NancyFräser - A new LR3 in Heidelberg, Germany

Hi and welcome to my build of a LowRider 3.

I just begun yesterday after picking up all the things from the customs office.
I did order the full kit from Ryan with a Jackpot Board and also the printed parts and everything and will bootstrap myself to a torsion box table designed by @DougJoseph. Since I do have a handheld CNC I will cut the parts for it directly with it and put the LR3 on the finished table.

I did NOT print the parts myself this time compared to my ZenXY and my MPCNC since I have learned from my mistakes in the past. This has to do with the way my brain rewards me for “work done” and after finishing bigger chunks of a project I often have to battle severe procrastination afterwards if the reward was already there (for example by having printed all the parts - which then sit on the counter for… forever :smiley: ).

I often find myself using my hand-CNC to whip out quick projects which afterwards I should do more of to re-finance my hobby, yet doing repetitive work with it becomes a nuisance quickly. Which is exactly what I aim to use the LowRider for. Quick prototype → make sense of it → adapt → cut more of them on the LR. Machines don’t complain about repetitive work, that’s why I like them :slight_smile:

So sit back and follow along, I will post mostly in pictures and let you follow along the usual steps of assembling Ryans genius idea into a working machine :slight_smile:


Thanks for keeping us updated! Pics will be great!

I absolutely get that. I also like designing the things I make, then I do them once, maybe twice and then I want the next challenge. I made a few boxes, but always challenge myself to do something different. :smile:

I’d love to make another, better tongue drum, but I already made one… And there are so many other things to do… :slightly_smiling_face:

I am looking forward to your build journey, keep us posted. :heart:


So I started assembling the 3D printed parts while I‘m still waiting for the rails and the sheet material to arrive.
This is - with exception of the yellow switch - included in the hardware Kit - I will save the sticker for later :slight_smile:

I was off to a rougher start with the core… What I noticed with the core is that tolerances were extremely tight. Seating the M8 bolts took a bit of effort. Cleaning out some of the holes with an 8mm drill and the locations where the screw heads rest inside the core were the hardest to make fit.
Especially the non-threaded upper part of the bolt was not going into the holes while the threads were fully engaged and i needed a nut driver to move them in. I felt I risk splitting the part open along the layer lines (especially with the inner ones on the bottom of the next picture, the holes were sagged pretty strongly there, more than all others) if I continie and reversed, drilled the hole to size and then they slid in smoothly with no wiggle (lucky me :slight_smile: ). Maybe the tolerances were a bit tight with my set, but in the end the drill managed to make it a lot easier… and on the other hand I know now, that they won‘t be going anywhere. All other parts had fantastic fit and went together super smoothly.

As a wise man in this forum recently said in another thread:

„I trust my soldering skills more than my crimping skills.“

I went with that advice for my endstops, I was reading just a bit too often about loosened connections the last weeks - and soldered all the cables directly to the switches :smile:

I noticed that my 1mm thick rulers make a fantastic spacer to accurately position the pulleys on the stepper - for one part i added another piece of playing card since the idlers were sitting differently. Way easier to apply loctite when nothing shifts around :+1:t2: Can recommend :100:

I ended the day with aligning the linear rails - which is some kind of an endboss to me, since I tend to be overly and unnecessary obsessive (for no reason) with instructions like “parallel” :smiley: So far aligning the rails took the longest time even though I’m sure after looking at the drawings again that plusminus .1 or .2 mm won’t matter that much… But I NEED to have them totally parallel. Now they are. And I used the extra strong loctite to hopefully never have to adjust them again :smiley:

So far I could follow the instructions very easily, I find them well-structured! Also all parts are of good quality (the core is too, it was just a bit too tight, nothing to worry about) and it is real fun to construct a machine and learn along the way how these parts will interact later :slight_smile:

That’s it for now.
The wood arrived in the meantime and I will post about that tomorrow, since that is probably one of the coolest and also strangest things that happened to me so far :smiley: :smiley: :smiley: :smiley: Stay tuned :slight_smile:

1 Like

Exciting progress!

Storytime :slight_smile:
TL; DR: I have way more wood than I need. A lot more. And it’s my fault for not checking beforehand :smiley:

Long version:
So, a while ago I had to relocate my company deep into Odenwald into an old industry plant (I mainly need storage space and cheap rent :smiley: ). In this huge plant reside alot of different businesses from small to very big, since the original industry failed and left very nice buildings behind. I personally operate a coffee business and have over the years amassed a stockpile of Espresso machines.

When I moved into my new rooms I needed some lumber to construct shelves and so on - and I walked over to a neighbour that is a wood trading business to purchase what I need. While making arrangements and waiting for his guys to get all my wood from storage he complained to me that his coffee machine is broken and that he is really grumpy because of it and also he can’t offer one to me. We got into a nice talk about what I do for a business and I offered to bring a professional-grade espresso machine and a grinder since I have so many and he could keep it until the repair guy shows up.
But his original machine was broken beyond repair and I insisted he kept my machine, I didn’t need it at he time. In return he marked me down in his CRM that I’m good for a huge favor should I ever need lumber again to settle the deal and he would use my machine until I recall it from him - which was fine for me. Years (more than 6) went by and he regularly bought beans from me, even invested in a Barista education with me for two of his favourite employees and they are really happy with the machine. I kinda never took advantage of that deal.

Fast forward to mid of December 2023. I had just decided to build a LowRider and downloaded the parametric files from @DougJoseph website and just went with the pre-configured one with a 3.625 torsion box. I was in a hurry (Christmas just before the door) and as the instructions said:

Perfect! I need 5 sheets of wood! Time to call the guy!! QUICK! No time to think (which I should have done)!!!
And so I called: “Hey, is that favour still open? I need 5 sheets of MDF, 4 of them 12 and 1 of them 19mm.”
He was like: “Yeah sure, anything else? I have another sheet of 16mm that has some scratched corner, if you want I send this as well, just to make sure we are even with the machine and all…”
“Yeah, we’re good. Thanks.”
No payment required.

Yeah. And then the truck came with a crane and a huge… “surprise”! :rofl:
Turns out: The MDF sheets in Germany do not measure 2,50x1,25 meters (which would be the rounded euqivalent to 97"x49"). They come in 2,80 x 2,07 meters (110"x81,5").
Look at it. Luckily no one needs to leave that left garage for some days.

Imagine my face when the truck arrived, lol. I spend the whole afternoon yesterday trying to even figure out how to possibly transport a single sheet down our driveway (~10% slope), finally two neighbours offered their help and we carried the sheets down a small runway and in front of my shop. The wind added to the challenge, the weight of the 19mm sheet is insane. It can not be handled by me alone. I’m still having a hard time to even cut them to size :smiley:

Yeah. And my back hurts really bad today. So I did nothing :smiley:
I will continue electronics assembly tonight when the kids are asleep and in the meantime apply some more warmth to my lower back.

But maaaaan, do I have a lot of MDF now for getting to know my machine soon <3

Thank you Doug for the great file for the table by the way!!!
I used the Dogbone Add-In for Fusion 360 before exporting all parts to my Shaper Origin, to have an easier time during assembly of the torsion box since there is no further processing with EstlCAM when using Origin…

1 Like

Wow, those are some big sheets! On the bright side, you’re set for a stock pile to create stuff with.

I really encourage cutting a small test cross lap joint as shown in the first video of the series. Did the cut file match the thickness of the MDF you plan to use?

Are you going with wooden side rails for the LowRider to ride on? Or are you planning to do metal struts? It matters regarding the cut plan.

I am going with wooden side rails, they can even be 1 piece now. I have changed the values to my measured thicknesses of the MDF. Your v35 file unfortunately fails on me after changing the paramters. The small Y supports are floating around which is not a problem but the widths and sides and so on don’t add up yet. I need to retry that.

1 Like

Since I can adapt cutpath offsets on-tool with the Shaper Origin I will test this during cutting with a cutoff piece to achieve perfect fit. But thank you for considering it!

1 Like

This is great.

OK, couple of options on that. One is you can 2D edit the width of the notches in the cut plan file — using some (any) 2D vector editing software. Another is you could tell me the new thickness, and I could try to edit the source file for you.

I’ve never seen this size either. Hornbach sells 2440x1440. :smiley: But wow, those things are huge.

Are you making coffee or selling machines?

I am making coffee for big crowds of people and provide barista bars for events and conferences on the tier above weddings and 1-3-day-nighters, but way below Stadium crowds or Festivals. Maybe you have visited or know about Holz-Handwerk? I do operate the gastronomy of a lead exhibitor there. That’s about the biggest job I can manage. Most of the jobs are of the class “week-long events”, where my bar and operation is integrated almost entirely into the planned Event/Fair-Construction of the exhibitor itself, blending in with their look, appearance and staff. We are taking care of all the visitors that approach the booth, make sure they meet who they came for, check if they maybe have an appointment, serve them a drink while they wait, get them seated into the presentation area right over there where those shiny new items are looking so great, maybe they learn from us about the upcoming workshop in the afternoon for that super nice product they have and if the day is going just great, they super enjoy the conference with us and even have a nice chat. The latter is what I love the most. Getting to know and learn from all the different people on all the different events with all the different guests and all their different fields. It’s amazing. I love it.
And also the coffee is excellent and the food is nice. That’s what I sell.

Also I learned to do all the servicing of my machines, grinders, and most important machines from taking them completely apart and rebuilding them from a clean slate up, to understand all the failure modes I can think of before they happen and how to hopefully fix 80% of the most probable errors within 30 minutes. So far it worked, lucky me.
In the recent years I was lucky enough to be able to get myself to workshops and trainings at manufacturers, increasing my knowledge. All in all, I rarely have time to wait for the technician. Like, never. There was never a time in the last 15 years when I had any time to wait for the technician. It’s just out of the question :smiley:

Hence I started to have a workshop which I mostly use to learn and educate myself about it and also do the servicing and repairs. And I think the LowRider will make a purposeful addition to my workflow and creation of barfronts with logos etc. which I do on the Shaper at the moment. But it’s becoming way too much, repetitive and most of all boring to do by hand. And I need to be very careful of that. Once I’m bored I’m having a hard time to get myself back to something :snail:

Also I hope to become good enough at operating the LowRider to start a little side business selling at least single pieces I make, but might never use, or maybe even figure out how to make 4/8/16 of the useful things I make at once and put them up for sale. I want to become better at iteratively optimizing certain things with the help of a computer.

Of course there is only the time I have left between enjoying the life and also the events. So don’t expect another Flagship Etsy Shop :smiley:


Since I have some wood now, hehe, I’m wondering: Do the YZ Plates profit well from 16mm MDF? It’s here and free, so… if the gain is good I’ll go for it.
If I do so, what do I have to look out for? The Docs say I “will need to clearance some for the coupler”. Is there a file I could figure this out from or can I just hold it together and wing it?

Might be a language problem as well, what is a coupler exactly? :thinking:

The coupler is the lightly springy thingy that connects the leadscrew to the stepper shaft. I also don’t think it’s going to make a lot of difference.

Your business sounds super cool as well, sadly no coffee for me to buy. I regrettably have also never heard of the Holz-Handwerk, but it does sound great. :slightly_smiling_face:

I would have bet that you might know it, Holz-Handwerk is a huge tradeshow and everyone that is selling products remotely related to wood is exhibiting there since almost 30k professionals visit.

Everyone is there: from the big CNC manufacturers, big hand tool brands and screw/hardware/slides/hinges companies down to the small super exciting specialists.
A lot of manufacturers hand out tickets for people that at least simulate credible interest :wink: Next one is in Nürnberg at the end of march. Worth a visit! If you manage to come there is nothing you can‘t try there. :+1:t2::+1:t2::+1:t2: I always try to make room to at least walk the grounds for 1 day and look at things.

1 Like

12mm it is then. :blush: Thank you.

I am just a nobody with a hobby, never really checked. I am going to go to the Makerfair in Hannover this year though. Instead of a festival that has become too expensive. :smiley:

1 Like

We might actually meet there. :wink:

1 Like

This morning I started cutting out the riding plates and the long Y spars from 16mm MDF. I doubled up two pieces of 16mm MDF to be able to cut both parts at once.

I do a combination of CNC and regular tracksaw cutting to speed up producing parts that have long straight edges. I cut 2 roughing passes at 5mm and 10mm with a .6mm offset and a finish pass of all the shapes to have a perfect reference and then use the tracksaw to cut out with about 1mm offset, and then a router with a flush-cut bit takes care of the rest and produces two identical and precise parts in very short time.

In case you are wondering about the amount of tape I used: That’s way more tape than needed to just cut out the parts and be done with it. I started the practice of adding some more on individual parts (2 rows of tape over the cutout), because as long as enough of the tape is on the workpiece (even parts of it), the machine can reidentify the workspace and I can re-cut on the same surface and have the full workspace data still on it, including grid position etc. - which is a killer feature for me :smiley:
Maybe I want to cut some mounting holes in a predetermined pattern or a slot along the side for a rail. I don’t know. But should the need arise I can resume on the part without remeasuring and establishing a ground truth about the grid…