Stiffening Mod: X carriage vwheels don't line up with makerslide

I’m building a fully loaded 1000m xcarve. I’m trying to learn from the issues everyone else has run into, and doing mods during the build process.

I modded the x axis exactly as was posted in the video. 3/16" steel, 36" long, 2" wide. I used the exact drill bit bits and made sure I followed the directions exactly. Now when I’m trying to get the xcarriage back onto the xaxis makerslides that have the steel in between them, I’m not lining up. It appears that either the steel is off by 1/32" inch, or perhaps I have some burs from drilling out the holes. Has anybody run into this? Is it required that I use thinner washers on the vwheels?

Mine lined up fine. :frowning:
I clamped everything together and drilled through all parts at once so I don’t know if there are any burrs internally.

I did have an issue with the bolts I picked up. The ones I got (50mm) were way too long.
The “cup” part of the cap-bolt was bottoming out before it was actual clamping down on the gantry.
I had to cut them down and re tap them to get it to tighten down properly.

I had some problems initial getting the carnage to slide back onto the gantry.
I really loosened up the eccentric nuts, like floppy loose and it slipped on.

Then the mounting bolts for the chain bracket were hitting the tops of the clamp bolts. I just uses some washers on the mounting bolts so they didn’t go in as deep.

Do you have a way to measure the exact thickness of the metal you placed between the MS. Should measure .1875" + or - .005" or so.
I discovered that the rib in the center of the V wheels was not centered on about half of the wheels I received. This means that if by chance you got all of the 8 wheels on the carriage with offset ribs and the wheels are mounted so the wheels sit closer together. This would make it appear that the maker slides are further apart than they are suppose to be.
If you can measure the distance from the edge of the wheel closest to the carriage and the carriage and A see if they are all the same and B if you remove a wheel and turn it around does the distance change.
If you have a digital caliper that you can take these measurements with that would help. If not and you have a Harbor Freight close by they sell low cost digital calipers.


I had mine clamped as well, drilled into it… Honesty broke the bit lol so had to take it apart and there was considerable burs on the steel that i shaved. Once i bought a new bit drilled and shaved them, it went together just fine.

Stupid question: Did you double check that you got the correct thickness of bar?
I ask because I got the wrong one myself the first time. :wink:

I used the 1 1/2" wide bar instead of the 2", so I could clamp top and bottom as well as side to side of my rail.
Also to save a bit on weight.

I originally got a 2" bar and slipped between the rail while they were installed for a dry fit. Just acting as a spacer it immediately stiffened up the gantry. No issues with the v-wheels.
I didn’t like that it stuck up from between the rails so I picked up a 1 1/2" bar.
Got the wrong thickness - oops. Exchanged it and did the mod.
It took me FOREVER to drill but I got it done.
(FYI I am not considering getting a drill bit sharpener, apparently many of my bits are in terrible condition)

1 Like

I haven’t measured the thickness of the bar, but it did say it was 3/16" thick on the label. I didn’t have any issues drilling any of the holes though. I used a new bit, a drill press, and wd40. All 3 of those things made a difference.

I finally got some time to work on this again. I measured the width of the steel plate with digital calipers. The thickness turned out to be .1880 inch, so this is within spec. I took out the plate, Installed the x carriage on the 2 maker slides, and then screwed the makerslides into the y plates. After this I tried to insert the steel between the makerslides and I discovered the steel plate was bent on one end. I tried to straighten it out the best I can, and then I bolted it in place between the makerslides. The x carriage now goes back and forth, but not as easily as without the steel plate. Hopefully the binding won’t cause any major issues.

Much of the steel that can be purchased from hardware stores is far from precision stock. the 1.5 " piece of 3/16" steel that I used has significant warping. The 1.5" width of the stock actually had a bow to it to where the ends may be within spec but with the middle raised up, it actually held the pieces of makerslide significantly farther apart. If you are still binding, take a high quality ruler and lay it across the steel bar to see if it is flat. If it is not, you may want to go to town with a grinder or file to get it closer to flat. I used a file to file down the outside edges of one side of the bar, and the humped up middle of the other side. This helped significantly with the binding that was placed on the v wheels from having too much space between the makerslide halves.

I’m a little curious as to the requirement of the steel bar. I have been working with machine tools for years and rebuilt a few and can’t see the mild steel bar really adding all that much rigidity. I haven’t received my X carve yet but it would seem to me that bolting the two rails together would be more than enough to keep even the Dewalt router from causing any flex on the gantry. As already mentioned the mild steel bar will be very inaccurate in both thickness and twist and in my head would cause more issues than it would fix.

I will bolt the rails together and see how much twist I can measure and report back when I get my machine.

I considered using just bolts, but I didn’t like the idea of having to drill precision holes and slide small spacers between the two pieces of makerslide. My thinking was that if the holes had some slop, it would allow a bit more flex since the only friction (from surface contact) would be the spacers.

With a piece of steel (assuming it’s actually flat), I drilled slightly oversized holes and used 5 furniture bolts. It just seemed that a little slop in the holes would be okay since the clamp pressure from all 5 bolts would provide enough surface contact/friction between the steel bar and the makerslides to prevent movement.

So far, I haven’t had any reason to regret it. I’m moving up to the Dewalt 611 shortly, and plan to use it to make the Y-axis stiffeners I designed a few weeks ago.

I measured the gap between the X axis maker slides and found it to be slightly less than 3/16". I got a piece of 2 1/2" x 3/16 aluminum and had it milled down to 4.17mm or 0.1642" (3/16" = 0.1875") to fit perfectly between the X axis maker slides. The V wheels line up perfectly with the Maker slides.

1 Like