Build config questions

I am getting ready to place my order for a 1000mm xcarve. I have read and read here as well as done tons of google research over the past year while considering buying an xcarve. I am left with a few unanswered questions or debates as which parts to buy.

First I will be purchasing with the xcarve, 2x 1800m makerslides to upgrade the X-Axis so that I can accomidate a work piece of 2’x4’ acrylic. I will be mostly using this to cut 1/4" acrylic, so buying a full sheet and ripping it down to 2’x4’ pieces is the easiest way I can think to get the least amount of waste for the price.

Here are the parts I have so far:

Xcarve 1000mm rail kit
Xcarve Core Components kit
Xcarve dewalt 611 spindle mount
Xcarve xcontroller kit
Xcarve zprobe kit
2x MakerSlide 1800mm
10x GT2 Belting (in feet)
20x Stepper motor cable (in feet)
2x t slot nuts (in 5pcs per pack)
3x 1000mm aluminum extrusion (for underside of spoil board)
0.8kw water cooled spindle with 1.5kw 220v VFD
3x NEMA 23 2.8a 269oz stepper motors
1x NEMA 23 2.8z 140oz stepper motor

I am looking for upgrades that I can add to this list to start the build with instead of doing it later down the road. Obviously I am going with an xcarve because of cost so if an upgrade would add $500 to the cost, it probably wouldnt be worth me considering. I have seen where some people have replaced the v wheels and others have replaced the GT2 belt with GT3 9mm.

What am I missing at this point that I should be seriously considering?

Any help is appreciated before I jump down this rabbit hole so to speak!

Any particular reason why you are looking to widen the X axis rather than lengthen the Y axis?

I want to have open access to the work piece on the 4ft side instead of access on the 2ft side. Not ideal but I got the idea from another member that has the same setup. I already have a piece of 3/16" cold rolled plate steel waiting to be cut to length to stiffen the x axis.

I’m with Reuben. Your going to have a ton of flex if you go 1800 on your X axis. It would be very difficult to stiffen. An 1800mm Y axis is fairly simple and more cost affective. Don’t forget to account for the extra base and waste board requirements.

ymilord has a picture of what I am looking to build and why I want it on the x and not y axis. The open access to the work. As far as parts go, I believe that either way I go, it is close to the same cost.

If you are going to have an 1800mm X axis you will need some 1800mm supports under the waste board to complete the frame.

They only sell 1000mm so I will be using some 20mm plate steel to join the 1000mm to 800mm.

Then since there is only 1 center support, I have another 1000mm extrusion to divide the 1800 twice, effectively making each section approximately 600mm. The standard setup is 500mm per section with the extrusion in the center under the spoil board.

Drag Chain?

It comes with 1000mm of drag chain and after the order is placed I can buy another section that should get me the 1800mm for $15 but it has to be added to the order after I place it online.

I am not sure the new square makerslide on the x axis will be stiffer than 2x old makerslides with 3/16 steel between them.

My work bench that the xcarve will be mounted on is along a wall and I do not want it sticking out 70+ inches from the wall to allow the y axis to be 1800mm. Is there another suggestion as to a better way of making the x axis 1800mm instead of the 2x maker slides and 3/16 steel? Buy the standard 1000mm setup and mill 1/2" aluminum to make a new gantry and then upgrade the xaxis to something thicker openrail to make it work?

Also I appreciate the feedback, but to say making the x-axis is pointless, obviously there is a reason or point as to why I decided to extend the x-axis so it isnt pointless. If you read the post above, I am looking to build a setup with open access to the 48" section of the work piece. I have a long wall in the basement that I have plenty of room on horizontally, but not if I flip and extend the y axis unless I want to be standing next to a concrete wall the entire time I am working. In my location, extending the x-axis is the best option, and I am trying to figure out how to address the concerns that Curtis brought up with flex on the x axis. Any ideas on how to build the xaxis stronger to handle the spindle and cutting 1/4" acrylic?

2x of

at 1500mm would give me more than 48" of work area which is my main concern, work area needs to be 24"x48" so I could take 2x of the 20x80mm vslot rails, bolt them together into one 40x80x rail at 1500mm and then use the open rails for the top and bottom. Would this be more acceptable for the concerns with extending the xaxis?

Is it not possible to have the y axis running parallel to the wall and slide the material in from the “usual” front (side in this setup)? In other words, turn the machine 90 degrees from the orientation you had been thinking of? If you were to turn it clockwise, then the nominal right side would be facing the front of the bench - the drag chain would be along the wall. With the gantry at one end, you could reach over the y rail from the front, or move in from the side opposite the gantry.

The openrail and c-beam ideas also seem like viable routes if you are open to mixing and matching rather than getting from a single source.

It is possible and I am not 100% closed off to that idea, its just not ideal. It means reaching over the y axis to place material and clamp it. I am 6’ tall but my father that will be using the machine as well is not as tall as I am so having to reach over the y axis becomes a pain. I could lower the table that the xcarve will be on to make this a much easier process but I was trying to keep the work area waist height. I do not mind buying parts from different sources, but I would like to do as little tinkering as possible and making new aluminum plates for the gantry seems like a pretty difficult and possibly costly process when compared to extending the Y axis.

ok so if I extend the y axis, how confident is the general concensus that the new square x-axis will not flex more than my current idea when using the 0.8kw spindle?

shipping weight on the 0.8kw spindle is 8.8lbs, the dewalt 611 is 4.6lbs which is a pretty significant difference. The new x-axis cannot be stiffened by the same means as the old axis. This again leads me to regardless of extending the y axis, I will still have a problem with the x-axis.

This is the rabbit hole many of us have been down. Lol. I have used the stock duel M/S that originally came with the xcarve. Then I went with the linear rails from Openbuilds. Which was quite a bit better. The rails themselves are difficult to keep tight and true. There are so many screws. I ended up with the new wide M/S from Inventables. The best as of yet. The problem I see is the distance. Regardless of the set up there will be flex (especially in the middle) with an 1800 mm XAxis.
I also have a Cbeam machine from By far the most ridged XAxis. it would take some modification to adapt a cbeam to the xcarve.

Build a platform for your father to stand on and follow the EXPERIENCED advice given here. Many of us here know of “better” self-designed machines, by new cnc users, which are near unusable.

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Thank you for all of the experienced advice.

Maybe I can rephrase the question.

How best can I extend the X axis to give me a 4’ cutting area? If your advice is to scrap the idea of going with an xcarve and build my own out of 2" tube steel with 1/4" walls, thats fine, but my question isnt if I should extend the Y over the X or vice versa.

I understand the concern with weight and flex in the middle over a long run, what material would remove the flex? 20x80 aluminum extrusion with 1/2" plate steel in the middle and another 20x80 aluminum extrusion on the other side? The entire X axis out of 2" tube steel? With all the experienced CNC’ers out there, I am sure there has to be ideas as to how this can be done effectively.

you stated that very well PhilJohnson .

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If making new x end plates sounds like more tinkering than you want, how is making a new gantry from scratch less?

If you are really set on extending the X rather than the Y, then you will need to be looking at professional machines for inspiration.on how heavy and stiff to make it. There are threads on here that show the making of some pretty hefty carriages using linear rail and such - they are completely custom machines. Edit: Here is an example: Project Log - Franken-Carve

You came here asking for advice on the simplest way to set things up with the size work area that you want. Various people here have chimed in with their thoughts and reactions. What you are looking for is not impossible, but there are reasons why the kits that are available only go to a certain size in each dimension.

The beauty of these systems and the community that has grown up around them is the diversity of people and ideas. I look forward to seeing your additions to it.

I think you have focused on flexing of a long X axis, but perhaps have not considered rigidity. The design of the X axis carriage plates will give you an increasingly worse rigidity issue as they are spaced further apart, resulting in chatter and a worsening cutting finish. It is only by doing as you describe can you find out if you are right or wrong. Most of us think it will not be a good thing to do. Try it and see is all you can do to prove yourself correct.

Sincerely wishing you all the best,

Thank you Reuben, I appreciate how you have explained it.

It is more tinkering than I want to do but I never said that I cannot do it. I wanted to get a machine up and running fairly quickly (8 weeks wait time…) to make a few prototypes. I think the best option at this point is to get the default 1000mm xcarve with the dewalt router. I will just use it as it is traditionally setup, and make my spoil board extend 4ft on the y axis, but only using the 1000mm x 1000mm and then move the work piece. I have to edit a ton of files that I had already setup for 2’x4’

Thanks again everyone for the experienced words of wisdom.