Fixing the dust and chips clogging the Y motor pulley and belts

I find that the design of the X-Carve has a major flaw. It does not handle dust and chips well. Many people have built vacuum pickups for their machines, and this solves some of the issues. However both X and Y pulleys, belts and V-wheels are very exposed to whatever remaining dust gets out. I have tried to deal with part of the issue by creating Y pulley/belt dust covers. They seem to help. I have published the model (Openscad) over on Thingiverse ( [] ).

I notice that the V-wheels seem to fill up with compressed dust no matter what I do. I would be interested to hear what other dust mitigation approaches people are taking ( beyond hooking the shop vac to the spindle), as a way to improve X-Carve reliability.

Thanks -Bennett


I’ve been wondering if that “dust” that we keep finding jammed into our V-wheels, if it is actually wood dust or wether it is the wheels slowly decomposing or wether it is the finish from the anodizing process on the makerslides.

It would be interesting to know if we just had a laser cutter or a 3D printer head installed on the Z axis, instead of a cutting spindle, if the same “dust” would still appear on the V-wheels.

Using steel V-wheels would also be a good variable to test as well

Wish I had enough extra gear laying around to test my hypothesis.

Someday i will figure out a test gizmo to test it, if only to cure my own curiosity.

Steel wheels require steel v-track, and that gets really expensive, really quickly. Putting steel wheels on aluminum ( even hard anodized track) quickly wears the track down.

Saw this on thingiverse this morning. Much nicer than my design!

very nice !

Has anyone put wipers/brushes to clean the track ahead of the v-wheeels?
I thought that a small brush attached to the X and Y carriages could help remove the dust before it gets ground into the v-wheel. Perhaps made from a door dust seal , or perhaps felt.

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I know that the professional CNC machines often use bellows to protect their track and drive hardware. I saw that someone in this forum is trying to build a bellows out of a slinky. I assume that would encircle the X-axis. Brushes are problematic in that they need to be “sprung” so that they exert the right amount of pressure on the V-track. But it is something to noodle.

Was thinking the same thing, if you were to pair it with a downdraft table it would be similar to a turbo. Similar to the photo but would probably run it in revers to pull dust and debris away from the machine and moving parts. I would be cautious though, if you don’t filter out your air well you are simply introducing fine particles into the air and onto your machine.

After an hour you will be circulating super heated steam. If the motor does not melt first.

Dust extractors will leak and blow fine dust back into the air. Best to have the dust extractor outside.
As @AllenMassey said, you’ll be recirculating warm then hot air and your vacuum cleaner will not get the cooling it needs.

This setup has worked well to keep things clean.

All done with easel.

My first impressions were the same about the v wheels not being guarded but would like to find out if anyone has had issues leaving them unguarded. I’ve only had my machine a month and notice the buildup on the wheels but if I wipe the rails off after each project it doesn’t seem to get any worse and the wheels don’t appear to be breaking down. I could see it being a big issue if I were carving aluminum but has anyone noticed this creating issues with only carving wood?

I am a manufacturing teacher and we build electric guitars, I have a few commercial routers but I added an x carve to help with the bottleneck and to give the kids a cool build. It was all student built. So far, its doing great at cutting guitars, I made some changes to CAM, mainly leaving some stock then taking a really light finishing pass for accuracy. I have the students run a shop vac to keep chips off the rails, and we clean the rails and wheels every project. It seems a little bit of buildup on the wheels is okay. I think a combo of a good dust collection and the guard show above is what I am going to do for the one I am building at home. I do have larger 270 in/oz steppers. And brackets on the y axis slides.