to the forums. I did get your Pm and I am not ignoring you, I have just had a lot on lately and really not had the time to go through and compile a list of suppliers for you.
If you pm my friend skippy (Paul) I'm sure he has been putting a list together as we have been progressing through our build.
Sounds like you have a very intersting build in the pipeline and I am looking forward to seeing it develop.
I will leave your questions to others that know more than I.

Good Luck with your build.

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Old Sat 03 April 2010, 06:03
Just call me: Mike
Columbiana AL
United States of America
Welcome !!
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Old Sat 03 April 2010, 10:54
Just call me: Brad #10
United States of America
Several thoughts for you, Geoff:

As mentioned other places, you can mount two Z assemblies in one Y Car, although it leaves no room for dust collection on the inside of the car. This would take only one additional motor for the extra Z. I'd do it this way.

You could have two Y Cars, requiring two more motors, one for the car and one for the Z. However, be aware that the two cars will limit the range of each other, so you might want to expand your Y axis accordingly.

Regardless of which of these options you choose, you may want to research the software you plan to use to ensure that it will handle the extra axis cleanly.

You will need one driver for each stepper motor.

Making the table extra wide to allow loading one side while cutting the other might not work out: The actively moving gantry will be in the area you are attempting to load or unload. Adding extra length instead would not have this issue.

Since your extra axis won't be moving at the same time as the others, it will operate in reduced current standby mode, which would be 30% on the Geckos. You don't need to go overboard in upsizing your power supply.
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Old Sun 04 April 2010, 08:10
Just call me: Geoff
sydney new south wales
Thanks for the feed back so far guys,

All good Tony, I will send a message over to Paul, the main things I would like to source in AUS would be the power supply (so I can tax their knowledge a bit), laser cutting (someone who has done it at a good quality). As they say Rome wasn’t built in a day =) & this MeckMate will take a while longer than that.

Thanks Brad, I found a couple of posts on multiple heads etc after posting & looks like no one has gone down that path so far. After reading what was said there I will go with multiple spindles on the same y car as you suggested, dust extraction will be an issue as mentioned but the advantages of v grooving & profile cutting in aluminium composite panel (50-60% of usage) without stopping the program/changing cutters out weighs the challenges here, even to the point of having no dust extraction as I would only really need it for mdf/weather text & plywood (probably only around 5% or less of expected usage)

You are right about the unloading issues whilst running a program, time saving in doing this would be neglible (actually had a few arguments with previous boss’s about this….how time fades stuff hey?) in any case as run times would be in the 1/2 min frame, clamping 2 sheets at once & running both cut programs without pause is probably a better/safer option (material is about 200/sheet & a special order from china)
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Old Sun 04 April 2010, 23:44
Just call me: Geoff
sydney new south wales
Actually been researching a bit more on the forum & came across 2 different threads on slanting/vertical tables, liking this ATM as I could relocate the MeckMate around the panel/table saws keeping dust management in the factory to one area, just would have to bring forward the vacuum bed option to make it work. I would tend to use linear rails for x & y axis to alleviate gravity issues.

Depending on the type of material cut (plastics), previously I had altered/used cut speed/direction & cutter type to get swarf retention in the cutting lines to hold small parts down.

I’m sure I would be able to fill in the other space I had in mind in short time.
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Old Thu 07 October 2010, 23:05
Just call me: Geoff
sydney new south wales
Hi All,

been quiet due to work & travel for 6 months but I have made a few decisions & started welding

I have the y car complete, just have to prime & paint now, most of the steel work cut in a joint venture with Colin, just starting to drill & tap the holes for everything now.

After much consideration I have decided to try & build a vertical table with vacuum clamping X 4050, Y 2440 (machining area) & maintain the twin spindle option. I have decided to invest in linear rails for x & y axis’s as I can only see problems trying to tune in 20 v groove rollers, my intention is to first build it horizontally before retrofitting cable chain modifications & either a y car counter weight or constantly energised motor & lifting it into the vertical plane.

I remember reading about the inertia problems of the additional weight for a cooling system (water cooled spindles) built onto the y car, given that any counter weight would double the y car weight forces on the gantry, would this also happen here??

So far I have
  • laser cut/bent parts from Rick
  • Welded up the y car
  • All of the racking required
  • Computer with 2 parallel ports (actually had it so long the warrantee has expired with out turning it on)
  • Down loaded mach 3
  • Cut most of my steel

on the way
  • 5 G203v geckos
  • 5 oriental motors PK296A2A-SG7.2
  • 2 pmdx-122 BOB
  • Computer with 2 parallel ports
  • V groove rollers for z axis’s
  • Linear rails for x & y axis’s
  • Vacuum motors for sheet clamping

Hopefully sorting out this week end
  • Power supply
  • Welding gantry
  • Spider drilling & welding

with the pic's the first one is set ready to weld & the other 2 are completed, I have 1 question with the grind back of the welds, does that just serve to make a clean finish/astetic's or is this to check penitration etc?

Any how will let you know details from the week end
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Old Fri 08 October 2010, 07:33
Just call me: Gareth
nice one,
i can not wait to see your take on the twin spindle setup.
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