Upgrading to next CNC machine

So I figured this would go in the upgrade area. My X-carve has been going well since it was built as a 500x500 Shapeoko 2. It was upgraded to a 1000x1000 machine when the X-carve updates came out then again when I added the solid X rail and a linear rail Z along with Phil’s X plate lift. The dam thing works great, but when your handed a gift, you upgrade :slight_smile:

About 3 weeks ago I was given a bunch of Open Build v-slot extrusion and the parts and pieces for an OX build of 1000x1500. Basically all I needed was the plates and the electronics. However, I can never leave well enough alone. So I made some changes to the stock OX plates to give more support to the new linear rail Z-axis. I also decided that instead of using another router i would step up to a 1.5Kw spindle. Of course, that weighs more so I should really use linear guides for the X-axis. I’m still waiting on those linear rails, but below is a pic of the parts just laying on the dining room table with a single Tall OX plate that I cut from 1/4" MDF - cause what else is it for.

After redesigning the plates and cutting them on the X-Carve as a test, I connected everything to give an idea of size and proof that the design changes will work. The X-axis is C-Beam back to back and bolted together for the lower beam and the top is a c-beam on it’s side. Everything else you should be able to get from the images. I’ll cut the X plates for testing as well as the end plates tomorrow. Once everything looks good, I’ll send my DXF to the waterjet place and have some .375 aluminum cut for all the plates.


Good job :wink:


My X-Carve has one just like yours. I have noticed that recently there is a bit of play and I need to figure out where. I spent a bit more on this one and it’s much heavier duty and is about 2 inches taller (14" total without stepper).



I’m thinking that its in one bearing, I can actually move it by hand just a bit when I change bits and its puts a twist pressure, I have narrowed it down to the Linear Rail, just haven’t taken everything apart as it doesn’t seem to effect it to bad and I’m cutting lots of things :smile:


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Normally there is a steel case in an aluminum housing, nothing a little heat wont solve. Put some gloves on, heat it on the stove and tap the block hard on a wooden plate. The bearing should drop out easily. Without heat the thin wall of the bearing may crumble when too much force is set on the bearing.

The supported rail can be fitted with adjustable blocks so you can set the play. Here some documentation with the different possibilities.

THN BA06 NL-EN.pdf (1.4 MB)

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Very nice ! This build looks very solid and I love hot it started like mine with someone giving me bunch of extrusions lol

What belting are you planning to use ?

Well it made me a bit leery on that design and the answer you got from the manufacturer, that is why I switched to the one I did, I can fully take it apart and replace when needed. It did come with a couple compromises, there are no mounting hols drilled anywhere nor are there any holes for the spindle mount. Nothing that can’t be solved with a big hammer :stuck_out_tongue:

I cut out some more test pieces today and made sure they fit. It seems I can’t judge the size of the plates very well, all of them have spots where my scrap mdf wasn’t big enough, oh well, the important parts are there and being tested.

Since I’ve tested them all - I’ll attach the DXF as well.

All-Plates-CNC-JER.dxf (290.5 KB)


I have GT3 belts/pullys for it for now. Keeping the belt system for now but have put thought into rack/pinion or ball screw for later.

Sounds good, looking at pictures you plan to run the belt above the wheels ?
And yeah I think you are actually at the size of the build where ball screw would still work.

The belt will run below the wheels, still 6mm width belt but stepped to GT3 for the teeth.

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So last night I was able to cut and get the back brace tested and found that the C-Beams need to be trimmed on my table saw a bit as they are just not quite square, off by like .5-1mm. I was also able to test the X axis motor placement to make sure everything fit without hitting - it’s good.

The local place that is water jetting the plates for me is closed for this week so they wont get cut until next week, which is fine as I’m on vacation at Disney with the family next week so they will be ready when I get back.

Here is a couple pics form the test:


The 3/8" aluminum plates were done yesterday just as I hoped. We returned from a week at Disney in Florida on Saturday. I was able to prep the plates and clean up any kerfs or smalll nubs left from the water jet process. The holes were perfect on the top side but just a bit small on the underside so I used my drill press to correct that. Set some time aside and assembled the gantry and it’s just out of square by about 1/8 from one end to the other so I need to figure that out as I know the gantry beams I cut are exact and square.

Here are some pics of the current state:



I love that you are doing this in the dining room.


Well I wouldn’t want to do that in the shop, the X-Carve is in there :slight_smile:

Little more work done. Greased the linear rails and started laying out/drilling/counterbore the X gantry for the Z axis. I took the Z axis back off and clamped them together to drill the holes through. Then drilled out and tapped the Z axis so I can screw it on from the back. Also had to counterbore and create tool holes for a couple of the linear rail mounting bolts.

As much as I like the wheels on the Y plates, I have a set of linear rails for the Y and I’m going to use them and change my initial belt choice to something a bit heavier. Switching to the linear rails on the Y will allow me to keep the motor placement and run a wider heavier belt on the top of the rails.


Decided last night and this morning that I am moving away from belts and going to rack and pinion. Ordered all the parts this morning and will post pics when it all comes in. Cost difference wasn’t too bad and I think in the long run it will be worth it.



Good call for sure and yes once you got solid based rack and pinions not actually as expensive as one would imagine.

Also this will save you time & $ from starting with wheels & belts and then upgrading to linear rails and rack & pinion. Cause if you leave room for upgrade, it is almost certain that you WILL eventually upgrade. :slight_smile:

Yeah, I agree with you both. Shipping confirmation on rack and pinion as well as a couple brackets shows next Wednesday. Guess it’s time to do some controller wiring in the mean time.


Well, a week of waiting for time and parts. I got some assistance in moving the new machine to the basement shop and started the process of prepping for rack and pinion.

Here are the modifications and some mounted shots. Next step is marking and drilling for the liner bearings.