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Old Thu 21 June 2012, 15:55
Mr Ron
Just call me: Mr Ron
Vancleave, Ms
United States of America
I'm a new member to this forum

I'm retired from the shipbuilding field and have a lot of free time on my hands. I stumbled unto CNC routering and am hot to get started. I have designed my own CNC machine based on the good points of different machines. My initial machine is pretty basic; plywood construction, aluminum angle rails; V-groove bearings; chain drive on the X and Y-axis and screw/nut on the Z-axis. Overall size is 36x84. I have all the parts cut out and most of the mechanical parts in house or on order. The electronics is still on my order list. As far as capability goes, I have a complete 1200 sf shop complete with all woodworking machines, 11" toolroom lathe, milling machine and all the other metalworking tools needed. So equipped, I can make almost anything from raw material. My goal is to work aluminum. A plywood machine may not be practical for working aluminum, but my first machine is a test bed. I will be making improvements and trying new designs as I go as part of my learning curve. From time to time, I will ask your help and throw ideas out for your evaluation and if I can answer any of your questions, I will do so.
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Old Fri 22 June 2012, 06:54
Just call me: Mike
Columbiana AL
United States of America
Hello Mr Ron. I will tell you as many others will also, before you dive too deep on your starter CNC, take a good look at the MechMate platform. It is a straight forward design with plenty of drawings and historical support. This forum is dedicated to that one platform so almost any question you may have is in here somewhere.

You will also find many have done what your doing and in the end they build the MechMate and believe and wish they had put the efforts into it the first time around and not tried to "wing it" as many do on other sites.

So I suggest getting the MechMate plans and set of parts that I can provide you and build yourself a machine the first time around that will do everything you want it to do and has a track record to prove it right here in this forum !!

Welcome aboard.
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Old Fri 22 June 2012, 19:29
David Bryant
Just call me: David #99
Western Australia
Hi Ron
What size Al sheet, thickness and Grade? What boat are you thinking of building?

I had mixed success with Al cutting on the mech mate, during the learning curve and boat selection.

I ended up starting the build in composite(Farrier F85SR), foam cored fiberglass. I am cutting all the form work in MDF and vac bagging my own flat panels then cutting the glass foam (Corecell) glass sheets on the MM. This works well. Still learning about 3D shapes to make dagger board molds etc.

Personal choice was to move to composite rather than AL mostly for environmental reasons but a complex issue.

I did find it frustrating wanting to cool the bits I was experimenting with in cutting AL more.
This led to saturated sections of the MDF table.
Thinner Al sheet I had was lifting if cut too fast, however Nils has sucess cutting thinner sheet.
Consider a plastic base board. Consider vac hold down if thinking of up cut bits.

You could fairly easily have all your computing set up and electrical set up to change from your initial machine to a MM. Even by a plug if your initial machine is using steppers.

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