Production cutting in 3/4" plywood and specific questions

Hi All,

First post here. Seems like a great place with lots of friendly folks! Apologies up front for this long of a post. :smile_cat:

I build speaker cabinets and have been using to great success my current setup but it is an all manual process so far and I am looking at the X-Carve to add some capabilities.

I have a background in CNC from a few years back in the sign industry. I routed a many an aluminum sign face and 1/2 plate letters on a 5’x10’ bed with vacuum table and 5hp spindle. That machine rocked and set a pretty high bar in terms of my expectations.

I am very interested in the 1000 x 1000 X-Carve as that size is just past the max of what I need and it’s not so big as to take over the shop.

My cabinets are very strong and every single joint either has a dado, rabbet or tongue and groove. This is pretty easy to do with my current setup and the repeat-ability of it is also quite easy since I have digital scales on everything. (I also modded my table saw to the max by replacing the stock fence railing with Biesemeyer styled fencing and a router lift table with a JessEm lift)

But there are parts that are time consuming and not necessary to the function of the cabinet so I don’t do them… like recessing the handles and top hats for examples.

So, this means routing both sides of the plywood and also high degrees of accuracy in terms of depth of cut on the Z Axis for the dado and rabbet joints.

That the X-Carve can get that accurate mechanically I’m not too worried about and I know if I set the cut jobs up right then the working both sides of the plywood is also not an issue.

Sadly plywood, while a great medium to build cabs out of, it is rarely flat.

My questions center around getting the bed of the machine flat enough and holding down the plywood enough to make everything come together as it should.

So, my thinking is, get the X-Carve and use some aluminum extrusion for the bed (or some 1/2 plate). I’d put some maybe 1/2 MDF as a spoil board on top of that. Then I could drill holes, thread them and use some bolts to pull the plywood and spoil board to the bed, kinda like Travelphotog did with his setup. Would also likely use some edge clamping too.

Sound doable or worth the effort?

I’ll also be doing stiffening mods to any and all rails that need it. The DeWalt 611 is a no-brainer for sure as well.

Regarding repeat-ability and two sided cutting, is the homing of the X-Carve accurate and repeatable enough to maintain sufficient accuracy over time? Along that line, can the limit switches be set such that they provide a permanent homing point and that point be accurate time after time? Stated differently, can the limit switches double as a homing point and be accurate over time?

Dust collection. I modded my Harbor Freight dust collector to use a Super Dust Deputy for chip collection and a ,05 micron canister filter to keep things clean and it works quite well. Question; is the Fein Turbo I sufficient to keep things clean given the proper dust shoe and air diverter are used? I’d use a smaller Dust Deputy inline with that as well to keep the Fein filters as clean as possible as long as possible. Is there anyone doing this already?

Software. I currently design in CorelDraw and this works quite well given that I have digital scales on my saw and router table. I can design what I want and it all comes out as expected. Corel will output SVG files and I have imported some into Easel and it seems to be pretty accurate as far as I can tell. What bothers me though is the internet connection part of things. I have internet in the shop of course but am wondering how Easel will react if/when the internet hiccups… will it resume from where it left off or will the job it was in the middle of be toast and I’d have to start all over? Does (the potential of having) limit switches to home everything negate any possible issues with Easel and internet connectivity?

Would V-Carve be a better place to start?

Thanks for reading this far and any thoughts or observations are appreciated! I am excited to get into this given my tendencies to mod stuff… seems like this might scratch several itches! :smile:

XiTone Cabs

Hey Mick, welcome to community.
You are far beyond new user and thanks for searching previous posts to gain more.
For the technical aspect, you are lot better for therms and basics of the CNC world. Anything you’re planning is perfect.
Besides that as an fairly long enough X-Carve user, I just want to point couple of importance of being X-Carve owner.
Your previous industrial CNC experience must be stay as experience, not to compare with X-Carve.
This little miracle is really doing impressive carving and cutting job, even on Aluminum and similar.
I don’t think you will have any hard time beside first setting and tuning your machine. That is the another level of learning curve.
For the dust collection point; I am using Harbor Freight Dust collector for almost every machine, and 16 Gallon 6.5 Craftsman for cleaning and short run. You’re talking about Fein Turbo which is high Dollar serious equipment. As far I know they have longer run time than regular shop vacuums. But limited. Because takes 70% cooling air from suction. Means, if you’re running long job on your machines like I did run 3D carving for over 4 hours, that is the job for Dust Collectors not vacuums. You better check running time requirements by the Model you’re planning to buy. I know Harbor freight runs all day long with no problem, only needs 4" or bigger piping setup. Pipes gets smaller diameter, you loose suction. That’s is the same principles on dust collectors the other name Air Transfer Units.
For the Software side, go ahead and start with Easel, Internet hiccups doesn’t affect it, then when you start thinking about which software you need, start searching this forum and see what percentage of people like which one most. I use ArtCam, MeshCam, V-Carve Pro and some Fusion360. I think V-Carve Pro and ArtCam is the most useful ones so far if you’re talking about Cabinet job.
So I believe another pro. guys will add more to your upcoming Adventure. We have very nice people on this forum. I say Happy Carving. We’re always here.

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Thanks Alan for your kind words and thoughtful post! I very much appreciate it!

The CNC machines of today are so far advanced over what we had back then. The one we had was a $70,000 beast that took a guy a whole week just to assemble it. It used RS232 communication over a cable that was probably 200’ long or so.

For $70,000 we only got two axis operation. Just used an adjustable stop on the Z-axis to set the bit depth.

Didn’t have a dust collector either. That was actually kinda cool though… when routing 1/2 plate that thing would throw a 4’ rooster tail off the bit! Quite a site to see actually.

It had a mist coolant system to keep the bit cool. It was a water based lubricant and the tank on the router was about 5 gallons.

I’m fortunate to say I never had a sign face or set of letters we didn’t use, but I also learned to file very well! :grinning:

Yeah, seems that dust collection is an art unto itself! Where there is a will there is a way! I’m open to whichever way is best. I’m lucky that I at least have a room to dedicate to the X-Carve so that I can close the door and keep the dust and noise down a little.

My Harbor Freight runs like a champ and needs very little maintenance. I only have to clean the filter once every 18 months or so because the Super Dust Deputy really does a good job of keep a lot of stuff from getting to the filter.

I use a smaller Dust Deputy on my handheld sander with a shop vac and it also does very well for sanding. It’s been running a year on the same filter and has yet to loose any suction.

I’m glad to hear that Easel can handle hiccups. Maybe I can hold out long enough for a good iPad solution to come about!

I do have a thought on your dust shoe… lemme see if I can get a drawing and I’ll post it…

1 Like

I have already posted drawing for Dust Shoe, If you want to redraw, Draw it little different.My dust shoe’s problem is affecting Z level, So far I used vinyl instead of Bristle brush. But still I can see some uneven pocket bottom surface. Could be direct connected to Z axis rail, and doesn’t touch Dewalt. Lets see your Magic.