Pre-Assembly Questions

My 1000mm kit just shipped. I can hardly contain myself!

I have been reviewing the forum to prepare and I must confess I am a little disappointed with the (lack of) organizational scheme. Sorry. I don’t mean to criticize. I just want to assemble as correctly and efficiently as possible.

So…Here are my questions:

  1. I keep seeing references to belts slipping and zip ties. Can someone clue me in on this?

  2. I keep seeing mention of adjusting potentiometers. What is that about?

  3. I keep seeing stiffening mods ( X and Y). From what I have read, this seems like a good idea. I suspect it would be best performed at initial assembly. Correct? Is there a general consensus on the best X and Y stiffening mod?

  4. I have only seen this once or twice but I recall something about shimming the spindle in the Z axis. Any more info on this would be appreciated.

Thank you so much for your assistance. I really like this forum. Everyone obviously really likes to see other users succeed.

Perhaps there could be a sticky for these common assembly topics? Who are the admins?


  1. people are talking about when you put the drive belt into the clip the simple way is just to put the belt through the clip and bolt it down but the better way is to use shrink tubing and just shrink it together after you have put it through the clip

here is a pic of the zip tye method just replace the zip ties with shrink tubing its alot cleaner and holds just as good

here is an image of my machine and the shrink tubing i think its alot cleaner

  1. check out manhattan wood projects video on the subject its very good all it refers to is the amperage that is going to the motors you will want to adjust this to make the most of your machine its super simple believe me
  1. yes i would personally do both of the mods to both the x and y axis its not necessary right off the bat but if you are just building your machine i would go ahead and plan it out and do it then you will thank yourself later

  2. the shimming of the z axis refers to making sure that all your machine is square its a cnc machine so just make sure everything every which way you can think of is square

this easel project will help you in calibration


Here is the answer to the belt slipping issue.

The little metal belt locks at each end of the belts work great for some and not so great for others. The idea is to effectively fold the belt over on itself so that the teeth mesh together from each side and lock the belt so it cannot slide through the belt restraint lock. Usually just tightening down the belt lock does the job. But the consequences of a belt slipping will ruin a job so to be safe you can just use a nylon zip lock cable tie around the folded belt to keep the two sides firmly locked together.

The zip tie works great but I don’t think it looks great so I (like lots of others) went with a short (1 inch) piece of heat shrink tubing. It also does a great job of locking the folded belt together and I think it looks much slicker.

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i added a image of my machine to show you the shrink tubing method

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@TysonSwan When did you order your X-Carve? I ordered one almost 2 weeks ago and trying to get a feel of the wait before shipping. Thanks and good luck. I will be paying close attention to the ideas here, as I am in the same boat as you.

The Potentiometers are on the Gshield board and labeled X, Y, Z. They are used to adjust the voltage to the motors. From what I read in the instructions the Nema 17 motors don’t always need adjusting but the Nema 23 motors will. After I finished my build (literally last night) I was unable to get my Z Axis to move steadily and it kept stuttering. A quick adjustment to the voltage fixed the problem.

Side note: I would definitely apply a zip tie or heat shrink to the belts. I used the zip tie method and this worked well.

@RickGunz My Machine took just a few days shy of a month to arrive in its entirety. I received multiple shipments along the way though as a few things were back ordered. However, I just couldn’t wait to get it all and then build it so I built it out of order.

I ordered mine on Jan 4th. When I called Inventables yesterday, they told me that they planned to ship orders from Jan 1 - Jan 12 this week.

Hope this helps.

FYI - I feed my belt under the clip, into the first hole, out the top, into the 2nd hole, and back through the bottom. More compression that way… which is irrelevant when using zip ties or shrink tube.

I use zip ties, but highly recommend shrink tube instead because every time I reach for something I am scratching the bejeesus out of my hand on one cut-off zip tie or another.

Well…It showed up yesterday. Here I go!

  1. In the instructions, there is a great video that covers the zip tie/shrink wrap issue. I have decided to use shrink wrap.

  2. From my research, the potentiometer is a post-assembly, calibration issue. I cross that bridge when I come to it.

  3. I have decided to use these 2 stiffening mods:

It appears they are both very easy and can be installed after assembly.

  1. This also appears to be a post-assembly, calibration topic.

Thanks for all of the help.

Congrats, now the fun begins! You’ll be the master of your new toy, and the assembly process will give you a MUCH better feel for every aspect of how the machine works. :smile:

The potentiometer is definitely a post-assembly issue, just knowing they exist is all you need for now.

If you’re doing the stiffening mod that puts the steel bar between the makerslides, that’s easier done during assembly. If you’re doing the mod that uses a handful of bolts, that’s easy to do any time, including after assembly.

The only other suggestion I can make is to consider stiffening the Y axis during the build. If you use a method that requires t-nuts, it’s much easier to insert them in the bottom framework BEFORE you have everything put together.

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The only mod that I have done is shimming the z-axis. Otherwise it’s a dream machine and has been cutting and performing like a champ for me. However, I have been reading all the hype about the X & Y axes mod. So I called inventables to see if it was really necessary. This is what they said. If you’re going to push your machine to the max speed of stepping and all the other stuff you can configure it, for productivity for a business. Then yes, the mods on X & Y axes would be a good idea. Then they said, if you’re going to use it for just home hobby craftsman. Selling a few things on the side and it’s working just fine. The mods would probably be a waste of time. Adding, they have NOT done any mods on all their’s that have the Dewalts installed and have had NO problems.

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I agree with Inventables. But I’ve built many homemade machines in the past and they were almost as rigid as the x-carve unmodified. So the x-carve, as is, was better than my home made machines (not with their stock electronics, but with my electronics). However, I knew I could make the x-carve outperform all of my homemade contrivances, hence the stiffening mod. Putting a readily available steel bar between the plates and adding a couple of brackets to the y axis takes very little time and is totally worth it. Because, eventually, you will do it. Oh yes… you will. It is easy, cheap, fast and worth it. I don’t understand the mod with the bolts without the plate between the slides - that seems like a waste of time, but the other “sandwich” mods, I can vouch for.

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