Extruded Aluminum Deck

Extruded Aluminum Deck

Postby SteveNelson46 » Thu Jun 06, 2019 11:25 pm

I'm thinking about replacing the deck on my Camaster Stinger 1 with an extruded aluminum deck. I'm not even sure it's a good idea and I know it's expensive but it seems to be a logical choice. Does anyone have recommendations or a source where to buy it?
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Re: Extruded Aluminum Deck

Postby TReischl » Fri Jun 07, 2019 1:45 pm

WOW! That is a tough one, been googling for a bit now and finding zippity doo dah except this:

https://www.rovercnc.com/products/t-slot-table-top-aluminum-extrusion-160x20mm-1500mm-length#

But that stuff does not accept 1/4 inch hex head machine screws from the looks of it.

Curious, do folks then put a spoil board on top of it to protect it? Or are they just really, really careful?

I used regular t track screwed to the sub table and then put strips of plywood in between the t - tracks. Counter bored the screw holes in the plywood so they sit about a half inch below the top surface. The t track in between the plywood is about 1/4 inch below the top. So I can resurface a few times.

Well, no matter what t-track a person uses it sure is handy.
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Re: Extruded Aluminum Deck

Postby mtylerfl » Fri Jun 07, 2019 2:11 pm

Yes, a sacrificial spoilboard would be placed atop an aluminum bed. Not so much to “protect” the bed, rather to be able to skim the spoilboard surface to make certain it is “square” with the spindle.

Personally, I don’t see any practical reason for me to have an extruded aluminum sub-surface. Would force a further loss of Z-Height range for Machining, and unnecessary for material hold-down purposes. I mostly just use drywall screws in countersunk drill holes to hold down material onto a “standard” plain ‘ol spoilboard. Occasionally, I’ll make DIY “clamps” from wood or hardboard scraps to hold down material too.

No need for T-tracks, no worries about hitting tall clamps during Machining, etc.
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Re: Extruded Aluminum Deck

Postby highpockets » Fri Jun 07, 2019 2:50 pm

I know Shark CNC uses an extruded aluminum bed, you might contact them. Also a company called 8020inc carries a lot of extruded aluminum T-track, I've used their stuff on a number of projects with great success. This is from their catalog:
Image 436.png


They probably have a 1" version also.
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Re: Extruded Aluminum Deck

Postby highpockets » Fri Jun 07, 2019 2:53 pm

Yep, they do...
Image 438.png
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Re: Extruded Aluminum Deck

Postby TReischl » Fri Jun 07, 2019 2:59 pm

Hmmm, the problem with the 8020 stuff is that you either have to use their fasteners or carriage bolts. It is great stuff but I like the standard t-track that accepts 1/4-20 hex heads and "toilet" bolts.
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Re: Extruded Aluminum Deck

Postby TReischl » Fri Jun 07, 2019 5:03 pm

Michael, that was my thinking too, about having to put a spoil board on top anyhow and then surface it so what exactly does the aluminum deck do other than provide a means for securing a spoil board?

Plus, that much aluminum is never cheap.

Here was my solution:

IMG_20190607_100131.jpg


There is a torsion box under the subsurface that can be removed to gain more clearance under the gantry.

I really like things that I can change if I feel like. This is one of those things.

These days most things I do are on the smaller side so I use the vise which just slides into the t - track to secure it. I even made a stop that fits the t track so the back jaw on the vise is pretty much spot on without having to tram it.

I avoid clamping on the surface of material if it is at all possible. I have been mulling over a more flexible vise that would allow clamping large flat pieces and would be adjustable. One of these days. . . . .
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Re: Extruded Aluminum Deck

Postby FixitMike » Fri Jun 07, 2019 5:56 pm

My Shark came with a deck made of aluminum extrusions. I use these clamps for most of my projects. They also work well with a piece of 1/4" MDF under the material if a sacrificial spoilboard is needed for through cuts.
https://smile.amazon.com/Shop-Fox-D3347 ... 218&sr=8-5

Some modifications I made: Replace the socket head capscrew with a hex head bolt with an added spacer so the head is above the clamp. The original screw fills up with sawdust. The "nut" had to be replaced with one that fit in the extrusion slot.

Don't use hex nuts with the extrusions. They will fit, but there is just enough clearance so they can turn and jam in place if you try to make them really tight.

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Re: Extruded Aluminum Deck

Postby SteveNelson46 » Fri Jun 07, 2019 6:06 pm

My Camaster came with a sealed 1" MDF deck and I glued an additional 3/4" MDF to it. When it comes time to replace the spoilboard I'll just surface it down and glue on another. That is what is recommended by the Camaster people. I know the Shopbot Desktop Max comes with an extruded aluminum deck and I was just wondering if it has any real advantage. One thing that comes to mind is that part of the modular deck can be removed for vertical end joinery but I'm not sure if the design of the Camaster would allow it.

BTW, I'm with you Michael. Even though I have a t-track system in the original deck I still find it easier to just screw the material down to the replaceable spoilboard. Since I'm just using my machine for hobby work it works out for me. Still wondering about the aluminum deck though.
Last edited by SteveNelson46 on Fri Jun 07, 2019 6:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Extruded Aluminum Deck

Postby mtylerfl » Fri Jun 07, 2019 6:17 pm

Hi Steve,

I can’t think of a logical reason to deviate from your current bed and spoilboard setup. Are you in any way unhappy with your current setup? Do you feel a need for T-tracks for a particular application you can’t already achieve with what you have now?
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Re: Extruded Aluminum Deck

Postby SteveNelson46 » Fri Jun 07, 2019 6:24 pm

mtylerfl wrote:Hi Steve,

I can’t think of a logical reason to deviate from your current bed and spoilboard setup. Are you in any way unhappy with your current setup? Do you feel a need for T-tracks for a particular application you can’t already achieve with what you have now?


Nope! Not unhappy at all. Just trying to make a good thing better. The Stinger1 really doesn't do vertical joinery because there isn't any place to mount a vertical jig.

I was editing my previous message when you submitted yours.
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Re: Extruded Aluminum Deck

Postby armbrusterco » Fri Jun 07, 2019 6:28 pm

Dieboard Work Surface Deck.jpg
For my CNC deck I used two layers of "dieboards" -- very flat, maple or birch plywood, around 48"x72"x3/4" or 5/8" thick, normally used in the die cutting industry. Since I am near Chicago I was able to pick up "closeout" stock at a manufacturer of dieboards at a low cost.

I cut one of the dieboards into strips that went between INCRA T-tracks. The strips of dieboard were glued onto the full sheet dieboard and screwed from the underside. The T-tracks were screwed down to the full sheet.

I used the CNC to drill regularly spaced holes across the deck, then I installed flanged tapping inserts for softwood into the underside of the full sheet. The tapping inserts were the same size as the T-bolts that went into the T-track so I could use the same hardware for anchor-downs. The inserts let me use anchor-downs in-between the T-tracks.

The maple dieboard made for excellent "centering post holes" -- alignment holes that I cut into the deck and into the sheet goods. They let me easily tile long sheets and let me easily flip sheets and maintain alignment for two-sided machining. I sized the holes for short pieces of 3/4" PVC pipe.

Because my machine has a gantry and an adjustable height deck, I did not loose any Z-height. The adjustable brackets for the deck let me level the deck pretty quite well. I surfaced the finished deck assembly but there was hardly any variation because of the flat dieboard.

I set my Z-zero based on the top of the deck and never had to cut into the deck.
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Re: Extruded Aluminum Deck

Postby IslaWW » Sat Jun 08, 2019 2:18 pm

Steve...
I have a metric sized (23.625 x 35.625 x 11/16) aluminum table left over from a machine that got a larger one. It has a layer of 1/4 PVC foam glued to it as a spoil layer.

A similar table can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDTE_UfjorE

$100 + shipping. GCnC411@gmail.com for more info
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Re: Extruded Aluminum Deck

Postby SteveNelson46 » Sat Jun 08, 2019 4:43 pm

IslaWW wrote:Steve...
I have a metric sized (23.625 x 35.625 x 11/16) aluminum table left over from a machine that got a larger one. It has a layer of 1/4 PVC foam glued to it as a spoil layer.

A similar table can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDTE_UfjorE

$100 + shipping. GCnC411@gmail.com for more info


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Re: Extruded Aluminum Deck

Postby 4DThinker » Sat Jun 08, 2019 9:18 pm

I also prefer strips of track with MDF between them. One variance is that I rabbet the MDF to sit over the t-track edge. That makes sure clamps don't succeed in leveraging up the track. I hold the MDF down with nylon bolts into brass insert nuts. I've never broken a bit that accidentally runs through a nylon bolt head.
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