Inventables Community Forum

A 60 minute x-axis stiffening mod to reduce chatter

I really liked the idea of not having to drill holes through the maker slide on the 30 minute x-axis mod (https://discuss.inventables.com/t/a-30-minute-x-axis-mod-to-reduce-chatter) but thought I could take it to the next level. Rather than using washers to clamp the two rails together, I took a trip to the corner hardware store and picked up two pieces of flat bar aluminum. One piece measuring 1”x1/8”x48” and the second one measuring 3/4”x1/8”x48"

I cut the length of both bars to match the length of the Makerslide of my x-axis. Next, I stacked the 3/4" bar on top of the 1” bar, lining them up on one side so I could mark out and drill 8 evenly spaced holes measuring just over 4mm centered to the 1” bar. This put the holes in on the 3/4" bar offset to one side which is important to leave room for the x-axis belt and pulleys.

After painting them black I put the 3/4" bar on top of the x-axis rails and aligned the holes with the 1” bar on the bottom of the x-axis rails. I ended up having to cut 1 inch off each end of the lower 1” bar in order to install it without having to disassemble the x-axis. I then used 4mm x 50mm bolts and locking nuts to clamp the two bars together around the Makerslide.

The x-rail is super rigid now. There is no visible x-axis deflection in any direction when pressing on the rail or spindle.

Like the 30 min mod this version :

  • stiffens the x-rail substantially in bending and twisting
  • preserves the x-rail spacing for the v-wheels
  • does not require dis-assembly of X-Carve
  • does not require drilling the X-Carve
  • adds little weight (much less than the steel bar mod)
  • once home from the hardware store, this only took about an hour to construct and install.
  • it does not damage the X-Carve rails and can be taken off at any time
  • the cost as about $30 and all the parts were bought at Home Depot.
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Looks good. I had been looking into doing an X Axis stiffening mod, and this is definitely an improvement to my idea. I will be stealing you idea. Thanks.

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The only suggestion I have is to use washers on top/bottom to distribute the force a little more and to use metal nuts with locktite. I’m not sure how well the nylon locknuts will stand up to the potential vibration without loosening, and you probably need to have the bolts/nuts torqued down pretty well to prevent any little bit of movement that may happen over time.

I really like this idea, and if you don’t have any issues I may replace my steel bar with these this spring or summer. Do you plan on milling any aluminum or other metals?

3 Likes

Hi Robert! I’ve enjoyed and learned a lot from your videos. I appreciate the suggestions and will give them a shot. Just need to find some longer M4 bolts first.

I have been doing quite a bit of aluminum. It took some trial and error, but after slowing the Dewalt down to pretty much the lowest setting (1 to 2), and picking up some coated carbide 1 and 2 flute bits, its been smooth sailing. I had the 30 minute mod in place, but have already noticed the difference with this approach. It even sounds better when working on aluminum.

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Steel would reduce the need for washers, but would add a lot of weight. Either way I would definitely suggest giving this a go before drilling through the extrusions.

I did this mod in the 30 minute original post instead of just using washers and it has worked over very well for me and milling aluminum. I highly suggest this mod over drilling into the makerslide. It was a huge improvement on the gantry and super easy to do. i did however use steel instead of aluminum for the strips. but either way, it works great.

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I’ve done this in steel. 20mm x 3mm bar for the top and 32mm x 3mm for the bottom. No nuts, holes in bottom bar are threaded, holes in the top bar are countersunk so the screw heads are flush.
I’m not happy with a couple of the hole placings on the top bar so when the spoil board mod is finished, I’ll redo that piece.

3 Likes

That will look great! I wish I had an oven large enough to powder coat something that big. Please post a pic when you have it finished.

That’s awesome!

1 Like

I missed your question on length before. The top piece is the same length as the extrusion. I ended up having to cut an inch off each end of the bottom piece to get it to slide in under the carriage without having to disassemble anything.

Yeah, the amount of deflection you will get in an inch of two of those aluminum extrusions will be very minimal.

I mainly did it all the way on top for aesthetics, but then i painted it with what ever paint i had laying around the garage. Now you guys are shaming me in to sanding it down and making it match a bit nicer. :slight_smile:

I like it and might upgrade my bottom support bar to something like this. Please let me know how it works out.

I had the same thought. You could grind it down on either end to allow for room to access screws. Just a thought… Because you are welding, would it be possible to use a t-bar on top pointing up? Either way, I think you will find the flat bar is more than good.

I just figured out what you are saying (been that kind of day). That’s actually an interesting approach. Although, since its basically flat bar I think having them further apart would provide more rigidity?

I take it the drill bit used to make the holes in the aluminum bar was also 4mm?

I don’t have a metric drill bit set, so the hols are just slightly larger than 4mm which is probably better. I forget off hand which one I used. I just held the bolts up to the bits and pull out the closest one.

No worries. The clearance problem came in with the channel bar which is too bad as that would have added even more rigidity. However with the flat bar I didn’t run into any clearance problems, and I’m very happy with the results vs time/effort put into it.

Depends on when you bought the xcarve too. The new makerslides are pre-tapped, and the toolkit no longer has the drillbit, which was intended I think to drill out the holes if needed.

At least my toolkit didn’t have a drill bit, my machine arrived about a week ago.

I did but don’t remember the drill bit. I will have to take a look in the pouch and see. Good catch.