Meet Sam-Bo

Wanted to share my Xcarve Build. Which I have Named Sam-Bo.

I upgraded the Y-axis Rails to accommodate 1800mm Makerslides. To reduce any Side to Side flex, I bolted a 20x40mm extrusion to the inside of each Y maker slide. I attached this 20x40mm extrusion to the maker slide using 3/4" aluminum angle iron, Drilled every 6" on alternating sides. This took away all side to side flex. In Hindsight, i would rather use 2.5" angle Iron for this attachment. This would have done two things. First, the piece of angle iron that runs horizontal and attaches to the 20x40mm extrusion would hang over the edge about an inch (this could be trimmed down some on a table saw if so desired). In Theory, This flap would help keep dust from blowing up as bad at the edge of my table, if anything it would force the dust back toward the center of the table. Then the Vertical arm of Angle iron will act as a dust shield for the belts on the Y rails. If i recall correctly this vertical dust shield could be up to 2 3/4" tall. This entire modification adds substantial increase in strength and rigidity, not to mention dust shields (if using taller angle iron), to the Y axis.I am very Pleased with the results

Since I decided to scrap the entire waste board area of my machine, I needed something Flat and stable to replace it with. I chose to build a torsion box from 20x40 and 40x40 extrusion with 3/4" MDF skins on both sides. This table does have a few hidden designs but those are null and void at the current time, modifications are scheduled in the future. I am Very happy with this temporary table. soon I will be rebuilding the table with a torsion box built of 18ply baltic birch, in much more of a permanent location. for now it is on top of a spare workbench with the back of the machine supported by a saw horse. The Table is heavy and solid for this machine. thought about filling it with sand, but figured that would be over kill, not to mention cleaning up the sand in the shop and my aching back if and when I have to move this table.

I decided to use the endplates basically just for belt tensioning mounts. This required an alternate method to attach the Y rails to the new table. I chose to stack four pieces of 3/4" MDF, in Hindsight I wish that i had chosen six or eight pieces, but for the stock Z`axis, four layers (approximately 3"/76mm) IS the Perfect amount. Eventually, I will be modifying the Zaxis, when this is performed, then additional risers will be installed.

For my Worksurface/Wasteboard, I decided to use seven pieces of T-track embedded into the surface. I wanted a waste board that I could resurface multiple times, so i evenly mounted the T-tracks to the top of the extrusion torsion box table exactly 115mm apart. This allowed me to rip six pieces of 3/4"MDF 125mm wide by 49" long. Placed a 5.5mm rabbet on the bottom of each long edge and snapped these slats down between the T-tracks. this left the perfect gap for hold down bolts to access the T-tracks. EXTREMELY PLEASED with the results. these slats are now easily replaceable when the table gets chewed down. I can even switch them end for end and side to side incase i use one area of the table more than another. I plan on mounting these slats to the table using inserts in the table top and Nylon 1/4"-20 bolts securing the slats, this way no harm will come to my cutter heads incase they accidentally come into contact with the bolts.
these slats will get sealed with sanding sealer to help reduce moisture absorption as much as possible. and all other MDF will also be sealed before the job is done. These slats are also easily replaceable by cutting lengths off the edge of a sheet of MDF and adding simple rabbets. One sheet of 4x8 MDF will resurface the T-track area of my table exactly 3 times.

The T-track sits below the surface of the slats nearly 10mm. this is a lot of space for repeat bed leveling. with a 1 1/4" surfacing bit, I have full access to the entire bed, even with the added 20x40mm extrusions protruding in from each Y-rail.

These modifications result in Exactly 3.5"/90mm of Clearance for the Z-carrage. This allows for the exact same measurement for the Spindle, SO it is MAX capabilities with the stock Z, and this is with the Z axis Lower V-wheels right on the end of the stock maker slide. Of course this will increase slightly or decrease slightly depending on the extent of surfacing performed to the new work surface.

I am currently using a 3d printed dust shoe. This specific unit works well and serves its purpose. the biggest issue that i have with it is loosing 1.5 of usable workspace and it can’t clear some clamps. this is unacceptable and is requiring a new design with much more clearance. I have already crashed it multiple times. the first few times, it was repaired with acetone. but after my most recent collision, the entire unit was coated in thin CA glue. Seems to be holding up for the time being.

The Z-rails included 1 1/2" aluminum Tee between the maker slides and 7 furniture bolts holding it all together.

Some of you might be wondering why Silver rails and no black rails. They are in my storage room. hint hint I see stand alone Laser cutter in the near future.

You might also notice that my drag chains are reversed as well and i upgraded to a 40mm drag chain for the Y axis.

For the Z axis, I extended the two m5 bolts and added lock nuts to them replacing the stock bolts holding the ACME rod bearing in place. This gave me a positive STOP that keeps my Z Limit switch from being crushed.Also added a thumb wheel to the top of the ACME rod. and of course the DWP611 Spindle.

In the photo, there is an Emergency Stop enclosure mounted on the Very front of the Table. After this photo was taken, I decided to drop that enclosure under the front edge of the table. The button extends past the front edge of the table by approximately 3/4" for easy access.

I also built a custom electronics housing/ control box similar to the X-controller, but I will share that stage of the build later


Of course you May.

I will have to measure the bolts to verify. I had several lengths available. I can not recall exactly how long they are but I will get them measured in the next day or so, when I am able to get back over to my shop.

Good catch in the 611. Yes it has been modified. I yanked the entire control module out and bypassed it. I am using one of the harbor freight router speed controls on it. Currently The only way that I have to dial in the speed is by ear, but it works better than most expect. This is the way many of the old machinists used to do it before all this fancy gadgetry, so why not. I do see a little slight reving of the spindle when the machine is cutting air. This is because there is no control feedback. I have not seen a problem with this configuration yet, although be unpleasant. I have my spindle set up for the PID control as add on, once funds are available. So most of my work has been focused nowing that was coming.

I also upgraded the power cord to 16-3 (I believe maybe 14-3). Sold as service wire and very flexible. I snaked the ground wire down and attached it to the metal housing to help ground the 611. Probably not needed but this was wire I had on hand and the extra gauge will help keep the wire cool during long cuts. And if I ever decide to upgrade to a larger spindle (with mods) then I already have the power wire there.

I did have to bring in separate wires for the LED lights. Those will be tied in elswhere on my control box and be switch activated as well.

I’ll get back to you on those Bolt lengths.

I originally left the unit ungrounded but after speaking to a few individuals, I went ahead and grounded the aluminum housing. The aluminum extrusions on my 3D printer are grounded, so I didn’t see the harm especially since the wire was already there. I will also be grounding the rails and carriage of my machine, just for safe measures.

I wired it up using 14-3 SJOOW as can be found here:

I already had a spool of this in my shop, that’s why I went ahead and used it. The 18 amp load rating does not hurt anything to have available, incase an upgrade happens.

Yes yes I know overkill. But that’s just how I do things.

Also ran a shielded 18-4-wire into the housing. This will be for the LEDs with 2-additional wires currently available. Wrapped it all up in an expandable sleeve.

Here is an idea for your additional shielded wires! A tachometer. I only had a regular Arduino which is huge compared to the tiny units you can buy now. But here are the instructions in case you want an accurate reading of spindle speed all of the time:

Thanks for the link. I will look into it. Just out of curiosity, what is the average base cost for the parts needed for this modification? Using the parts that you recommend. Considering, I will have to follow your lead on this to comprehend what is going on for the first time, then a roadmap is required so that I don’t have to dive into variables that could cause me issues. (Baby steps. Lol)

Thanks again.

Google. You need a display, an Arduino and these cheap sensors. Also, I included a case, but now I would just mill my own. ALSO, I would not use a full size arduino. I would use a tiny one:

Here you are. 22mm is the size I found that works best for my application. Currently my Z-limit switch is broke and I have been too lazy to replace it. It was not broken by the carriage but by getting snagged on my sleeve while it was hanging down and I was being careless.

A few more Photos. Notice how I currently suspend my dust hose.

The dust hose support is purchased from Rockler. But I will be replacing it in the near future. The new model will be made up of extrusions and hinges. It will be able to freely swivel along the entire length of the table. Dust hose will be zip tied to the extrusion.

Currently I am connected to my shop dust collector. I have to keep other ports open while in use. The Cyclone is much more quite than my shop vacs and works just as well with my current dust shoe. With multiple ports open, I am able to use other stations in my shop such as my sanding station that can be seen in the back ground.


Just uploaded photo of my X axis limit switch and stop. The Black Plastic Spacer is left over from a flat panel tv install. This plastic spacer keeps the rails from smashing metal on metal when reaching their stops.

Here is the Y axis limit switch.

Notice the extrusion mounted to the Side. This is mounted using the stock holes for the terminal block.

Notice how the extrusion makes a handy storage place for my Hex wrenches.

Here are a few more of the drag chain an wires

The drag chain is mounted in the center of the table. This specific installation of a 1 meter chain allows it to reach 60" of table space.

An envelope with some stickers showed up yesterday and one of them have already found a new home on the Control box. I like it. Looks right at home.

The control box was built using a recycled fire control box.

On the front of the panel, from left to right,
Spindle Speed Control (silver knob)
Pause/hold (red momentary switch)
Abort/Reset (lrg red momentary switch)
Start/Resume (black momentary switch)
Emergency Stop
Vacuum On/Off/Logic (rocker switch)
Spindle Full/Off/Variable (rocker switch)
Spindle On/Off/Logic (rocker switch)
Power Supply On/Off (rocker switch)
Touch Plate input (female mini-plug)
Line 1 Power LED
Line 2 Power LED

The controller is operating, but I don’t have the LEDs hooked up or the power supply toggle switch connected in line yet.

I am considering placing a power cut off keyed lock on the door panel. If I happen to come across one at a decent price.

The panel is mounted inside an open box with drawer extensions. The drawer extensions allow the control box to easily slide out from under the work table. The open box that the controller is mounted to has room for a Mini Mac under the controller.

Cooling for the controller is facilitated under the control box by one fan blowing air in onto the Gshield and arduino and a second fan pulling air out of the box.


Back of the control panel.

I decided to run the control box on 220v input. A 4-wire 30Amp lockable plug and outlet bring power into the unit. To the left of the Large plug are two inline circuit breakers, one breaker for each of the legs of the 220v power.

Below the Power-in circuit breakers, a 4-conductor aviation plug for the external Emergency Stop. This Estop kills power to the gshield and power to the spindle relay. It has become a double throw switch. This Estop is wired in series with the Estop on the front of the box. Activating either switch kills power.

Three 110v outlets Come out the back. Two of which have their own inline circuit breaker. One of the 110V power outlets powers the spindle. It is controlled by the rocker switches on the front of the controller and by the arduino/relay in Logic position.

The second 110v outlet controls the Shop Vac. Rocker switch and the arduino/relay control this outlet as well

The third outlet is constant power for the computer/laptop.

Each stepper motor is wired directly in using 5-pin aviation plugs. 5th pin is for grounding.

Below the four stepper inputs are aviation plugs for limit switches on each axis. These are wired using shielded cables and 5-pin aviation plugs.

The USB input is located on the far upper right. Below it is another aviation plug for LED lights. Two of the wires are directly wired inside of the DWP611. This plug also has two wires that are “upgrade” wires. I do not currently have a purpose for them, but they are ran to the spindle for when I do discover a purpose for them. This will keep me from having to run new extra wires later if a purpose does arise.

And here is where all the magic happens.

Please keep in mind that I am not completely finished with all of the wiring inside of the controller. I still have a few more things to do.


I do not know. I used the 5th pin for grounding the shielded cable just bc it sounded logical to me. I thought about using the case but for some reason decided against it and ordered the 5pin aviation connectors instead. This kept me from having to solder to the side of the case. I will admit I have very little electronics experience. Most of the experience is basically tied up in this single box. I have done a few wiring/soldering jobs but typically these were all together as a set and I just connected the dots. I have common household electrical experience though. And with what I was able to come up with on this forum and a little web research gave me the ability to assemble this case. And it Functions well for me. Still has a little room for improvement, but it is getting there.

I also wired hundreds of car stereos systems back in my teenage years I worked with a couple of guys in a stereo shop. But I only dealt with the stereos speakers and Amps. Not much real technical circuit board type work. But enough to get the basics down on wiring devices up.

The attention to detail… the detailed chronicling of your adventure… it’s almost Turing-esque. But this build is crying out for a Gecko, a 48 volt power supply, and an UBER rigid foundation.

Already planning another build and have been looking at the G540. Lol.
I’m Hooked

I use a lot of sheet goods. It would be nice to have a work envelope that can handle 49"x97".

This machine will make a great second machine and has already been a great introductory machine. I have not even pushed this machine to its fullest capabilities but I am satisfied with it. I am extremely happy that I decided to build a CNC instead of buying a plug and play unit. I have had a lot of fun with this build and have thoroughly enjoyed it. Would I do it again??? In a Heartbeat!!!

when I build my next machine, this machine will find a home underneath the bigger one.

How could the current configuration benefit from a larger power supply? Is that only a benefit with the gecko upgrade?

More power, speed, smoothness of motion. Ability to fine tune to motor performance. PLUS - and this is the biggie MORPHING:

Interesting info. Thank you for sharing.

I assume the gecko driver needs a larger power supply than the stock unit that comes with the Xcarve?

Nope. 24 volts would work just fine. By the way, if you DO buy a 48 volt power supply, check it with a multimeter. Mine was over 51 volts which is a no-no. They usually come with a pot, so you can adjust it down.

So then, all I would need to do is replace the Arduino and G-shield with a G540 then, correct? Or does the arduino stay and connect to the G540? Of course this also means a computer with a serial port, if I am not mistaken.

See this is the area that I am trying to learn. So many variables and conversions, don’t want to see any Blue Smoke. Lol.

The G540 would replace the gShield.