How to accommodate materials deeper than the z-axis?

I’m preparing to buy and have a question I’m sure many of you have already dealt with.

My initial project is an art project and will involve cutting faces into beams and wood pieces of various sizes,
including pieces of cut / split firewood.

the question is how to mount a block of firewood onto the wasteboard while providing sufficient clearance for the milling head.

I understand some people may have created a ‘waste board with a hole in the middle’ type of setup, allowing for items > z-axis to be accommodated, and wondered if anyone had advice/pictures/schematics on how to set something like this up?

Thanks in advance!



Here is what I did…

I went to a local fab shop and had a custom steel frame made for my X-Carve. It cost me less than $100.
I built a small, open wooden table to support the frame. PIcs are below. Hit me up if you have questions.

I had the fab shop cut 2 pieces of angle that match the width of the machine. I drilled holes so I could screw material to the angle and clamp it to the steel frame.

Here is a video of me flattening a log:


You basically have 2 options to do something like that:

  1. You can modify the bottom frame to allow large items to be inserted, like @TysonSwan (awesome table!). You can include removable boards if you like, so you can mill small items and remove the board to mill something larger.

  2. You can raise the X and Y axes by getting taller plates Y axis endplates. Inventables doesn’t sell them, so you’d either need to source them or make them yourself. If it helps, I made Y axis stabilizing braces out of 1/8" aluminum on my X-Carve (Y Axis Braces and Belt Dust Shield). If I was to make plates to raise the height though, I’d make them out of steel.

If you want to make your own plates, the drawings with dimensions are available on the Inventables site. All you’d have to do is modify them and then either make your own, or take them to a machine shop to get them made. If you use steel, be sure you paint or powder coat it so it doesn’t rust away.

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That is simply awesome.
did you need to do anything to chuck the table down so the motion of the milling head didn’t cause the table to move or vibrate?
It’s been a question I had how solid of a work surface I needed to mount the x-carve on…

Great question! I’m currently working on a mobile platform for my X-Carve. Once completed and tested, I will be sharing with the forum but I still have quite a bit of work to do with it.

It is very stable but I ran small bolts through the plates at the end of the Y rails into the angle frame. It is rock solid.

I have MDF pieces I can insert if I have flat pieces I want to carve.

Don’t really have any knowledge of metal shops around here, but this caught my eye on amazon:

Thought I could probably build something pretty appropriate if I started with this, used a split MDF top, and maybe added a brace of some kid underneath to attach the work piece to…

Does that seem reasonable (if a little more expensive) to you?

It seems reasonable. You will just need to get creative.

Just out of curiosity, where do you live?

I’m physically close to Philly. Where are you?

I guess we’ll see: I ordered all the kit last night…

I’m in central Wisconsin. I wouldn’t think it would be too tough to find a welding shop.

Great idea, the Z-clearance has always been something i wanted more of…then again the bit size/ axis assembly limits to some extent too. Have you seen the video by Frank Howarth? Simlar idea with the open frame.

How is your seel frame holding up? I am always concerned with percision of steel members being they are rolled vs aluminum being extruded.

I have been thinking about something like that for the future. I think i would probably end up going with a full extrusion aluminum table so i could bolt the x-carve directly to it. In fact it would in a sense take the place of the entire bottom work area assembly. 1000mmx1000x750mm came out to be a bit over $200 inc parts

I don’t know what was more impressive about that video - his shop or his CNC! WOW!!!

That is pretty neat that way he modified his table. For my applications, I like mine better.

The table is holding up very well, though I had to use a flattening bit when I put the MDF insert in place.

Interesting on the Misumi: I had not seen that.
I bought a 44" Kreg steel frame table on Amazon for slightly less, but not sized absolutely to the XCarve.

Step 1 is to put a top on it so I can assemble the x-carve on top of it.
my thought is to simply buy 3 15"x45"x 3/4" plywood to use as a top: the middle one could be removable;
the table is u-shaped steel frames with a 3" inside vertical, so I could get some 2x4 cut to 44" x 3" and use it as bracing underneath at the edges of the cuts.

Not really sure about the x-carve then sitting on top of that with a pass-thru:
I think need to put it together to figure out the geometry of how to do that…

I finished the split top table today and mounted a deep item in it for carving.
here are some photos:


Can I ask why the new frame was needed? Could you not build a table with the existing frame fitting into it? I will need max 6cm x 70cm hole and I have the 1000x1000 model so that hole would fit within the frame. Just checking I’m not missing something as I’m very new to x carve (still building it!). Thanks in advance!

sorry, who are you asking and what new frame are you referring to?

@DaveEastham -

I wanted the ability to drop almost anything into that open space. I have mounted 60 lbs. stumps in there and carved. I’m not sure the existing frame would support that kind of weight and my opening is wider.

what have you cut out of them? curious…

Here is a cutting board I just engraved the end.

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Now that’s an awesome idea. Do you use a jig for placing the stock in the machine?