My build so far

My phone camera has gotten tremendously worse, but here of some pics of my build so far. In the middle of wiring it right now. Needed additional wire to be able to slave the second Y axis in software rather than piggybacking it which should be here tomorrow.


Looks pretty good so far.

Nice layout. Are you not using the Arduino supplied byInventables? You electronic assembly look a lot different from what I have?

Thanks. No, I’m using a gecko drive rather than the arduino. It’s what I’ve been using on my DIY machines and like it. Tim

Looks great. Especially that side pocket shelf for electronics is clever idea.
Damn, we have lot to learn from each other and spend more money and time. :slight_smile:
When we finish, this community will be Millionaire’s club.

That’s a good way to avoid 99% of the problems people are having on this board. Couple questions:

  1. Do you have a good source for Gecko drives? Price seems to vary widely across the internet. I also hear they perform better in terms of speed and smooth motion than the generic Chinese breakout boards and stepper drivers – did you upgrade to Gecko and do you feel it was worth it?

  2. Was your DIY machine on that table you are using? The reason I ask is that the fast motion of your spindle will create lots of lateral force and I would think those table legs might need substantial corner bracing.

I purchased my drive from a reputable eBay dealer so if have the warranty. Right around 280 dollars. I fought with the Chinese boards for over a year, and immediately realized there is just no comparison.
My DIY machine is larger and much heavier duty than what my xcarve is sitting on in the pictures. I’ll try to get a picture up.

Its A big mess right now but here it is.

Why are you moving to x-carve from this set up? That thing is awesome! Oh - or is the x-carve your 2nd machine? I think you might be surprised how unstable the x-carve system is compared to what appears to be a more robust, gecko driven, linear bearing machine.

If you are selling any of that gear let me know FIRST.

Lol, thanks earwigger. I’ve wanted a “back-up” or supplemental machine for a while now. Not sure which one will be main machine until I get the xcarve running and play with it some. It would seem from the reading and research I’ve done these 2 very different styles of machines both have their advantages and disadvantages. And i’m very curious to explore them lol

@TimothyTruex I’ve been Gecko’d! Holy cow, I can’t believe the difference with this controller. The machine flies now. Set up was a breeze, but try as I might, I couldn’t figure out the math on steps per inch. I used Mach3’s settings/set steps per inch to dial it in and here is what I got: X and Y = 1268 steps per inch and z = 24,000 with the acme rod. My dial gauge show these to be dead on… but the math just doesn’t make sense. I think it has to do with Gecko’s auto 10x microstepping, but you would think the values would still be multiples of my old values… but they are not.

Just curious what settings you landed on for your Gecko drive. Here are a couple of photos of my Gecko integration directly into my computer case (the 48 volt supply is also in there) along with my first 3d cut - which is WAY more smooth than my old generic controller:

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Why did you put 2 steppers on your Y axis rather than use Y and A and slave them together as one. It will work much better that way. Check in the Mach3 instructions on how to slave two axis together.


Because it is 48v, 2.8 amps (according to my resistor value calculations) and WAY over built as it is. Plus, I would have to run a NEW stepper motor wire all the way to the computer and have to solder another DB9 connector. Also, each axis on the Gecko has its own “adjustment pot” which I seriously doubt is compensated for when slaving one axis to another.

This way I can “tune” both Y’s with one pot.

@DavidSohlstrom - Didn’t you say have Gecko’s? Why are my steps per inch so weird (see above)? How does that math work? It bothers me that I can’t find a reason for those numbers. Also, did you notice any difference when “tuning” your axes with the pots? To me, it was very subjective and every setting seemed to work well.

Sat with the calculator and I come up with 1270 steps per inch. It takes 12.7 teeth of the 20 tooth sprocket to move 1". So that is 1.574803 per rotation of the sprocket. 200 steps per rev times 10 equals 2000 steps per rev. divided by 1.574803 equals 1270 steps per inch.

My geckos are older and use resisters to set max current. My machine is still in pieces spread all over 2 buildings.
It is my understanding that your current settings do not effect your steps per inch or mm.


Times 10? That must be the Gecko microstepping magic. Mine also use resistors - I only had 2.8 kohm laying around, hence the 2.8 amps (though I know no way of verifying this). And no, the current settings do not effect these settings - just torque. I will run some tests at 1270 which according to your calculations (thank you!) should be accurate. Thanks again!

Get your machine together!

1268 steps per inch is .000788643" per step. 1270 steps per inch is .000787401" per step I don’t think you can even measure the difference. I have dial indicators that measure to .0001" and I don’t think I could see the difference. The difference is .000001242" so if you ran the whole travel of you Y axis that would be .000038502"


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Congrats on the gecko. Ya, those are pretty much the same numbers I’ve been using and am happy with. That cut looks really cool. I myself havn’t touched any 3d work yet, but would like to learn in the future here. Tim

And thanks for breaking down the math dave :slight_smile:

Timothy, are you using grbl for your X Carve with the Gecko or are you using Mach 3?