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Old Sat 11 April 2009, 08:47
Just call me: pete
United States of America
Cutting the rails down, did not have the skate yet.

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Old Sun 12 April 2009, 05:25
Just call me: Matt
started grinding

I finally got start yesterday and did a little more today. Overall i have to say i'm a little disappointed with my results. Firstly, i have about 0.4mm variance over 1.7m long Y rails when cutting to ~28mm. Looking down rails at a shallow angle, it looks a bit rippley. Not sure what i did wrong andi have no idea how i'll tackle the X rails as my bench is only just long enough for the Y rails.

Then i started to setup my grinding skate. I spent ages adjusted the bushes, going from 'slight gap/wobble' to 'very tight'. Finally got it at the best middle point where it seemed reasonably tight but moved ok. But it rides up when pushes in one direction and down in the other. Its not totally smooth movement and very easy to wobble the skate a bit. Where do poeple puch the skate from?. I only took one light pass. Does the wobble get better as the chamfer gets wider?

Another question, when using the tilt method for grinding the 45 angle, does that mean you get ~70-100mm less usable ground length? as its only cutting at one point?

Last edited by MattyZee; Sun 12 April 2009 at 05:28..
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Old Mon 13 April 2009, 04:10
Just call me: Matt
what a difference a day makes....

Well i was hoping someone might have been able to give me some help/guidence but i have soldiered on solo and have had much better results today.

I made an adjustable jig to hold the grinder horizontal and put a grinding disc in. I also pre-drilled the rail so i could screw the angle down to my table the entire length. After grinding i had <0.1mm variance over then full length. Much much better than before All the ripples were also taken out and the top surface looked very flat. I could look down it at a shallow angle and see the reflection was not distorted.

So, these are a few important things to do (or at least consider) based on my experience.
1. Must sand the rail to ensure it sits flat on the table.
2. Take a light pass after cutting with the grinding disc to get a better finish on the top surface.
3. Screw the rail down to your surface to get an even cut along the length (assuming you don't have a perfectly flat and very stiff bench, like i don't)

here's a pic og my jig. Its very siimilar to what others have used.
Jig 004.jpg

Then i tackled the 45deg grinding. This was much easier than expected after i sanded the sides of the rails. Again, this is what worked for me
1. Sand the edges of the rails to ensure the skate slides properly withoit riding up
2. Keep an oily rag handy to help the skate sliding smoothly
3. When tilting the grinder, as suggested, tip the front down, but i found it better to have the direction to grind up. This pushed the grinder back towards me and allows you to dictate the pace better, but more importantly it keeps the burr on the top edge so it doesn't bind the bearings on the skate. Initially i had it so it pulled the skate along but the burrs on the side made the skate motion very jerky.
4. Weld a nut to the underside of the skate and use handles with threaded rod studs that double as height gauges. This means you only need to undo one nut to adjust the depth on each side. The handle makes it easier to turn the require amount for adjustment.
5. Use a handle and gloves! The design is quite dangerous if you have removed the stock guard. Very tempting to grab the body of the grinder and loose you finger tips. The handles on the adjuster screws are a good location to push from too.

Heres a pick of my 45deg grinding setup.
Jig 003.jpg

I know one good rail doesn't make me an expert but i'm confident i've fixed the issues i had initially. I'm very happy with my rail now and am keen to go buy the material for my X rails now. I'm much more confident i can get a good finish now.

Hope this helps someone.
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Old Mon 13 April 2009, 06:43
Just call me: John #26
Hebron, Ohio
United States of America

Nice progress. I like your handles. As you've seen, I found the addition of a handle helpful as well.

Happy building!

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Old Mon 13 April 2009, 06:47
Gerald D
Just call me: Gerald (retired)
Cape Town
South Africa
Thanks for the feedback Matty.
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Old Tue 14 April 2009, 05:38
Just call me: Jayson #18
Great start Matt.

The hardest part is almost finished!

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Old Mon 20 April 2009, 00:40
Just call me: John #34
United States of America
Weekend 3 Update

Didn't get as much done this weekend as I wanted. Picked up angles at the steel yard for the rails on Saturday morning, and spent the rest of the afternoon trying to figure out how to cut them down.

Finally setup and cut on on the bandsaw Sunday. It not easy pushing a 45lb, 11 foot piece of angle through a bandsaw! Each one took about half an hour of constant pressure, and I ended up snapping the blade with 4 inches left on the last one. I ended up having to use the grinder to finish it off. Though this is all I accomplished this week, I'm sure glad it's done!

Guess what I'll be doing next weekend!

Bandsaw setup with piece of square tube for fence:

Setup beam on a bench to catch the angle:

Cutting...very long, boring, tiring...zzz...


Smoothing the cut edge:
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Old Wed 13 May 2009, 23:50
Just call me: John #34
United States of America
I finally finished grinding the rails. The skate works great, and the result was better than what I was expecting from a hand grinder. I struggled a little on the first one, but the others went pretty easily...not sure if it's due to new grinding wheels I bought (more aggressive, extended performance Dewalt wheels) or if I managed to tweak the setup "just right" during the change.

I tacked the original guard to the skate...I'm pretty scared of these things!

Still need to drill, but otherwise done!
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Old Sun 05 July 2009, 08:11
Just call me: andy
United Kingdom
. . . . .
I managed to grind the rails this week and im glad they are now done. The skate works great. I was a little worried how they would come out but they are perfect. Its better to angle the disk so it cuts down as if it cuts up the burr on the top edge can stop the skate moving freely. Also keep wiping down the sides of the rail stops the bearings getting tight.

One of the rails had a small kink in it about 50mm long which i did not notice untill i was grinding it then i could feel it with the skate. I filled the hollow side with chemical metal and sanded straight and ground the lump off the opposite side which worked well and saved me buying another lenght of angle.
. . . . .
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Old Sun 02 August 2009, 04:48
Just call me: Johan #56
Empangeni KwaZuluNatal
South Africa
Thanks Doug, I will do.

I did the rail height cutting yesterday and it went well. I really enjoyed myself!

Attachment 5576

Attachment 5577

Attachment 5578

I stop the grinder at the point when I start to feel the cutting disk want to bit as the off cut piece close down on the disk. I bend it open with the water pump plier as shown. It took only a fraction of a millimeter to release it.

I had an unforeseen problem with the grinding jig when I tried it out.
I ran out of grinding disks and had to go and buy a cheap one at the local hardware. To much vibration!
Second problem was the cantilever caused by the mass of the grinder when I tried to adjust. As soon the clamping bolts were released the top plate started to angle up making it difficult to get a fine adjustment.
I will have to add a piece of flat on both the upper and lower plates to form a slide as indicated below. Fitting a third bolt bolt as noted on the pic.

Attachment 5579
Attached Images
File Type: jpg RailSny1.jpg (27.2 KB, 2204 views)
File Type: jpg RailSny2.jpg (22.0 KB, 2199 views)
File Type: jpg RailSny3.jpg (26.9 KB, 2197 views)
File Type: jpg JRmod1.jpg (34.0 KB, 2192 views)
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Old Mon 24 August 2009, 17:06
Just call me: Joe #53
Whidbey Island, Washington
United States of America
Cutting the Rails

Well, I started the rails, cutting them down from 2" to 1.1. The process went very well, much easier and more accurate than I had feared. For those of you who may be worried about the process; don't be. Gerald's skate and a slow, patient hand make it very easy and accurate. I have faith that this will be the case with grinding the angle as well.

I used a surplus cast iron wing from my table saw as the grinding table to ensure the cut was flat and consistent, simply moving the angle iron back and forth to cut each section. It made the process slow but the cut is consistent along the entire length. TTFN
Attached Images
File Type: jpg JEHayes_Rail_Cut1_1.jpg (164.5 KB, 2208 views)
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Old Wed 26 August 2009, 16:29
Just call me: Sergio #70
.... rails ....

Wow, yes it was tough !
Now for the dummies .... :-)
I strongly suggest to use cut oil when you make holes (in a picture you see the most important tools I used: a punch, to center the holes, a tape to have a better visibility of the marks,and a gauge to make the marks).
Well, gerard told that you need just one disk to grind the rails (and another one to give the last touch) ..... I think he had much better grinder disks than mine .... in my case the older disks were very difficult to use and cutted poorly (in the pic you can see a new one a slightly used and the one I used for quite all the work), when I will grind the X rails I will change the disk more often.
two picture of the final results .... and tomorrow I will go suffer a bit mesuring what I did .... any suggestions on tolerances, remedy (I think I can mark the points out of range and correct with a file .... then anothe pass of grinder
Attached Images
File Type: jpg utils.jpg (30.5 KB, 2195 views)
File Type: jpg disks.jpg (37.5 KB, 2184 views)
File Type: jpg rails.jpg (31.0 KB, 2186 views)
File Type: jpg V bearing.jpg (33.8 KB, 2190 views)
File Type: jpg mitutoyo.jpg (23.9 KB, 2186 views)
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Old Mon 14 September 2009, 00:35
Just call me: Rik #92
made some sparks

Yesterday I tried to made the guidings.
First I cut of the height to 28 mm. heigth was variating between 27.5 and 29.7.
When I grind carefully I could do one length from 1.5 mm with one disk.
also problemens with the final through cut. grinder blockes several times. Nut to lock disks was tightened with this action. cost me some effort to realese the nut.
In the next profile a first made some cuts +/- 3 mm then I cut the profile in one time. In this case the grinder didn't block. I placed M8 mm studs wiht a ball at the end to guide over the steal plate. The ball didn't roll so there were som flat sides on the balls. this decrease the height with 0.5 mm

So first I have to do some finetuning at the height.
This is my plan.
-first level my set up completely
-go with a sharping stone over the surface to improve flatness of surface and profiles
-Change cut grinding weel to the thicker ones
-make the scate less senstive for wear.

When it is everywhere the same height I am going to made the 45 degree edges.

My wife heard the naburs, I wear proper ear protection so I didn't
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Old Mon 14 September 2009, 03:42
Just call me: Ivo #38 & #130
Rik try to find that type cutting disk what is on sides covered. I dont know how exactly explain, but disks what i used their side dont cut. You make carefully first cut and then later flute helps hold disk in right height
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Old Sun 20 September 2009, 07:02
Just call me: jimmy #65
pensacola florida
United States of America
northwest florida build

Hello fellow builders. Its about time for a new post and pictures of my build. It has been a slow go but progress is being made. I have the angle rails cut to height and the the angle grind finished. My first mistake was getting 2.5"x2.5" angle instead of 2.5"x2.0". It took a lot more disc to cut the height down. The angle grind went real good after I figured the skate out. Took only one disc. I used a good size piece of oak and cut a 45 degree in the center for the sandpaper to fit and polished the rails. Got the 8" channel cut to size. Made a guide to clamp to the beam and used an old Craftsman saw with a Dewalt .055" metal cutting disc. Also have worked on the y car. Have it welded and powdercoated along with some other parts. Thanks Jimmy

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Old Sun 27 September 2009, 09:42
Just call me: Rik #92
quite on the forum but not In my carport!

Last week was quite on the forum, but not quite in my carport. O man, I maked some sparks with my skate. It spent two saturdays to cut and Equal the height. so the 45 angle still has to be made
I cut the L profile with 1 mm metabo disks. In the beginning The grinder blocked completely several times. I broke one disk (the first one in my life)
The way which worked for me was first cutting 3-4 mm sleve by sliding the grinder left to the right, than cut the last 2-3 mm in one time.
When I tried less than 2 mm. the grinder was blocking.
When I was ready I quickly measured the hight at some places.
Actualy it wasn't that bad as I thought. within 0.1 mm over 90% over the lengt, one bad area -0.6 mm
I want the pare of guidings with the same height, Costed my some time en expirimenting wiht disks. the chinese "kinky" disk was not abrasive. The bosch disk was better. First I grinded the height with the bosch disk, and made it more smooth with a 120 grid disk.
I will make some pictures of the equipment I used ( I need day light) and a discription from the way of working. I received 0.08 mm in the beams. between the beams is 0.1 mm, I find out a good way of working to receive these results. I was thinking om grinding them completely equal but my kids would swim.
I am preparing my scate for the 45 degree angle. I am going to make a fine height adjustment on the scate. I collected the materials for this but I have to make it.
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Old Sun 04 October 2009, 00:03
Just call me: Rob #35
so. cal
United States of America
Thanks for the serial number Gerald!! And it just happens to be my favorite goaltenders number. Its great to finally watch it rip thru sheets at 400-450 ipm! And a clean cut too!

For those who are still building and have not yet cut and ground the rails you can make it easier if you use cutting and grinding disk made for stainless steel. I had them done in no time once i figured that out. That was the only part I was dreading doing because people made it out to be worse than it is. I worried about nothing, its easy!
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Old Sun 01 November 2009, 08:15
Just call me: Rik #92
sparkles and some noise made

Making the guiding rail costed me some effort. I cutted allready the L profiles but I wasn't satisfied with the height. so I wanted to finetune the height

I leveled the grinding disk with a bubble level. ( the steel work table was leveled first) This to make sure that the disk is flat on the surface. I think I can also see improvement in the final roughness from the surface

To cut the rail on height. I used a gage to check the height. I market the higher places with a marker and grind it with the grinder. I placed some screws in the front of the grinder holder to keep the grinding disk at the same space. I used a fine grid (ac 120) grinding disk each pass was removing some 0.001-0.002 height. This is creating equal height and a smooth surface.

Then I modiefied the skate. I wanted to set the height easy and accurate.
I can adjust the height with the M8 rods which are mounted on the handle bars. ofcourse bougt in my favorith street.

Then I scated, with supervision from my daughter the angels on the iron.
Firste wiht a rough grinding disk, afterwards with a fine grinding disc.

I would polisch wiht a polisch disk but the disk doesn't fit into the scate.
I will polisch it with some sandpaper. The quality is allready good but will be perfect after some polisching.

next step wil be drilling the holes in the guidingrails and beams.
Then I have to go back to my favorith street for welding.
I tried to find v wheels in taiwan but until this moment I didn't found.
Only some places were they can make the wheels custom for me. But I think they can't do the grinding afterwards.
I also checked the website several times for motor choise. First I was think buying the oriental motors with gearbox, but I'am still thinking making the belt drives
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File Type: jpg P1020700.JPG (187.5 KB, 2031 views)
File Type: jpg P1020701.JPG (216.6 KB, 2046 views)
File Type: jpg P1020702.JPG (179.6 KB, 2029 views)
File Type: jpg P1020695.JPG (207.0 KB, 2036 views)
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Old Sat 21 November 2009, 19:25
Robert M
Just call me: Robert
Lac-Brome, Qc
Send a message via Yahoo to Robert M Send a message via Skype™ to Robert M
Ok guys, another overdue update….

This rail making was actually one of the first steps done in September. Back then I’ve spent nearly a week worth of work trying to accomplish these rails ….. Oh man…what a miserable adventure it was for me!...
Not actually grinding them, but because I bought what I’d say “a cheaper than cheap…. A real wrong grinder purchase !”

At the end, it boils down to confirm a very old wise recommendation I usually to go buy, but got bitten again for not following it !!
I’m talking about….You’re never poor enough to buy cheap tools! frugal…that’s all ok and even mandatory…BUT NOT CHEAP…it will cost ya !
This got so true in this rail making adventure !!!
what a pita…. Not the making of the rail by them self, oh no, this freeken grinder made me loose all this time !

first, the rough cut…. Somehow it got fine after some &?%$%$@# with a bracket mod
Attachment 7212

My bracket did not clear the angle Iron for the 1st cut…My mistake forgot to look at update recommendation on rails…MAX 2” height…Dooo
So went back in the shop and quickly improvised to make another support …

Attachment 7213

and then started to get some fun going –on as you can see, fun it was…

But after that….some more cursing went on as mistake over mistake started hunting me !
The grinder I bought, over full yr before this making, was initially bought on sale (60% off) for this rail making..
This marketed “mid-quality” grinder was confirm to me by some other fellow Canadian MM builders whom have use it for their rail making, it went fine for them and did ok for their rail making ??!!
Well, all but fine for me !
After my 1st attempt on rough cutting ( 2 afternoons for me )The grinder initially had some acceptable vibration due to unbalance & off center cheep mechanism that only got worse, to a point of those bad vibration slowly unscrewing some OEM mounting screw and strip it’s threads….darn ! (strip holding screw) and almost ruin a rail job by grabbing a chunk of the rail!

Attachment 7214

Sooo…. after some re-threading for some bigger screws, got bitten by another screw screwing with me
Attachment 7215

by stripping the star head, finally got back to grinding to a smoother flat surface so I can tackle the angle stage making ( yep, had to re-surface the pair of rails to a new lower level, 27.5mm, since one of them got taken a chunk off…$%#@?&#%%$

But hold on ….not so fast….my grinder had in mind of its own…
Yep that’s right, it seem to have a malicious mind of its own, a real sh## disturber !
Another pitfall…. The single bearing design were the disc holding is keeping everything all together by some miracle, went kaput !

Attachment 7216

It could not take the forces applied as this shaft is not supported at the other end, meaning only that single small bearing (6000) is holding this shaft on its axis and at the end of that shaft, it is left without any support or bushing.
Also, that same shaft must have some out of roundness / misalignment of such as it tend to wear grinding disc in a constant uneven mater
Attachment 7217
creating more unbalance vibration as disc wear goes on, to only creating more stress in this bearing, which in turn is only a matter a short time before it all goes KAPUT …. again!!

So, after replacing the bearing with a better SKF, as I was mounting it, one of the bearing retaining screw head….well… breaks !%&?@!!! Leaving the screw in its thread without any head….more delay…after all, I needed that !!!

Attachment 7218

What a saga this was
All & all, making rail by them self isn’t not so bad, once you have made some….that is with a descent quality grinder !
I can see & recommend a trial run would be very beneficial experience before tackling the final angle iron. Testing your set up first on a scrap always become beneficial at the long run !!

DIY rail making….would I re-do some….Me!!!!, personally Nop….get someone else to do it vs sub this out…of course!.
Pay a machine shop for this, no way!!!! Just too easy for any DIY… when equipped & once you have done some practice run
For me, just no worth my time & money as I run a little business where my time is more valuable, but well worth it if you can get reasonably prices quality labor… And a ½ descent grinder !

Some other various shots as I was making those rails !...Enjoy, Robert

Rail tab

Attachment 7219

Rail bending after

Attachment 7220

Some late knight overtime work...

Attachment 7221

...and all finito
Attachment 7222
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File Type: jpg No_go_rs.jpg (110.5 KB, 2034 views)
File Type: jpg Tempo_plate_3rs.jpg (85.4 KB, 2037 views)
File Type: jpg Grinder_hungry_rs.jpg (95.9 KB, 2026 views)
File Type: jpg Screw_star-head_gone-rs.jpg (77.2 KB, 2015 views)
File Type: jpg Grinder_bearing_kapoot-rs.jpg (99.2 KB, 2020 views)
File Type: jpg Un-even_wear_rs.jpg (133.3 KB, 2026 views)
File Type: jpg Bearing_retaining_screw-broke_rs.jpg (150.5 KB, 2016 views)
File Type: jpg Rail_tap_rs.jpg (164.5 KB, 2012 views)
File Type: jpg Rail_tab_bend-rs.jpg (156.5 KB, 2014 views)
File Type: jpg Making_Rails_Late-night_2rs.jpg (195.9 KB, 2023 views)
File Type: jpg All_rails_fine&ok-rs.jpg (89.3 KB, 2008 views)
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Old Sat 28 November 2009, 11:55
Just call me: frallan #57
Today I tried to make some y-rails.

Cutting went smooth but the grinding failed miserably, even with the use of the jigg in the plans. So now im looking for alternatives or someone providing a better kit to use and grind with.
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Old Thu 03 December 2009, 09:21
Just call me: Claus #43
Hi guys,

just a few pics of my rail shaping.
I`m in the first process of shaping them. After this I will try also to make them my Led with reflect better

Attachment 7467

Attachment 7468

Attached Images
File Type: jpg SNC00987.jpg (76.7 KB, 2023 views)
File Type: jpg SNC00989.jpg (67.8 KB, 2031 views)
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Old Mon 20 September 2010, 04:35
Just call me: Jim #104 (retired)
United States of America
Grinding rails is an important milestone! It means that you moving closer to completion of your mechmate. I polished my rails and was able to get a very smooth finish. Take a look at the end of my build log. (Frame #39)
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Old Thu 27 January 2011, 04:43
Just call me: Anthony #77
South Australia
I found grinding the rails is alot easier when i used one of those sandpaper/grinding disc. It can be ground in less than 1/4 of the time and less cost, 1.5 discs for 3.6m worth of grinding. The normal grinding discs kept on glazing up even the grinding is done near the edge of the disc.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg R0011377.JPG (49.8 KB, 1281 views)
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Old Thu 27 January 2011, 08:14
Just call me: Sean - #5, 28, 58 and others
Orlando, Florida
United States of America
That is a great note that I don't think get's shared enough. Start with a 36 or 50 grit and finish with a 80 or 120 grit to polish.

For the new readers, make certain that you have a VERY stiff backer to the sanding disk unit. Some of the backing plates on the disks can be to flexible and not give repeated grinding results. I personally put the sanding disk ON TOP of an actual grinding disk as a FIRM back.

Thanks for sharing.
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Old Thu 27 January 2011, 18:59
Just call me: Anthony #77
South Australia
I set the skate so that it was grinding in the middle of the disc with the rubber backing where it is a lot stiffer, as can be seen in the photo with the grey mark. It is not the opitmum spot for grinding (cutting tip speed, what ever it is called it grinding terms?).
I think using a grinding disc instead of the rubber backing is a very good idea and would be far better.
I timed my self and it took 1/2 an hour to grind 3.6m and 1/2 an hour to cut with 1mm blade. It has gone from a painfull process to a painless process.
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Old Sat 29 January 2011, 04:41
Just call me: Ross #74

I'm with Sean, the rubber backing pad will give a second class result in comparison to using a grinding disk as a backer.
I have really tried to get this method out there for all to see after reading it on the forum myself.
I asked Redboards to run some comparison tests before he did his rails and he is a convert of the technique.
As Sean says, run up the grits and by the time you get to 120 Grit, it polishes the rails.

Good luck with your build.

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Old Sat 29 January 2011, 19:31
Just call me: Anthony #77
South Australia
I don't disagree with you or Sean.
If I was to to it again I would do as you have explained. When I had read Sean's post I had alredy completed the grinding.
The local Hardware Store only had 36 and 60 grit, so did the main cutting with the 36 and finished with 60. The surface still had machine marks so I draw filed with a 12" finishing file.
If some can tell me a good reason(s) why I must have 'polished' rails (apart from me being able to see myself combing my hair) I will do it, I think it is acceptable.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg R0011398.JPG (64.3 KB, 1276 views)
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Old Sat 29 January 2011, 19:41
Just call me: Ross #74
Hi Anthony

The accuracy of the rails are the only consideration, everything else is really only cosmetic. Small scratches will not interfere with the operation of the machine.
The section of rail you have shown looks to be the goods - well done.

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Old Sun 30 January 2011, 05:43
Just call me: Sean - #5, 28, 58 and others
Orlando, Florida
United States of America
No reason to polish the rails. I guess to be accurate, I shouldn't have used the word "polish" and should have said - final finish pass. I treated the milling procees like any other metal removing process by using a "rough cut and removal", then a "fine finish pass"

Good luck to all the future builders! It gets easier every time.

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Old Sun 25 August 2013, 04:38
Just call me: Al #114
Send a message via Skype™ to lonestaral
My experience

I ground my rails today.
Was not sure what to expect.

I put the skate together yesterday.
A few problems, the grinder holes spacing was different,
also my bearings were a different diameter.

Just clamped the rail to an old worktop with 2 G Clamps.

After a few passes I found that if I did 2 consecutive passes on each side of the rail then altered the height setting.

I turned the nut about a 1/4 turn to adjust the height.

If you have any paint on your rails remove it where you want to grind.
My discs clogged up if I did not scrape off the primer.

Best time was 35 minutes on a 2.1 Meter rail.

Minor problems, the grinder cable kept getting twisted.
Should have had the extension cable suspended overhead by a skyhook.
Keep it out from underfoot.

Had to watch the back of the disc sticking out unguarded from the skate.
Also when holding the grinder make sure the air inlet holes did not get blocked by my gloves.

The grinder worked well. A Maktec, a subsiduary of Makita.

Right hand wrist and elbow hurt a bit.
All in all a good days work.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Mechmate.049.jpg (52.6 KB, 749 views)
File Type: jpg Mechmate.055.jpg (68.9 KB, 748 views)
File Type: jpg Mechmate.056.jpg (59.6 KB, 749 views)
File Type: jpg Mechmate.058.jpg (77.4 KB, 750 views)
File Type: jpg Mechmate.062.jpg (66.9 KB, 745 views)
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