Measured, marked, caught an error, remeasured, remarked, and first cut was on the wrong mark - too short of course.
Um, 14 1/2 pounds of router there.
I'm going to have to beef up the Y and Z axes a bit.
(I also wish I spent just a few $ more on the plunge version of this router)
Nails! Nails?! Who uses nails anywhere in a high tech CNC mill?
Have to cut recesses in the bed to receive the bolt heads
First use of the router and the aluminum cut like butter.
Original 4" bolt head
Route it out
Rough cut (you can't see all the aluminum shavings all over)
Cleaned up with a wire brush, vacuumed, and added a 3.5"bolt with single washer.
Recessed bolt head
Placement of "U"
channel and small section of conduit bearing for end profile.
Original American Science and Surplus crappy bearings - It's hard to see but the bolts are bound against the frame - useless for this project.
Height of the bottom of the gantry from the work surface if mounted low
Height of the bottom of the gantry if mounted high.
Bearing bolt tolerances against rail.
4 bearings from one 48" x 1.5" x 1/8th" steel.
Cut into 6" lengths. I don't know if you are supposed to use cutting oil when cutting with a hacksaw/jigsaw but it seems to go smoother and keeps the metal dust down.
Once again, cutting oil makes a huge difference when drilling steel (more was applied while drilling). The indexing table makes getting the drill aligned trivial, it's very difficult without it.
Finished fit and bolt head tolerances on the jig. I'm very happy with the tolerance, smoothness, and firmness of the bearing/rail mechanism.
Break made from L angle hinges, vise, and vise grips. WORKS GREAT!
Bent 2 at a time. Cuts the work in half and gets matching angles for left and right side.
Measure - perfect 120 degree bend. No matter, they grab the rail so tight each needed to be loosened by hand later.
One bearing made, 3 to go.
Punch to make drilling easier and more accurate.
6 punched, one to go.
Test fit with a scrap piece of aluminum, once again, very smooth.
Finished adding first rail, 4" bolt can be seen coming up through the bottom of the side of the table, through steel U channel, into rail where it is held in place by a weld nut.
View of test fit of bearings from down the rail.
Using the shelving u channel as a straight edge to mark bottom of conduit bearing for drilling
U channel just laying there
I noticed that I had bought two different kinds of U channel and they had differing dimensions so I made due with one type - one piece was painted black and was cut in half, and each side of the table has these 12" gaps.
Hole in the end of the edge and matching hole in U channel.
Marking, and drilling holes. I'd get everything lined up, mark it, then mark one end and drill the hole. Once drilled, I'd place a bolt in to pin it down and mark and drill holes from the other end back. That way all the holes lined up perfect.
After marking where the U channels meet the conduit, I removed them and clamped them together. That way I could mark the centers of the holes accurately for drilling.
Once clamped I used a 1/4" punch to dimple the conduit right on the previously marked bottom centerline.
I used the step drill to start and widen the holes but had to finish with a larger drill because the step bit hit the other side of the conduit. I drilled the conduit holes larger to make getting bolts aligned easier as you will see later.
Bolts extended up through the 3" aluminum sides and U channel into the over sized holes in the conduit. I used weld nuts inside. It was extremely difficult to get the bolts and nuts started. The center bolts are 5 feet inside the conduit. To accomplish this I cut into the end of a dowel and used it to hold and align the nut inside. I'd have to use a small punch to find the hole in the nut and align it as best I could before trying to get the bolt on. Each center one took several attempts but it worked out well.
The dowel is only 48" long and had to reach 5 feet to reach the center bolt. I had to push it in with another dowel and use the attached twine to retrieve it. If the weldnut fell off (and it did) I used a vacuum cleaner and a window screen to suck it back to the end of the tube to try again.
The 3/8" acme threaded rod fits right into the channel in the aluminum which has holes that can be threaded. Screws through a metal plate will hold the nut fast while allowing the threaded rod to pass through. A small block will be attached to each side of the gantry.
I had to grind the sides of the nut to allow clearance for the bolts but that only took a minute and shouldn't pose a problem.
This PVC coupler fits the router precisely. Here I'm cutting channels to receive the pins on the router body.
It is a snug fit - I had to use the tack hammer in the background to tap it off after this shot.
Looking at potential tool mounting options and in this case looking at bearing clearance between rail bearing and tool (router)
Conceptual Z sled fit (it would be much taller)
Testing constant force springs with 10 lb. router. They worked great and will work better when they are mounted properly and not all bound up next to each other on a convenient wooden dowel.
3 sheets of 9"x6"x1/4" aluminum from 8020 garage sale on ebay < $20 shipped!
Weighing router to determine needed springs to counteract gravity. Lowest of low tech but it works for my purposes.
10 lb. router - good news, it was 14 lbs with the handle on it.
Constant force springs make router nearly weightless over full range of motion. These will make the job a lot easier on the Z axis motor that would have to lift the tool.
Three motor mounting plates and a scrap
from one 9"x3"x1/4" piece of aluminum.
Pieces stacked for alignment, drill hole locations and sizes marked and punched
I'm about to drill the first hole, note the 1/4" drill bit over the 3/16th" motor mount hole.
First hole drilled = first 2 mistakes; hole is the wrong size and it goes through all plates instead of just the motor mount plate. It turned out to be fortunate though...
Drilled the rest of the structural corner holes - lots of aluminum ribbons whipping around the bench.
Drilled perfectly aligned center hole for the motor shaft and bearings.
Motor bolted to mounting plate - larger hole is not an issue.
Here are the other two plates. Note the extra hole - that turned out to be a good thing because it prevented plates getting flipped or rotated which would cause misalignment of the shaft.
Milling the grooves for the mounting plate. Actually, there is too much chatter between my drill press and indexing table to "mill" - I really bored side by side holes with the milling bit, then removed the material between them.
Note the scalloped edges of the grooves - ugly but functional. I hadn't realized it but employed a used end mill bit that could have been sharper and the cutting edge had broken off one of the two flutes. Jeez - do you thing using a sharp nonbroken bit could have reduced the chatter! Duh.
Assembled, though I haven't cut the shaft to length because I may opt to leave extra for a handle, dampers, or an attachment to use a drill to jog the machine without driver power. It moves very smoothly.
(shaft, collar, bearing, plate, pulley, pulley, plate, bearing, collar, spider, motorshaft, motor, plate)
Another look at the assembled mounting plate, the lower part of the plate will bolt to the end of the table, and belts from the pulleys will drive the 10' long threaded rods for the X axis. The belts are tensioned by moving this motor mount down - that is what the slots are for.
Couldn't for the longest time figure out how to attach the rails to the Z axis but got it now. Button head shoulder bolts through smaller holes in the conduit into T slot weld nuts.
Disassebled X axis bearings, calculated dimensions for clearance, and marked for drilling. Note the ends have been cut down and ground smooth for clearance with gantry drive structures.
Believe it or not - this all worked out nicely!
The trick here is that 1/2" and 2 1/2" from the end of the gantry bolts pass all the way through top to bottom. Two bolts per bearing also pass through the gantry sides - these bolts pass each other 90 degrees and about 1/8" apart.
Bearings, dyed, marked, punched for drilling. Note that each pair bearing sides is marked and they will be bolted together for drilling to ensure alignment.
Ready to drill...
One hole done. Note that each bearings halves are bolted and drilled together to ensure alignment for all 3 holes.
2 holes drilled - I really love using the indexing table, it makes the hole placement much more accurate and is so much easier than trying to clamp the workpiece in place, especially for multiple holes where it doesn't need to be reclamped.
Time to remove the dye... but I also removed the sharpie markings that indicated which pieces were pairs! DOH! Thank goodness the alignment made it crystal clear which pieces belonged together.
Measuring and punching the sides of the gantry.
Cut the remaining aluminum I had on hand. The gantry sides are on the indexing table, the uprights are to the left, X axis leadscrew supports and spacers are in between and the gantry ACME nut mounts are bottom left.
Aluminum budget - many pieces pieces are 100% used.
Drilling long holes top to bottom. Not enough room to use the indexing table so I turned the drill head around and used the stock platform. I missed my indexing table. The drill press only has 2" drill depth too, so I started them here to be sure they were straight but I had to finish the holes by hand.
Can only drill 2" with this drill press.
It's hard to see but there are holes going top to bottom and side to side that pass within 1/8" of each other.
Finishing the top to bottom holes.
Just laid the parts out to check fit and bolts just fell into the holes - PERFECT! I do not have long enough bolts yet to assemble the gantry so it's just "pinned" together for the time being.
Reassembling the bearings, this time with lock washers and thread lock.
Mounted on the table. The bearings are tightened to the sides but they will need to be disassembled later. The uprights are just standing on the sides to look at. The gantry slides so smooth, but clearly needs to be bolted tight with gussets to give it the needed stiffness. I'm going to have to clear that table off pretty soon : )
Cad file of table made in 3D Studio Max. I started modeling the table just to look at some ideas but it became crucial for dimensions, clearances of moving parts and bolts, and measuring materials needed. Note this is the 32nd version of the file and I'm not done. I just recently "rigged" it so I can drag the router around and see how the axes move. I found that stock drive products and 80/20 both have 3d models of their parts available online in many formats. At one point I made the whole gantry from extruded aluminum models and it looked just like the real thing, but that was too visually busy to be a good design tool and all the extra geometry really bogged my machine down. I can't tell you how many bolts would have interpenetrated or pieces would have bound or prevented the table from reaching its designed 8+' x 4+' x 6" work area.
Drive block for the X axis. The 1/2" ACME threaded rod passes through a void in the 3" x 1" 8020 extruded aluminum. An ACME nut is held in place by a large washer and two 1/4"-20 shoulder bolts threaded into the aluminum. Here I'm ready to drill another washer with 1/4" holes.
Grinding the grooves into the sides of an ACME nut...
The grooves give the mounting bolts some room. When in place, the nut can float for alignment until the mounting bolts are finally tightened.
Tried Dremmeling slots to allow the insertion of weld nuts into assembled pieces but was not happy with the results.
Cutting remaining aluminum. The Y/Z carriage is laid out on the table and the Z axis piece is lying beneath it.
Attachment of bearing rails to the Z axis.
Using a stepped drill bit to drill the holes in the bearing rails because they need to go through the center and be 1/4" dia. on one side and 5/16" on the other with perfect alignment.
Support gusset for gantry test fit.
Additional holes will be needed to mount the Y axis bearing rails between the uprights.
Top of Z axis with bearing rails assembled right after tapping the 3 holes.
... and here's the tap.
The 1/4" holes in the washer can be roughly on the centerline but must be exactly 1" apart so the bolts will thread into the end of the aluminum.
Assembing the top of the Z axis.
Add 1/2" ID ACME threaded bolt with grooved sides.
Add large washer with precision drille holes.
(sorry about the blurry)Add shoulder bolts. While the bolts are hand tight, the nut can float but won't fall out which provides some forgiving alignment.
Starting to mill slots in the back of the [tri-] angle aluminum for the rail bearings. This is great stuff, it's thick aluminum and it's a full triangle with will mount a lot more easily than "L" angle.
One squarish hole. It took a long time but the drill press didn't chatter as much as it used to thanks to the new mount. I took it really slow and found out later that I should have used a higher RPM.
An example fit of the bearings to test the tolerance between the triangle and the rail. At first when I saw the ball bearing didn't even extend past the edge of the aluminum, I thought it would never work. Now I'm thrilled.
This is how the bolts come out of the aluminum. They are staggered to allow the proper alignment without the bolt heads interfering with one another. (the bolts themselves are too long in this shot and will be replaced)
The bolt heads nestled up next to each other - a perfect fit.
The first hole took a long time so, for the rest of them, I opted to remove a bunch of material by drilling first which worked out great and was probably easier on the drill press since it's not actually a mill.
Finished milling the second cavity in the first bearing.
Two bearings (75% of the bolts are of the correct size) and the Z axis.
Test fit and preparing to measure ACTUAL width needed. It better not exceed the 9" dimension I cut the material to...
It's hard to see but the bearings clear the rail bolt access holes with plenty of room all around. (look about 1" above the right bearing)
Test layout of carriage and Z axis. The 16"x3" steel plates are leftover from the table's construction but will provide support to the carriage to prevent it from turning into a parallelogram. The additional height for the Z axis is to allow lifting the router's 6" bit out of the 6" hi working volume.
Front view of the Z axis and test fit carriage. BTW, the width of the sides turned out to be around 8 3/4" which is close enough to perfect for me.
Long view of the work in progress table.
A more eye level view of the table, garage, bike, and Jolie's (my lab) back end.
Used this to strike an arc based on belt length.
Striking arc based on belt length for X axis drive screw height.
Striking arc on left side.
X axis drive screw mount clamped into place to look at prospective heights and alignment with screw supports.
I'm really surprised at how symmetrical the arcs are for the left and right sides, they were 56" apart.
Prospective heights for holes, I decided to go with the 6" which is below the arc because it is closest to the bottom edge of the gantry and the motor still has clearance to be lowered to tighten the belts.
Measuring nut height. Note, the nut can be adjusted to fit the final height of the threaded rod and then tightened.
5/8" bore - drilled 1/4" through, then widened it with two stepped bits to make start hole for large bit.
Chuck came off the drill press - this happens when I get excessive chatter or in this case when there was too much torque on the bit.
1/2" threaded rod through 5/8" hole in mounting post and bushings.
Start with 1/4" through hole - that's the largest bit that will fit in the channel in the side.
Widen it with a long stepped bit.
Widen it to 5/8" with larger stepped bit
Start drilling with 5/8" bit - slow with lots of lube applied regularly.
4 supports with bushings in them
4 supports with bushings.
Milling slot for mounting bolt on bearing. The first one I did using X,Y resulting in large square hole.
For the other 7 holes I decided to use rotation indexing, making nice round holes for the socket.
Start by drilling 1/4" mounting hole first from the flat back
Center piece over center of table and mark size of socket.
X or Y index the table so the milling bit will hit the mark and then rotating the table gives a nice hole.
Bearing side of a finished piece
Back side of a finished piece - cutouts are for bolt access for roller bearings.
Pieces at various stages of completion.
Since it's actually a 1/4" endmill in a drill press, and not a mill, I had the best luck with the "index and plunge" technique. Drill presses use thrust bearings which don't like lateral forces.
Enlarging the hole from 1/4" to 3/8" to allow each bearing to pivot for alignment adjustment
Yes, I've taken another thrilling picture of a hole I just drilled.
Lots of tricky decision to make - for example, which way to insert the bolts to mount the bearings. The one on the right is correct, the one on the left would extend past the bottom of the carriage and potentially interfere with the 6" depth workspace.
Y axis bearings mounted - under each nut is a lock washer which allows the bolts to be loosened and tightened from the bolt heads on the outside.
Z axis bearings mounted to the uprights.
This one shows the lock washers - a single over the 1/4" hole and a 5/16" and 1/4" over the larger adjustment hole.
Top is loosely bolted, gusset plates in place with T-slot nuts and bolts pre installed. Those plates will prevent the carriage from skewing.
Carriage assembled and Z axis installed. There was an "OH CRAP!" moment the Z axis fit TIGHT in the lower bearings but had over 1/8" play between the uppers and no adjustment came close to fixing it. I desperately turned one of the bearings around and luckily it fits beautifully. Once I get the threaded rod tensioners installed it will be perfect.
Test fit of router on Z axis. Fully raised with pretend 6" bit.
Test fit with router - Fully lowered with pretend 3" bit.
Crappy picture that is beautiful to me showing the perfect alignment of the bushing hole in the top and the drive nut for the Z axis.
Z axis moving. Terry, my machinist friend who inspired me to undertake this project, comment recently he would like to "see it move". This probably isn't quite what he meant but it's a big step in the right direction.
Simulated Z axis movement with simulated motor sounds.
Z axis drive screw alignment video.
Gantry uprights - drilled Y bearing mounts, now drilling hole for drivescrew bearings. Bolts are just dropped in place to keep pieces aligned.
X, Y, Z axes assembled! I'm thrilled, all the bearings are smooth tight without play and the tensioning rods are not even installed yet. The tolerances are nice and tight between the pieces. I was worried about the Z axis rigidity but at this point it is showing no sign of flexing.
I deviated from the CAD file and mounted the Y bearings 1" back to keep the Y and Z bearings as close together to reduce leverage on bearings in general. This caused overlap between the carriage bearing holder and the rear cross member of the gantry. I moved the uprights 1 1/2" forward to fix.
Using Nema23 dimensions to lay out motor mounting plates. I tried doing it manually but making a template on the computer was easier and much more accurate.
Template taped to top 1/4" thick piece of aluminum - 2 pieces clamped firmly down. all holes punched, center hole punchhed under paper. About to drill pilot holes.
Pilot holes drilled.
Motor and plate mounting holes drilled - the pilot holes were a big win for precision.
Finished motor mounting plates for Y and Z axes.
Y axis view through threaded rod holes.
Cutting 5/16" threaded rod to length for motor mounts. Ends need to be files to allow nuts to thread on more easily after saw chews up threads.
Test assembly of Y drive components. threaded nut is clamped to carriage which led to repeated binding.
I like the nice fit of the drive components.
Another source of binding was a slight bend in the 1/2" threaded drive rod. It worked much better near the far end and whip was greatly reduced after manual straightening.
Cutting threaded rod for Z axis.
Z axis motor drive plate held in place with tapered bit ready to punch starts for mounting hardware.
Z axis test fit - mounting plate fit GREAT, the bearings are very slightly off center or not perfectly vertical causing the threaded rod to bind at the top. Corrected by filing the bushing hole at the top.
Test fit of Z with motor mounting plate.
Tool counter weight springs mounted on conduit with bearings in widened ends. Spring travel should be smooth. Very lightweight way to counter over 10 lbs.
Coincidentally, these springs almost exactly counter the tool weight AND are exactly the same width of the Z axis spindle plate.
I'm very happy with the tolerances on the last two motor mounting plates. I also test drilled and tapped a 5-40 screw into a scrap piece of aluminum to see if that's what I want to use to secure the springs to the spindle plate.
Once again, very pleased with the tolerances on the motor mounting plates.
Z axis motor mounting plate test fit.
The drive system arrived from Xylotex in 2 days! The holes in the packaging were caused by the motor shafts which gives me concern about their bearings.
Xylotex 4 axis driver board. It's smaller than I thought it would be and I like it.
Driver, 24v power supply, cooling fan, and directions.
Terry provided this spool of 22 AWG seven conductor wire for the motors.
Looking for connector options for the motors I fell back to PC power connectors. Way beyond voltage and power spec, sturdy, and FREEEEE!
I decided to take these specific ones off these little fans (which I don't trust any more anyway).
Vrefs are set, motor is connected, software is configured, and everything checks out 100% OK!
Screw mounts for power supply and driver board installed (4-40 1" countersink bolts and motherboard threaded spacers) and fan location marked for drilling.
It took a lot of patience but there is the perfect fan hole.
Finished fan installation. Added a screen to keep large debris out of case.
Test fit of everything in case. At this point I saved $105, the new case costs $36 and I'm still drilling and wiring. There's no power switch, motor cables, parallel port or vent in the case yet. I should really have just spent the money to get the assembled unit.
Sawsall is the best way to cut the steel threaded rod by far.
Cut down washer holding bolt with angle grinder and cut corners off aluminum block to allow tight fit into V channel that may help prevent whip on X axis.
Drilled holes for Y axis drive plate. I was THRILLED to find that the binding was caused by front to back offset instead of the angle of the nut. Shimming the bolt mount up with a couple of washers made the whole mechanism butter smooth.
Holes through drive plate seen from other side.
Y drive fully installed, shimmed and aligned. smoooooth.
So here's the theory: mount the nuts to the carriage, drill holes for bolts in table, jog the carriage all teh way to each end, hang the rod mounts from the rod, mark the holes, drill, assemble and everything will align perfectly... it didn't.
Shortening the rod mounting posts and making 2" spacers in the process.
Drilled table and spacer for rod mount.
Marking (center punching) the rod mount which is clamped in place.
Clamp holding the rod mounts. I kept 3 bolts in at all times to maintain alignment for each hole.
It's hard to see, but the edge of the lower X bearing just caught the lip of the top of the spacer for the rod mount. It was very easy to knock off wiht a hammer and rod.
The lip or edge that I knocked off with the hammer and rod.
A mounted rod mount post. Several things did the rod scheme in. Friction, bent rods, the holes drilled for the rods were not all centered, the holes got over filed to make the bushings fit loosely to compensate for bad internal alignment and later binding from sagging. Things got better when the rods were greased but that turned out to be a big reoccuring mess. I think I'm ready to consider belt drive for X.
I was leaning over the table arranging bolts and when I looked down my shirt was totally greased up.
I hope the shirt isn't ruined but I'm glad it didn't happen to nicer clothes. Those greased rods are a liability.
Pattern cutout for router mount to spindle plate (Z).
Router mount laid out, cut out, taped to the metal and used as a stencil to mark the metal for milling.
Simple pattern made to dimensions of router and metal blank.
It will be much easier to drill the mounting holes before milling.
Test fit - VERY NICE! Note the 1/8th inch spacers under the mounts though. I hadn't taken the thickness of the head into account when designing the mounts. This turned out to be great though because those plates are what hold the large steel hose clamps that hold the router to the spindle plate.
Shop was a mess after milling those two pieces.
When milling with the drill press I tend to bore a lot of holes to remove the material - it's better for the drill presses bearings. Later I make passes to smooth the finished surfaces and finish with the fille manually.
I used this piece of wood under the motor mounts, spacers, and steel spacers that needed to be drilled. We're both happy with the result as you will see...
I didn't want to weaken the steel straps by drilling large holes through them and the spacer happens to be twice as wide as the steel strap. I decided to sacrifice an old hose clamp to serve as a spacer under the half that the bolts pass through.
Assembly with router installed. It is extremely sturdy. I test fit it in the Z axis and it is smooth. Heavy, but smooth. Springs will counter the weight. The weight does not have a noticeable effect on the X or Y axis friction, just momentum.
Mounted router. Collet is flush with bottom of spindle plate. Router may be mounted at different heghts if desired by drilling more holes. Additionally, router can be removed and other tools may be used easily.
Test fit (old plan) of conduit in pipe with pulleys, threaded rod, and nut.
Drilling holes for spring attachment plate.
Taping holes for machine screws to hold springs.
Springs attached to plate.
Mounting holes for spring attach plate.
Counterweight springs for the router.
Router weight springs installed.
To attach a U bolt around a nut, Terry suggested binding them up against one another on the threaded rod, chucking them up in the drill press on the lowest speed, and using the angle grinder to grind the groove...
It took 5 minutes and the groove is perfect like a pulley.
I thought the pipe I had on hand was 2"+ ID, like the upper left, it was more like 1 3/4". Back to the drawing board.
Making a 1/2" 10 TPI tap from threaded rod. Tapering the tip here.
Ground two flutes with angle grinder, careful to keep leading edge sharp.
Test fit of threaded rod in new threads in a piece of scrap Delrin - tight and smooth. PERFECT!
The tearout looks rough (I hadn't done anything to clean it) but the threads themselves are nice.
The uncleaned front.
Piece of Delrin I plan to use as the nut in the pipe for the X axis marked for cutting on the band saw.
U bolt on nut after removing a little more material.
Blisters from trying to tap 1/2" threaded hole into Delrin by hand without mechanical advantage.
Manual tapping of Delrin using unpowered drill press
Adding holes for the cable to pass through the nut.
Various fasteners, a piece of cable clamped to the nut per the original plan, a crimp fastener in the background, and a collar in the foreground. The tap on the left, pulley test bolted to alumuinum upper left, graphite lubricant to the right. Petroleum based lubricant makes Delrin "sticky" to threaded rod.
Threaded rod and piece of cable through finished nut. One collar test fit on cable.
Machined a groove to recieve cable into bottom of leg for gantry (former threaded rod stand)
Cut grove in other leg with angle grinder - half the time, twice as easy.
Mounting the 4 axis Xylotex board into a drive bay in a PC.
Xylotex board center right, power supply screwed into the bottom of the case.
The cooing fan for the drive board is installed.
Soldering hard drive power molex connectors to cables for motors.
Molex connector attached to motor. (heat shrink tubing is on the wires closer to the motor but has not been shrunk onto connections)
Motors and PC internal cables finished.
Drilling holes in a PC slot plate for the cables.
Power and motor cables reinforced by heat shrink tubing for snug fit holes.
Using cable ties to hold cables in place and for strain relief.
Duh! Power cable must be removed because the plug will not fit through the slot int the case - easy fix.
Driver and power supply installed, cables installed and tested. Motor connectors attached as well.
Good look at the strain relief on the cables.
Wiring diagram relating windings to motor wire colors to Molex connector wires. I hope to use the additional wires for ground and limit switches.
This is funny... OK, so I got all this stuff installed in one of my old servers and then try to boot it. It's dog slow so I look and find Windows XP running on a 15Gb HD! 1G to spare! so I go to another server and grab an old 200GB drive, install it, install XP and it won't boot. The server was so old the motherboard was PCI-33, you need PCI-133 for drives over 120Gb. so I pull a PCI-133 controller card from another PC and install it - it works, but I can't boot from it. At this point I said F*CK it, grabbed an old 60GB drive and went to install it when I found I had to cut the case to reach one of the screw holes! After all that it works now, but I looked and found that I did all this work to install the stuff in a 933Mhz PIII when I had a 2.4Ghz Dell Inspiron on the shelf. Doh! @#%^#$
The pipe I'm using used to be the pole from my kids playset and has debris inside - so I taped the vac to one end and...
Rammed my unused threaded rod the lenght of the pipe while rolling it for a while. It worked surprisingly well and the interior is very clean.
I had to unpack one of the long threaded rods and remove most of the grease. I really lubed these up in the first try and I'm not sure if the grease will react with the Derlin (or if the nut is actually made of Derlin for that matter). First I ran the previous steel nut (on the rod at the left near the orange spider coupler) up and back the length of the rod to clear the threads of the grease. I used rags to clean the grease away...
... then I used the first test piece of Delrin I tapped. This is the resulting grease from about 1.5 feet of rod. The hole was tapped with a home made tap made from a piece of this rod, so the threads are quite tight. Notice how clean the threads are on the left as compared to those on the right.
Zooming the tapped plastic up and down the threads to clear the grease.
Finally, I clamped a rag tightly to the rod and zoomed it down and back. The result is a thinly lubricated protected steel rod.
Added mounting plate and cross support for motor end of the table. The threaded rod will pass through the bronze bushing through the pipe which will be mounted from the horizontal cross member.
By the way. I got a drill bit sharpener from Harbor Freight (against Terry's advice) and it works fine. It sharpens the bits to a shallower angle than when they are new and you have to be careful to grind them symmetrically but it worked well. The bit I used in the hand drill for all eight 1/4 " holes was previously too dull to use.
Here is the similar mound for the foot of the table. It's the same except there is no provision to mount a motor.
Two brackets as seen from beneath the table.
Looking at the other bracket through the near bracket. I thought this depth of field shot would be more interesting. It isn't.
Shopping list and notes on gantry travel. I still need to figure out exactly how long to cut the pipe as I only have the one pipe on hand. Too long and I won't be able to make adjustments, too short and the nut will come out of an end and spin freely.
Cutting access hole for Delrin nut in end of pipe.
Marking screw locations for keyway.
Drilled hole for keyway. The stepped drillbit has a smaller kerf which starts more accurately than my standard 1/4" bit.
It's hard to hold a pipe upright for drilling. I found that using a clamp like this at either end worked well.
Several pictures looking down the pipe coming...
Installing the U bolts to hold the pipe. The U bolt pictured is too short.
I have 2 mirrors propped here so I can see when the Delrin nut reaches the other end from the drive end.
Mirror far away...
See the mirror in the mirror - blue outline.
See the threaded rod in the access area of the pipe. This is how I see it from the other end of the table.
Pipe needs to be mounted securely, requiring spacers. Here, I'm breaking a piece of masonite to size along the centerline.
This may seem obvious to some - or not. To quickly find the center, just draw lines from corner to corner they cross in the center. I used a small square to mark the center line for breakage.
Cutting 2 more pieces of wood for the spacer to 3" wide to match the mounting brace.
The nut made it to the other side. Can you see it?
Can you see it now?
How about now?
Okay, this is 15x zoom. it is the buttery block of plastic on the threaded rod in the top right of the mirror in the blue frame.
Measuring for hole distances for pulley mounts.
This is a nice little tool for adjusting the depth of a router bit. I used it to get all the U bolts adjusted to the same relative height.
Pulley mount holes marked for drilling.
I broke this 1/4" bit. I leaned into the drill a little too hard, was drilling at too low a rate and wasn't paying attention. When drilling through extruded aluminum, it really bites as you pass into the first inner cavity, that's where the bit broke.
Measuring height of gantry drive mount
Measuring horizontal offset of gantry drive mount cable slot for pulley placement.
Measured and made a block representing the ideal cable height and distance from the inside of the table.
Clamped the block into the corner, marked ideal pulley location on beam.
With pulley clamped in place holding the rod up, I measured where the two rods were the same height. That is where I can drill a hole for the mounting bolt aligned to both the end and pulley beam's side slots.
Cut old 3x3 spacer into four 1x1 spacers for pulley mounts
Cut remaining three 29" pulley bars after I was satisfied with the first one.
After getting all the bars cut, drilled, and assembled, I found that the measurement to the second mounting bit was off by 1/16th of an inch or so. I decided to use the milling bit in the drill press to nibble out .2" on each hole. Here only the bottom one is done.
Another final look at the alignment block used to measure the ideal pulley location. The pin sticking out is the exact location the gantry mounts expects the cable.
Two bars installed.
A good look at how tight it is down where the threaded rod, pulleys, and cables will all meet.
Another look from beneath.
Looking up from the center towards a side.
Stripping the insulation off 30 feet of security cable.
Attaching the permanent loop to one end of the cable. The connector requires a sledge hammer on a steel surface.
Measuring one full loop of cable which at this point has been threaded over the 4 pulleys and through the pipe and nut.
An adjustable cable clamp makes the other loop, and a turnbuckle draws the cable tight. Unfortunately, there is something very wrong. I have far too much friction. The pulleys are probably too small for this heavy inflexible steel cable. I also don't know if the pulleys are for light duty or something, they may be binding. The gantry and the nut aren't even clamped on, they are floating.
Permanent loop, turnbuckle, adjustable loop, and first pulley.
Tried running the other side of the table with Nylon twine. It ran smooth until I cranked the tension up to where it felt like the steel cable, then the friction went up with the tension telling me that the pulleys are at least partly to blame.
Using a luggage scale to measure the force needed to pull the cable without the nut or gantry attached. Here the nylon cable is not tensioned so it takes about a pound of force to move it.
It takes over 3 lbs to move the steel cable.
Replaced two of the outer corners on the cable side with 2" pulleys. I only have 3 of these or I would have replaced all four outer pulleys. No matter, it made no measurable difference.
2" pulley seen from below
Here, with more tension, it takes 6 1/2 lbs to pull the unloaded cable.
I decided to measure the tension in the cable out of consideration for the force on the pulleys. I put just enough tension in the cable to remove the slack at the ends which ended up being 15 lbs.
Using the aluminum crimp to put a loop at the end of one of the cables.
Thread the cable through the eyelet.
and hit it with a sledge hammer on a steel surface.
Here is a good view from beneath of the cables, pulleys, threaded rod, nut, and the collars on the cables all visible an adjustable via the cutout access area in the pipe. The cables are not tensioned. Note the bicycle mirror clamped at the top of the picture - that is so I can see when the nut comes out from the drive end of the threaded rod 10 feet away.
Tensioned and taped up. The stray steel wires tend to cut up your hands pretty readily.
Broke another drill bit. Now I'm wondering if the cheap multipack of 1/4" drill bits I got at Harbor Freight are of low quality. Both broken bits are from that pack.
I'm not 100% happy with the cable solution. I bought 3" pulleys, but before undertaking replacing all the pulleys, I began to think about solving the problems I had with driven threaded rods in the X axis; namely friction, grease, and bad mounting position. I started thinking about bearing mounts for the rods where the sprockets are.
Some vital measurements I don't want to lose.
My first thought was to use the skate bearings, but the sprocket (right) would actually hit the mounting rods at that radius. My next thought was the 95 cent bearings I got at American Science & Surpluss - seen in the periphery of this photo.
I drilled several test fittings in scrap wood. I'm glad I did because the first two wouldn't have worked.
Test fitting of the bearing mount. It works better than expected.
The hole in the top of the carriage was slightly misaligned with the drive nut. I had to take the top off and mill out the hole. The Z axis drive is finished with the exception of bolting the motor in place.
White cutting boards are cheap and available sources of HDPE (High Density Poly Ethylene) which is a wonderful material to work with. It machines easily, it's durable, and it's very slick - self lubricating. It's an ideal material for my X axis drive nuts if I don't want greased threaded rods. I'm cutting a small board into 4 halfs, each 3"x2.5"
Jigsaw cuts HDPE easily, you just have to make sure you don't overheat the blade because once the material starts melting, the cut will "heal" itself behind the blade, welding the freshly cut pieces back together.
I decided to clamp and drill all 4 pieces at once to make sure all the mounting/clamping holes were aligned and consistent.
Here two halves are bolted together and clamped to a block to ensure the hole that will eventually be threaded is perfectly square.
Drilling out the hole for the threads right on the seam between the two halves
Piece clamped in the vice ready for threading.
Because I made the tap myself from the 1/2" ACME threaded rod, it is not oversized like a standard tap. This requires that the hole be tapped several times with pressure at various angles to make threads that are free and smooth with no backlash. This process of drilling and re-drilling creates a lot of heat. The plastic and bit were frequently dipped in water to cool the material which made the machining of the second piece go much faster and smoother.
Here is one of the new X nuts on the threaded rod in the test fixture. it has VERY low friction. By the way, when the first block was binding I tried lubricating it with WD-40. Using petrolium based lubricants with plastics is generally a bad idea - depending on the plastic, it can degrade the matereial, soften it, or cause it to swell and bind.
Because of the angle the belts will need to travel to the motor, the actual drill patter for the bearing mounting plates needs to be rotated 9.8 degrees. The complicated drill pattern is to the left, and the aluminum is marked for cutting.
I'm bummed that he camera chose to focus on the failed wood blocks in the background and not the assembled test unit, as I immediately disassembled it after this picture was taken.
Drill pattern for 1/4" mounting holes, 5/16" bearing holes, and 5/8" threaded rod center hole. I like taping drill patterns to the metal before punching and drilling.
Here come a lot of drilling pictures.
1/8th inch pilot holes.
1/4" & 5/16" holes drilled and widening center hole from 5/16" to 1/2"
Drilling center hole from 1/2" to 5/8"
Cutting the six 5" sections of 5/16" threaded rod for the bearing mounts.
When cutting the 1"x1" aluminum into 3" sections, the re wasn't enough fence to hole the piece onto. The saw bit the piece and ripped it out of my hand. Honestly, it happened so fast and so violently I wasn't sure if I had lost my thumb for a second. The small cut seen here is about 1/8" deep. After this happened I started and will always use a clamp to secure metal for sawing.
Left and right side units assembled. Nice free moving, tight fit, as close to perfect as I have come in metal working for this project.
Test fit unit in place. Note, I angled the triangle bearing mounts originally so the back of the belt would not rub on either the top or bottom bolt on its way to and from the motor. I realized when assembling these units that by placing a bolt exactly in line with the sprocket the belt would have plenty of room to go around the bolt which leaves more room for adjustment. Also note the white HDPE bushing used as spacers on the outsides of the unit. The black collars would bind against the nuts without them and they are convenient low friction surplus with this project. All of the longitudinal slop can be adjusted at this one end of the threaded rod, the other end will only be supported by a bronze bushing.
Disassembling the cable system. This is the end with the motor mount.
Access end of the cable system with threaded rod removed (foreground)
Test fitting pulleys at head of table. Note Bearing bold head interferes with the top of the post - it will be cut down 3/16ths"
Measuring for drill holes to mount bearings.
Had to remove the foot of the table to drill big 5/8" holes for threaded rod to pass through. This was unnerving as it was one of the first pieces to be assembled.
I just clamped the five foot section onto the table and drilled the hole. I couldn't think of a counter weight or support that I could use throughout the drilling operation.
As seen before, I started with 1/4" bit because it fits in the groove, then used the steep stepped bit to widen the holes into the sides of the T-slot, then a fatter bit to widen it enough to make a starter hole for the 5/8th's bit.
Holes drilled and foot bolted back to table.
De-greasing threaded rod with plastic nut made from my home made tap and paper towel clamped to rod. The nut is perfect because it is a very tight fit to the rod.
Using the drill to run the nut and clamped paper towel up and down the rod.
The belt in the foreground needs to go around the near bearing shaft in the bearing mount, the pulley can be inserted later. The wine in the background is to lubricate the machinist.
Test fit of bearings, rods, pulleys, belts and motor mount. The belts aren't long enough so later I made a motor mount extension to lower it further.
De-greasing threaded rod.
X axis gantry HDPE nuts made from cutting board material. I'm quite pleased with them. Zero backlash, self lubricating, tight but smooth fit, and very cheap.
X axis nut assembled. I'm considering ways of better supporting the threaded rods. There is 1/4" clearance between the rod and the cross beams. The rod was supported very well in the pipe, I'm wondering if I can shape or remove material from the bottom of the nut to have it slide in a square, vee, or semicircular support for the rod.
Ground side flat for set screws of belt gears.
Left bearing box for long screws
Right bearing box for long screws
X axis main motor drive shaft. Bushings, belts, and pulleys installed. Spider on near shaft removed.
Milling the bottom of the X axis nuts smooth and close to clear the cross beam gussets.
Closer look at milling the bottom of the X axis nuts. HDPE is a dream to work with, nice smooth finish too.
Shot of one end of the smooth bottom of the nut.
Shot from the other end. I'm very happy with the alignment, the consistency of the distance from the threaded rod across the 3" length.
I have no shortage of PC power cables (they seem to multiply in the storage box)
Outlet and switch.
Zip tie is strain relief for power cord.
Popping the slugs out of the bottoms of the other boxes. Note the nearest box has one switched outlet for the motors, and one unswitched for the PC.
Wired and taped outlet #2.
Number 3, (can you guess what's coming next?)
Testing outlets, #3 has a flaky switch.
By grinding a little off the weldnuts, they can be inserted into the T-Slot in the middle so I don't have to disassemble the table to slide them in the ends.
Tested and mounted to the table with the PC below. Earth grounds for all outlets are connected to the frame of the table. Four outlets and cords are used to allow different circuits to be used to prevent popping breakers.
Fancy network cable runs duct taped to the garage floor.
Using PC hard disk molex connectors for the stepper motor cables.
3 cables, 2 ends, 4 conductors, 2 sides to each connection = 48 tedious solder joints... but wait, there's more!
This cable has two male ends, another has 2 female, they should all have one of each - DO OVER! Doh!
Y axis limit switch. Adjustable location in the T slot.
Z limit switch depressing arm
Z limit switches installed inside right edge of carriage, once again adjustable in T-Slot.
Y Axis limit switches, and new CB antenna cable guide (Thanks Dad!). The spring base had 1/4"-20 threads like everything else on the table. The spring base and steel whip give the perfect amount of spring to gently keep the cables (and soon vacuum and compressed air lines) off the work area.
X axis limit switches installed on only one side.
Needed a nozzle for the air hose and I had these medical IV adapters in the cabinet. I needed to turn the collar down to the inner diameter of the black piece pictured left. I chucked the adapter into the drill press and, holding the milling bit in my hand, turned the collar down to the appropriate diameter - Perfect!
Could not find the $20 flexible air hose at Rockler that they had 8 months ago, but these 12" flexible drill extensions were on sale for $1.99! Once I cut the steel cable behind the crimped hex head, the innards fell out leaving a perfect flexible air hose!
Just a picture of my notes before I erase the board
New anti whip plan (mock up)
Marked sections and cut them off the pipe... without thinking about how the heck I would shape the sections with the jigsaw after - this was not the way the prototype was made.
The first 6, or enough for one side of the table
All cut, now each needs to be marked and drilled.
Good view of the entire table
A better look at the PVC whip guards, all cleaned up with prototype above. Now all the weld nuts to the left need to be ground down to fit into the 8020 T-slots without disassembling the machine
Tools Terry lent me to be returned to SeKure
Grinding the weld nuts down
Grinding is manly fun
After grinding, a bolt needs to be run through each nut to re-adjust the threads so I ground the head of a 4" bolt down to a hex to be chucked into the drill.
It worked for a while, but a couple of stubborn nut demolished the threads. I'm just retapping the rest of them.
Whip guards installed but not adjusted.
CB antenna cable guide - works great but needs more zip ties in this photo.
Bottom of Z axis limit switch. Router speed adjustment switch visible in lower left corner of screen.
Y axis limit switch detail. Hot glue used to just hole wire in slot. Hot glue does not stick to extruded aluminum but fills the void to form.
Used hot air gun to heat plastic to fit over nozzle. Irremovable when cold, excellent fit.
Working on limit switch - limits and E-Stop triggered from wires being bundled with motor cables. There's lots of electrical noise from PWM motor driver.
Used hand punch to make mounting holes for relay circuit.
Relay circuit as will mount to Xylotex mount in PC. This board is not populated or complete and is just visible here for fit. Powering a relay with current through the switches makes the circuit low impedance and adds mechanical dampening and isolation solving noise problem. Circuit also includes noise bypass capacitors and better ground connection.
Failed vacuum hose. He looks sad, sespite his stylish American Crew jar threaded fitting.
Drilled hole in lid of jar to fit smaller vacuum hose tightly.
Completed first attempt.
What happened is that the hose is unsupported, not rigid, intended for low pressure like from a dryer, not vacuum. The hose contracted quickly and tightly. It broke zip ties, bent bolts, and would force the hose to snag on the machine. It did not cause the machine to stall but I'm sure it exerted quite a force. It was surprising until I calculated the surface area of the hose (4" cross section) and the lbs per square inch vacuum. I was so impressed I may use it as an actuator in a future project but must scuttle it here.
Composite shims! - to level the table for wood cutting later. Shimming the vacuum table to the CNC frame should get close enough to level to work with sheet material, like wood, foam, or plexiglass. I will probably level a smaller area with the tool for finer work like engraving or mold making. I'm not sure if I will be able to do very fine work like circuit boards yet.
I meant to engrave this either just through the enamel or first layer of copper but I set the bit depth too deep and I didn't have the board clamped down tightly so it kind of bounced and flopped during the 16 minute machining operation. This led to the engraving being half as deep as the board. Despite that, I'm still floored at the tolerance of the cut. I haven't even tightened the machine or adjusted the software for backlash.
Adding thrust bearings to the Y axis.
Thrust bearings for the opposite end of Y axis between bushing and clamp.
Thrust bearings added to Z axis.
Preparing for disassembly of X axis. - reference photos
Preparing for disassembly of X axis. - reference photos. Note the grease buildup in the X axis nuts - I cleaned with Dawn diswashing liquid and warm water - the bearings are made from HDPE cutting boards.
X axis drive components removed from the machine and one plate removed from motor assembly.
X motor on bench being disassembled to be drilled out for ball bearings.
Drilling out plates for ball bearings. Anchor lube is awesome by the way.
Bearings installed on 1/4" drive shaft.
X axis was too tight to receive bearings and bushing so I cut down these bushings with a hack saw.
Finished X axis bearing assembly. You can see one thin roller thrust bearing on the right between the chassis and the cut down bushing.
Home made dampeners. I had HDPE or Delron rods that I cut to length, drilled out and slotted. I use a hose clamp to hold the slotted end on the motor shaft. I wrapped the rod in duct tape to thicken it for the large washers. The washers go on the rod and they are all kept on with the 1/2" slotted ring.
Partially assembled damper.
Z damper installed. The damper and bearings nearly trippled the Z axis speed. I later added a spring to the damper to hold the washers level. Later I may replace the plastic rods with aluminum ones as they flex allowing the weight to wobble slightly off center.
Reworking the vacuum hose installation - it sticks too far out to the left in this configuration.
Vacuum tube mount moved 1" to the right to the center groove of the spindle plate.
Looking at back of spindle plate. I need to lower the tool by about 1.5" to reach the vacuum table with shorter bits. I overestimated the length of the bits when installed in the Collet. I could raise the table but this was easier.
Noting the hose clamp locations.
Added lower set of holes for tool mount.
Ground edge away from brackets for tool vacuum line mount on gantry.
Never mind the duct tape - I cut the end off this unneeded vacuum attachment, then heated the plastic with a heat gun and formed the end into a circle using a pipe as a mandrel. The circle was the perfect size to accept the end of the hose. Rubber bands were used around the end of the hose to create a better seal, and the duct tape finishes off the air tight joint.
Drilling hose clamp slots in the vacuum hose mounts.
I didn't have the correct sized bolts so I had to cut a couple 1.5" bolts down to 1.25"
Vacuum line installed. I decided to use the steel cable left over from a failed X axis design as my grounding strap. I'm still not sure how I'm going to connect he ground at each end but I'm sure the cable won't break.
I also got the vacuum table hooked up. The plastic sheet (cut open garbage bags) seal the areas of the table not being used nicely. Terry also suggested newspaper. I'm testing with a 48" x 4" piece of plexiglass. It is held fast in the long direction but can move easily in the other, which leads me to believe that the vacuum will only be useful for sheet material of sufficient area.
The vacuum table draws in quite a lot of debris, this is from cutting the 3.5' flower table from MDF.
3D Coordinates for all the endpoints of the vacuum table supports.
Measuring the position of the endpoint of a support.
The setup used to record the endpoints of the vacuum table supports
Starting the first cut, looking good. Note the very slight scalloping on the side of the support and the size of the woodchips, the RPM was a bit low on the router at the start.
Returning to start position, the support is level on the right.
About 1/3 way through leveling the table I noticed that some of the supports at the other end weren't even touched, so I restarted it about .07" lower.
The first mishap - about 3/4 through all the supports. I got bored and I was trying to fiddle with the tool view in Mach III. I ended up misalligning the machine causing it to run into the frame. Also note another minor issue - the board to the right still has a sliver of wood attached. Not all the boards are straight, the slight bowing combined with using a 1/2" bit allowed some of these ridges which came off easily with a coarse sanding block.
The X axis stalled because I had increased the feed rate. I was able to re zero the machine and resume the program again. Note the 4 burn marks in the far side where I stopped the router to adjust the depth - I got it perfect. By the way, I learned that I should set the feedrate high in the CAD software and control the motor limits with motor tuning. 30IPM is painfully slow for large projects.
The setup leveling the table.
My good friend Three Floyds Moloko Milk Stout.
Cutting the inlay for the pegboard in the frame. Even the blocks that butt join the pieces miscut for the far side came out perfect.
Lesson: A wet dry vacuum is *NOT* an adequate dust collection system. This filter must have been overwhelmed about 1/3 way through the project and by the time I was done it was so packed with fine powder it looked like a clay pot.
Finished leveled table with inlay.
I was considering burning the sawdust as a fire starter, then I remembered how explosive it could be... so I only burned a little ;-)
Pegboard inlay is nice, and is a good straight guide to aligning material on the table.
Starting the big penny.
Cutting circles: mistake #1 the image didn't fill the bitmap and I chickened out and made the pattern 46" rather than 48" diameter so the actual circles were much smaller than I hoped for.
The feed rate was high so it would go 30IPM for X and 70 IPM for Y. When the feedrate was slow, the bit must be just a hair under 1/4" and it left these really fine detailed walls of foam between each pass.
The walls of foam did not hold up to the faster router movement.
Realizing that the cut depth was not enough and there wasn't enough angular or radial resolution, I ended the process after 2 hours of cutting. For the record, it was 1/4" radial passes (the width of the bit) and 1 degree steps around the circle. The 1 degree steps was really stupid because more steps wouldn't have made the machine any slower, just given it more detail. I guess the dumbest part was not realizing that rasterizing in Y is over twice as fast and X would only have to make one sweep over the image.
I really really need to build a filtered enclosure for the PC, lots of debris is getting inside, and on the motherboard, cards, and drive electronics.
An arty picture of one of my little drill bit sets. It's also handy to see the sizes available when I'm not in the shop.
Zeroing aid I whipped up this afternoon from spare parts in the garage. The cross beam is clamped to but insulated from the frame. The beam and the frame complete the circuit but when the bit just touches the indicated point the light goes out. I measured and verified that it is exactly 1.315". This is the best way to zero the machine.
Those screws can't be overtightened or the Z axis will bind, but they work themselves loose so I'll drill holes in the socket caps and will pin them to one another with this paperclip.
One partly drilled, the other just clamped. The harbor freight bit dulled after going through just one side of one screw and I ended up breaking it trying to force it through the other side. I used a bit that Ed, my father in law, gave me that I should have used in the first place because it's made for drilling steel. I think these bolts were hardened though and I should have used a bit with a coating or some other special sauce.
Creating "Tinker-Toy" mounts for Dad's Mel-tenna.
Freshly machined parts. Note that the right part actually cut the piece of material in two, which was fortunately tightly clamped at both ends.
Rather nice SOLID Corp logo in MDF I think.
Creating cyclone can chip catcher from 5 gallon bucket.
Inlet and outlet holes drilled and divider installed.
Look at the bottom. Its a decent chip catcher, but I really missed the target on the cyclone thing.
I noticed that my cross beams are wearing...
... so I installed these flexible cutting board sections to protect both the rod and the table.
Flexible cutting board, scissors, and zip ties.
This outled just broke. I think the center screw was too long and pushed the case apart. Also, a plug may have gotten knocked and cracked the outlet. I replaced it with a beefier 20A outlet.
Time to replace the vacuum table surface.
You served me well old friend!
I love it, it's a work of art!
(and part of it is now the surface of my new smaller vacuum forming table)
Aaaaaaah tabula rasa
The best $17 you can spend.
New dist collector design that attaches to the bottom of the gantry rather than the spindle. The router and spindle plate move up and down through brushes on its surface. The 4" vacuum intake is at the far end and a little window is in the top right.
I got a little nutty and bought a lot of PVC.