Excelent write up CharleyThomas. Definitely something I will be doing soon.
@CharleyThomas Thanks for putting that together! Looking at the pictures, does the plate extend about an inch below the normal rails? If so, Is there a reason it extends that far past and not just the width of the rails?
By going just as wide as possible you increase the truss depth. This in turn means the gantry will carry more weight without sagging.
My plan is to use a full 3.5 wide piece of 3/16 steel and do what it takes to fit it above and below the MS rails. I will have to adjust the length of bolts for the smooth guide rollers and the V wheels on the stepper side.
I’ve been cutting with the heavy hitachi on there now for about a week using only steel the width of the slides and it would take several times that weight for that gantry to sag at this point. So, if it is easier for you to slip some pre-cut stock in there as a test, I highly recommend it.
I wouldn’t park my car on it… but, at this point, I’m pretty sure the shear strength of the self-tappers would be the weakest point in that system.
Great job @CharleyThomas
Thanks for sharing your process.
I wanted the steel to be as tall as possible to gain as much strength as possible. I wasn’t trying to increase the strength of the rails vertically to carry more weight, but horizontally instead. A thinner piece that would be the same size as the original rails would go a long way to decrease the horizontal flexing that is the real issue but I figured that there is no reason not to let it hang below the rails to gain as much strength as possible. As long as it doesn’t extend below the spindle mount the it won’t reduce the thickness of material you can cut. I could have gone above the rails, or even split the difference but I thought it looked better cosmetically extending below the rails.
If you loosen the screws holding the maker slide rails it will fit. Admittedly, it is not an absolute perfect fit however it is so close to perfect that I see no reason to be concerned. You will also need to loosen and readjust your eccentric nuts on you spindle carriage. Loosening all the parts will let the steel slide in to a near perfect fit. Then just tighten everything back up once you have it bolted together.
Nice mod. I’ll probably be doing exactly what you did to the T. I don’t have the 1000mm machine but hey, for aluminum we need all the rigidity we can get, haha.
We keep talking about aluminum being the reason to stiffen things up but adding this modification to stiffen the gantry will only help with all other materials as well. I have noticed a big improvement in all my carvings. I haven’t used the 500mm version of the x-carve but I’ll bet it works very well.
Alright boys, I’ve been busy. I ended up buying a 3/16 x 2 x 19in plate of steel (500mm version) and did the mod. I followed Charlie’s instructions almost exactly, I didn’t have a drill press so I clamped the whole ensemble in the vice and drilled it out that way. Because I opted for a 2" wide plate the eccentric nuts weren’t obstructed at all and were easily adjusted. I haven’t done a test cut yet, maybe tonight or tomorrow, but just trying to flex it manually I’ve noticed a huge improvement. Here are some pics.
@EricDobroveanu, good job on the upgrade. Let us know how the cuts go.
On a side note, have you got any info on your vacuum table? Did you make it yourself? I’d love to know more about your setup if you have some time to share.
Ive done a few cuts in aluminum. It seems like there is a lot less vibration throughout the machine. Id say it has had an impact on the chatter, not a huge one. I knew this mod had a diminishing effect on the 500mm version of the machine. I feel more confident cutting aluminum now, that’s for sure.
I did make the vacuum table. I made an alignment error when cutting the top, that’s why it looks a little screwed up. Ive hardly gotten to use it since I’m waiting for the silicon gasket from mcmaster. Heres a video I put together of the first test (caution loud).
Great write up @CharleyThomas! @InventablesXcarve, any way to get something like this into a wiki?
Many of the comments about the write up I did on this mod are more or less crediting me for the ideal. As much as I would like to take the credit, I cannot. I wish I knew who put the idea in my head to use the 3/16" steel but alas, I don’t. All I really did was apply the mod to my machine and then write down the steps I took to make it come together and then added a few pics of the completed project. The only reason I did that was because there seemed to be a lot of questions about it and since I had done it I thought I would share my findings.
As for a wiki, I have never created one but if someone wants to take the write up I did and incorporate that into a wiki as applicable, by all means, feel free.
I can say that DavidSohlstrom was instrumental in getting me going in the direction of the mod.
Yea, the idea has been floating around for a while I think @CharleyThomas, and I think @DavidSohlstrom had some posts about this too. I think what everyone is commending is your efforts in actually documenting the work itself. Taking the time to actually write down your process, take the pictures, format it so everything make sense, really helps others thinking of doing the same thing.
There is a forum here called “WIKI” but its not really a wiki per se, just another forum for people to dump stuff in. It would be great if Inventables had a real wiki for documentation and user mods.
It seems like it works well, even without the gasket. In the video it looks like you are testing with a shop vac. Is that what you are sticking with for vacuum or did you switch to a vacuum pump? What kind of tubing are you using and what fitting are you using to connect it to the MDF?
@CharleyThomas, the instructions were very well written, it made it easy for me to do the mod on my machine. I recorded it, so in the next week or two maybe I’ll have a video supplement to go with your paper.
Awesome, I can’t wait to see the video!
Here you go, the video to go with your instructions. I added a few techniques of my own, but the idea itself is from your writeup. Once again, great instructions!
Manhattan Wood Project
Awesome video Rob. Much better quality than mine and very informative.