Recommendations for modding the x carve 1000 for Aluminum Milling?

Greetings to all! New here but have been watching videos and reading up on the forums for Aluminum milling. Spoke with support yesterday and told them I would be using my machine for aluminum exclusively and they suggested getting some pointers for making the machine a little more rigid for Aluminum milling from the forum here.

To start I will be only cutting 2D through 1/8 thick 6061 with a Dewalt spindle but eventually would like to start doing 3D milling of parts. Is the 1000 up to the job? Any recommendations for modding the x carve 1000 for Aluminum milling?

Any suggestions appreciated. TIA

Start here …

Personally I started with the X Axis stiffening mod using bolts between the 2 maker slides, however I decided to go a bit more rigid and converted to 1 piece of extrusion as detailed in this post.

I’ve also make sure to stiffen the Y axis by attaching brackets.

Lastly, I upgraded my GT2 belts to GT3 belts and GT3 pulleys from OpenBuilds parts store. It made a big difference in the performance w\ aluminum and makes the machine behave as if it’s carving thru butter now on harder woods.

Like anything else, YMMV, but I swear by the above mods. The only other suggestion I would make, not related to the mods, is make sure you attach the machine to a rigid surface that’s dead flat. I built a torsion box specifically for mine, and I think that’s eliminated most of the alignment problems that most others have right out of the gate.

Thank you for the link and the suggestions. I will get started.

x axis stiffening mod and it will cut 1’8" 6106 no problems. I’ve been cutting .25 6106 with no problems.

On my 1000x1000, I only had the steel bar mod between the X axis makerslides when I used the Dewalt 611 to cut out Y axis braces from 1/8" 6061. Did just fine, but I took shallow cuts (0.1mm) with the ball end upcut mill since there was likely some flex in the Y axis (hence the braces). I haven’t done any cutting since then, but I wouldn’t be afraid to try to mill 0.3-0.5mm deep now.

Having a flat table is good, but I would recommend going one step further and flattening the wasteboard (or a sacrificial secondary wasteboard) that you will be milling the aluminum on with your router. If you have any sort of difference in height in the cut area, your depth of cut may change from shallow to not-so-shallow, and then you have a high chance of experiencing the joy of lost cuts and/or broken bits.

Thanks JDM

Robert, good point, has anyone ever just taken a large bit and done a complete surface run with the spindle over the entire wasteboard to eliminate any high or low areas? I know this might ruin some of the graphic on the board but level is more important. Has anyone ever written a gcode that would do this?

I did not surface my waste board, but I did make some sacrificial boards to bolt down to the table that I did surface. I marked the orientation and drilled the holes so I can bolt them down to the same place each time. I simply traced them with a pencil to mark where to bolt them down each time. So far it has worked well.

I’m sure people have done that with the original wasteboard, but I’m not one of them. I made a 1/2" sacrificial wasteboard and routed a flat pocket into it. The video for it is in this thread: X-Carve Maintenance/Troubleshooting Videos - Add Your Own!

I didn’t have to mess with exporting/importing g-code, I just told Easel to make a large square pocket .050" deep. I used the replicator app to put holes all the way through to the inserts as well, there’s an important lesson to be learned in that video. :slight_smile:

I think the machine is capable of outsmarting us if we let it. It just does what it is told.

I am such a fan of Inventables and Zach for this very reason. The X-Carve will do exactly what you want it to do if you outsmart it. I’ve not failed at any single task I have thrown at it. Maybe didn’t get it right the first time but certainly it didn’t take more than a time or two to figure it out.