Coming Soon: SON OF X-CARVE

SMALLER. STRONGER. FASTER. Thanks to the Halloween contest and my habit of collecting parts over many years of DIY CNC type machines, I will attempt to create a dedicated aluminum cutting x-carve. The base is made from commercial fixture laminate, the frame is from a single piece of makerslide bolted together with gusset plates to be dead on square and flat (will still resurface at some point.

Anyhow, didn’t get very far yet because after tapping at least 100 holes in my lifetime, I finally broke a tap. No idea why. I lubricated, was backing out, etc. Could be that that tap was several years old. Here are some pics:

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Rigidity mod built in.

Frame and wasteboard are one. The entire thing will be bolted down to a flat surface.


This looks awesome. I’m a bit jealous, I’ve been wanting to build a CNC from scratch for years but I always got hung up on small details.

Now that I’ve put the X-Carve together and there is this awesome community, a fully custom machine may be in my future!

Good luck, I will definitely be following your progress in this!

That looks very cool Joe. What a fun project! BTW, congrats on the Halloween contest. I’ve already spent my gift certificate and ordered all the parts needed to extend my X-Carve.


That was my original intent. Somehow… looking at my parts pile, loaded up on cold medicine, home from work sick… I ended up here.

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I am two “smooth idlers” away from glory. I knew there was going to be something. I will assemble as is with only one x-axis stepper and see how it goes.

Today got the stiffening mod done (probably unnecessary on this small machine but I want EVERYTHING over built). And completed the assembly of the gantry using nylock nuts and eccentric spacers instead of eccentric nuts. Plus, I used regular bolts to make tightening easier.

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You should cal it Al…

How’s this going @Earwigger?

DONE. Kind of. Bits arrived today thanks to some awesome forum member. Aluminum stock is ready for pick up. Machine is calibrated down to .002". I also have @JohnScherer’s mount and a Makita mounted. Seems so small compared to the Hitachi and a bit louder at high rpms. I also have written down a table of spindle RPMs at various Makita settings.

Can’t wait to try it. I did test cut some wood and leveled my wasteboard and insert a sacrificial MDF board. As soon as I get a few minutes I will post an update.

I ordered two X-Carve style x-axis plates to replace my old style plates, so I will probably put those on someday, but I used M6 bolts to hold the makerslide in place and shimmed it square. So, it will not be a simple swap and if early cutting goes well, I might just make bigger plates out of quarter inch aluminum.

Alas with holidays coming, I have lots of stuff to make for people and a full time job and two kids. So, progress is slow.

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Awesome to hear! I’m excited to see some completed photos! I hear you on the busy holiday season, I’m minus one kid, so maybe not as hectic, but busy none-the-less!

Update: Aluminim milling is pretty freaking awesome. I have lots to fix on my new machine:

  1. Z is losing steps (upping amperage and changing microstep settings, then recalibrating)
  2. Belts are not tight enough - need tensioners
  3. MUST find away to contain the chips.

Still, this cut deep and fast with no chatter whatsoever. I am pretty excited but won’t be able to finish until after new years. Here are a couple of tokens I cut using viper 2 flute end mill and 30 degree engraving bit, that a snapped with the z axis failed to retract fully.


Looking good!