Y Axis Braces and Belt Dust Shield

I just finished bracing the Y axis and installing dust shields for the Y axis belts. Here’s the details, since I’m not sure when I will actually get this turned into a project.

All feeds and speeds are for the 1000x1000mm X-Carve with the Dewalt 611 with X axis stiffened. Do not use these feeds and speeds for lesser spindles!!!

I started by cutting out 6 braces from .125" aluminum T6061, using a 12"x12" piece from Inventables. I used the 1/8" 2 flute upcut ball end mill from Inventables. 611 speed was ‘5’, DOC was 0.1 mm, and speed was 800 mm/min. I was able to cut this dry, with incredible results and no gumming up after I figured out the right speed!

After cutting, I drilled the holes, countersunk them slightly to clean up the edges, filed the edges to break sharp corners and remove tabs, then spray painted with gloss black paint.

The Easel file for these braces is http://easel.inventables.com/projects/inZ3luh7R2aaQX6yMxg6LQ. I put little dimples where the holes should go, I decided to use a drill for the holes rather than hope the end mill would work. Here’s the picture of the braces, from start to finish:

After all the braces were painted and dry, it was time to cut out the dust shields. I used a 24"x36" piece of .118" acrylic mirror from Home Depot. I used the same type of bit. 611 speed was ‘1’, with .118" (full depth) DOC and speed of 180 IPM.

I cut the whole depth in a single pass on all 4 dust shield parts, which I would not recommend. The acrylic kept wanting to “walk” up the bit, which caused some rather rough edges. Do yourself a big favor and make multiple shallow passes instead.

The Easel project for the dust shields is http://easel.inventables.com/projects/OVnLbGTM1McXSW2C27dCxA. The large holes allow bolt heads on the braces to pass through, while the small holes are used to attach the dust shield to the makerslide through the middle set of holes on the braces. This way, the shields can be removed while still having a set of bolts on the bottom and top of the braces to maintain integrity of the Y axis.

Here’s what they look like attached from the outside:

And here’s what they look like attached from the inside:

Finally, here’s the overview of the whole thing:

I didn’t order enough t-nuts, bolts, and washers, so the outer two braces only have three bolts instead of six. Still more than good enough, but I may try to get some more in the next couple months.

Overall, I’m VERY happy with this and am looking forward to giving this a try when I cut out a dust boot. The only problem I’ve noticed is that my X axis travel is reduced by half an inch or so on each side, but that’s easy enough to fix by moving the bolt for the X axis homing switch in. No big loss.


looks great !

Nice setup, Robert! :+1:

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Thanks for sharing this and your previous experiences Robert. I find all your posts very practical and informative, especially the videos. Great stuff.

That’s a good looking setup! I’ll be building some Y-braces myself before long, I think.

Also, love the E-stop! :laughing:

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Thanks all! I think the next video is going to be a CNC cart modification, but I can’t think of any more “big” changes. Who knows, maybe I’ll get to start doing projects for fun now… :smiley:

I really like how you did your baseboard with the wasteboard on top… In the interest of time, may have to do the same! Looks like you just t-sloted the baseboard?

Sorry, the dust shields are nice too :wink:

The baseboard is the standard Inventables wasteboard, I just put a piece of 3/4" melamine over that so I could (a) carve into it without feeling bad, and (b) write on it with pencil, knowing it’s easy to clean off. The melamine is particleboard, which I don’t really like since it won’t level very well, so once it’s all scarred up I’m going to replace it with a big piece of MDF.

The tertiary wasteboard is just 1/2" MDF with a 24-1/8" wide pocket in it so the acrylic would sit perfectly level. The melamine has about .030" dip in the middle, so I’ll probably make small reusable wasteboards like this for various applications.

Bear with me here, I am very new to the CNC hobby work.

Do the holes in your secondary and tertiary waste boards line up with the holes in your Inventables board? If not, how do you attach your work piece?
I am fighting leveling issues so I am tossing around putting a 1/2" MDF board on top of my Inventables board and then just running a 1/2" bit over the whole thing, theoretically that would make the surface level to the gantry, I think. If I do this, I would need to either cut holes to reach the original board or come up with a new attaching method. Do you have any recommendations?


I chose to line the holes up on all the waste boards (75mm apart X and Y), but you can attach them with regular screws if you’re willing to put additional holes in your main wasteboard.

My tertiary wasteboard with the 24" wide pocket is 1/2" MDF, and I use a 3/4" bit to level it out. That will definitely make it level with the gantry. I cut my pocket .040" deep to start, and remove .005" whenever I need to clean it up or verify it’s level.

If you mark it out correctly, you should be able to just drill 4 holes outside of the pocket area, one on each corner, and attach it to the main board that way. Then just drill 10mm holes every 75mm if you want more clamping points, and carve your pocket. Just don’t forget to put a little circle in the corners so your square material edges have somewhere to go.

Thanks for the awesome response, looks like I have a project this weekend. I think I’ll also be tackling your y axis shields, great thread on that.

Thanks for all the helpful info you post in the forum overall, very helpful for newbs like myself.


I’m more than glad to share what I learn, I’m still new to this myself. I’d suggest making 2-3 passes in the acrylic though, it kept trying to climb up the bit and made the edges a bit more ragged than I would like.

I’m thinking about doing this same mod. Do you think it does the job in stiffening up the Y rails? I live in Chicago area so I can just go pick up some aluminum from them no problem. This may be easier than modifying existing hardware from Home Depot. I plan to do this along with the mod you did on the X rails. Thanks for the videos!

I think with 3 additional aluminum braces, especially since they’re 60mm wide and tie together the base and the rail, that it will be stiffer than I will ever need it to be. It was also a great chance for me to cut a new material, which went fine even before the mod. I bet I could cut a little bit deeper into aluminum on each pass now that it’s stiffer.

I’m glad you enjoyed the videos! :smile: )

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What dimensions did you cut the steel piece down to for the X-axis modification? If I get this can I used it without cutting it?
The extrusion is 40mm tall, which is 1.57 inches. So 1.5 inch wide steel should be perfect. Just not sure about the length. I’m thinking 36 may be a bit short, should I go with 48 and cut it down?


FYI - I used 36" steel in the original mod and it works great. It prevents bowing and flexing which was the goal. There’s not need for this piece to run end to end. And 1.5" is great. You can go longer, at least 2" if you want, as there is room inside the taveling gantry.

Great mod! Would love to get this done on my 1000mm. Do you mind providing a hardware list? Want to make sure I order enough button screws and pre assembly nuts! Thanks for the help I’m sure many people will benefit from this as well

I’m working on putting together a project for it, but here’s a list to get started. I ordered everything from Inventables except the acrylic mirror and spray paint, which came from Home Depot.

I didn’t order enough t-nuts and 12mm bolts, which is why there’s holes without bolts. Don’t pull a Robert, always order more nuts and bolts than you need! :smile:

12"x12"x.125" Aluminum T6061 plate (order 2 so you can do feed/speed testing with one, but all 6 braces came from one plate)
25281-08 (36) M5 T-nuts
25286-02 (24) 12mmxM5 bolts
25286-01 (12) 10mmxM5 bolts
25281-08 (36) M5 washers
Aluminum cutting bit (I used the Inventables standard ball-end 1/8" 2 flute upcut bit)

24"x48"x.118" acrylic mirror from Home Depot
Gloss black spray paint, or whatever color you like, from Home Depot

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Fantastic work!!! I love the fact that that you’ve used mirrored stock to act as a dust shield. Not only does it prevent dust ingress, it also reflects light back onto your carving surface…inspired!!!

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