Input on upgrading X and Y with different motors

Hi I don’t actually own an XCarve, yet…

I’ve decided to roll my own with the controller, stepper drives, and motors.

It all seems pretty straight forward but my question comes from the Y axis and how the XCarve is set up to use two motors for its Y movement. This should effectively double the torque of the Y axis, correct? Does this make the X axis the weakest link?

So if I’m looking to upgrade, would it be effective to just get a motor for the X axis that has double the torque of the motors used for the Y axis?

Note: the Z axis is limited because a motor with higher torque would also be too long for the space that it has in the stock XCarve configuration. Also, since the Z axis typically moves the least, how valuable is it really to upgrade its motor?

So TL;DR, I’m imagining one NEMA 23 140oz. for the Z axis, two NEMA 23 140oz. for the Y axis, and one NEMA 23 270oz. for the X axis. Is this feasible? Would I see any significant benefit? And would I have extra considerations to make for the controller and motor drives?

If anything your Z should be your largest motor. It the only axis actually lifting anything. The othe axis role on wheels.

Think of it this way. You have a two thousand pound car. A single person can push it on flat ground. But up hill… not so much. Your Y axis moves the most mass but again it’s on wheels. When I upgraded my motors I went with 300’s on all of them. But then again I live under the philosophy “ if it’s worth doing. It’s worth over doing” :+1:

As for the controller. It depends on what sending program you intend to use. If that’s easel then the X-Controller or @PhilJohnson has a great GRBL based controller that he designed. Search Demon CNC in the forum.

I went with a G540 and Mach 3 for my set up. It’s a nice all in one BOB/Driver set up.

That makes a ton of sense… but the Z axis is on a screw is it not? I don’t have any close up pics of the carriage to verify. The screw would act like a reduction gear, and shouldn’t even allow the the Z axis to drop if it had no connection to a motor.

Am I wrong?.. Just had a thought too… Is it harder to push a bit down into a material than to mill it from side to side?

1 Like

I’ve actually upgraded my z as well. But I have 3 different screw drive systems. And every one of them will sometimes “screw down” from the weight of the router with out power to the motor.

And yes. The motor has to drive the bit into the material with accuracy. However the proper plunge rate and feeds and speeds will reduce the amount of pressure required to make this happen. Imagine
wrong rates =cold knife throgh butter.
Correct rates = hot knife through butter.
If that makes sense lol.

Ya I feel like I haven’t nailed down which controller I should use yet. Still learning and going over options. The Planet CNC mk3 seems to get high praise. The Gecko stuff does as well but it’s more expensive. I’m currently looking at @PhilJohnson 's post on a cheap controller setup.

One of my goals for this is to stay cheap, just not stupidly cheap. I do intend to mill thick plate aluminum after all.

1 Like

If you look at some of the bigger machines. They have air assist for lifting the massive z axis assembly’s they sport. They are usually ball screw set ups.

So I should look more into upgrading the Z motor as well then. What tends to be the most common way of adapting a larger Z motor around here?

Phil’s system is based on an Arduino. Very inexpensive as far as controllers go. Lots of great options for free sending programs going that way. His set up is well documented. And he is one of the most helpful/knowledgeable guys here. From what I can tell it’s a solid set up.

I don’t have any experience with planet CNBC’s stuff. Have heard good thing tho. I went with the gecko G540 because it was under 300$ And all I would need to buy. Mach 3 is $175 I think it was. No matter where you get it. However With Mach 3 you cannot design with Easel. So you will need a CAD/CAM program as well.

Luckily I’m not married to any CNC programs at this point. One of the biggest drawback for the Mach3 software is the boards need to connect with a parallel port right? I don’t have any 20 year old computers any more.

Are USB to Parallel port adapters adequate?

If you were to upgrade any of them. I would do the Z before any of them. Like I said I have 300’s. These are the largest I have seen anyone do for a 1000 x 1000 machine. I think Phil uses 280’s on his machine.
I’m not sure what comes with the kits any more. If you have a choice to not buy motors then I would upgrade them all. If you don’t have a choice then stick with the stock motors until you see how it will work out.
A lot of this stuff is like working on a hot rod. The engine we have is working just fine. But I really want the bigger one lol.

I ran mine using a 2 year old Asus gaming computer with Windows 10 and a UC100. Works great.

Heh, part of the duty for my CNC mill will be to make parts for my hotrod! I’m always being bit by that bigger-better-faster bug.

I’m doing more price comparing of the Gecko G540. I had actually looked past it before when I was looking at their individual stepper drives. The all-in-one nature of the G540 is enticing.

$100 for the UC100… The sub-$10 adapters on Amazon are out of the question?

I have no experience with the adapters on Amazon. Can you post a link. But for $10 couldn’t really hurt to give one a shot.


1 Like

Hey I just want to come back with an epiphany I had relating to this.

My original idea hinged on the fact that there are two motors on the Y axis, so double the torque. But that’s only really true if the spindle is in the middle of the gantry when it’s making the cut. If the spindle is cutting while at either end of the gantry then the motor on that end would need to be delivering closer to the full torque…

So having the same sized motors on X and Y does make sense.

Sorry for the bump, this topic just needed extra closure :wink: