Wasteboard hell

Today I finally bit the bullet and drilled up (or tried to) my 1000 wasteboard. I have been dreading this step and rightly so.
I spent about an hour trying to figure out how to cut the side slots and the countersinks according to the dimensions on the 30300-03 pdf, and decided on a plunge router bit to do the countersink part and then a skinny router bit to do the screw hole. In both cases I centered it up manually and then dragged out to make the slot. It’s only about the third time I’ve ever used my router, which probably contributed to the outcome, which was an absolute dog’s dinner.
I did a couple of practice holes on some scrap, which looked OK, but my real holes were as crooked as the local politicians and when (after many hours doing the 144 inserts) I tried to tie it all together I found out the countersink holes were too deep and I’m going to have to stick washers on all of the 20mm screws to tighten down the mdf to the rails. Of course the rails didn’t fit on straight either, so I spent several hours trying to adjust the slots, until I finally accepted defeat for today and will have another go in a day or so.

Regarding the threaded inserts, they refused to screw in flush with the back of the board, so I just screwed then in and then tightened them down with an allen key until the rim bits popped off, which probably wasn’t in the original design but ended up looking tidier.

Once again I envy those who live in the US and can just buy stuff and have it delivered in a couple of days, this home-made wasteboard has been a real challenge, at least for me.

in the US at least for me, its $262 with shipping… I just bought the top sheet at home depot ( if its dirty or nicked they will discount it.) for $8… without a discount its still under 30.

point is, if it doesnt need to look pretty on both sides, buy the top sheet and ask for a discount. you can usually get 30-70% off.

Also you don’t need to drill all the holes. Another approach could be to use a screw gun or nail gun to fasten your work piece to the board without clamps.

Another option for you…

I mounted my X carve onto a table and mounted some T Slot between its rails. I then filled the gaps between the T Slot with bits of MDF. You may g et the idea from the image below. I did put some threaded inserts along the middle of the MDF, but I rearely use them.
When needed, replacing them is very simple and they just need to be ripped to fit between the the TSlot rails. I screw them down using a Tek-screw driver and screw the heads so they’re below the surface. A quick skim across the top with a wide bit in the XCarve to flatten them and you’re good to go.


I made a quick and dirty jig out of scrap 6mm MDF. The front part sits against the edge on which you need to make the cut. The sidepiece ensure that the router cuts at 90 degree to the spoil board edge and the rear piece sets how far back the slot is cut. The front part doesn’t need to extend to the router bit, I was just too lazy to grab a saw.
I ran this once with a large bit (16mm I think) and then on the same mark, with a 6mm bit.
Spacing of the various slots is not critical. The two holes that you drill to connect the centre extrusion do however need to be accurate.

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@DavidWestley How far do the T-track rails sit beneath the surface of the MDF?

This is the method that I plan on using as well. I like how the waste board can easily be removed and replaced with fresh sections. Then it will be easy to level the waste board several times before the waste boards need to be completely replaced.

I am waiting on purchasing More T-Track. Rockler offers a special from time to time on this kit for $19.99. When the special becomes available, I will stock up again.
IMO this is an excellent way to go.

@GeoffSteer not sure on sizes (lunch hour at work at the moment) but I guess it’s well over a ¼" or so. I’ve flattened the waste board a couple of times so I’m getting close to another replacement.

Not having put lots of effort into the waste board, I’ll regularly allow the bit to touch it when cutting profiles (I usually set it to cut 0.5-1mm too deep, although the actual depth depends on how flat things are).

Thus far, I’ve only ‘kissed’ the top of the TSlot once with a bit and fortunately it did little more than leave a mark. This was after using some code from one project on a different sized piece of stock, because “it should be ok…”

Operator error, the most common type I encounter!

Yeah I bit the bullet and bought the wast board and paid that expensive shipping but what I did do was create a 3d model of the 1000th X carve waste board and set up all the cam files for a local shop and made it work with there specific machine so all they have to do is put my 4x8 sheet on therequest machine and press go so not a whole lot of money is exchanged and you get 2 wasteboards out of it

I am currently working on a wasteboards design that has vacuum and t slots in it

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It’s probably me (I’m a bit heavy handed) but I’ve also found a few times that when I’ve tightened up clamps that were screwed into the threaded inserts, they were actually pulling the MDF up into a dome shape and altering the height of the wasteboard itself. When using clamps in the T Slot - no matter how hard I tighten everything, I’m really only pulling everything ‘flatter’.

Not sure if anyone else has seen this, but it finally explained some random errors in height I was getting…

I see what you mean I was worried about that so I use a drill with a slip clutch to sorta torque each one evenly use it every time

I have been doing the same with a driver and set the torque. It also ensures a more even clamp.

@DavidWestley Did you add extra support in the way of extrusion to support the t-track or are they just screwed down to the table top?
The t-track I’ve been able to find locally is either 9.5mm or 13m thick. (actually 3/8" or 1/2")

@GeoffSteer The X Carve is screwed to the table and the T Slot fits between the side rails (or end rails depending on your POV) and is also screwed to the table. The T Slot has screw holes every few inches and I’ve used them all - so it’s nice and strong.

I’ve never actually put in the inserts. I just screwed my wasteboard down to tapped holes in the angle brackets on the corners, and have been using screws to hold the projects to it. Definitely about time for a wasteboard changeout, though. I have been procrastinating on building the actual final table for this, but I think it’s about time. When I do, I will build a better wasteboard assembly.

I bootstrapped my machine by using it to:

  • cut the HDPE Wasteboard to size
  • drill and countersink holes (used a radial arrangement based on Phi (Golden Ratio) to minimize the number needed)
  • installing hardware (I used T-nuts and installed them w/ some large washers and a bolt (get a good quality one) and a socket wrench)
  • then using it as a template to drill mounting holes in the MDF, mounting it w/ nylon screws into T-nuts on the underside

If the MDF pieces are sitting on the table top, I take that the top of the MDF is below the top of the 20x20 extrusion at the front, back and sides of the X-Carve? Does this mean that you didn’t install the centre piece of 20x20 extrusion (Y direction)? Any other photos?
Asking this as I’d like to do the same and want to make sure I understand what you’ve done before I try it :grinning:

My X-Carve is built on a torsion box, the top of which is 9mm thick so I should be able to securely fasten t-track to this provided I use enough screws. I’ve ordered a few pieces of 835mm T-Track along with some aluminium hold downs.

@GeoffSteer. Ok, here a couple of shots taken just after doing a carve without the dust guard (showing it off to folks at Xmas). Apologies in advance to those with beautiful machines, mine works well, cuts sweetly and accurately but it’s no oil painting. It does however work really really hard…

Keep in mind, this version of the table also kinda ‘evolved’ - I didn’t really have the final version in mind when I began. This is probably “Table V2.1”. One day, I’m stripping the whole thing down and doing it properly (in the interim, I’m too busy making sawdust).

The X Carve was built on a table that I decided was sufficiently strong and flat for what I wanted ($200 IKEA I believe). I did add a little additional wood for bracing and to take a few drawers etc, but not a huge amount. I fitted heavy duty locking castors (wheels) to each leg.

“Inside” the basic square of the machine, I placed an additional piece of hardwood ply, upon which the centre brace and the T Slot was screwed (through the ply, into the table and into the timbers below)

The image below is the front left corner of the machine (for me it’s 0, 0, 0). There is enough space at the end of each T slot to allow the bolts to be inserted and removed. Table top is black, the MDF is yellowish and the ply is white.If you’re wondering, the small bracket on the left side rail is for my polycarbonate dust shield to clip onto using rare earth magnets (shields ca be seen on the image several posts above)

This image shows the approx height of the MDF above the T slot and side frames. Whilst they’re overkill, using these clamps, I’ve never had a job move…

This image is the front, centre of the table.Visible are the first of the threaded inserts that run down the middle of each section of MDF. Note - these are VERY HARD. Be sure to lower them before resurfacing your wasteboard - I can promise you that your tool bits will appreciate the effort…


@DavidWestley Thanks for the photos and description, they make it much clearer what you’ve done.
I think my 9mm MDF top on the torsion box is too thin to screw things too. soI’ll add a layer of 18mm MDF and screw to that.

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Thanks Geoff, I have to trim two mm off the waste board so the Xcarve will fit nicely onto the rails without forcing the endplates, and so will redo the screw slots on at least one side. I’ll use a jig like your photo this time.

As far as I know, nobody in this country has even heard of T-slot, let alone actually sells it, but once I get organized I’ll get somebody in the US to forward me a bit, together with some other odds and ends. I needed 3 10mm M5 screws for the corner gussets, I must have used three of mine instead of 8mm somewhere, as I have extra 8mm and not enough 10mm. The only M5 size I can find here have a hex head, which takes some very fiddly work to tighten up in the space of the gussets. It can be done, at least.

Thanks to all for the suggestions.