I’ve been looking at an X-Carve for a couple years and finally convinced my wife that it’s time. I hit the buy button on a 1000mm just after Christmas. I can’t wait to get it and get working.
I have a question about the table or stand it should sit on, though. I planned to build an extension to my workbench (2x4 and 4x4 construction with 1/2" MDF top) until it warms up in the spring and I can get the garage cleaned out and make a more permanent solution. I’ve been reading a lot about how sturdy the stand needs to be, torsion boxes, accuracy issues, etc. and it’s got me a little nervous.
So, just what kind of issues would I see if the stand isn’t stable enough? For example, a card table vs a sturdy workbench with a torsion box. The extreme ends of the scale. I’ll probably fall somewhere closer to the sturdy bench side but am pretty curious. Thanks!
Ultimately, the quality of your carves will depend on the surface the machine sits on. You’re fastening extrusions together with brackets, which means that any torque applied along any of the axis will try to twist or shift the frame. Adding the wasteboard will help with rigidity, but ideally you’ll want to fasten the frame to a solid surface that won’t shift or move.
A card table will suck, plain and simple, and the movement of the carriage will likely cause the table to sway.
A workbench is far better, and will give you a surface to attach your machine to. Just make sure that it’s as level as possible, and sturdy.
IMHO, the torsion box is the best, as it provides a dead-flat surface that’s not subject to warping, twisting, shifting etc…
Once you have the machine setup on your workbench ( I’m assuming the card-table was just an example, and you won’t be going that route ), be sure to search the forum and read up on tramming as well as surfacing the wasteboard. Once the machine is mounted to a sturdy surface, you’ll want to make sure the bed is aligned properly to the cutting head. This will ensure the most pleasant carving experience and help eliminate the frustration factors involved with the common “just plug it in and start carving” mis-conception.
No table or stand is going to help you more than using a torsion box. This is what your X-Carve should be sitting on. A crappy table with a torsion box is more important, than a good table without a torsion box. You can’t get around this one. They are easy to build, relatively cheap, and will help you every single day that you use your X-Carve. Here is a video which explains the basics about them;
I highly recommend a torsion Box for your machine. I discarded the stock base and made my own torsion Box base out of extruded aluminum with a 3/4” skin of MDF on both sides. With this set up, I can use saw horses underneath the Xcarve and not have an issue with sagging, I could even hang the machine from the ceiling from the base given the proper support.
If that doesn’t confirm that I recommend the torsion Box, I don’t know what else will.
However with that said there are other methods that will be sufficient. Your mileage may vary with any other method though.
Do a forum search for Racor Lift. This seems extremely feasible as well although stiffness and stability will be sacrificed somewhat. It seems like some individuals have had good results with these lifts.
I own 4 of these lifts and they are in use in my shop for storage purposes. I have not tried using one for a CNC though. But I am extremely satisfied with the functionality of the lifts.
I love the idea of the lift because my work area is not huge. The torsion box seems like a great idea, but watching that video… geez… I don’t have a jointer, a planer, a table saw, a brad nailer, a block plane or those cool Rockler 90 degree clamps (amongst other things). Can an average Joe make one that will be effective, or even close, with a chop saw, a drill, a hammer and some screws, nails and glue?
You don’t need any of those things to make a nice torsion box. I’m in the process of building one right now. I am documenting how it’s built and will be posting about it soon. You don’t need to use the hardwood on the outside, although it’s a really nice touch. You can even use MDF as long as you seal it. You can build a nice torsion box for under a $100.
Weather permitting, hopefully within the next month. I am planning on epoxy coating the hardwood oak trim I’m using. I was also thinking about doing some inlays on it. I need to get it completed because I can’t start building my X-Carve until it’s finished. I’ll probably start the new thread about it in about a week or two.
Do you have a jig saw?
Sadly I think this is pretty universal with all (or at least most) Home Depot and Loews. They’ve made cuts for me that were over 1/4" off what they were supposed to be. I no longer use this “service” from them. It’s free for a reason
I purchased my extrusions from inventables. However I have found other sources that are cheaper since then such as 80/20.net.
I used the 40x40 extrusions and the 20x40 extrusions on the 1800mm lengths. And applied 3/4” MDF to both sides. I feel no sag when I have had to stand on the table. It is solid.
You showed a cheap stand, I don’t see why it won’t work as long as it holds the weight snd is stable. You can even put sandbags or heavy tools on the bottom to help keep it from walking. If the Racor Lift will suffice this should as well. Granted it might dance slightly so your mileage may vary somewhat for accuracy but should still be tolerable.
Also when I have Lowes or HD cut my panels, I ALWAYS have them cut oversized. Rarely are the cuts square or accurate. I have seen them mark the sheets with a black marker with a 1/8” tip. I like for my cuts to be much more accurate especially if the pieces are all supposed to be the same size.
It would be Awesome to have one of those $5000 Powermatic Panel Saws like the Home centers. It just makes me sick to see how inaccurate they are because of the individuals setting them up or operating them. Those Panel Saws Can be remarkable tools if they are properly set up and used, but the individuals operating them are not Woodworkers let alone Craftsmen. So you get what you pay for. A free (inaccurate) Cut.
Great, you’re already ahead of the game Many people make the mistake of making the inside grid by cutting small 2 - 4 inch pieces and then gluing or nailing them to the bottom or to each other. This does work, but it is not as easy or as strong as using a interlocking dado system for your grid. Using a grid of interlocking dadoed web pieces will increase the strength two or three fold and is very easy to make. A table saw can make these dados in a minute or two, but you can also use your jig saw to make them. An example of how to cut the dados for the grid is shown below;
You can then use glue or dowels to assemble the grid. I’ll be using dowels and glue in mine, but a good quality glue (such as Franklin International 1414 Titebond-3 Ultimate Wood Glue) will work fine.
Below is how everything in a torsion box is sandwiched together when the grid is assembled (minus the sides);