4th axis question

I understand that the grbl does not support at 4th axis but would i be able to switch over the X or Y to the 4th axis for a project assuming i purchased a 4th axis set up? Just wondering since when using the 4th axis you pretty much stop using one of the other axis.

clearance for the 4th axis is almost a bigger issue. The Z axis clearance on a stock X Carve is not very tall in relation to a 4th axis rotary setup. A few users have moved the X carve to the edge of the table and allowed part of the X axis to hang over the end and then mounted the 4th axis on the end of the table tot allow the needed clearance. The stock controller will not work for it nor will the X controller. You will need to look into something like the TinyG or a Planet CNC controller or the like that allows for the 4th axis.

I ecco what @Travelphotog said in that you will need to modify the X-Carve to fit a 4th axis due to Z height clearance being an issue. Other than putting it off the front of the machine, there is a possibility of cutting a hole in the wasteboad for this purpose as well. If you really want to drive it right, then you will want a different controller that supports more than 3 axis. TinyG, Planet CNC or maybe a smoothie board, plus you’ll need stepper drivers.

That being said, I have seen CNC modifications where the Y-axis is just changed over to be a rotational axis and then calibrated to work that way. Basically the machine will just think it is traveling laterally in the Y direction when in real life the material is traveling rotationally… it is an interesting thought if all you are wanting to accomplish is to engrave on the surface of a cylinder or perform some sort of lathe type operations.

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Having to modify the table is fairly simple and a given, i was just wondering since when you use the 4th axis you are still only using a total of 3 axis would having a switch to go from one stepper to another (lets say Y to 4th axis) be possible?

I know there are other controllers and i know the table has to be modified, i have the XC1000 plenty of room to modify. If it’s not possible i will be getting a TinyG.

The SPU would also have to be changed each time you switched between the set ups if you did it how you desire. You would be ahead to get a true 4 or more axis controller.

ya i am seeing that, i think im just gona get a tinyg

I am also interested in this 4th axis capability . .
With this TinyG controller be compatible with the carve?

The TinyG is a great controller and a nice upgrade over the stock shield. I learned to mill on one on a Shapeoko 2 and it was great. It has a FEW growing pains from time to time but overall it was a great controller. They are pretty easy to set up and are a great combo with Chilipeppr. I just outgrow what the TinyG could do and moved on to more powerful controllers on my mills.

For those diving into the new and complex world of a 4th axis - what software do you recommend her for CAM? I find all options up to now crazy expensive so I’m holding my finger off the “add-to-basket” button until I find something suitable and affordable for a hobbyist!

CNCwrapper.com is exactly what you are looking for. It’s only $25 you first generate your Gcode in your favorite Cam software. Then import your Gcode file into CNCWrapper and tell it which axis you want to change. It will take the X Axis or Y Axis and convert it to function on your 4th Axis or (A) Axis. Doing it this way allows you to use even GRBL I would think. They offer a free download to test it out. Honestly I have not been able to fully test it myself as I do not yet own my 4th axis. I do run my CNC with a TinyG controller but rather than buy a new Cam program that can write for 4th axis Gcode it seems cheaper and easier to just use CNCWrapper to convert the Code. I plan to remove my spoiler board when using the 4th axis and if needed elevate the entire CNC but I am hoping that is not needed. By the way I own an OX CNC not an X-carve so my footprint is a bit different then most of the folks here but the concept is the same. John L. developer of Chilipeppr has successfully operated a 4ht axis in Chilipeppr. He has also successfully operated a laser in chilipeppr with a TinyG. I am hoping to be able to engrave HydroFlasks with my laser and a 4th axis.