Production level aluminum milling with .8KW water cooled VFD

I am cutting slower because despite what the calculators I should run at. I had too many issues with end mills breaking and production being slowed to a dead stop. Production pays the bills and when you look at it like this: Follow calulator and break 2-3 end mills for 25 mounts OR mill with settings I mentioned and cut out 80+ mounts on same end mill with PERFECT finish… I choose production and finish. Once I am caught up I can try to play around with stuff again. But break end mills is NOT something I enjoy. That also should of course have been 18946 RPM. The aluminum company would prefer I mill their 5083 tool plate at around 110-145mm/m or so also. So i am sort of splitting it down the middle of sorts and getting perfect results as you see. I would back off your feed rate for a test and see how it does. Maybe just do one of the cuts that had the issue at a slower feed rate and then rest at same and see how they stack up.

Based on what I have seen with air blast chip clearance, I would be very surprised if there were chips being blown back in front of your end mill and being recut. I am guessing it is a mill or feed rate issue.

I figured it was for the finish, those parts come out super smooth. You just tumble them with no hand finishing?

I’m on the MX3660s btw, forgot to mention. It very well could be my feed rate, 60IPM is a bit much, I bet 40IPM would have a better finish and its still pretty quick. I’m just gonna mill 6 of them all at the same settings except feedrate between 20-80IPM and just see what happens while adjusting RPM to chipload. I hope I have enough material :frowning:

The shots above show the mounts as they come off the mill without any finish work at all. I have one shot towards the end right before the anodize shots that show the mount after tumbling. When you go into Inventables on Monday, Grab Michael and tell him you want a peek at the mount I sent them. That one is right off the mill, no surface or refinishing work of any kind was done to it. Just the used the Viper and the Chamfer end mills on it at the speeds I mentioned above and you can see how it comes out in person. Check out the Granite drink coaster I sent in also. That one or both might also be up with Bart. They were asking questions about the Carvey being able to mill the granite. Amazon and Rose Metal are your friend for stock as you know!

Where did you buy the Planet CNC Mk3 from? The only seller I could find in the US, openbuilds, only has the Mk2 or the Mk3/4.

I bought it direct from their site at Planet CNC. I also picked up the driver connection break out kit and the output board. Be aware that you MUST follow the directions 100% for hooking everything up, which means above all using 100% shielded cables and being sure you ground the controller side shielding on each cable. If this is done the system is rock solid, if not you will have EMI issues.

The MK3/4 is also a very solid board and it the same processor and controller over all. I run the MK3/4 on the Shapeoko 2 and it works perfectly. I threw the MK3 on the X Carve which was intended for a larger mill I have. Now I like the added features so much that I bought a second MK3 to put on the bigger mill so the X Carve could keep the MK3 also instead of stepping to a MK3/4. Over all it has less axis and a FEW less features and outputs. But the MK3/4 is more than enough for a X Carve if paired with some good DSP drivers.

That’s a great rig you’ve got there! It’s a bit of a Theseus’ Ship but it’s awesome to see such great results in Al.

Yeah I have done a good deal of work on the mill and I have tried to be very upfront about it. The stock mill just has no hope of reaching good results in aluminum. I think since it is open source that I do not feel so bad about the mods I have done to reach this level of work. If it had been sold as being “ready to mill metal” I will be upset at the amount of mods needed to truly make that a true statement. But it was always intended for wood and the like which it does pretty well out of the box.

I agree that it is a stretch to call is a X Carve in some respects. But without starting with the basic X Carve kit, reaching the same results for the same price would not be very easy. I also have gone to the extream on a few levels such as the controller and the DSP stepper drivers, but this was based on experiences from my Shapeoko 2 before and from my larger all ball screw mill.

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We finally caught up enough with orders to open our site to the public for the mounts that are being produced in this thread. If you want to check them out and get a better idea of what I am making, then head over to and check out the site and get a better idea of what this project is all about.

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Very cool!

Don’t know if you are a Tom Waits fan but your post reminded me of this song. I suppose many of us X-Carvers have neighbors with similar thoughts:

Never thought about that. They must be very badly curious. I told one of my next door, I’m finishing my basement. Since then I carry truck full of woods. Someday she will pay to know What’s he’s building down there??? :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

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Did not know you were building parts that fit SeeMeCNC printers. I was the first person to buy there first printer when they launched way back when. My first entry into CNC.

Do you also have one of there printers.


So I was doing a tear down/rebuild of my xcarve since i was getting some really weird vibration in my spindle. After cutting aluminum for 4 months or so (1.5 of which there was no rail/wheel protection) the v-wheels and rails are VERY damaged. Here are some before/after pics.

My rails actually have notches in them right now, so the new vwheels are “bumping” over them as they run along the rail. I’m not gonna run another job until I have every v-wheel protected. I can’t protect the X-axis rails or Z-axis rails very much but i figure getting some covers for the bottom x-carriage vwheels will be enough. I hope.

Remember kids, always keep your CNC clean :smile:

Bonus pic:

Made some high heels for the Y-Axis.


@DavidSohlstrom I have their V2 kit and LOVE IT! I bought it to do thing like make custom cable chain and end stop mounts for the Shapeoko V2 back in the day. I ran across an ad for it while researching the Shapeoko waiting to catch a flight home from JFK on one of my assignment weekends. The moment I saw the beautiful huge delta shape, I knew I had to have one. I placed my order that night when I got home. It has built a great many wonderful parts for me. I use it for prototyping before I mill on complex projects. I use all metal hot ends for printing nylons and other high temp stuff so i needed a better mount. That need lead me to design what you see on the site now and we have requests to design for three other hot ends as well for a large number of people so more should be added soon.

I just did the 24V conversion to the hotbed on the Max V2 with a Meanwell 24V 500W DC power supply, SSR and 12AWG wires to the hotbed. It heats up like a champ now! This weekend I am working on an auto calibration unit for it with a differential IR height sensor to automate the process along with a program on of the guys wrote over on the SeemeCNC forum. I am printing and selling fully printed RC airplanes with the MAX these days. 1/12 scale spitfire and P-51 mustangs. I did not design them but have permission from their designer to print them for sale. At the rate it is going and since each plane takes roughly 3 days to print… I will be buying another MAX printer this fall/winter for personal use so I can keep print my own stuff while keeping one of the MAXs busy making money. The new mount is a dream to print with and gone are the days of worn out mounts after 1000 hours of print time!

@EricDobroveanu I have seen this type of thing since the days of the Shapeoko V2. If you will take a med soft wire brush (think soft brass from gun cleaning) and LIGHTLY allow it to brush on the wheels while you hold it and jog the mill back and forth a bit, it will clean your wheel and they will not get that bad. I do it about once or twice a week and mine are overall pretty clean and you ave seen the snowstorm of chips my mills run in weekly.

If you take your fingernail and run it along the rails every few jobs that will keep them clean until you can cover them better. I have a design in CAD now to enclose the V wheels on the Y axis and I am working on one for the X gantry also. Just a simple 3D printed piece with brushes all around and on the wheel to keep them clean. Right now the opening of the public website and keeping up with the 3D printed plane production is keeping me from having enough time to print them out for testing. As soon as I have something I can send it your way. Do you have access to a good 3D printer?

@Earwigger I know my new neighbors are going mad trying to figure out why UPS and FEDEX stop by my house almost daily and why I am home 24/7 instead of at work 9-5 like everyone else. Back in Houston before I moved I had 4 H U G E saltwater reef tanks in the house and I even had a “coral farm” in my office which was plumbed into a 175G reef tank for a total of almost 300G in that one room alone. I used my own custom designed and made LED lighting fixtures that were small but powerful 50W full spectrum LEDs I had custom made in China. Each light was about 4" square heat sink with a small fan and had both daylight & actinic LEDs in a small 1.5" square LED die. These guys were SUPER BRIGHT and nice and small. I had a bookshelf looking setup for the “coral farm” which had shallow tanks tied into the main reef tank system. The shallow water helped the corals grow like weeds. I had 5 levels of tanks in the setup and it was just beside a window in my house. Each level had 2 50W LED lights on it and glowed with a 10,000K blueish light 18 hrs a day. Come to find out, for the LONGEST time my neighbor on one side thought for SURE I had a grow room for pot in my back room of the house. His face was so funny when he got invited over at last and saw what was REALLY the source of all the lights! He busted out laughing and was a bit ashamed to explain what he THOUGHT was happening in the back room of the house. Funny thing was he ended up buying some lights from me and setting up a beautiful reef tank in his living room. His daughters loved watching “NEMO” swim around and among the corals everyday.


We have a makerbot replicator 2 in the office I can use. The Y-Axis aren’t an issue, i’m mostly concerned about the X and Z. Good tip with the wirebrush, I instead just bought all new vwheels (a bit pricey). I was spit balling this idea of getting some sort of accordian-like collapsable… something (rubber or plastic or i dunno)… that could run from the xcarriage to either end of the rails, as well for the Z axis (im thinking of something similar to a tormach’s column guard). No idea where I can find that sort of a material, but I’d probably attach it to the extra vwheel screw lengths with another m5 nut. I just don’t want to deal with this problem ever again.

Edit: They’re called bellows, and apparently people make them all the time by hand with paper.

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Guys check here for an idea for a break to lock things during tool change and for wheel covers with felt wipers/oilers.


I’m going to have to look into this more. Paper is OK, but it would be nice to have made out of a more substantial material.

Ninjaflex filament on the 3D printer… Design the needed item in CAD with pleats built into it. There might be something you can base it off of on thingiverse. Also check out as they will for SURE have a filament you can test for this use before having to buy an entire roll. Once you 3D print them, just install and rock and roll. Too bad it is not a printer you own, as once you work this out I am pretty sure there is a good market for them. The only down side to a delta printer is they do not do very well with a flexible filament without mods which I have yet to make to mine.

Have you tried those on an Xcarve? they look to be a bit to big to fit on the x-carriage wheels, but maybe they would fit on the Z-axis.

I agree, plastic would be good. I’d say rubber would be good too, but i think it would sag quite a bit from the weight. I’ll probably make a set out of paper or cardstock and see how it goes from there.

Yeah I wish I had a good 3D printer of my own. Theres too many tools I want to buy right now, and sadly 3D printer is pretty far down the list, behind a lathe then drill press, chop saw, etc. I’m missing a lot of ‘essentials’ that you’d find in a tool shop. I only started building my arsenal a few months ago, haha.

SO i moved over to the PlanetCNC controllers… So I have no concept of how the stock controller works for tool changes as I have never used the stock controller with the X Carve. On the old Shapeoko V2 I used the TinyG and when i did tool changes the motors stayed locked just like they do on my PlanetCNC when doing tool changes. Does the stock controller / Easel combo release the motors or something during tool changes and that is why people make such a big deal out of changing a tool out? For me it is simply a matter of undoing the Er11 nut, drop out the old tool, replace the new tool and tighten it back up. Then use a tool height probing cycle to set the new tool height in relation to the z offset and away I go without any issues? So read that, loosen nut, replace tools, tighten nut, click ONE button to measure tool height, then mill away.