MakerSlide Update

Well, it’s December and MakerSlide isn’t here yet. The fabricator are telling me their saw had been broken for more than a week back in November, which wrecked their schedule. They can’t even tell me when they might start working on my order. Meanwhile, gleaming new MakerSlide sits on a rack in their warehouse, extruded and anodized but uncut — and our store is empty.

I’m doing two things to work around this: setting up an alternate supplier (long in the works, but these things take time); and re-cutting lengths with defects. I have many pieces of MakerSlide that I rejected because of a single dent or scratch. They can be cut into shorter lengths around the defect — they are otherwise perfectly good. I’m working on cutting MakerSlide for the existing eShapeoko orders, so there may not be a lot left for the store, though. I’ll keep you posted.

One can cut MakerSlide with a chop saw, but it’s hard to get a consistently straight, flat and square cut without spending a lot of money on the saw. I’d rather not do that, but I want an accurate cut with a good finish, so I’m doing it in two steps: I cut it slightly long with a half-decent chop saw, then I face it very precisely with a milling machine I built for this purpose. In true RepRap form, the MakerSlide facing machine is built with MakerSlide. I’ll post some pictures soon — right now I have rail to cut and kits to ship.

4 thoughts on “MakerSlide Update

  1. Hi Catalin, sorry to hear that your supplier is giving you greef. Have you considered cutting the aluminum with an electric mitersaw using a carbide tipped blade. Works really good gives a nice clean surface.

    Take care Oskar.

    • Thank you.

      I use a chop saw (it’s like a mitre saw, but can not be rotated to cut at angles other than 90 degrees; I have both, in fact). The cut is not uniform and not even in a plane (two opposite corners end up slightly shorter than the other two). Occasionally, I get it nearly right, but it’s not repeatable. The blade flexes, the bearings have axial play, and the whole saw isn’t very rigid. For wood, it’s excellent; for precision cuts in aluminium, not so much. It probably gets better if I spend £1,000 on the saw.

      With the custom guide I made for the chop saw, I can cut the rail 0.3-0.5 mm long, and then it takes only slightly longer to face the cut with an endmill. It’s a single pass, so it’s not terrible.

        • They are 3.15 m long. I’d need to move shelves and clear half of the garage to store them, and they’d be very awkward to handle. They would not be able to put the pallet in the garage, like they do with the 2 m lengths, so I’d have to unload it and move the rail by hand.

          I’m exploring other options first.

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