First project AND first notable mistake today! Need a little advice

Well, one good day with my machine up and running before I put it temporarily out of commission with a stupid mistake. I cut a few things successfully and then stupidly forgot to check the toolpath simulation before starting up a surfacing run on a project board. Sent my 1" wide bit straight into a clamp right away, before I could even react… I shattered the clamp, bent the m5 bolt from it, chipped up the router bit pretty badly. But worst of all, I knocked the Z-carriage off its rail on the bottom two v-wheels. The top two were still in place, but the whole thing was leaning forward. Didn’t realize til I went to home it and it wouldn’t move upwards. Got in there and found that the bottom left v-wheel was wrecked. :frowning: Got it out and examined the pieces; it looks like the bolt, nut and rest of the carriage are all fine, it’s just the v-wheel that took the hit, so a decently cheap fix and a good learning experience.

But I wanted a second opinion; is there anything else I should consider replacing at the same time? Anything else I should carefully examine for issues? I would hate to replace it and realize I didn’t think to inspect something else that is broken. Not to mention that shipping on a single v-wheel alone costs more than the part itself… I’d love to skip on ahead and upgrade to the cnc4newbies slider right now instead, but it’s a little outside of the budget, sadly.

On the plus side, thanks to this forum and all the reading I was able to do between black Friday and when I finally got my machine assembled, my first couple projects went really smoothly! I was using g28, a bump stop, a v-bit and 2 stage carving right off the bat! So thanks, guys!

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I’d check everything associated with the Z axis… check the Delrin nut and the lead screw… if the lead screw is out of true (bent) in any way you will have more problems…

Lower profile clamps, like side clamps and cam clamps, are both in my easel design list already. I just hadn’t gotten that far yet! But it’s my own fault for not checking the toolpaths first. I foolishly assumed I knew where the machine was heading first.

And will do on checking the lead screw and delrin nut. I was trying to avoid pulling the z-carriage off, but better safe than sorry!

I replaced my entire Z axis with a similar one that Phil did.
There is a company that sells one specifically for the Xcarve.
After bolting it on and running checks it fits perfectly and is nearly perfect 90 degree to the frame!
Couldn’t believe how easy it was to install.
I use Mach3 but you can follow Phil’s tutorials on setting up GRBL to the new Z.
I would recommend this as an alternative.
You will have to be more careful as its bolted to the carriage. If you run into the bold on a clamp it may tweak something.
However the accuracy is way better.


That’s 100% the plan, using the CNC4Newbie one. I just can’t afford it quite yet, sadly. Gotta keep the stock one running a bit longer.

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