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Aluminium Extrusion Bench for Workbee?

Discussion in 'CNC Projects' started by IanC, Jun 21, 2018.

  1. IanC

    IanC New
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    I've been considering adding additional extrusions (i.e. legs + bracing) to the workbee CNC machine so that I make it freestanding. Has anyone here tried this, or has any thoughts on how well 4040 aluminium would do for the table frame?

    I could just build one from wood, but I like the idea of having a modular table frame for it :).
     
  2. Jonathon Duerig

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    I use an aluminum-extrusion table/shelf/bench for my CNC. Some notes for you to think about:

    (1) My legs are 20 x 40. The shelves and cross braces are 20 x 20. And the top which supports the CNC router and wasteboard is 40x40 and 20x40.
    (2) You want cross braces for each side where possible. For me, I have cross braces on three sides and the fourth side is open to let me get stock in and out (I store the stock for the CNC router under the router. The size works out perfectly). Your cross braces need to be longer than either side to work diagonally (geometry). And if you have something big you might want to think like a truss and have multiple cross braces turning everything into a triangle.
    (3) Connect cross braces using either the 3-hole strip plates or the T-plates or L-plates. One (or three) screw holes will keep the plate attached to the frame. Then leave a gap and have just one hole attached to the cross brace. Since the cross brace is attached at just one spot on each end, it can be attached at any angle, not just 45 degrees. This is very important.
    (4) Add lots of shelves underneath. I have 4 shelves right now and wish I had more. Stock is usually not very thick. And if you have one shelf for each kind of thing you want, it will be much easier to sort and grab them. So more shelves with each one not being very tall is ideal. I use aluminum beams to span the two sides, then MDF laying on top to provide full support for the stock. I don't actually try to screw the MDF in place.
    (5) Levelling feet will make you very happy. I found some levelling feet that worked really well with V-slot from Misumi. Though they were pretty pricey. The ones I got had a thick steel plate that you could attach V-slot along the sides of. And in the center of the plate was the (tapped?) hole for the foot itself. One for each corner was perfect.
    (6) Overall, vibration won't be much of a problem once you are storing your stock in the shelves (their weight helps a lot). But if you have loose T-nuts, they will still rattle. So if you have put in extra nuts to make it easier to attach things later then use set screws to keep them snugged down.
    (7) Keep clamping in mind when you are attaching your control box. I have my control box in a nice spot generally, but it is directly under the bed in a way that prevents me clamping on that corner like I want. So I clamp everywhere else and tape that corner down. Don't be like me. Plan for clamping up front.

    -D
     
    IanC likes this.
  3. IanC

    IanC New
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    Thank you for all those tips - that's really useful :). I'll price things up and see how much it comes out at. If 20x40 is good enough, that's a big help as it will be a large cost saving. My workbee is 1000x1000mm, so it'll need to be quite sturdy.

    I've just had a look at your build photos (https://openbuilds.com/builds/contrariwise-a-c-beam-router.3518/), so I can get an idea of how it may look :).
     

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