Do I really need to upgrade my X-Carve?

Or the 60min mod for just a little bit more

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What do you mean by “x stiffening” ?

The one that puts a piece of metal between the maker rails and then bolts it together. Some use screws thru the rails and steel or aluminum (flat l or t channel ) some people 3d print a spacer some use bolts several ways but I found the x mod maintains left and right rail perpendicular travel better after it was installed, some say it was to prevent sag from a heavier head stock or router over the spindle but if you push on the left of your x carriage the right does not move at the same pace I felt I was getting missed steps from this. With the mod it stays pretty much the same.

I don’t know if anyone’s mentioned it, but there’s a quick non destructive stiffening mod you should look into. You kust use some M4 bolts and clamp two pieces of 1/8" aluminum on the top and bottom of the X axis makerslides. Total cost for that is less than 20 bucks,

DO you have an image of that?

Any link to it?

Search for the 60 minute stiffening mod

I have a X-Carve 1000mm with Dewalt 611 spindle… and the only modification i’ve made (other then a crappy dust shoe) is the simple bolts to stiffen the X carriage:

If it takes you 30 minutes to tighten ~6 bolts & screws then you probably shouldn’t have a CNC :grinning:

(you can see them in this picture… No drilling needed. just push the bolt through, attach the waster on the bottom then the nut… repeat 6 times)

Its a nice to do ‘$5 upgrade’ but you can get by fine without it as long as your not cutting Aluminum. (But for ~$5… its a no brainer)

As for breaking bits… I had never touched a CNC machine until my X-Carve showed up in December. In the 100 days i’ve had it i’ve put ~50 hours cutting time on it (spindle running time). I’ve cut hardwood, softwood, acrylic, pvc and 6061 Aluminum… and i haven’t broken one bit.

I’ve cut into my clamps, plunged into my waste board, had pieces shift while cutting, had ‘tabs’ break and pieces go flying… but never a broken bit.

IMHO… the way to be happy with the X-Carve is to learn how it works. Learn about speed’s & feeds. Learn about what bit to use when. Learn how to do maintenance on it.

My ‘Stock’ X-Carve 1000mm has never let me down.

Got it, during the assembly I notice that when I move the spindle along the x axis the space between the two rails changes a little.

Thanks. Did you have to do any mods after buying the Dremel? From the video, it looks pretty lighweight. Which model Dremel did you purchase?

Thanks for the reply. I am working on finding better bits as well without breaking the bank yet. Any suggestions?

I checked that out last night, and I plan on possibly going with that, if necessary.

Whoop whoop!! It seems like I will try that first. I too desire better feed rates. Hopefully, this will help.

Thanks Robert for the advice and encouragement. I think I will try the $5 x-stiffening solution first. I saw in another thread about stiffening the y-axis with simple braces and bolts. I will try that too. So besides those two “upgrades”, should I still upgrade to the Dewalt 611? (I really want faster cutting times!) BTW, do I need a new bracket to hold the 611?

The bits I have snapped 1/32" & 1/16" were just part of how life goes I bought bull nosed tapered bits from toolstoday and they were no where near cheap but guys have lived with direct from China bits. My biggest reason is the 1/8" shank in so far 2 reducers for the bosch colt seem to slip too easily. I wanted 1/4" shank so the stock collet on the trim router would hold it. As for upgrading to a router, it depends on what you will be doing. I did a fill 3d sign and it took almost 8 hours with a router I know the stock spindle and dremel are slower and I would not run either of those for such a long project.

no mods just remove the aluminium spacer from the spindle motor and put it on the dremel. The 100 and 200 series fit but i dont know about the 3000 series.

I think the $5 stiffening solution is a great way to start out, and I’d be very interested to know if you see any kind of a difference in cut quality before and after. If you can find or make braces for the Y axis that don’t obstruct any moving parts, that’s even better. You may even be able to cut out aluminum braces similar to mine ( with the original spindle after you get the X axis stiffened, although I’m hesitant to recommend that since it would take a LONG time.

The 611 does require a new bracket, and the 611 itself is ~$110 USD, so it’s a bit of an investment. I encourage upgrading to it when you can afford it, since you’ll ask yourself why you waited so long the first time you use it. I did a simple before and after comparison with the original spindle and the 611 (, and the cut time dropped from 105 minutes to 6 minutes, although a more ideal speed with a cleanup cut would have taken it up to 14 minutes. If you want faster cuts, replacing the spindle will make your day.

I second the “30-minute mod” with the bolts. It helped control some flex in the x axis with my spindle, and I have the Dewalt 611.
I have also cut the aluminum brackets for the y axis stiffening mod @RobertA_Rieke put together, but have not had time to install them. It took roughly 13 minutes per bracket with my settings and the 611 to mill.
I did not break any bits until I did trial and error cutting to see if my machine could match the calculator settings in aluminum. It has been a fun learning process so far.
I bought my machine with the Dewalt and have never used the 24V spindle, so I can’t speak for the upgrade. I knew I wanted to be able to mill aluminum from the beginning.


Whoa!!! 105 to 6 minutes? I am convinced!

I think the best things you can do to the machine are little things that help its reliability. Most of the people on here who get frustrated with their machines find out that it’s a loose wire somewhere or a dodgy connection, or a loose V wheel or eccentric nut, or slack in the belts. It’s also the first thing we always tell anyone having problems.

So, my advice is that you don’t need to spend big bucks on upgrades to be happy with your machine. I was very happy with mine even before upgrading the spindle. You can spend little bucks and be meticulous and painstaking with your setup and you’ll be much happier. I devised a way of mounting the eccentric nutted V-wheels to make them easier to adjust and so that they won’t come loose. I also used crimp-on fork connectors to terminate my wires so that it’s easier to troubleshoot loose connections. Things like that don’t cost a lot, but make a big difference to the reliability of the machine, and really that’s where the fun is.

I have been getting 100% carbide bits (1/4 and 1/8 shank) from a local machine tool supply house-H&C in Rochester NY. I just call them and they have them waiting at the “will call” window.

These machine bits are a lot cheaper and seem to be sharper than the carbide router bits that I used to use with my wood working.