As I type this on September 12th, 2017, my Gatton CNC is basically finished. I can plug in the drive box and use it at any time. I’m struggling to refrain from doing so, however, because there are still a few things to be done. Chief among them is cable management.[expand title=”Read More”]
On my old Shoestring Budget CNC, my cable management system boiled down to an, “It looks good hanging right about there,” approach. On the Gatton CNC, however, that’s just not going to cut it. Or maybe it will. Let me explain.
The Shoestring Budget CNC was pretty small, as I explained in Episode 2 of my Gatton CNC build series. Also, the gantry moved along the X axis. All of the power outlets that I used for it were located at the rear end of the CNC, so that meant that all of the cables could be draped over the back of the gantry and left to hang there, without worry of them being damaged by anything. As the gantry moved toward the other end, the cables simply moved along with it. When the gantry moved back, there was enough weight in the cables that they slid back with the movement. Well, this is not the case with the Gatton CNC.
First, the Gatton CNC is much bigger than the Shoestring Budget CNC was. That meant that I had to get extension cables for the stepper motors. Second, the gantry is oriented so that it moves along the Y axis, rather than the X. That in itself is taking some getting used to, but it also means that the power outlets I’ve been using are located to the left of the gantry now. So I have much longer cables that have to be guided in a certain direction over a much larger area. So, yes, that means I need to dig deeper into cable management so I didn’t run over a cable with the gantry, or cut into it with a bit spinning at 16k RPM.
In my case, I lucked out. A gentleman by the name of Andrew Hague, of The Old English Workshop, has been building a Gatton CNC of his own. He’s heavily into 3D printing, and he’s been gracious enough to send me some prototype drag chain mounts he’s come up with for his Gatton CNC build. I hadn’t considered mounting drag chain before, but with these mounts in hand, I decided that I should give them a try.
Andrew was nice enough to also send me an alignment jig that he designed for aligning the X axis lead nut block to the stepper motor hole on the gantry upright, and another jig for aligning the Z box lead nut block to the stepper motor mount and support bearing. Both of those jigs worked brilliantly, and I’ve since passed those on to another Gatton CNC builder so that they can use them, then pass them on to another builder, who can use them, then pass them on to another builder, and so on. You’ll find complete info on the alignment jigs in the video description of Episodes 7 and 8 of my build series (the link to the playlist is below,) including links to the Thingiverse pages, where you can download the files to 3D print the jigs, or have them printed for you.
I’ve also added a couple of modifications to my Gatton CNC. One modification is the recessed under-gantry lighting that I featured in Episode 6 of my build series. So far it really works a treat, and it’s a modification I should have made to my Shoestring Budget CNC when I recut the gantry in 2016.
Second are a pair of plates I’ve created that will help me when it comes time to tram the router. There will be much, much more on those tramming plates in Episode 10 of the build series.
So where do I stand right now? As I said earlier, the major construction is finished. I’m waiting on the drag chain to arrive, then I can rout the cables, hook up the drive box, then fire this puppy up! There will still be more work to do after that… but that’s for another update, down the road.
For now, here’s a link to the YouTube play list that includes all of the episodes of my Gatton CNC build.
Have a question or comment? Leave it in the comments below. If you’d prefer, go over to the Contact Us page and submit it to me there.
Until the next update, take care and have fun!
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