The build is now complete. It's up and running.
There are a few things I have to share, in case you decide to build one of these kits too...
- Buy yourself a couple #3 Phillips screwdriver bits. All the screws in the kit (except the tiny #8 ones) are designed for #3 Phillips bits. If you try to use #2 Phillips (which are the typical bits, used for drywall and deck screws), you'll just strip the heads. A $3 pair of bits will save you a lot of headache.
- Leave one of the x-axis rod couplers loose while you tighten the chains. This lets the gantry stay square while the chains move through the sprockets. After the x-axis chains are tight, tighten the loose coupler down.
- If you are using a torsion box, the kit-provided x-axis chain brackets need modification. They were designed to clamp down on a 3/4" thick table, and the lower portion of the bracket runs into the table. Cut the lower piece about 5-1/2" from the OUTSIDE edge, which should let it clear the torsion box. Then buy 12 lag screws that are 1/4" diameter, 2" long. The bracket was meant to bolt through the table in 3 places, but will only be able to in 1 place. So in the other two holes (inside holes) use an 11/64" bit to drill the pilot hole in the table, and lag screws to bolt it down. On the end of the table, use another lag screw in the inner hole, that would have gone into a crossdowel if the lower bracket hadn't been shortened.
- When connecting the drive chains to the eye bolts, if you don't want to use the hose clamps (I didn't), you can use #4 bolts and nuts instead. The #4 screws can fit through the holes in the chain, and hold it in place very well.
- Porter Cable 892 routers come with a rack (geared strip) on the side, used for a geared fine adjustment when in its base. There are also two small pins that protrude from the side of the router. When Patrick designed the router mount rings, he put a notch at the back, that was intended to clear one pin (while the other was cleared by the gap in the front used for tightening the mount). However, the notch in the back of the mount also fits the router's rack perfectly. You will need to cut two more tiny notches in the rings (with a Dremel) to clear the pins. I recommend that you do this, but suggest you do it BEFORE assembling it.
- The vacuum mount does a pretty good job of keeping the airborne dust to a minimum. It doesn't really keep the table surface cleaned up, but you can visibly see the airborne sawdust get sucked in. The rack (geared strip) on the side of the router hits the upper vacuum mount ring, and holds the router up with about 3/8" gap. I want to cut one more ring to slide over the router and cover this gap.
- When cabling the motors for this huge machine, I suggest that you used 25' of wire for each motor. The cable arch to the gantry (blue tube in picture below) will eat about 8', you'll use about 4' total at the ends where the cables wire to the motors or electronics, and then the table is 10.5' long and 3' off the ground. Mine were short, and I'm stuck having to put the electronics at the side in the middle of the table.
- If you don't like replacing pants often, buy some of the little plastic caps and put them on all the 1/4" bolts at the ends of the table (used for mounting the chains). Otherwise, you'll tear holes in your pants, and your legs, every time you brush against them.
- Wipe the chains down with mineral spirits, or something else to get a lot of the oil/grease off. You can get dry lubricants, or teflon wax spray lubricants to use instead. You'll brush up against the chains often, leaving grease stains on your pants.
- The sheet storage under the table is VERY handy.
And a video...