Show and tell: X-Carve assembly! [not troubleshooting]

Since we started shipping last week, I’m seeing a lot of chatter on social media as people receive their kits and start to assemble them.

If you have the chance, take some time lapse video or photos of your assembly and share them here! We’d love to see how it’s going and hear any feedback you might have on the build process.

Note: This thread is not for troubleshooting your build, the discussion for that is right here.

I’ll start- here’s a quick survey of all the machines we’ve built at the Inventables office so far:

This is the machine our Easel development team uses for testing.

A close-up on the front of the machine reveals a nifty clamp storage solution that our shop manager Tait devised. A few spare t-nuts allow easy hanging of the clamps while not in use.

Every machine in our shop has a sheet like this hanging near it, called a “spec” (short for “specification”). It’s a pictorial diagram showing where everything is located. This system is designed to make sure you can find something when you need it, and also provides a guide for how to re-set the station so the next person can use it.

This is the 500mm machine that our Customer Success team built to verify the instructions and parts list before we started shipping. They keep it in their office as a reference for assisting customers.

This 1000mm machine was assembled to test the instructions and bill of materials, and now serves as our workhorse for testing. You can see a new spindle we’ve been trying out, with some crazy modifications to enable active RPM control.

This is our “general use” X-Carve, for anyone in the company to use. This one probably has withstood the most punishment so far as we all learn to use it.

You may have noticed an interesting detail in the above image- here’s a closeup of a new accessory we’re designing for X-Carve. It’s a protective cap that sits on top of the Z-Axis belt drive system, keeping dust and fingers out of the mechanism, and the early prototypes look fantastic. Keep an eye on our blog for the official announcement on that.


What can we expect in terms of build time for a 1000mm kit? Is 8 hours a little ambitious?

It’s really not that much more work than the 500mm kit, it’s the same number of parts, just a little longer. So the ~4 hour estimate is still probably pretty close. I would say, if you haven’t done it before, you could probably get the whole thing together in two weekend afternoons. But I also am terrible at estimating these things because I’ve assembled way too many of these types of machines.

Good to know! Thanks for the quick reply. I received my shipping email yesterday and am now just impatiently waiting!

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Here is where I am after the first few hours. I have the X and Y plates done. I’ve learned that even when I know not to put the parts in backwards, I still put them in backwards. So I suggest that you keep checking the orientation of the parts. I put one of the motors in upside down, and two of the idlers. Also I forgot to add the pulley before screwing in the x motor, and I discovered that there is not enough clearance to install the pulley on the shaft, so I had to unbolt the x motor to install the pulley.

(Also looking at the picture, I see the black M5 washer I was searching for earlier, it just sitting right next to the wrench. :sweat_smile: )


Looking good! Mine will be delivered on Monday and I cant wait to screw up the assembly!


Wow, ChrisWundram, that’s really clean wiring!

I agree - Nice wiring. I too spent some additional time while wiring by using heat shrink tubing, wire wrap and crimp on connectors. I think it makes a huge difference in the clean look and will make troubleshooting easier in the future.

Nice work!


I think I spent most of Sunday’s build time making cables. I got it down to a X/Z stepper cable, a X/Z limit + Spindle Power cable, and Y Stepper + limit cable. The limit switches are a pain because they are taking the wires for different cables and merging them down to one connector, which sounds like trouble.

I’ve built some machines like this before, a first gen shapeoko, and a zen toolworks machine. Both had lots of problems with wiring, so I am trying to make this as clean as I can.

So here is an example of the cables I am building for this. This one is to connect the limit switches on the X/Z carriage, and the spindle power. On the tool end, there are ring terminals for the spindle power, and male connectors to match some female connectors I soldered to the limit switches (see picture). On the g-shield side I crimped molex pin connectors to the white wires, and wrapped them in heat shrink tubing (see picture). I put the two black wires into a single male crimp connector that I plan to connect to a Y cable to the ground connector, and then the two spindle power ends I just tinned the stripped wires (so they wouldn’t birds nest), those will go in a green screw terminal.

My concern is about having enough slack in the various parts of the cable to reach their destinations on the g-shield side. I think this cable should be fine as all the power and limit connectors appears to be on the same side. The Y cable I built has stepper and limit in the same cable, so I need a lot more bracning slack on the g shield end as the stepper connections go to the opposite side of the board.

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@ChrisWundram, what diameter sleeving are you finding is best for the Xcarve? Would like to sleeve mine too when I get started building, so wanted to queue up an order.

I’ve been using 1/4" and 3/8" inch. I don’t know if it is best, it was just a guess. With this combination, I was just able to get everything to fit in the last length of drag chain.

Also, for the 500mm, there isn’t much slack on thr 5.5’ cable after going through both drag chains. Now I think I’m just going to put some XLR type connectors at the ends of the x carve cables, and make some matching cables for the electronics. That way I can connect/disconnect. Also I can add a bit of length between the machine and the gshield/power.

The wire braid is available here at reasonable prices CLICK HERE and also at McMasters

I’m pretty sure I’ve seen it for sale here on Inventables as well, don’t know how the price compares.

Just a couple pictures of our assembled 1000mm X-carve. Wiring doesn’t have to be an octopus.

And it works!!


Very nice.

I was hoping someone would post pics of what they did with the power-supply assembly. Not a fan of spaghetti wiring.

Did you use a p-clip for the stepper cables running around back? It looks like there is a hole in the top of the cover that could be used, too.

No just a zip-tie through the extra mounting hole in the PCB housing.

That wiring looks amazing! I cleaned my up with a few zipties today and it looks like crap compared to yours haha. Good work :+1:

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Agreed. I think I did a good job on the X-Carve side of the wiring, but I ended up making the wiring so short, I only have about 6 inches to work with in connecting it to the electronics. If I were starting over, I would add an extra foot to each of the cables.