So I have a metal sled on order, but just the sled, not the z axis, so today I tried making a meticulous similar to one shown in a previous post my metalmaslow. The first z axis attempt with the hitachi plunge router base (hitachi router) started skipping teeth on the belt, so it seemed like a good time to make some changes. The 1/4" bit worked well, but the plunge base was binding a bit due to the lead screw placement and using a 1/8" bit was difficult because it was at the end of the plunge depth and wasn’t cutting deep enough. Here are some pictures of my afternoon’s effort: I don’t have it mounted to the old sled yet, but it is close. I figure I’ll make the next one identical but out of oak instead of plywood.
Added some vacuum flow lines to keep the sled from sticking to the work piece. The ring will be lifted once the axis is completed as well.
Mockup of the meticulous axis base on the sled for size. The main back pieces is 9" x 7" and 3/4" thick. The piece that will hold the router is as long as the router shaft that can be clamped. There is a counter sunk ridge in the center of the sled where a piece of plexiglass wedges in to keep the dust down. also. the big fat block on the back acts as a vacuum plug port for a 2.5" vacuum hose from the dust collector.
The router clamps were hand-cut with a jig saw. What a time to need a Maslow. Owning a Maslow must be like owning a Jaguar. You need one to use while the other is being fixed. In this case you need a second one to make parts for the first. The clamp widths are smaller closer to the bit because the chain bearings could hit the larger one. The center clamp isn’t needed and isn’t connected. It will be removed when the router comes out for a bit change. The “clamps” are about 3 mms thnner than a full circle to hold the router, so when they are screwed down into the axis pieces, they hold the router firmly in place. The small piece of 1/4" ply was added to the top, but may be unnecessary. Once it is functional, new clamps will be cut with it to replace these ones. By positioning the router as it is, the collet will hit the work piece with no bit in it at the lowest position. This will allow a 1/8" bit to cut through 3/4 ply if desired.
The whole thing is resting on the 2x4 on the left during alignment before more holes are put in the base.
The back supports are cut to length, but not angled yet. The z-axis motor will be mounted on the back of the large plywood piece with the 60 tooth gear so the pitch will still be 24. One thing not pictured is the 2-piece anti-backlash nut on the lead screw. There is no slop in the system currently, though that may change over time.
Mounted up and running.