Many now have their machines and are at various stages of building their new toys! How exciting for us all. Thank you INVENTABLES for an excellent product, parts and instructions! Here are a few suggestions and tricks that made sense to me to mention here. I am not posting this to be critiqued, just sharing my journey. Please take what you can use and ignore what you don’t like. Feel free to add your positive thoughts on enhancements that will help others. Hopefully you can get an idea or two as some of these tricks I got from other sources just like us all. This post is focused just on the build of the X Carve 1000 x1000 machine, which I will now just call “1000X”. There will be another post focused on enhancements like and extras I added so far just trying to help new builders like myself.
BEFORE YOU START:
- Study assembly twice as much as you think you should. Watch all the videos AND read all the written instructions all the way through before you start. If you build as you go without doing this your likely to cut something too short or misunderstand a step. There’s not a video focused only on the 1000x, but by combining video and written carefully you can get very good instructions.
- Make a VERY big and clutter free space to build, with room for the machine, PLUS an area to lay out your parts and tools. There are many small Parts and Bags, don’t remove small parts from the bags just open them, and lay them all out with labels facing you. In your assembly space get a pad and pen for notes because as you’re building many ideas will come to mind. I used a VISE with padding to hold parts while I worked on installing pulleys, etc to the carriages. It made it very easy to keep everything steady and straight. I used a padded desk pad to lay out each step with counted parts from the instructions.
- Before you start realize you’re going to drop shit, it’s going to roll off into some black hole space you can’t find, and leave you crawling and cussing. So clean up the floor around you and make sure you have lots of light. I found it handy to take one of the Inventables boxes and use it for a “spare” parts box, so when I Had a few inches of extra cable or in my case some cut off extrusions it has a place to go.
Instead of throwing out a million pictures and steps of the build process I am only including tips and tip related pictures to add. I made my machine 1000mm x 800mm so I am definitely including how I did this with no problems.
THE WORKSPACE :
I built on to my existing bench along the wall. I made a torsion style table top without legs but with lots of support on 6” centers. Then I attached it to the bench with it overhanging, adding support beams and a sturdy extra leg/post. Basically, it will support heavy weight and abuse and won’t budge in any direction. I checked it for level throughout building it. A sheet of mdf is a great flat start but be sure the support under it is perfectly flat and shimmed to flat if accuracy of depth of cut on your CNC is important to you.
Shrinking My X Carve – I started with the 1000mm works kit. When it came time to build the x gantry (the one with 2 parallel sections of maker slide, first I made sure the X Carve logo was on one of these pieces and was facing outward, either way is fine. Then I used a table saw with a Non Ferrous metal cutting blade to insure a clean square cut. I set up a stop block on the table saw (a stationary block attached to the saw) to reference each piece against so that every cut is identical. I only cut the pieces for the step I was working on but essentially I took exactly 200 mm off 2 pieces of maker slide and the two longest square extrusions. I also cut 200mm off the waste board width; drilled, counter-sunk and grooved new outer mounting holes just like the existing ones (see pictures). The Belts, wires and drag chain lengths changed too, but instead of trying to pre-cut or adjust cuts I just only cut what I needed at each step to insure I didn’t cut something wrong.
The belts kept slipping as I installed them so my fix was a tiny thin piece of black duct tape to help hold the teeth together along with the friction. I have seen folks use cable ties and shrink wrap effectively too, but the tape is easy to remove without damaging the belts and it holds and looks just fine.
Soldering- Man I hated steps on the soldering, even watched many videos, but in the end the bond I was getting sucked and looked terrible. Found these awesome jumpers at radio shack for a few bucks and used them to attach to the g-shield step. Out at the limit switches I used these nice little 22/18 gauge female quick connects that made a much more stable and attractive connection than solder.
On the wiring I didn’t add connectors like some have but I likely will. For the cable management I used a standard black plastic sleeve with a slit.
I can remove them easy to get to wires and I think they look good to and protect well. Then I routed the wires coming off the X carve under the table and back up against the wall where I built a quick electronics cover of sorts. It has 3 sides, its open on the top and bottom for good air flow, the smoked acrylic slides in and out. The power supply and electronics are mounted to the pegboard in a friction fit top and bottom, with a piece of wood at the top that rotated to lock it into place. The top of the enclosure is notched for my computer monitor that will sit on top once I get a cable for it.
When you think your done – before you fire up the machine re-check your wires (a couple of mine came loose), check you V- wheels on each carriage (2 of these came loose on me too!) as far as adjusting the v wheels and the eccentric nuts I rotated the nut till all the wheels were just lightly contacting and rolling on the marker slide. Once you fire up the machine and the wiring appears good try to stabilize it and keep it from moving around. I bundled mine together then bundled them to a stationary point. I also snuggly attached my machine to the bench top with two screws on the perimeter. Using too many screws and bolting down too hard can lead to warping over time.
One last tip on the waste board. I used a product called Minwax Wood Hardener on mine to do just that, making the waste board stiffer and stronger. Happy Carving!