Thursday, April 16, 2009


First example of a wrench-built machine

This machine still needs it's leadscrews, motor mounts, and build table, but all three axes are smooth as silk, and don't appear to have much play.

In what I hope is one design soon to be followed by many, the only tools needed to construct this are a cutting implement (we used an angle grinder, but a hacksaw would have worked just as well) and a wrench. I'm working to replace the drawer rails with a linear bearing design using skate bearings.

I've got a complete set of electronics and motors for this machine already, and hope to have it functional in time for Penguicon (May 1 - 3rd) to show it off along side this year's Hack of Honor: The CandyFab. Pictures to come as that happens.

You may be able to see in the pictures that we've already mounted some of my $1, no-tools pillow block bearings in preparation for mounting the lead screws. We're using 5/16th inch allthread rod for leadscrews. It's fairly rough stuff, so I'll be running over it at least once with a cheap ($5) die from the local hardware store. My limited testing, and advice from others suggests that should be enough to produce a very functional lead screw.

Feel free to ask questions, post comments, and make suggestions for improvements. There are already changes I would like to make to this machine, but I felt it was important to get pictures online fast.

One last factoid, it's build area is about 12 inches square, with about 3 or 4 inches of usable Z travel. By moving a couple of the beams around, it should be easy to increase the usable Z travel to > 6 inches. These limitations are most likely the result of poorly chosen lengths of beam used, as the drawer rails have 22 inches of travel. What can I say, it's a prototype.

Looks good! I looked at the square tube but was mostly impressed by it's price!

Over on there has been a lot of work using the drawer glides. Seems they have better success having the top glide on the back side of the gantry.

Looks like it will work. Better not go off on many tangents (I have) if you have a deadline to meet.
I figure I've got about $125 US into what's pictured.
More extensive/explanatory pictures of this would be hot.
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