So awhile back I purchased a linear Z axis from microcarve on eBay before they jumped their prices up. It's the same unit that Phil and others are using, I just haven't had the time to do the upgrade until now.
Here's my adapter plates that I designed in Vcarve:
The top plate will connect to the Z axis and I have a CNC Router Parts DW611 mount (here that will mount on that plate.
The bottom plate is designed to use the 4 M5 holes in the Xcarriage to secure the plate flush to the Xcarriage (M5 thru-bolts and lock nuts). It has holes (will be threaded) for T-track to mount on the plate for the SuckIt dust boot. There are 6 1/4"-20 holes on the plate that will be threaded and the linear Z axis will screw there.
I started cutting the aluminum tonight.
Feed: 48 ipm
Plunge: 15 ipm
DOC: 0.006" for the first carriage plate holes, 0.012" for the spindle mount plate.
Bit: 1/8" upcut 45 deg helix ZRN coated from Kodiak (here)
Here's where I left it for tonight:
Not sure if it's the bit or what but wow, it was just cutting this aluminum like butter. Even with what I thought was aggressive settings, it still did just fine. The cut-out toolpaths will be a bit more taxing than the holes. Using the climb cutting option in Vcarve. I did some measurements using my caliper to compare to the design and it's almost dead on accurate. I ran into some weird UGCS problems so I called it a night. Not sure if it's UGCS or the Xcontroller or the RaspberryPi. Also, not too fond of how Vcarve retracts to the safety height after each pass, When pocketing those holes, it was a lot of movement that other toolpaths may have eliminated. It still was pretty quick even with the lower DOC, as each hole was taking about 4 mins per hole @ 0.006" DOC. For me, it'd probably take that much time for me to align and drill on a drill press. At the deeper DOC, it took like 20 mins for the top counter-bores and 10 mins for the thru-holes at the top.
I don't have a clamp at the 0,0 (using some carpet tape on the backside to hold it down towards the middle) and the material is off the board more so my Z zero is higher which has led to a few holes not getting cut all the way through. I'll make some cleanup toolpaths to run and it should be good.
I still need to cut the 4 spindle mount holes then the profile cuts on both plates to cut them out. And then thread the holes (total of 6 1/4-20, 2 #8, and 4 M5)
I'm ordering my screws tonight to get everything delivered on Wednesday and then it'l be take apart the Z axis, which will be fun because one of the button screws holding the MakerSlide is stripped. I'm hoping that I can twist the makerslide to loosen it after removing the other three screws and then slide it out and take off the T-nut.
I've got the 269 oz-in motor already waiting to mount on the Z axis. I also need to figure out the Z home switch.
Are the plates excessive? Most likely. Why not just drill the Xcarriage like others? A few reasons but one is the SuckIt mounting on the plate directly is what I wanted and another is that I don't feel confident enough to drill the Xcarriage accurately. Plus I tend to make things way more complicated because well, that's what engineers do, right?