Danners Build Log

Recently got everything in and finally got the frame of my workbench in place so it’s time to put it all together! I figured I’d document the process because… well, it’s fun.

I had roughed out an idea for the workbench in the showcase thread and it’s close to the end result of what this bench will be with a few modifications. Mainly the drawer sizing and the top configuration. It will serve as more than just the home for the x-carve, but I’ll be moving all my other “tinkering” work areas close to here as well. The pull out bench you see wont be full depth so there’s knee room, and it will be a pull out assembly table, it’s just there for sizing.

Here’s the model and a few shots of the build to its current status.

Getting the top ready and the cross members for the torsion box.

Torsion complete and the top put on the bench. I did not insulate the box like many have suggested. I don’t feel there would be much change honestly, and it’s already going to be loud regardless.

Mounted the top. The torsion box is 1/2 mdf slats and skins with 3/4 ply skins on the edges(more bite for mounting) and 1/2 ply skins on top/bottom. (It’s quite heavy)

Decided to move and mount the dust collector out of the way as well because I’ve wanted to run direct runs for a while now and this gave me an excuse.

Now time for the x-carve. I have the base assembled, added some extra extrusion (I have other projects that use extrusions as well) for some extra rigidity.

And now the fun begins. A few additions just came in just in time for the build!
I had idler wheels, pulleys and belts already from other projects (9mm belts) so I went ahead and put those on the 270oz steppers that I got a few months ago(I was going to home brew one before deciding on the x-carve kit), Ill use the inventables supplied ones for another project.

@PhilJohnson Your belt clips are turning out awesome, this is my second run with them(re printing with the new supports). They are turning out great.

This is on my little Monoprice Maker Architect, It’s home brew big brother is getting a makeover so it’s in pieces and on hold till the x-carve is up.

I’ll update as things progress, it’s a fun new venture and surprisingly the wife was all for me getting the x-carve. I’m sure I’ll have some questions but fortunately I’ve been around a while lurking the forums for the last year to know what to search for. Definitely have a list of projects building up!

Hope y’all enjoy the build log! Any questions I’m happy to answer.


Had an issue with the X-Carriage, the holes for the eccentric nuts weren’t completely milled out. Tried to make it work but there was a noticeable “bump” ever revolution. Small but noticeable and I didn’t want it translating into the carves. Just got the new one in and all is good.

Here is a pic of the same issue (just on the z-probe hole) so you get an idea of what I’m talking about. Inventables was prompt in sending out a replacement.

While pulling apart the carriage I went ahead and changed out the screw hardware with my own. The screws supplied by Inventables just weren’t up to par. IE the sizing seems off on most of the M5 screws, only the ball ends of allen wrenches fit with ease. I have a TONNNN of M3-M5 of every size from other builds so I started switching to those as I went through with the blue loctite. I switched some of the button caps to socket caps as well so I could use the 4mm allen to really crank down. Screws for days! Not that anyone wants to see my metric screw collection but I took the pics so /shrug/.

Most of my low profile M5s with precision shims and nylon spacers. Also houses my spare gears, v-wheels and delrin nuts.

M3 collection with button cap, socket, and counter.

M5 collection with button cap and socket (most common sizes I use aside from the low profile ones which I use when assembling wheels or pulleys). Along with a boat load of drop in t-nuts. I love the drop ins.

Some of the hardware changed along with Phills belt clip assembly. These came out pretty good. There is a slight offset to from the belt pulleys to the clips but this could be because of the gears and pulley arrangement. I could shim them out another mm but I don’t think it will be an issue. Belts tension is right at 3.8lbs at 1 inch lift at center of the rails.

I happen to love this color, so along with the corner brackets I’m making some extrusion slot covers for any open slots. Mainly to cover so there’s no shavings to clean out but also because the hide cable easily within the slot which is good for some of the small wiring ill be adding later for some under gantry leds.

Had to barely angle the side board so the y1 stepper would clear the controller. These are dual shaft motors so it was making contact initially with the very edge of the controller. Pretty OCD so I was going to trim the shaft but I really don’t want to drag this build out perfecting absolutely everything and I can’t tell because the adjustment is so small. I couldn’t just move it out a few mm due to the drag chain bracket but look at that clearance!

Few quick garage upgrades.
Waiting for adapters for the dust collector conversion to a 2 stage. Cut a bag down because it’s only there to collect the fine dust and added a switch so I’m not having to reach up to turn it on and off. I’ll probably eventually add a relay but for now a switch is fine.

Also needed to add more lighting, it was just to dark over on that side. The opposite side of the garage has 2 already. When I hung these I switched all of the bulbs from the other set to LED to get rid of the florescent bulbs.

I mentioned being fairly OCD earlier but I must mention… during projects… it only cares about the product, not the work space! lol, so usually when I’m in the zone my work area looks like a disaster.

At this stage, I’m working on the wiring, redoing the ends to JST terminals for the steppers and just finished squaring the machine utilizing the technique mentioned by @PhilJohnson on his X-Carve Tips page. A lot of good info here for anyone starting their build. Thanks for having it up Phil!

That’s it for this update, eager to get it up and running! Hope the build log helps someone down the line.


So they are listed/linked, here are the current upgrades(most were already on hand but linked for anyone wanting direct links).

Z Upgrade
cnc4newbie Xcarve Slider 6"

Belt Upgrade
3GT3 9mm Belts x3
3GT 9mm 20 tooth pulley x3
Smooth Idler Pulley x3

Stepper Upgrade
Nema 23 270oz 2.8a x4

The shaft on these steppers is perfect size for the slider without having to trim it or make spacers like you have to with the 269oz steppers (at least I’ve seen quite a few have to make the spacers or trim the shaft).

Future upgrades
-Taller Y plates
-Y rail bracing(I could probably print some that are suitable enough)
-Some lighting for the gantry
-I’ll DIY a dust boot, probably one of the first carves after it’s dialed in. the Suckit is pricey and longgg lead time.
-Relay for DC and Spindle
-I’ll eventually add a laser maybe. I already have designs for a co2 laser build but I am currently leaning to a single multi functional machine since space in a garage is well… limited.

Side note, the PC being used is in my closet with my server rack(IT guy). I have a VM setup for garage use, just have to set the monitor etc back up. USB, hdmi, all run over cat5 from the server to the garage tied to that VM so It’s only a keyboard, mouse and monitor near the X-Carve.

Edit: Not sure if this will be an issue or not, it seems the cables for the steppers shipping with the newer versions of the X-Carve are non shielded. At least this set isn’t. I already add ferrite beads but we shall see if the non shielded wiring has any issues.

Anyone with a newer model able to chime in on this? Having had an issue or non issue?


Note to self…

Look at what you entered before you jog when calibrating. (I’m using UGS currently)

Z step was set at 100, wanted to set it to 15. Quickly typing it in and hitting Z- tried to cram my bit 100mm into my waste board because I changed feed rate by mistake :rofl:

Aside from Z, both X and Y are dialed in. Final values ended up being 26.667 for $100/$101 (pending further calibration but this is pretty on point atm).

Forgot to loctite the set screws on the Z collar so one popped out(probably why it sounded so damn loud suddenly). Letting it set up now :expressionless:

Hey Phil I’ve already got all the parts you have just waiting on the same stepper 270oz motors to come in. How is everything running?

Have only done a few test cuts but it runs great. The few cuts I’ve done have come out clean and very accurate. Still have some other test carves I want to try to work out some feeds and speeds but so far the only complaintni have is the ungodly loud Z axis. I’ll take a video tonight, maybe someone can tell me what’s up with it. It’s accurate and smooth but the noise is horrendous. (Basically just extremely loud and gets louder when near the top while homing). I greased the screw just to see if it helped but not much. My 3d printer z axis makes a similar noise when homing only. Anyone else experience this? Will upload vid later.

I squared mine as I was building it and the first thing I did was calculate accurate step/mm numbers. Surprisingling I didn’t have to mess with tram sat all, it seems pretty on point. I’ll take some pics of the few test cuts between now and the weekend for the next update.

Here is a quick clip of the noise from the Z axis. It’s loudest while homing near the top. Slight pressure on the spindle lessens it a bit but not much. I have the same issue on my smaller 3d printer while homing and have no idea what it is. I assume it has something to do with the speed and micro stepping(just guessing here) because the same issue on the printer ONLY happens while homing.

If anyone has any ideas, I’m all ears! It only happens on my direct drive machines. My bigger printer pictured above has 4 lead screws but is belt driven and is nearly silent.

Highly irritating sounds below.

I had a similar noise. I changed to 4X microstepping and it got much better. It’s just the combination of a lower feed rate and the 2X microstepping causing a horrible resonance, in my opinion.

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Thanks Justin. Glad someone else has come across it. Going to give it a try tonight and see what difference it makes.

I really dig the channel covers. gives the machine a whole new look.

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Right? They are nice for hiding wires within the channel as well which is how I have wires running on the 3D Printer pictured above.

This definitely made it much quieter! I still hear it from time to time depending on the feed but it’s acceptable now! I appreciate the tip!

I was printing some dust guards for the sides to keep the belts and rails clean but the print time was crazy with the big printer being down. I had modeled up some to cut out on the x carve then realized how much easier it would be to just cut and drill holes in the 1/4 mdf I had laying around! Not everything needs to be CNC’d :rofl:

Just hit it with some black paint and cleared and was good to go. I’ll add one across the back as well just to keep it clean back there.

To get clearance to go to the height of the drag chain rail(as high as I could go) I had to reverse the screws for the pulleys. Also gave me a chance to add the extra shim.

There’s not a lot of clearance but…it’s enough!

It definitely helped keep the belt cleaner! much easier on the clean up as well. Not that it will need them after the dust boot gets here but it took a whole 30 minutes to cut paint and drill (less dry time) to do. I’ll post pics of the project on the waste board later, this is just to show the guards at work. The T-Square also worked out better for the stop block than the prior one I cut out of 3/4 ply.

Here are a few pics to show the tram, I’m really happy that it came out so dead on the first time. No lines to clean up.

The only place I have noticed them really is here on this rectangle when carving out an organizer for bits. (top right)

It’s mostly complete at this point but I still plan to do a few more add-ons and upgrades so I’ll keep updating as things progress on the x-carve (and on the work table if anyone is interested, just let me know!).


Not much to update on the build log right at this moment but keep an eye out for my project log!

Will be completing the work bench here in the next few weeks. Still have to trim the torsion box and build the drawers. Next up after that is the assembly table that will go underneath the middle section. Having fun with little projects for a bit at the moment though. Trying not to have 15 things going at once :joy:. Caved on the SuckIt, just waiting for it to ship(should ship this week).

Next upgrade on the list is a laser. Haven’t decided which one. It was always on the list as an upgrade but… its priority is moving up a bit after the wife also go into it!

Anyone in Fort Worth / Dallas know of a good local hardwood/exotic wood supplier?

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This is a great idea!!

Thanks! Like most things, there’s really no end in site.

I did really like the T Square. It was a solid low profile stop but I ended up switching to another method to try out which I’m about to change as well. The problem I had with the T Square was that I always had no way to clamp the left side with my current clamp setup without producing some longer versions.

I am just using some blocked mdf tied into 2 of the posts on the left and bottom to create a 90deg corner but this is changing as well. I’ve contemplated doing dowels so that there’s nearly 0 interference with clamps. The other thought I had was to just go T track like most have or make a few dog holes for those self aligning edge drop ins that Kreg(i’m pretty sure) makes.

I’ll eventually decide for sure what works best for me. The T Square would probably still be in place if I went with a smaller one.

Ha, went and looked. Didn’t even notice it when I watched the first time(the white clamp). I assume this is what you are referring to. Didn’t even think of that, it’s like the one area that I’ve never been able to clamp lol.

Cool idea. May give it a try!

Yup I hear ya Phil. It crossed my mind looking at his setup.

I was looking at that on your photo as well and was thinking possibly a shorter and less wide square may work.

When I had my original bump stop I drilled holes in the same configuration as the waste board even though I only screwed it down in 3 different places on each plane. I was able to use the other holes for my clamps.

Where can I see this Phil?
Been looking through your posts for it.

Ended up adding t-track. I haven’t made any clamps for it yet or surfaced/done the bump stop portion yet. I did run a carve to drill out all of the holes. The are all lined up with the original wasteboard holes and I used a few of them to fasten them down. So there’s some m5x20 or 25mm to keep it tight by utilizing the inserts already in place. It also allows me to clamp still with the m5 screws/clamp set I have from Inventables.

The Z loss isn’t really a big deal atm, I do plan on doing plates soon to raise it but for now it’s a non issue. I’ll eventually replace the stock board with something more rigid like alu when it becomes needed.

Probably trimming out the work bench and getting the drawers built soon. It’s hard to break away lol but it’s hurting me that it’s not complete yet. Anyone have a good source for some non arm/leg costing 48in slides? :joy:

great build, thanks for sharing @PhillipDanner

1 question I have a similar noise issue on the z axis, what did you adjust to go from x2 to x4, did you adjust the dip switches and which ones

@JadySwinkels correct, I adjusted the Z to get rid of noise. I switched mine back because you lose quite a bit of torque doing the switch to 4x. The noise was only an issue when homing and I’d rather just deal with it and keep the torque.