Thursday, June 18, 2009


McWire Build: Cut your own x stage.

First I would like to say hello. My name is Charles Gantt (scphotog on the forums) I am in the process of building a McWire Cartesian bot. I am building it with the intent of printing Darwin or Mendel parts and then converting it into a small mill. In the 2 weeks I have been planning and building my McWire I have ran into only 1 major problem. The Stages would not print to the right size. I would like to make a note that only the X,Y,Z stages were not printing right. All the other files printed to the correct size.

I tried printing them from 3 different computers, 4 different programs including autocad 2006, and 5 different printers, one of which was a professional Roland plotter. The same problem every time. The drawing was scaled too small. So I came to the conclusion that I would be better off reverse engineering the stages and creating new technical drawings. The first one I have finished is the X stage. I would like to post a .jpg of that drawing so you at home can reference it if you decide to cut your own plexi for your McWire. I will also edit this post and post the source file in .dxf format for those of you who want to play with the design.

Please take note that this design will most likely not match up with the laser cut acrylic stages from rrrf. I did not design it to be compatible because I will not be using the laser cut parts. This might not be as pretty but it sure is cheaper. Each stage is costing me less than $4 in plexi as I am cutting them from scrap I get from a local scrap shop.

For those of you who would like to follow my build which has a complete uptodate list of parts you need to build a modern date McWire you can find it on my web site The Makers Workbench. Please feel free to sign up and post comments or ask questions.

Here is a .jpg of my revision. A much larger version can be found here.

I would like to thank Dr. Bowyer for letting me join in on this discussion.

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hey, there seems to be a misspelling in the link to your website.
Fixed. Thanks for the heads up Evan.
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This looks very neat! Take a look at my latest work:
I've had issues with cutting the acrylics as well - for one thing, the holes for the holder for the nut are for a different sized holder than I got. I'm not too worried, though, most of the pieces don't need to be extremely precisely placed, one of the nice things about this design.

I also got my acrylics as scrap pieces for cheap - unfortunately, I hadn't found the forum comment that specified the thickness, so I ended up glueing two 3mm sheets together. Ugly, but workable.

What do you use to cut your pieces? I've been using a hacksaw so far, but would like to upgrade to something exact.
I used my Dad's Jigsaw to cut the acrylic. I also had issues with the screws but just made things work.
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