Introducing the N-Series Rotary Tables

We are very excited to introduce our newest product, the N-Series line of 4th and 5th axis rotary tables.  We have worked hard over the past several months collaborating with our vendor to create a dynamic, accurate and robust product line.  We have 4th axis rotary tables that range from 100mm all the way up to a 630mm diameter tables.  In our tilt/rotary line of 5th axis tables we offer diameters of 180mm up to 450mm.  We can also work with the factory to build a table to suit your individual needs, expanding on our mission to design products around our customer's needs.  We also supply the interface with not only the motor to match your CNC Control, but we include the drive as well.  So you have one price that includes all you need to interface the table to your new Element machine or your existing machine with another control vendor.  We currently offer Fanuc, Delta, Mitsubishi and Yaskawa motors and drives, but as always with Element products we can develop a product to fit your needs.  We also offer local service in our facility.  In most cases, there is no need to send the table back to the factory for repair or rebuild.

Codename: Inferno - Episode 1

At Element Machine Tools we have been working on a CNC machine concept for some time. Until now It has been strictly conceptual with a couple of drawings and solid models. It is time now to start producing a proof of concept prototype. As we were discussing how we will be moving forward with the project the idea of posting our progress came up. Now, we don't want to show everything and give away what we are building or even the name, so the information and pictures provided will be scarce. The reason for this? We simply feel that no one will figure out what it is until seeing the entire assembly (that being said there are some out there that know what we are up to, I politely ask you to keep it to yourselves). In keeping with our current naming convention, we code named this project "Inferno".

Testing the rigidity of the welding bench...

Testing the rigidity of the welding bench...

This is, as far as we can tell, a completely new machine concept. The goal is to have a machine that will be completely designed and mostly built here at our facility in Maine. I say mostly, because some components, such as ball screws and linear rails, are very difficult to source made in the USA. We will do our best to keep all components as local as possible. The bulk of the machine will be manufactured and assembled right in our shop.

Stay tuned to our blog and facebook page to keep up to date on the progress of Inferno. We are notoriously bad at keeping up with blog posts, so hopefully this gets us moving.

Frank

It’s about time we give our aptly named prototype Torrent CNC machine a proper introduction. Frank, the first machine to arrive in Element Machine Tools’ inventory, was and is used to test new components and technologies to be incorporated into Element’s current and future machines. It’s been thru several revisions of control panels, three motion controls, two servo systems (and ready for its third) and had its upper body removed and reattached where it shouldn’t be, or should it?

Frank with it's first control panel and getting ready for paint.

Frank with the new  paint job.

After posting pictures and a brief video of Frank with the column removed, turned 180 degrees and bolted down to the table there was some questions on why we would do this and what the machine could be used for. Here’s the how and why: Late in the afternoon on February 10, 2016 Ben and Brian were sitting in the conference room discussing how our machines might be applied to the fabrication industry, prepping for a big meeting the next day. I was in the shop quietly working on a Torrent-R. Next thing I know, the two of them come walking out into the shop, Brian calling out, “You’re gonna hate me!” This made me immediately suspicious and curious at the same time. Then he announced the idea, pick the column up, spin it around and bolt it to the table. In a period of time only measurable by heartbeats my brain raced thru a dozen possibilities for this configuration, a brief thought of “why didn’t I think of that?” and then I said, “let’s do it!” Two hours, some sparks and a bit of creative rigging and the job was done.

Modifying sheet metal for the conversion.

Repositioning for the final lift.

Rigging the column for the move.

Column temporarily fastened to the X and Y axes. Frank is ready for motion testing.

We stood around marveling at our creation discussing the possibilities of a low cost traveling column machine such as this. Sure, it isn’t as rigid as a purpose built machine, but does it need to be? It’s purpose is not for massive material removal rates on multi ton parts. The purpose is smaller, lighter and simpler. Looking at the machine the ideas started to flow; pallet systems, conveyors, table to weld parts to, a couple variations of 5 axis, a type of rotary transfer machine, add a robot or a stewart platform, etc.

The possibilities are many, we can’t possibly think of them all. How would you use this machine? Let us know in the comments, we’d love to hear your thoughts!

Why Mach4?

We chose Mach4 for our control for a number of reasons. Artsoft, a division of Newfangled Solutions, has been producing Mach software for the hobby CNC market for over a decade. Their last version of the software, Mach3, was very successful in the hobby market as well as in CNC routers and plasmas of all shapes and sizes and many other machines, far too many to list here.

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