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Bootstrapping the OX plates

Discussion in 'CNC Mills/Routers' started by Rural, Dec 2, 2014.

  1. Rural

    Rural Journeyman
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    So I've got an OX build going. My approach was to get the electronics sorted out first and then move on to the physical bits (frame, wheels, timing belt, etc.). This was mostly because, with my journey into 3D printing, I found that the software can make or break things and it is easy and cheap to explore the software without filling up a basement.

    Anyways, I've hit the point where I have to spend a bunch of money on aluminum rail, wheels, etc. I don't see any way of avoiding the expense and feel it is well worth it. However, the plates bother me. I see that there is at least one fine fellow selling the plates, and may end up biting the bullet and going that route, but buying plates for a machine that can cut its own plates is eating at me.

    So one fellow printed his plates. That's cool, but most printers don't have such a large build area. (My printer has a generous 200mm cubed build area, but that's not enough for the plates.

    But what about taking a tip from the RepRap community and doing the RepStrap approach? Could one not just print scale paper templates and cut the plates out of, say, baltic birch? Then, if the extra stiffness and strength was deemed necessary, carefully cut new plates out of aluminum.

    Any opinions? The plates look complicated enough, with slots and interesting cut-outs, that it may not be possible. A scroll saw would probably be required rather than an ordinary jig saw.

    (Of course, I'm about to make a trip to a local guy that has a router and a laser that will definitely cut the plates out of wood, and maybe even aluminum. Depending on his capabilities and pricing, I may just go with him. Looking at the price of 1/4" 6061 aluminum on McMaster-Carr, the prices quoted on the forum for cut plates seems very reasonable.)
     
  2. Joe Santarsiero

    Joe Santarsiero OB addict
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    Hey Rural,

    This isn't very orderly, but here's some thoughts of mine.

    I know what your going through. Paying for plates for a machine that can cut it's own!!

    From all of the reading I've been doing around here, I'm almost positive your going to have a ***** of a time cutting your own plates out of aluminum with plates made from wood. I don't think your idea of printing and cutting templates to transfer to wood is precise enough either.
    The reason being is that the hole locations have to be more precise than what you would get with traditional wood working tools and equipment. If you went this route your going to have location stackup and it'll show in your work.

    If... I were to attempt this out of wood then I would go the laser cut route. I would do a laminate of multiple thin sheets instead of a solid piece of wood. Then there are a whole bunch of other challenges that I'd rather not get into.
    Still, the cost of laser, having a shop make them out of alum. plate, or printing them compared to just picking up a set of Garolite plates from user SlyClockWerkz isn't worth it IMO.

    Inquire Sly. I've picked up a set off of him and they're well made, super rigid, and priced just right. Definitely worth it.

    Chris Laidlaw does excellent work with aluminum, but those are final installation beauties. The cost is higher, but you save time and receive a quality end product that looks pretty. Though, I can understand why you don't want to go this route.

    I don't care much about looks so I went with Sly's plates. They're just as good for a final installation.

    The other route I might take if I were in your situation is to use that printer. The only problem is you have to take into account the tolerances it is capable of and how those tolerance transfer over to the OX. Print space isn't an issue. You just have to get creative.

    What we need to do (and I plan on it once my OX is running and dialed in) is get some specification verified loaner plates out in the mail. Members can use them to cut their own plates, disassemble their OX, install and verify their newly cut plates, then get the loaners back in the mail to the next person that needs them.
     
  3. Tweakie

    Tweakie OpenBuilds Team
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    Excellent thinking Joe. :thumbsup:

    Tweakie.
     
  4. Rick 2.0

    Rick 2.0 OpenBuilds Team
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    If you do decide to cut your own plates, at a minimum, get a V-Slot Gantry Plate to use as a drilling guide/template. Through careful and methodical re-positioning you should be able to get relatively accurate hole placement. And use a drill press to make sure all holes are perfectly perpendicular or else your wheels will be slanting every angle. As far as wood goes, remember wood fibers crush fairly easily and this can throw your wheels out of alignment. The wood will also have to be considerably thicker to achieve anywhere near the same stiffness as a metal plate. This will require purchasing a small fortune in longer screws in order to assemble the wheels. You may be better off buying some scrap 1/4" aluminum off ebay to use for the temporary plates. Remember, the temp plates don't have to look like the final plates with all the fancy curves and openings, they just have to work and work along enough to get final plates cut.

    Personally, I'd be more inclined just to pick up a set of Sly's Garolite plates. If you like 'em, keep 'em and if not, use them to cut your own set of final plates out of aluminum and then resell the Garolite ones to the next guy wanting to cut his own plates. You will likely be out far less time and expense that way. (Of course if you are a true RepRap purist, I can understand why psychologically you can't go this way.)
     
  5. Rural

    Rural Journeyman
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    Rick, I may start pure, but pragmatism eventually kicks in.

    Joe, that was exactly the sort of comments I was looking for. Makes sense. A shopping I will go.
     
  6. Joe Santarsiero

    Joe Santarsiero OB addict
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    No prob Rural.

    Happy building and keep us up to date.
     

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