Wasteboard questions. Making my own

Hi all,

I got my 1000mm machine a few weeks ago, but had little time to play until now.

I ordered it without the wasteboard because it seemed that an x-carve wasteboard is the most expensive piece of mdf on the planet. My machine is living in the house, tipped up against the wall and hidden behind a screen when not in use. To use it, I fold it down onto the floor, which makes a pretty stable base, This is temporary until the workshop has a space cleared.

My wasteboard is 4 foot square. It is two pieces of 2x4 mdf bolted to the underside of the xcarve, There is a seam, but it is pretty level. With this setup I get extra z axis travel equal to the thickness of the mdf, plus the aluminium base.

To secure the workpiece, I often drive a nail through each corner, straight into the mdf. It gives excellent workholding, provided I’m careful not to hit the nails when running the machine.

My questions are;

How would you recommend I set up a more permanent workholding structure? I really don’t fancy drilling hundreds of holes for the clamp screws and cant drive nails easily through the brass I intend to engrave in the near future.

and what is the best way to level the wasteboard? should I just skim it with a large endmill?



I recommend T-Slot Track. Available at places such as Rockler.

Their is a recent thread that shows how the Track was screwed to the “waste board” then new pieces of MDF are slid in between the tracks. This makes a new disposable waste board. This also allows you to resurface the waste board multiple times if 3/4" MDF is used.

I recommend you search the forum for that thread. It is my method of choice.

Thanks Michael,

That did cross my mind. I like the additional workheight I have at the moment with this set up, and am reluctant to add mdf above my base. Milling slots into my current wasteboard would weaken it, but I guess that could be mounted on another board to support it.

I modified my xcarve from the original configuration. I made a modified version of a torsion box.

One method you might try is to mount the fully assembled machine on a stable surface without a waste board attached, such as to a table top or just a plain piece of 3/4" MDF 4’x4’. This will allow you to fill in the spaces between the 20mmx20mm extrusions.
3/4" MDF is usually just slightly over 19mm thick. So a few thin spacers might be required. I would probably use thin precision washers between the filler board and the tabletop if they are needed. This should allow you to get the filler boards the same level as the support extrusions.
Next you can attach the TSlot to these spacer boards that are secured to the tabletop. Keep in mind that the Tslot should now lay across the support extrusions and the spacer/filler boards.
Now your actual waste board can be Inserted between the Tslots and attached to the support extrusions and the new spacer/filler boards. This “Waste board” will still be located at the stock level and will be sitting on top of the 20x20 extrusions. A leveling of the finished surface is advised.

This method Might give the bed the capabilities of a little more flex, but as long as the machine is on a stable base, there should not be an issue. The added weight will also help for dampening of vibrations.

The multiple layers of the base now act as a laminate stiffening up the work surface. But since it is not a true laminate with all seams glued, then it might flex just slightly if not on a stable surface. Just make sure all parts are as securely fastened to as many other parts wells single to help solidify everything.

This can all be completed without even loosing 1mm of Z axis travel/workspace.

This Does take a little more wood but in most cases will still be cheaper to buy the T slots and a full sheet of MDF rather than pay for the shipping alone. You also get the added benefit of extra weight with more dampening capabilities.

Hope this helps.

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Here is the thread I am referring to. Just off of quick glance the method I described above and the method used in the thread are nearly identical.

This really is a good method in my opinion.

FYI this kit goes on sale for $19.99 on 1/2/2016

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That’s great, I’m in the UK but it looks like they’re set up for delivery over here, unless I find a local alternative. How many lengths of track would you recommend? I’m thinking 5 should do it, but would like your opinion as you’ve already set yours up and hopefully filtered out the negatives.

5 is a good number. I would not do any less than 5. the size of your machine is dependent not the total amount that could be used. Some individuals use 20mmx80mm extrusions across the entire bed giving lots of possibilities.

the one thing i would consider is the dimensions between the Tslots. I would use a consistent number between them. this way you can cut multiple sacrificial boards, all the same size and they all fit perfectly. also take into considerations the size of sheet the sacrificial boards will be cut from. take these numbers and the size of your machine into consideration.

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i also want to add another tidbit of info.

Some of the clamps that use Tslots overlap the edge of the Tslot by several inches. Figure out what style of clamps that you will be using the majority of time with your machine. Make sure that the Tslot on the far left and far right of the work surface are not too close to any rails or walls or edges that might interfere with their use.

for the Tslots, i would recommend a 2’ offset, or more, from both of the Y rails to allow for mosts clamps to be used.

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Thanks again Michael,

I have definitely decided to take this route and will probably post pictures when I finally get the workshop setup.


I would look at the price of the extra track. $25 for 4’ of track seems quite pricey They are very proud of the track unless you find it on sale. Just thought I would bring this to your attention. I thought it was a great deal too until I saw that for extra track…