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  #1  
Old Wed 30 April 2008, 18:38
devo
Just call me: Devin
 
Spencerville, ON
Canada
Time to complete

Hi all. I have been looking at this forum with interest for some time now. I think I really like the idea of building my own machine, and if I go that route I'd like to build a Mech Mate. My concern is how much time is involved in this process. Would I be smarter to work the extra hours and buy a machine.

I understand that everybody's experience will be different, according to abilities and available resources. I'm curious to find out from you guys that have built a functioning machine, and you guys that are close what do you figure your total build hours are / will be?

Thank in advance.
  #2  
Old Wed 30 April 2008, 20:32
Greg J
Just call me: Greg #13
 
Hagerman, New Mexico
United States of America
Devin,

Time to complete is totally dependent on the person building the "beast".

Has one already operated a CNC machine before? Are they mechanically, electrically, comfortable/capable with building a MM?

I think Marc said at one time, an average time, if working evening, and weekends, it was taking about 10 months.

My opinion would be, don't make "time" the driving factor. For myself, I wanted to build one, because I wanted to understand every facet of a CNC machine. If the machine won't do what I want it to do, then with the knowledge from building a MM, I can change, re-design, modify, etc. etc. my MM to get the results I want.

Everyone has different end results. It all depends on what your end goals are. Hope that helps.
  #3  
Old Wed 30 April 2008, 21:42
Gerald D
Just call me: Gerald (retired)
 
Cape Town
South Africa
If you are a "time is money" type of person, then buy a complete machine (one that has good support in your country). The price of a complete ShopBot is good because they get huge discounts on their bulk buying of motors, v-rollers, etc. Their support in America is excellent.

However, also be aware that the situation with "budget" machines, like the ShopBot, is very price-competitive between the various manufacturers. ie. they have to cut some corners to keep their costs down. Their cables often are un-screened. They lean towards flexible aluminium to keep handling and shipping costs down. They avoid cable chains.

Broadly speaking, you get what you pay for.
  #4  
Old Wed 30 April 2008, 23:07
Gerald D
Just call me: Gerald (retired)
 
Cape Town
South Africa
Just to clarify "excellent support" . . . .

For the budget CNC machines this means you get a voice on a telephone most of the time that tells you "try this, or try that".....it does not mean they rush a service tech out to you. You still do your own faultfinding and repair, with parts supplied quickly by them.
  #5  
Old Wed 30 April 2008, 23:28
dmoore
Just call me:
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by devo View Post
Hi all. I have been looking at this forum with interest for some time now. I think I really like the idea of building my own machine, and if I go that route I'd like to build a Mech Mate. My concern is how much time is involved in this process. Would I be smarter to work the extra hours and buy a machine.
Devo - this might not help in time for you but I am keeping a complete log of each of the steps during the build, including the time and tools required. I think with a complete review of the plans, you should be able to roughly estimate the time required based on your skills and tools.

Thanks,
david
  #6  
Old Thu 01 May 2008, 05:01
Robert M
Just call me: Robert
 
Lac-Brome, Qc
Canada
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Mmmm... let see here...Money vs expending your knowledge… is this fair!!??

In a money oriented society, unfortunately it does mean to some !!
I’m one of those that time & money as to be accounted for. But !! Like anything else there should be a but….I looked at it with a reverse approach, if I may say so!!
Meaning what can I compare it to ( If I can dare say so, and I mean it with out any offence here, just for the study… you know!! like apples vs bananas… no comparison some may say, but like it or not their part of the fruit group!!) So… I made a conservative cost comparison excluding time to make it & from there I kind-of open an estimated budget for my time & other oupss…
Well from that point, it can differ from one to another, but for me ( & please do not ask with what I compared it to, and NOPE… it was Not the SB... !) I came with an advantage in my favor.
Again, if you need to put aside of the enormous gain in knowledge, future fun sharing it & understanding what to do if EVER something may go wrong !!

Up to you to figure what it worth your knowledge, fun & time to acquire it & then sharing it !!
Robert
  #7  
Old Thu 01 May 2008, 06:11
devo
Just call me: Devin
 
Spencerville, ON
Canada
Thanks Guys. I kind of figured these were the types of responses I would get to my question. I think what I was / am looking for is a reality check. I am sold on the idea of building a Mech Mate myself. I am not a die hard time vs money type of guy, but as a business owner I do have to consider it on some level. You are all correct about the value of the experience of building this machine, and that is one of my prime motivations in doing this.

To Gerald: Whether or not I decide to build vs buy I want to thank you for making this resource available to everybody. If everyone was as selfless as you the world would be a better place. As for the tech support idea of a bought machine, I don't know how any company could do better than the support that is available right here!

Thanks.
  #8  
Old Thu 01 May 2008, 09:49
cobra427mnsi
Just call me: Paul
 
Leamington, Ontario
Canada
Devin

I ,for one, am building a MechMate strictly for the experience. I am not concerned about time or money on this project ( I'm retired so I have lots of time, less money). I am having a blast building this thing. I was in the hardware store yesterday getting a couple of extra clamps that I needed for welding the y-car together and the lady behind the counter said " you're all dirty again today" ( I had just been welding and had some black smudges on my face). I replied that I was doing a dirty job, but I was having way more fun doing the dirty job than I ever had doing my clean job.
It will probably take me some time to complete. I have the table, gantry and y-car built and the rails ground. I am kind of building it backwards to Gerald's recommended way of building the electronics "kitchen project" first. My youngest son starts college in the fall (Sept.) and will be doing some electronics courses. He is looking forward to helping me with this part. So, until then, I will have the rest of the MM painted and ready to go, besides, the warm weather is beginning so that means boating/fishing time on Lake Erie. Got to keep my priorities straight.
I guess the time taken in building an MM is unique to the each individual's circumstances and abilities.
I see you are in Ontario. Where exactly? I'm in Leamington which is near Windsor.

Paul
  #9  
Old Thu 01 May 2008, 15:00
domino11
Just call me: Heath
 
Cornwall, Ontario
Canada
Wow,
there seems to be quite a few of us Ontarians on the forum.
  #10  
Old Thu 01 May 2008, 20:52
Doug_Ford
Just call me: Doug #3
 
Conway (Arkansas)
United States of America
Devin,

When I was building my MM, I worked about 3 out of 4 weekends from 10 in the morning until 6 in the evening and almost every week night for a couple of hours. It took me about 10 months to complete it. With that said, let me tell you that I'm especially slow and methodical. I like to understand what I'm doing and why I'm doing it. I think about things for a long time before I do them and then I'll cut a piece and then I'll think some more. I also had zero help from anyone. I think your progress will be much faster than mine was.
  #11  
Old Fri 02 May 2008, 06:08
devo
Just call me: Devin
 
Spencerville, ON
Canada
Thanks Doug. I'm not trying compare myself, my resources, or my time to anyone else, just trying to get as much info as possible before I dive into this. My summer is going to be incredibly busy, so there won't be too much time / energy for doing this. But I think I am am going to go ahead and try building the Mech Mate. I just hope I don't become obsessed with it!

To the other Ontarians here: I'm located in Spencerville, about 40 minutes south of Ottawa. I wish I was closer to you Paul so I could see your build, but Windsor is a bit of a stretch for a day trip! Is anyone in eastern Ontario building yet?

Devin
  #12  
Old Fri 02 May 2008, 07:02
Robert M
Just call me: Robert
 
Lac-Brome, Qc
Canada
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If things keep on progressing on the Canadian grounds, you never know, one day we just may be enough MM-ers to organize our camp/gathering/BBQ day !!
Looking forward !
Robert
  #13  
Old Fri 02 May 2008, 07:28
domino11
Just call me: Heath
 
Cornwall, Ontario
Canada
Devin,
I am in Cornwall, Ontario. Probably only about 45 minutes from you.

Heath.
  #14  
Old Wed 07 May 2008, 00:26
dmoore
Just call me:
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg J View Post
I think Marc said at one time, an average time, if working evening, and weekends, it was taking about 10 months.
In my opinion, having started but not finished yet, most of the effort for me was on the front end. Even though I'm 35% done building the actual machine - or about three 10 hour work days, I've spent no less than twice that amount just on research, reading, re-reading, posting and then reading again and then ordering parts. While I'll have hard data upon the completion of my project, I suspect a person with a reasonable skills and the necessary tools should be able to do the actual construction in about 80 hours, including paint but excluding the control box (maybe another 6-8 hours).

I think where time is added is if research is done "along the way" and you spend time correcting mistakes that proper research could have prevented. I also feel that without "proper tools", expect your time to go up.

Thanks,
david
  #15  
Old Wed 14 May 2008, 21:26
skypoke
Just call me: Chuck
 
Port Aransas
United States of America
My life being one project after another, I'd have to rate the Mechmate as relatively simple to build. Not much machining experience here, but almost all crafts general principles are applicable. For the person considering time to build vs. money to buy ready made probably the most important consideration is owning a machine that you understand and can maintain. You can't buy that and you get it for free when you build. I don't like to be a technological captive.

Chuck
  #16  
Old Thu 15 May 2008, 20:56
Doug_Ford
Just call me: Doug #3
 
Conway (Arkansas)
United States of America
Amen Chuck. I agree 100%. The biggest attraction for me is being able to fix it myself.
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