Drag Chain Alternatives?

Hi everyone,

I recently added some cables to my 500mm X Carve and found that the added resistance it caused in my drag chains was undesirable, and borderline unacceptable. I’m currently working on a wall mounted electronics enclosure and, in the meantime, thought it might be a good time to upgrade my cable routing. I honestly don’t like the drag chain design at all. The force on the gantry is a variable of its position. The stepper motors are strong so it shouldn’t matter, but it’s still non-ideal.

What are some alternatives to using a drag chain?

I was thinking of having my cables come out above the machine and left dangling with some slack down to the Z Axis gantry for connections to be made, with only the Y axis stepper motors then being run back through the drag chain (for the sake of simplicity, and the assumption that 1 stepper cable will result in minimal resistance against motor movement.

What do you think?

The original Shapeoko didn’t have drag chains, and a variety of alternatives were worked up:


Interesting. The aluminum bar arms is so snazzy. Oooo, what about one arm that was horizontal, from a wall mounted enclosure box to the Z Axis gantry assembly? Or a vertical arm that was horizontally hinged at the enclosure box? No, I wouldn’t want to put the strain on the gantry. Hmm. I guess I could go with the original thought and just let a bundle of wires dangle down to the gantry.


My day job is a drag chain specialist for a company in the UK.

I’m sorry to say but the x carve is shipped with a chain which really isn’t up to the job. I upgraded mine to a Kabelschlepp 0250. Fa/Ma on the x axis. This chain has enough strength to span the distance from the fixed point on the end Y plate to the X carriage without sagging. Also it has opening cross stays so i can run the power cable for the Dewalt router though the chain.


Old picture of my machine with the larger drag chains.

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