Can I add more wires to the drag chain? NO. PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT

The X Carve drag chains are at capacity with only the normal kit cables. I added a few cables to my 500mm X Carve and I’ve lost the high inch and a half on my X and Y axis because the motors aren’t strong enough to pull against the drag chains when the bend radius gets that small.

You can’t add wires. Not without upgrading your drag chain to a larger size or getting your wires to the gantry some other way.

@NathanButler PM me


I have the stepper wires, router power cable, power wires for my Jtech laser, and the wires orignally intended for the stock spindle (now used to control the laser) all in the stock drag chain. Other than being a PITA to run all that cable it works perfectly!

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Stepper motor size?

I have the NEMA 23s

Well, that probably helps. I have 17’s. What size machine?

I have the 1000mm X2

That probably helps, too; I have the 500.

yeah didnt have issues here adding wires but i have the 23s and a 1000 machine

I’m not super surprised that the larger, stronger motors don’t have a problem with resisting the force of the drag chain at the high end of their axis. But, just because your motors don’t stall completely, obviously ruining your job like mine did, doesn’t mean you aren’t risking losing a step or two at the far extreme end. The problem is that the drag chain force on the motors as you approach the high end of each axis increases sharply. I’m just not super comfortable with that, and I don’t think I would be even if I had Nema23’s and couldn’t see any lost steps.

I found that spraying some silicon lubricant onto the wires helps both for pulling new wires through and significantly reduces the friction between wires that causes a lot of the resistance in bending.

Still, I added an air line, laser power, and a 110V line through my drag chains so I to do that I had to upgrade to these. They’re cheap, big, and can be opened along the entire length to lay in new cables. Just note that you need the drag chains to be slightly longer than the machine size, so for a 500, you’ll need to order two (both for the extra ends and extra segments) and you need to order three for the 1000 (just for the extra segments).

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Dang. That’s not a bad price for that much upgrade! Thanks for the link, Bill.

I had no problem running AC for my router and J Tech laser connections in my 1000mm X-Carve drag chains. I have NEMA 23 motors.

Think you could fit an air line in as well? It was all of it together that made the upgrade necessary, of course, it was entirely worth it in any case due to being able to open the chain up along its length.

I’m giving serious consideration to mounting all of my controls on the wall above my machine and running them straight out to dangle down to the gantry in a flexible bundle. No limit for number of conductors/air/cables/power, and no weird nonlinear loading of the motors.

A boom arm solution would be ideal. I’m planning to do that for the vacuum at least. However, to make a single point of contact you’ll still need to run the Y-axis motors (and limit switch(s)) to the X carriage, which is pretty minimal.

Yeah, I was thinking that those few cables would be nothing in the one drag chain.

I had that setup until recently when I needed to work on things that extended beyond the envelope of the work area and I needed to operate in the middle of the shop. Then I mounted the electronics to the table itself.

The boom setup sounds like a slick idea and could lend itself to running sans drag chain.
I may emply some sort of boom setup for dust collection as it will solve the issue of the dust hose weighing down the spindle/gantry when I operate away from the usual parking place of the xcarves setup which is why I have not been using my dust shoe much lately.

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I hadn’t even considered this. Now that you mention it, I occasionally do roll my table out from the wall to mill into a long workpiece. What would really be great would be an controls enclosure that mounted to a frame on a table with casters with a cable and dust shoe hose boom. Hmm. I’ve often thought about how much I’d like to have a hinged door enclosure, but I’m now thinking that might not be possible with a boom system. I suppose it doesn’t really matter with a dust shoe, anyway.