1800 MM X-Carve Upgrade

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About: I’m a full time Mortgage Broker with a passion for creating. My focus is on woodworking, but love technology and learning new dispense.

About a year ago I purchased parts from Inventables to upgrade my 1000mm x 1000mm X-Carve and transform it into a mammoth 1800mm x 1000mm machine, which I've nicknamed the siX-Carve, as it's just under six feet long. My hope was to build bigger templates and do larger carvings.

When I started this journey, I looked for a long time to find instructions on how to do this upgrade and could not find anything. Hopefully, this helps out other Inventables X-Carve users looking to make the same upgrades.

Step 1: Gather Materials

Here is a list of the materials I used to do my X-Carve upgrade.

Parts list

From Inventables (Click Here)

  1. 1800 mm Maker Slides - 2
  2. 1800 mm extrusion - 2
  3. X-Carve Drag Chain Kit - 1 (Inventables ship in sets of 2)

  4. T-Slot Nut M5 Pre-Assembly - 4 (Inventables ship in sets of 10)

  5. Button Head Cap Screw M5 x 8mm - 4 (Inventables ship in sets of 10)
  6. Button Head Cap Screw M5 x 10mm - 1 (Inventables ship in sets of 10

  7. Extrusion Bracket Corners - 1 (Inventables ship in sets of 4)

From Open Builds (Clic k Here)

  1. Linear Rail

Other Materials - Available at metal supply stores or your local home center.

  1. Aluminum Flat Bar (1/8" x 1") - 8'
  2. Aluminum Flat Bar (1/4" x 2 1/2") -3'
  3. 18/4 18 Gauge 4 Conductor Stranded Shielded non Plenum Wire Carol - 12' (found on eBay originally)

Step 2: Increased Cutting Depth

Materials Needed:

Aluminum Flat Bar (1/4" x 2 1/2") -3'

Before disassembling your X-Carve, you will need to cut out the new riser plates of your Y-Axis. The riser plates can be downloaded on the Inventables website (Click Here) or you can download the SVG file from this page.

Optional - All support upgrades can be ordered from TBD CNC (Click Here)

You will need to cut the material into 4 equal pieces. I suggest drilling holes in the stock outside of the cutting area and screwing the aluminium to the waste board.

Step 3: Disassemble Your X-Carve

If you built your X-Carve, I'll can assume you know how to break it down. The gantry can stay together, but you will need to do the following:

  • Disconnect the wiring from the back of the X-Carriage - Depending on what generation of X-Carve you have these will either be a wiring board or just connections to the stepper motors.
  • Remove the belting on the Y-Axis - These belts will be replaced
  • Remove the maker slide on the Y-Axis as well as the stock riser plates
  • Remove the waste board - this will be replaced
  • Disassemble support frame

Here are the Inventables Instructions for assembly if you need some additional resources.

Current X-Carve Instructions

2016 X-Carve Instuctions

Step 4: Assemble Larger Subframe

Materials Needed:

    1. 20mm x 40 mm x 1800 mm Aluminum Extrusion x 2 - Cutlist below
    2. 20mm x 20mm Aluminum Extrusion x 4 - Cutlist below
    3. Button Head Cap Screw M5 x 8mm - 16
    4. T-Nuts - 44
    5. Extrusion Corner brackets - 8

    Cutlist:

    • (2) - Middle support 20mm x 20mm - 33 15/16"
    • (2) - Front and back support 20mm x 20mm - 39 3/8"
    • (2) - Side 20mm x 40mm - 69 3/8"

    Double check your measurements, but you will need to cut down the 20mm x 20mm aluminum extrusion.

    You will need to add T-nuts onto the following extrusion for later steps of attaching the waste board, and the Y-axis stiffeners.

    • Outside channel of 20mm x 40mm - 5 on each side
    • Top channel of outside 20mm x 40mm (closest channel to the outside) - 5 on each side
    • Front and back 20mm x 20mm top channel - 4 each
    • Middle two 20mm x 20mm top channel - 1 each

    With all the T-Nuts in place, you can start using the corner brackets to assemble the frame. I used a square in each corner, as well as measured corner to corner with a tape measure to make sure the X-Carve frame was square.

    Step 5: Attach New Y-Axis to Frame

    Materials Needed:

    1. 1800mm Maker Slide - 2
    2. Upgraded Y-Axis Riser Plates - 2
    3. M5 Bolts M5 x 10mm - 4 (included with machine)

    Before attaching the new riser plates to the frame, you will have to tap the ends of the 1800mm maker slide with an M5 thread tap.

    You can now attach the back Y-axis risers to the maker slide. The front risers will be attached at a later step to accommodate the gantry being re-installed on the X-Carve.

    Step 6: Reinstalling Gantry and Securing to Frame

    Materials Needed:

    1. M5 Bolts M5 x 25mm - 4 (included with machine)

    2. M5 T-Nuts - M5 x 8mm - 24

    3. Upgraded Y-Axis Riser plates - 2
    4. M5 Bolts M5 x 10mm - 4 (included with machine)

    Slide the gantry back on from the front side of the maker slides. I suggest getting help with this step. I did it myself, but it was a struggle.

    You will need to add your t nuts into the inside channels of your Y-axis maker slides. 10 per side need to be added. 5 in the top channel and 5 in the bottom. These will be used later to attach the Y-axis stiffeners.

    Finally, add the 2 T-nuts per side on the top channels that are used to tighten down the drive belts and attach the front riser plates.

    Step 7: Y-Axis Belt Install

    Materials Needed:

    1. GT2 Belting - Open Ended
    2. Stock Belt Clips & Hardware

    Cutlist

    (2) GT2 Belt - 78 3/4 " (1m)

    Start by running the new sections of belting over and around the pulleys on the Y-axis. It is easier to do this with both sides detached from the belt clips. Once aligned with the pulleys, you can tension the belts to your desired tightness. I personally run my belts a little tight.

    Step 8: Install the New Linear Rail & Re-adding the Router

    Materials Needed:

    • Linear Rail

    Depending on the router you are using, you will need to add the appropriate mounting bracket during the assembly of the linear rail. With the OpenBuilds rail I used, I had to leave the bottom plate off until after it was attached to the X-Carriage.

    Remove the stepper motor and drive belt from the top of the stock Z-axis. Depending on the version of X-Carve you have, the stepper motors may be hard wired vs having the quick connectors. With the older version, you might have to lengthen the wires so you can reach the existing terminal block on the back of the X-Carriage. If you have a newer machine, that probably made no sense... And that's ok, because you don't have to worry about it.

    You will have to loosen off the T-nuts on the top and bottom of the X-Carriage to remove the stock Z-axis rail. Note that you just need to loosen the T-nuts, not remove them to slide that linear rail into place. With the stock rail out of the way, you can slide the new linear rail into place and attach the stepper motor. Again, if you have a pre- 2017 machine, you will have to re-wire to the terminal block.

    Step 9: Rewire Wires and Lengthen Drag Change

    Materials Needed:

    • 18/4 18 Gauge 4 Conductor Stranded Shielded non Plenum Wire
    • Drag Chain

    The drag chain that runs along the side of the X-Carve will need to be double in length with this upgrade. I just attached the old one to the new one.

    The two wires that run from the X-Carriage for the Z-axis and X-axis will need to be lengthened, as well as the wire on the side of the Y-axis that runs to the X-Controller or to the older Arduino GRBL X-Carve controller. Once you have roughly laid out these wires, you can cut them to length and reconnect everything.

    NOTE if you have a Z-probe or Limit switches, these wires will also have to be lengthened.

    Step 10: Install MDF Waste Board

    Materials Needed:

    1. MDF Waste Board 1" x 37 1/8" x 70 15/16"
    2. Button Head Cap Screw M5 x 10mm - 28

    WIth this X-Carve upgrade, I went with a 1" thick piece of MDF for the new waste board.

    The easiest way to add the new countersunk holes for the M5 bolts that attach the waste board to the subframe is with a countersink bit. You could always drill out a larger hole(3/8" bit) to bring the head of the bolt below the surface of the waste board and then finish with a smaller bit (1/8").

    Based on the number of T-nuts added in step 4, you should be securing the waste board in the following locations:

    • Top channel of outside 20mm x 40mm (closest channel to the outside) - 5 on each side
    • Front and back 20mm x 20mm top channel - 4 each
    • Middle two 20mm x 20mm top channel - 1 each

    I used an old chunk of the GT2 belt to push the T-nuts into place so I could attach the frame to the waste board.

    Step 11: Add Y-Axis Stiffeners

    Materials Needed:

    • Aluminum 1/8' x 1" x 10'
    • M5 x - 30

    See the attached diagram for measurements of the 10 stiffeners that will need to be cut.

    With the increased length of the Y-Axis, you will need to add some additional rigidity. You can use woodworking tools to cut the aluminum for the stiffeners. Double check your measurements but see the attached diagram for the layout of the holes on the stiffeners.

    WIth your X-Carve stiffeners cut out, you can attach them with the M5 bolts.

    Step 12: (Optional) Modifying Dust Collection

    Materials Needed;

    • T-Track 5/16" x 2'

    Cutlist

    • T-Track 5/16" x 8 1/2'

    I have a Suckit Dust boot that I modified to fit with the increasing height of my X-Carve by cutting longer T-Track and gluing the 3D printed back spacers that holds the Dust boot into place. THIS IS NOT a permanent solution but will work for the time being for dust collection.

    Step 13: Adjusting Easel Settings

    There are two steps you will need to do in Easel

    • Change Machine Work Area - This is done by clicking on the Machine tab in Easel and changing your Y length to 64".
    • Change GRBL Settings - Go to the machine tab again, but this time click on the Advanced icon in the lower right. This will open the Machine Inspector window if you're connected to your X-Carve's controller. Here is the forum I used to calculate my new GRBL setting ( Link). For my setup, I enter $102=49.000 into the console text field followed by the enter key.

    Step 14: Carve Away

    Thanks for checking out this Instructables, as well as the attached Youtube video. You can also follow me on Instagram @mortgageandmitre If you do perform this upgrade to your Inventables X-Carve, I'd love to see it. Tag me in your photos along with #sixcarve

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      15 Discussions

      0
      None
      frojasp

      7 hours ago on Introduction

      ¿Puedo fabricar con las mismas vigas una de 1500x1500 ?, como refuerzo el eje X? felicitaciones.

      0
      None
      Pa1963

      Question 5 days ago

      Could I mount a plasma cutter instead of the router head?

      3 answers
      0
      None
      liquidhandwashPa1963

      Answer 5 days ago

      I would like to see that too! The main problem would be getting the software to turn on and off the plasma torch and wait until the torch has pierced the metal before moving at the start of each cut.

      I have a laser attachment for my X-Carve, which has a controller that tells it when to stop and start so I think controlling a plasma cutter is doable, but the machine would need to be beefed up To be able to hand a plasma cutter. Have you looked at a Wazer? It’s a desktop water jet cutter

      Ive used a plasmacam cnc plasma cutter, and there is a couple of things that are problematic when using an Xcarve. The plasmacam torch pierces the metal which takes a second or so depending on the thickness of the metal. This leave a jagged hole so the machines starts 5-10mm away from the drawing (on the waste side). Once the metal is pierced the machine will then move and start cutting out the drawing.
      I would think the machine itself would handle a plasma cutting torch just fine, there is no real force require to move the torch around.
      You may find the plasma dust is a problem, its very fine, abrasive and gets into everything and stops it working.
      A water bath under the cutting bed would help.
      If you can get the software (Gcode) right im sure it will work just fine.

      1
      None
      fragasaurus

      5 days ago

      Great work and thank you for the detailed instructions. Do you see any reasons the upgrade could not go up to a 4'x8' size to accept standard sheet goods?

      1 reply
      0
      None
      Mortgageandmitrefragasaurus

      Reply 5 days ago

      Thanks for checking out the article. I think it could. There are spacers you can purchase to connect maker slide together.