Rockler T-tracks - Anyone use these?


(Zen Zager) #1

So, I’ve got the XXL completely installed and ran the hello world. Feels awesome but now trying to get myself to the next step, cutting wood. Soooo I need

I’m thinking about purchasing some of Rockler’s T-tracks for my XXL and wondering if anyone’s used/installed these? I’m looking at purchasing 2 of each of these:

Couple other questions:

  • What distance should I have between rails? Should I purchase more than 4?
  • I was planning on using a plywood board install these, and then screw it (with t-tracks) to the wasteboard. Is this the best way?
  • For the size of the XXL, does anyone have any suggestions on how large the surface are I should make for this?
  • Any other thoughts/suggestions?

Also thinking of purchasing a suckit dust boot:

Any thoughts on it? Thanks for any and all suggestions.

Zen


(mark robinson) #2

Welcome Zen,Good to hear you are up and going and had a successful Hello World.

When i started out i had the rockler t-track,it held the stock great but i was having issues always running into the clamps.Ive since removed the t-track and gone with mdf with threaded inserts from the underside.Now that ive done that im finding myself using a hot glue gun or two sided tape.I really think its somthing upto the individual user to decide what works best for their situation and it may change often.
The suck it has been an amazing add-on,I highly recommend it if dust is a concern.


(Dan Nelson) #3

Ive recently done the T-track thing, my post here may give you some ideas. I’ve found the T-track from orangealuminum.com to be the cheapest date in town. I went with two 2" pieces of MDF, followed by 3", then 4" on my bed. I haven’t used it a ton yet, but it looks like it’ll be a winner. I’m also considering putting 1/4-20 threaded inserts in my MDF strips because I have a lot of clamps that work that way, plus I have tons of extra inserts laying around. I also plan to make/buy some t slot nuts so I don’t always have to use inverted bolts, again I have tons of 1/4-20 hardware. Mine:

Hope this helps!

Dan


(Zen Zager) #4

Yes that helps out A LOT! Very impressive!

Did you get the 36" T-tracks and then just screwed them and the MDF to the wasteboard? Is there any standard for how far to the right and left one should go?

Also, what clamps did you get?

Zen


(Zen Zager) #5

Thanks! Going to purchase the suckit. I think I’m still going to go with the T-track but, yes, might change over time.

I gotta say, the more I learn about CNCing the more I learn how much I don’t know. :wink: Hoping to at least get to a point where I feel comfortable building things soon.

Thanks for the advice!

Zen


(Dan Nelson) #6

Yep, I used the 36" T-track and screwed it to an 1 piece MDF waste board with #8 3/4" Phillips head pan screws, they come pre-drilled every 3" and this is the screw they recommend. I left 3/4" gap up front so I could get the 1/4-20 bolt heads in. The MDF slats are only 30" long though, that’s about the available travel on the bed to still be able to machine it flat. I used the XXL to drill the initial holes for the screws with a 0.0625" end mill and only went about 5/16" deep, After I had all of the T-track in place I used the XXL to cut 9mm holes for threaded inserts into the main waste board, then put the slats in and used the same centers to drill the holes and counterbores for 1/4-20 Allen head bolts with washers, then just bolted it all together and machined it flat. I used 9 T-tracks and my total flat MDF surface is 31" wide by 30" deep, I could have probably gotten a smidge more but I didn’t want to risk having an edge after I machined it flat. I don’t remember where I got the clamps, Amazon or Ebay most likely. They’re a little high profile for some stuff, that’s why I’m considering adding some more 1/4-20 inserts on the slats.

Dan


(William Adams) #7

I used some T-track from Woodcraft: http://www.shapeoko.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=37&t=8332&p=65068#p65068

For spacing, I used various widths of PVC “lumber” which I use as a spoilboard — this is always a bit tricky — you want the smallest spacing to be equal to

smallest stock size + reach of smallest clamp

and the whole origin thing is a pain — front left corner would make the most sense, but it offends my sense of symmetry, and I find a centered arrangement convenient for some projects, and can usually work up workholding to as not to double any error from flipping things.

Phi appeals to my aesthetic sense, but didn’t work out as well as I’d hoped when I did a radial arrangement of threaded inserts: http://www.shapeoko.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=6045 — that said, the PVC resulted in something pretty like to it.

I used MDF for a spacerboard — plywood, even Baltic Birch as a bit too much variability, just seal it, or accept that you’ll want to surface or use some scrap for a fixture before any project (I usually use a chunk of MDF: https://www.shapeoko.com/projects/project.php?id=154 )

I just worked up my own dustboot design: http://www.shapeoko.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=3658 (since adapted to be a bit more universal ) — there are a number of others: https://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/Spindle_Options


(Jim Amos) #8

+1 on the SuckIt dust boot. I have (3) 48" T-Tracks for my XXL and I am still consternating over how I’ll use them (i.e. cut-size and spacing). In the meantime I’ve finally created a small surfaced board from 3/4" MDF with underside 1/4-20 T-nuts. I have bolted the surfaced board to my stock Shapeoko wasteboard which has 1/4-20 threaded inserts.

@stutaylo has a thread showing his track arrangement which has inspired me to consider a layout in the horizontal realm:

There are many examples of vertical spacing too as all the folks who have posted here have implemented and shared . At some point I’ll commit.

It’s all about the journey, and I’ve enjoyed it immensely…


(Tchad Rogers) #9

Tim Foreman’s Shapeoko blog has a good series on building a torsion table with T-tracks: https://timf.anansi-web.com/wp/shapeoko/

It’s in the “Upgrades 1.x” series of posts, I think he gets to the part about the t-tracks at 1.4.

For me, I started with t-track, and later moved to a grid of holes in my CNC bed, because clamp posts sticking up from the t-track became a pain to plan safe z-heights around. For me, I decided screwing bolts down into the table farther (and taking more time to do so) was easier than worrying about posts sticking up higher than my clamps.

I also have a Suck-It dust boot, and give it a thumbs up. It’s not perfect, but it’s the closest I’ve seen and well worth the price.


(Jim N) #10

I was also thinking of upgrading to T-track so all this info is nice. Thanks! In terms of the Suckit Dust Boot… I have a Suckit on both my machines. I highly recommend it! I won’t use my machines without it.


(Matt Freivald) #11

+1 on the Orange Aluminum t-track.

My current XXL setup is 3/4 MDF panels of increasing-ish width (2.5", 1", 3", 6", 10" and 10" or something like that – those aren’t the actual numbers but I don’t have actuals handy) arranged horizontally with t-track in between panels. The t-track tops are about .2" below the top of the MDF. MDF and t-track screwed to factory wasteboard.

Other tricks:

I use cam clamps for most workholding. Very low profile, no dust boot trouble.

The MDF spoilboard does not cover the entire factory wasteboard. I deliberately made it small enough in every dimension so that the machine can surface the entire spoilboard flat.


(Matt Freivald) #12

Close up of t-track and MDF spoilboard:

Note the 2x4 improvised clamp on the front. The spindle goes out past the front edge of the machine a few inches. This allows me to mill the edges of stock up to 3 plus feet in length and/or width.

So far my experiments in doing so have been a bit spotty, but here is an example:


Bore operation makes ovals
(Craig) #13

I started out using T-track, since I was familiar with it doing traditional woodworking.

After about 6 months I switched to a system if 1/4" threaded inserts and 8mm dowels which works outstanding. It has fences, wedges, and you can make cam clamps. Originally designed for shopbot, I modified the proportions to work on the SO3.

I won’t go back to T-track for workholding on the CNC.

Referenced fences, WCS for different setups, and repeatable setups, once you get used to it, It’s hard to go back.


(Dustin S Tilton) #14

Craig: I’d love to see your steps for setting and using WCS for your repeatable setups. I was doing some cuts this weekend and it would have come in handy to have WCS set up. I have multiple identical pieces to cut, each requiring a tool change. I understand the premise of WCS, but I have not grasped how to set up 2 work locations and how to switch between work location 1 and 2 during the workflow.


(Zen Zager) #15

Can you tell me more why you left the T-track route? I already made the purchase to do this but would love to understand the reasoning behind going to a different route. T-tracks make sense to my newbie brain…

Also, does everyone use hot glue or 2 sided tape for their projects? I would love to get away from that if possible.

Thanks,

ZZ


(Evan Day) #16

I have the same question as you. I currently have a threaded insert wasteboard and have noticed some flaws in that concept. I was looking into going the T-track route, so I’m curious as to why someone doesn’t like it.


(Dan Nelson) #17

I’ve used both now and see pitfalls in both. Biggest thing for me currently using T-track is the height of most of the commercially available clamps and bolts, I could definitely go lower profile when using a threaded table and tall fixtures tend to be in the way of my dust boot. I think what I may ultimately do is add threaded inserts to the slats in between my T-tracks so I can have the best of both worlds. Also looking into making my own T-track clamps that will alleviate some of the height issues I have now with my store bought clamps.

Dan


(Zen Zager) #18

I’ll probably ultimately lean towards both these solutions as well. I’m surprised there aren’t more low-profile T-track clamps…unless I just haven’t found them yet?

Zen


(Evan Day) #19

I like the ones that @mpfreivald shows in the pictures further up; they run about $15 a piece on Amazon from what I could find.

Then I’ve been looking at the ones like these from Rockler: http://www.rockler.com/auto-lock-t-track-clamp

Or these: https://lwmcnc.com/cnc-accessories/#prettyPhoto

But no matter what they all appear pricey, which is why I don’t have them yet.


(Zen Zager) #20

My newbie-ness didn’t even know you could have some that lock from the side instead of holding down from the top. I’ll definitely look at investing in these (the rocklers look nice) once I get a few successes.

Thanks!

Zen