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Thread: Can you convert gantry to buddy?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Durham, NC
    Posts
    7

    Question Can you convert gantry to buddy?

    Im going to be moving into a smaller shop. My 60x96 PRS standard is not going to fit. Im thinking of switching to a 48 buddy. Although I occasionally cut larger projects, the vast majority of my work does not exceed 24x48.

    I want to know if I can convert my current machine to the buddy format. It looks like the Z axis assembly is the same. And it looks like the stepper motors and control box and spindle would all work. So I would just need to buy the buddy frame and Y axis beam.

    Is this crazy? It seems like it might be cheaper than selling my current ShopBot and buying a new buddy. And in theory I could sell my current table and gantry to someone who wants to expand a smaller setup.

    Thanks for any feedback or questioning of my sanity.

    -Greg
    -Greg

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    iBILD Solutions - Southern NJ
    Posts
    7,931

    Default

    No... it's unfortunately more complicated than that. You have a 60" gantry. The side plates and legs are different.

    The path of least resistance would be to shorten the X to 72" and make a 5x4. Remove the rails from the table side extrusions. Cut 1.5x6 extrusions with a chop saw. Remove steel rail strips and gear racks. Cut AL bar to 72" and rack/rail same length using a 4" grinder disc. Assemble with 4 legs.

    I've done this exact thing for customers in the past. It's really not a big deal. The BT48 really isn't that much smaller when you factor in the moving table and room required.
    High Definition 3D Laser Scanning Services - Advanced ShopBot CNC Training and Consultation - Vectric Custom Video Training IBILD.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    , Richmond Tx
    Posts
    1,029

    Default

    You would benefit more from downsizing yours compared to the buddy in my opinion. Having the motor on each side of the x is very helpful as opposed to the single center drive. Also material hold down on a moving table can be more challenging with Vacuum ect... If you wanted to shorten the gantry, I would suggest you find a local machine shop to cut down the beam an exact amount and keep it square. Everything else would be plug and play. Cutting the rails to length or shortening and re-drilling the cross members should not be to much trouble. A moving table machine uses up a lot of space around it.
    Kenneth

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Posts
    3

    Default

    Funny I have a Buddy Alpha, and I was pondering converting it to a gantry machine.
    Anything is do-able, but really I think it would make more sense to sell it and get a larger gantry machine.
    I have been keeping my eyes out for a used power-stick to at least get 48x48 cut area, but for now it has not been worth the $1000
    price tag for the increased cut area.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    iBILD Solutions - Southern NJ
    Posts
    7,931

    Default

    Just make your own power stick...It ain't rocket science. You need a longer rack, 2 rails and something to tie it all together.
    High Definition 3D Laser Scanning Services - Advanced ShopBot CNC Training and Consultation - Vectric Custom Video Training IBILD.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Posts
    19

    Default

    I've got a 72" Power stick I'd sell for half the new price. It was never used; as soon as I got my Buddy I substituted a longer Power stick for this one. It has a 60" rack; I'm not sure if that gives you 60" of travel or a little less.

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