Small Upgrades in Progress

Spent a good chunk of time tonight working on some machine upgrades. Nothing spectacular but hopefully beneficial in the long run.

  1. 270 oz-in steppers from Automation Technologies
  2. 3GT2 (3rd gen, 2mm pitch) 6mm wise belts.

The belts are essentially the stock belts except the new generation. They are thicker and you can see more reenforcement when trimming them. These are actually Gates belts as well.

The steppers are an upgrade and the specs have them better matched to the 24V supply of the Xcontroller as opposed to the 269 oz-in from StepperOnline. I have one of those that was on my linear Z but I swapped it out. Some of my testing showed increased performance of the Automation Technologies one.

I’ve still got to wire the X, Z and one Y motor to the terminal strips. The Z leads are too short but I’ve got some cool looking heat shrink solder splice connectors I’m going to try out and extend the wires.

Here’s a snap, excuse the mess (and the deep cutout in the wasteboard…always caliper your material!). The design you can partially see is my next project…going to try to cut 5 more of those, paint all 6, and have them available for a Black Friday sale on my Amazon shop.


Where did you source the G3 Belts?

Royal Supply

It comes as a continuous loop and a quick snip with some cutters makes it useful for the Xcarve. There was about 2-3 inches of spare belt that I had to trim. I was worried because the axis is a theoretical 1000 mm but there also some additional belting needed to go up to the steppers. But it fit almost perfectly.

I use the Inventables belt sleeves and they fit:

One thing that was vastly apparent is while the belt sleeve could slide relatively easily on the old belts, it barely budged with these new belts because they are a bit thicker. It has a very nice and secure grip on them and they aren’t slipping.

The belts also just looked “fresh”. Even my spare belts from Inventables seemed like maybe it had some age on the belts. You know how black kinda oxidizes and such, these new belts showed none of that.

@JustinBusby I don’t believe that your photo loaded properly.

Which photo? In the main post?

Here it is again:

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This may be a dumb question but did you need to get any new gears with the upgraded belts? Did you have to change any settings in GRBL?


Edit: Also can you tell or see a difference in performance in having the new belts?

As of now, no GRBL changes required other than re-calibrating my steps/mm once completed with the motor wiring (new belts, belt tension, and steppers can change the steps/mm) but that is it.

I specifically chose the same belt width and pitch as stock so that my idlers didn’t have to change and the gears didn’t have to change. The upgraded generation of belts have them a bit thicker, seemingly more reinforced (I’ll try to take a picture to explain this tonight) which should translate to better cutting speeds and depths.

As for performance, I’ve yet to fully test them out. I seriously doubt that I will see any difference but over my Christmas break, I’ll try to really push the machine.

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If you really want to see a major performance upgrade, upgrade the y axis to the wide makerslides. BTW That waste board just looks in way to good condition :slight_smile: get carving!

Wide makerslides are a possibility.

I’m toying with building another X-carve skeleton and converting one of them to a laser only machine.

And I just skimmed it not too long ago and did quite a few carvings without thru-cuts. It’ll get used soon enough.

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When you say wide makerslides for the Y do you mean like the X axis has on the newer machines? Would this involve a lot of other upgrades?

Custom Y end plates are needed and then yes, you use the same wide makerslide as the X axis for the 2 Y axis.

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Yes the only thing you need to do is make or buy new custom lift plates for the wider makerslides, you can look at the following threads

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Finished everything tonight. I used a new splice connector ( which worked quite nicely. I might start using those more often.

Played around with motion settings as well. Stalled the X axis motor at 24,000 mm/min (960 ipm). Settled back at 12,000 mm/min for my new rapids speed.

Played around with Z microstepping. Loved the sound of 8X, hated the hit to acceleration. Settled on 4X and was maintaining my 750 mm/sec^2 accel setting.

Here’s a boring rapids video. In person, was definitely a difference that the video doesn’t really convey. 16,000 mm/min was moving as well!

I’ll calibrate tomorrow or Sunday and hopefully be carving some over the Thanksgiving holiday.

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That is what I am doing. I purchased my original SO2 a few years back and have been upgrading as I go. Now I have enough parts to build a 2nd machine that I will dedicate to a laser burner.

That’s my plan eventually. Buy a barebones Xcarve or just the needed pieces and use the parts I upgraded for a dedicated laser engraver.

I think i’m going to take my left over parts and make a micro sized X-carve only for PCB making. It always feels weird using a beefed up 1000mm to carve a tiny PCB

With the Black Friday sale, given what I already have, to get a new machine frame (and wasteboard from Inventables):

500mm - $217
750mm - $421
1000mm - $557

Add in a 2.8W Jtech at $335 that means for not too much, I can have a standalone laser engraver…very tempting.