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MakerSlide Europe

Making the amazing open source linear bearing system, MakerSlide, available to European builders.

  • Update No.6

    At last…..not only has extrusion started, but today it has finished! A sample was made at the end of last week; many tests were carried out on it, including tapping and using the modified mounting hole. It was perfect, and no different to the original one. Once I had confirmed the sample and signed the invoice, extrusion could begin.Modified DieAfter all these disasters and setbacks, it finally feels like we are getting somewhere!

    A small amount was extruded on Friday with no hindrance, with the process continuing on Monday, the final sections have being extruded today. Although the extrusion is now complete it will only begin to be anodised on Thursday. This is due to the fact the factory can’t have both the extrusion system and anodising system running at the same time, so the week is split in two. (If you see what I mean!) The anodising process is set to take between 5-7 days; now, with all the problems I have had the company understand that MakerSlide is a priority and will hopefully get it finished in the shorter time period.

    Once anodising is complete, another 2 days will need to be allocated to re-cutting the extrusion into its 1 and 2 metre lengths. Re-cut takes place after anodising as it is more efficient to anodise large amounts at a time, basically, if you had lots of small sections they would be hard to hold in the anodising solution. Once re-cut, the MakerSlide will be delivered directly to me. I have no current indication of how long delivery will be, but hopefully an overnight pallet service will be used.

    Misumi Packaging

    When the extrusion arrives, the task of packaging the different rewards will begin, I have limited experience in the packaging and logistical area of manufacturing, but hopefully it should only take me a couple of days. I have already started printing postage labels off and making tick lists so no silly mistakes are made. I have decided to package the extrusion in layers of corrugated cardboard; the reason being that, I recently received a few pieces of 20x40 extrusion from Misumi and that’s how they packaged theirs. So, it’s only wise to learn from the best!

    On the accessories side of proceedings, most are packaged now. But I am still to get the shim washers; we have found that the optimum width

    Carriage Plate

     would actually be a little less than 1mm. A couple of weeks ago I gave the go ahead for some standard carriage plates to be laser cut out of 3mm aluminium. The other day they arrived, I will add them to the online store at the same time as the MakerSlide. The finish is pretty good, no burs at all, but if I have a spare moment I will give them a bit of a polish.

    I will be sure to keep you all updated now that things have started to kick off.

    Many Thanks

  • Update No.5

    Sorry for a belated update. Unfortunately due to one thing and another it took a week and a half for the die to be fixed (a majority of that hold up being the fact that the die was sat in the die makers shop, finished, but with no one going to collect it). Anyway, the fixed die finally arrived at the extruders on a Thursday; I spoke to my contact in the office and was informed that the die presses are not run on Fridays, meaning it will be the Monday at the earliest before a new sample could be made. A sample was finally run on Tuesday night (6th) but all the employees knocked off before the result could be examined. On Wednesday, I spoke to my usual contact (in the office). I was then told that the sample was a lot better; however there was a little apprehension into the future of the die. Later in the day I called again to try and find out what the apprehension was, luckily I managed to speak to one of the head extruder engineers. This was brilliant as I could ask many questions that I usual contact couldn’t answer (i.e. the expected lifetime of a standard die, which turned out to be near enough unlimited and if it fail they would replace it free of charge.) The conversation then got to the reason why I phoned. He then proceeded to tell me that when the die was being 'putting through its paces' it was discovered that the repaired mandrel was yet again moving. Not quite as much as last time but enough to affect the final product. He said that at the time he was unsure how to proceed but would call me on Thursday. The phone call ended, and I was essentially unsure of what the path of action was going to be. On Thursday he proceeded to explain that the mandrel was moving. This was due to the fact that there was no web in the curved corner, so a lot of pressure was coming from the other webs (pressure from the hydraulic extruder) and with no support, the mandrel was forced in that direction. The die was not completely ruined, but it was certain that the mandrel would move further if extrusion continued. So to fix this reoccurring problem, a small design change was suggested. The idea was to have a small slit in the un-supported corner that would allow a supporting brace to be mounted on the mandrel. This would then leave the mandrel in a firm and solid place.New Die Proposal

    My two questions where; if I stick with the current die, (over the amount metres of extrusion I need (which isn’t that much in an industrial scheme of things), how much will the mandrel move? And if I opt for the new design, will the slit compromise the strength of the thread and bolt? (I was also very worried how long the new die would delay proceedings) The answers to these turned out to be as follows; within 100m the mandrel would be left unusable if left in its current state. And that the slit should not affect the strength of the thread/bolt drastically (the strength of the aluminium threat teeth would give before the slit would be the weakest link, other popular extrusions also have a similar proven construction)

    I was pretty annoyed, as whatever happens, it is all adding on to the delay. The first week of delay I could manage with, but more is pretty gutting. I understand that you all want the MakerSlide as soon as possible, and trust me I am working as hard as I can to make that happen. When speaking to both of my contacts I mentioned that there had already being a significant delay and that a fast turnaround would be greatly appreciated as I am now going to go over my deadline. They acknowledged my concern and promised to speed things up as much as possible; as they appreciate I have now had two delays that are not my fault. So, I am trying my best to get things on track.

    On the other hand; good news is that the wheels and eccentrics have arrived, and are soon to be packaged into the different accessory packs. Standard carriage plates have also being ordered, and will be available in the MakerSlide Europe store soon.

    Many Thanks

  • Update No.4

    I am sorry for the delay; we have run into a small problem. On Friday the MakerSlide die was loaded into the extruder and after a few tests a sample was made. However, upon inspection one of the mandrels (that make the holes in the extrusion) was miss-aligned in the die. This led to the holes in the profile to be in a slightly different place than desired. The manufacturers diagnosed the problem straight away and contacted the sub-contractor (the company that machines the dies) to get it fixed (at no charge to me or them). However, amidst all the conversing, I was not told of this hick up and so was still expecting a clean sample to arrive on Monday. It didn't, I then contacted the extruders, and they promptly explained the situation. They said they had not bothered to post the sample because they thought I would not want it, but they offered to send it to me anyway. Hence the sample has arrived today in the post.

    This unfortunate problem is going to set the production back a few days. Once the die is fixed, another sample will be made and sent to me, only then can I order the full batch of 500m or so. I hope you understand that I am trying my best to keep things running as smooth and fast as possible, but I think you would agree that it’s not worth committing to a full order of this scale, unless I have a perfect sample in hand. So, with all that said, I should hopefully have the bulk ordered by mid-next week.

    Below are some pictures of the sample and its defect.

  • Update No.3

    The accessories where ordered today (V-Wheels and Eccentrics). They will be manufactured and then shipped by the end of next week, with an estimated time of arrival being the end of October/early November. 

    Other good news on the MakerSlide front, the die was put through its paces yesterday with a few test runs. A sample piece is now on its way to us and should be here by Monday at the latest.

    Many Thanks

  • Update No.2

    The die is now finished and has arrived at the extruders! It will be put in an oven over night (In preparation for use, heating the die has many advantages such as reducing the amount of scrap produced at the start of a run). A sample run of 1 to 5m will then be made and sent to us, assuming it is up to the standards we need, the full production run will then start immediately. The manufacturer quotes 5 days for the actual extruding to take place and another 12 days for anodising and re-cut to be completed. However, they should be able to do everything in less than that time. So, in 2 and a bit weeks’ time the delivery of your MakerSlide will be well and truly insight.

    Once the Ulule rewards have being fulfilled, MakerSlide and its accessories will be available to purchase on our online store. www.makerslideeurope.com (The store is currently not yet completed, please sign up to the mailing list to receive updates for when MakerSlide and accessories are available)

    Many Thanks