Inventables Community Forum

Cast aluminum waste board question

I ordered an aluminum plate for my waste board because all my carves turn out with an uneven thickness at each corner, and I want to cut tiled jobs.
How hard it is to get the aluminum plate leveled? How straight and level is the frame of the machine?

If I can’t get it prefect, I want to put down a sheet of some other material that I can cut level with the X-Carve.

MDF like the stock waste boards seems to change shape with temperature and humidity, or is it just the tension on the clamp screws? What material would be stable, but not too very expensive, to put on top of the aluminum?

most users will place a sacrificial MDF piece over the stock mdf wasteboard and surface that, without the aluminum one… however with the Aluminum below you would likely experience less seasonal movement :man_shrugging:
You can find quite a few different, yet similar designs on youtube with step by step tutorials on how people do them, here is one that is quite popular as it retains the threaded inserts for clamping.

And Here’s another utilizing a custom aluminum bed, you could do this strip method with your purchased aluminum bed too

1 Like

I have used the X-Carve itself to shave down the waste board. That doesn’t seem to work.
Thanks for the videos. I will take a look.

Imagine if your frame was slightly twisted so that the front right corner and the back left corner were low while the front left corner and the back right corner were high. If you then ran a leveling pass the spoilboard would be smoothed but not flat. It would instead be a hyperbolic paraboloid. No matter how carefully you try to square your frame it will always have at least a tiny amount of this effect.

My CNC has a cast aluminum slot plate that was factory surfaced. Rather than trying to re-surface the plate, you are better off attaching a gauge to the Z carriage, running the gauge all over the plate and then shimming the plate from below until the gauge reads its flattest.

If you want something pretty flat that’s cheap, look at stone floor tiles or stone counter cutouts. Those are lapped and are generally quite flat and stable.


Have a look here.
The ATP-5 fixture plate is the way to go.
My machine stays within .005"

1 Like

I also upgraded to an ATP work area. Jan (above) was a MOUNTAIN of help. The accuracy is bar-none. The only loss is the ability to make mistakes with your depth. When cutting things out, you will need to add a waste product. Best thing I ever did. I spent an awful lot of time squaring and tramming after, and my tolerance is in the same neighborhood as Jan’s.

1 Like

I ordered a .5" thick ATP-5 plate last week. Atp-5 has a flatness deviation of within .015″ at that thickness. Its en route to the laser cutter as I type this. Ill be using mdf runners on top of it that I will face myself.

1 Like

But what waste product? I definitely want to stay away from MDF. Which is why I got the aluminum.

I use 1/8 inch hard board from Home Depot.
Cut it to the size I need and put it under the work.

1 Like