I just ordered my X-Carve and I can’t wait for it to arrive!
I’ve already started thinking about my first few projects and I have a question -
How do you handle materials that don’t fit between the stock waste board and the spindle?
Does the wasteboard increase the rigidity of the entire system? I am thinking of mounting the frame of the X-Carve on a 2x4 base and using some sort of adjustable height “table”. Thoughts?
I am really looking forward to this new tool in my shop and this new group of collaborators.
I mounted mine directly to the MDF surface of my folding table, with the bolts coming from below instead of from above, which gains the vertical height of both the wasteboard and the 20x20 extrusion frame. It’s just as rigid if not more.
I then cut a piece of MDF that fits inside the frame, since that was actually too much vertical space for most applications… but it’s just screwed down to the table surface, and I can remove it as needed, or replace it if I damage it.
Oh, and by the way, you can actually get the same effect by mounting the original waste board underneath the frame rather than over it. You will be carving on the bottom of the waste board, so you won’t have the silkscreen grid, but it works fine. It’s what I did to prove out the idea before mounting directly to my table top.
And to reply more directly to your original post, I think you could certainly cut out at least part of the area within the frame and still have decent rigidity, if you had a good frame overall. There’s a neat project from a gentleman in Jordan (I believe) where he replaced part of the work surface with an old workmate bench, which allows him to work on the ends of long pieces of stock, for example.
There are a few ways to handle it but let’s answer your questions first:
Yes, the wasteboard does provide a lot of structural rigidity for the machine. Removing it with the machine built as standard would not be a wise choice.
Several people have, after getting their machine dialed in and several projects under their belts, cut taller endplates out of thicker aluminum. This, combined with a longer Z-axis rail should give you an extra inch or maybe two of height.
I’ve seen a couple of people who cut a hole in a section of their wasteboard to accommodate taller projects.
If I were going to modify or remove the wasteboard, I would first (depending on which size X Carve you’re getting) beef up the frame that it sits on. The .5m version has the wasteboard sitting on two rails, front and back. I added center, left, and right rails and some right-angle brackets to make my wasteboard very flat and very rigid. If you just went with a perimeter frame with some right angle brackets, you could get away with removing the wasteboard, but I would be extra careful about making sure the machine stays square and true.
Do you have links to the table mod threads?
Correct. I don’t think I will need a longer Z axis, just an increase in the distance from top of the waste board to the bottom of the spindle.
Consider that as standard the Z axis moves to almost its lowest point on the rail already. If you add more space between the spindle and wasteboard, the spindle will likely not be able to reach the wasteboard at all anymore. This means you will have to add spacer boards for any cuts you make in thin material.