Torch Table Preliminary Work

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Main > Digital Fabrication > RepLab Tools > Torch Table

XYZ Table Preliminary Design

The specifications development for a robust and scaleable machine is under development here. The prototype specifications for a torch table application will be developed on this page.

The basic design follows.

Using ball screws and linear bearings appears to be the easiest method. Present research indicates that profile guide rails are twice as cheap for the accuracy required, so this will be redesigned.

XYZ Design rationale2.jpg

Compare this to gear drive and linear rails, which appears to be more complicated in terms of drive components.

Note: you can find prices for linear guide rods and bearings at

Development Evolution

This section shows other options considered.

Torch Table Implementation


  • .01 inch accuracy
  • Precision acme rod
  • Profile rail guides

Motors: [1]

  • Nema 23 Double Stack/Double Shaft Bipolar Stepper Motor, Flats ground on each end
  • 269 inch lb holding torque on main axis
  • Rated Current - 2.8A/phase
  • Shaft width - .25 inch


  • Direct coupling to precision acme rod

Bill of Materials for a Simple Prototype

  • It appears that the Xylotex drive is applicable to large torch tables. Here is one that Xylotex told me uses their controllers and motors.
    • $425 for motors and controllers
  • Ball screw 5966K26 at McMaster Carr, $1.26/inch, and $25 for each ball nut - $125 per 6 foot run
    • 90% mechanical efficiency compared to 30% for acme screw

Ballscrew.gif Ballnut.gif

    • $250 for x axis if 2 screws, $125 for y axis (1 screw), $50 for z axis
    • End blocks are extra

Here is a parts list:

Instructables References

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Rack and Pinion Calculations

An interesting, low cost positioning system for low precision (0.01") machining (such as acetylene torch tables) consists of belt-drive rack and pinion.


  • Typical motors have 0-1000 RPM and 200 steps
  • A drive pinion of 1 inche diameter means 3 inch/200 = 15/1000 of an inch step resolution
  • For a 2 inch drive wheel (recommended), this is 3/100 resolution, which is sufficient
    • We need only 1/16 resolution, and we have twice that resolution with this system

Look for parts to match:

  • McMaster Carr part 6486K129 - 20 mm wide, 280 cm long (9+ feet) Power Grip belts - $52.50
    • 2.2 inch drive wheel - $43, would give 35/1000 step resolution
  • McMaster Carr - item 7959K29, 3/4 inch rack-and pinion type belting, $5.69/foot - $32 for 9 feet
  • Or, part # 7959K26, 1/2 inch belting, 3/8 inch pitch, high torque applications, $3.59/foot
    • Part 6495K15 is pulley, $20 for 2.1" pulley.

Timing Belt Data

  • [3] has strength of .375 pitch, 1/2" belt as 675 lbf/in breaking strength - neoprene, nylon covered.
  • MXL .08 pitch, 1/4 inch wide belt (McMaster Carr part #1375K39) has accuracy of 1/2000. Uses 20 tooth pulley, .5" diameter
    • 1.6" circumference/200 steps would be 80/1000 accuracy
  • Proposed .375 pitch belt has 1.9 diameter pulley of 16 teeth
    • 1/200 of 1.9*pi - this yields 1/30" accuracy for full steps. I may want to set for up to 1/8 microstepping.