Hard coated Makerslide perspective

General questions and comments.

Hard coated Makerslide perspective

Postby Digitalmagic » Sun Sep 02, 2012 2:02 pm

Makerslide can take advantage of hard coating, which build up a thin layer making its surface stronger.
Bart had a batch of Makerslide processed, present in plasma cutter slides.
Zach is currently investigating this process, and one of these days we could find them on Inventables, why not (Just wishing it well!)
Roughly, the cost is like adding 25% on top of Makerslide cost, and this allows to use metal V-wheel, among others advantages.

Any interests? Thoughts?
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Re: Hard coated Makerslide perspective

Postby bdring » Mon Sep 03, 2012 12:51 pm

I have run experiments with various combinations. With a high duty cycle and a dirty environment, steel wheels on bare aluminum start to wear the aluminum over time. The wear looks like a general rougher surface, that looked like streaks, to the aluminum with the occasional pitting.

I set up a test fixture to test steel wheels on hardcoat and it ran non stop for 2 days. It was a clean environment, but I saw no notable wear. The carriage was loaded to about 20 lbs with 4 wheels, with the load sideways, like the camera slider.

My plasma cutter is intended to use hardcoat. The current version is just a half scale version and I expect a few other changes, so I decided to prototype it without the hardcoat. I don't have a lot of hours on it yet, but there is really no wear to speak of yet. Once the design is stable, I do plan to get the rails hardcoat. It think the hardcoat might be more robust to the plasma effects.

I know a lot of people who have made DIY CNC routers with steel wheels on aluminum angles and they held up pretty well. I saw one that was over a year old. It had quite a bit of scratching and pitting, but owner said he could not really notice the effects in the work it was doing and did not plan to rebuild it at the time.

Cutting would be best on a cold saw...

A cold saw might work better because of the slower speed. My cold saw has a high speed steel blade, not carbide. The blade cost about $150, so I am not excited to do any testing on it.

I think the damage to the blade occurs when you bare down on a flat supported surface. The sides and back probably do a lot less damage. The orientation of the part while being cut could mitigate the damage to the blade.
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Re: Hard coated Makerslide perspective

Postby bobt » Tue Sep 04, 2012 1:40 am

Bart - A question on the hard coating. Does your vendor charge by the piece or by the foot? Also how about turning the issue on it's head and cut the parts first then hard coat them after the fact and remove the cutting problem at all.

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Re: Hard coated Makerslide perspective

Postby Enraged » Tue Sep 04, 2012 3:13 am

what about tapping? Would it better to tap them before hardcoating?
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Hard coating Type II & Hard coating Type III ?

Postby Digitalmagic » Tue Sep 04, 2012 10:50 am

Would be interesting to know how they differ, my bet is that Type III is better...

The KS OpenRail project leader updated today, saying that they have to get a new supplier, 'coz the initial supplier did not comply with expected Type III quality.

Seems like the built up thickness and compliance to a well-defined coating type have to be dealt with care! :D
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Re: Hard coated Makerslide perspective

Postby Nick Brawne » Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:10 pm

My experience is that cost is based on the amount of energy that goes into the system, and the cost of the chemistry used (and cost of safe EPA certified disposal) Basically the larger the surface area to be anodized the higher the cost.

One way to reduce the cost of anodizing is to mask. In the case of the MakerSlide it would be easy to cast some urethane or silicon plugs that would stop the acid getting into the inner cavity and reducing the surface area that was in contact with the chemistry in the bath.

Have you looked at adding felt wipers when you are using steel wheels to prevent debris getting between the rail and rollers?
Do you have any numbers on straightness and surface roughness?
If you are going to the added expense of hard anodizing would it make sense to also grind the rails before?
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Re: Hard coated Makerslide perspective

Postby tmccafferty » Tue May 07, 2013 4:04 am

Has availability of hard coated makerslide progressed. I.e. can you buy it?
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Re: Hard coated Makerslide perspective

Postby REdington » Wed May 08, 2013 11:48 pm

I haven't seen any hardcoated makerslide on the market as of yet. Inventables would have some done if there was enough demand for it. I'm using hardcoated open rail on the new 300 cube Hadron that I'm working on now and I really like it.


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