Carbide 3D Flip Frame for 2 sided machining

(Apollo Crowe) #1

Machining 3d parts, the easy way!
Lets get started with an overview of the Carbide 3D Flip Frame.

2 sided Knight and Female Figure.
Machined in Precision Wax Blocks in the Flip Frame.

The Flip Frame holds material up to 1.25" thick and has a maximum interior holding area of 2.9" x 4.9".
Stock materials smaller than these dimensions can be held in the frame with the 3 adjustable button head bolts and some shimming.

Step one when using the flip frame is to measure your stock.
This Wax block is exactly 1.009" thick and this dimension is very critical to setting up our Meshcam job.

The Flip Frame is secured to the table with 4 hex head bolts with nylon washers.
The 3 button head hex bolts hold the stock securely in the frame.

There is a Circular locating post and a diamond post.
Circle goes to the left, diamond on the right.

With the Flip Frame flat and in its proper location holes on the table, the 3 button heads should be facing you.

Secure the frame to the table, the bolts should be snug.

Like the wax blocks, the renshape is also 1" thick.

Lets do a little math to ensure the stock material is in the middle of frame.
1.25 - 1 = .25
.25 /2 = .125

Since the Frame is 1.25" thick and my stock is 1", I can use a 1/8 inch shim to float the stock in the middle of the frame in the z axis.

Apply consistent level pressure to the stock to ensure it is level.
Secure the stock with the 3 bolts. A quarter to half turn past initial engagement is safe. You dont want to deform the material, but you want it secured.
The .125" shim below my 1" thick renshape is holding my stock in the middle of the 1.25" flip frame.

Here you can see the Wax block has .125" spacing on either side of the Flip Frame. The Carbide 3D store has wax and renshape material blanks cut to fit the flip frame and we will be adding more materials soon.

Now lets setup a Meshcam file.
I have set up this job as a 3 axis part, not a 2 sided job.
Meshcam is a very powerful program, by flipping the part in meshcam manually hopefully it shines a little light on some features you may not have used before.
We can do a Meshcam 2 sided machining tutorial with the flip frame next, but for now heres my work flow.

I have set up this Chess piece in Meshcam;

  1. Stock is defined to match the wax block 2 x 3 x 1
  2. Supports have been added
  3. The Z location is at the center and TOP of the stock
  4. Maximum depth is set to 1 mm past HALF the z hieght.
  5. The Machining Region has been defined to retain a frame around the work.
  6. Toolpath has been set to cut using a .125" ball and a .063" ball and cutting the “Geometry only” takes just over 25 minutes per side. The .25" cutter can be used for roughing and takes 20 minutes to cut each side.

  1. Supports added are .75" for the base and .1" to fit within the detail on top.

  1. The Z location is at the center and TOP of the stock

  1. Maximum cutting depth is set to 2 mm past HALF the z hieght.

  1. The Machining Region has been defined to retain a frame around the work.

  1. Toolpath has been set to cut using a .125" ball and a .063" ball and cutting the “Geometry only” takes about 25 minutes per side. The .25" cutter can be used for roughing and takes 20 minutes to cut each side.

    Side A is compete. Save your meshcam job as side A.

For the Second side (Side B) we need to Rotate the Part Geometry in Meshcam.
The Flip Frame is designed to rotate the part 180 degrees around the X axis.
(Use the view/ from above tab to ensure you have flipped the part correctly)
You will have to repeat your setup details again, and although it takes some time, there are situations where it would have to be done individually, like if you wanted to do a 4 sided job, but lets get to that later…

Setting ZERO for 2 sided machining on the Nomad.

To start 3d Machining with the Nomad you need to:

  1. Jog to the Center of your Flip Frame Stock using the Rapid to Center position in Carbide Motion.
  2. Use X axis and Z axis jogging to define the center top of the stock as ZERO.

Use the Rapid Position Button in Carbide Motion

  1. Jog to the Center of the Nomad table using the Rapid to Center position.

ONLY use the X and The Z buttons only Jog to the Top Center of the stock

Using the X and The Z buttons only Jog to the Top Center of the stock
Do not change the Y axis location.

Set all X,Y,Z axis to ZERO in Carbide Motion.
Next step is Load the Side A job.

The Frame flips around the X axis, so this is how the frame and model in meshcam will look from above:

Side A orientation of the Model and Flip Frame.

Side B orientation of the Model and Flip Frame.

2 sided machining, accurately and repeatably is a very powerful feature.
With the Carbide 3D Flip Frame the world of potential is expanded!
To get you started here are the files I used.
Happy Machining!
FLIP Knight CHESS B.mcf (579.2 KB)
FLIP Knight CHESS A.mcf (579.2 KB)

3D WAX 125 063.tps (2.1 KB)

3D RENSHAPE 25 063.tps (2.1 KB)

And the Female Figurine
Female figure B.mcf (699.0 KB)
Female figure A.mcf (699.0 KB) Files

Tutorial model files
More Fun with the Flip Frame
Major issues with Y axis and double sided maching
SO3: Can the Nomad Flip Jig and/or Vise be used on the Threaded Table?
I'm missing a step somewhere
Flip Jig misalignent
Flip Jig For Sale UK
Vectorart3d compatibility
ZERO CNC experience

@ApolloCrowe question for you - if we are referencing zero at the top middle of the stock, on both sides, why does the stock have to be in the middle of the jig?

Actually - I just realized that we need a shim so there is something underneath the stock on both sides, otherwise the stock would be sitting above the board on the 2nd side of the job… And the stock would move when the cutter plunged (?)

(Apollo Crowe) #3

Hi Darren,
Good questions.
Correct, The stock does not have to be in the middle of the flip frame, and there are many ways to approach this…
(There is another method of measuring off the top of the frame itself)

The 1/8 shim happens to float the 1" block in the middle of the 1.25" frame, so when you flip the frame over and run the second sides job, you don’t have to re-zero the Z height.
A safe practice may be to re-zero the z height when you flip the frame and run the second side.
However, the stock should not slip, if it does, its not going to be an accurate part.

-A sacrificial shim may be useful in some case (tear out), but the stock should not slip in the frame regardless.
-You could remove the shim altogether.
-A different approach will be needed depending on the variables.

The Frames are being packed and shipped out all next week.
Which is just Awesome!
Im really looking forward to our community gallery filling up with projects.
Heres a picture of the shipping prep table, flip frames:


The guys at Carbide 3D are the best. I got my flip jig today and guess what showed up with it, an 1/8th inch shim!

Speed up cutting time without losing quality?

Success!!! Thanks for the tutorial, please keep them coming.

First side after roughing.


Completed first side before the flip.

Second side after roughing.

Finished piece.

(Apollo Crowe) #6

Wow, this is Awesome!
You made my Friday!

Edit: To be clear, There is only one way to accurately relocate a piece of stock, in order to machine both sides accurately.
and there are infinite ways to do it wrong, so even though this is easy…
Its amazing and worth mentioning, so again, Congrats Zymurgy.

(Josh Pitts) #7

I ordered one of these today and I’m preparing to have stock cut at a local metal supplier (6061 aluminum).

Noob question: If I choose a piece of stock to fit the entire jig, is it possible to carve up three knights (other small pieces) at once? Or should I choose a stock size for doing three pieces individually?

I have limited MeshCam experience. I plan on trying my tool paths out on wax first once I figure all of that out for my part.

(Apollo Crowe) #8

Getting your aluminum pre-cut is the way to go, FYI:
The Max Inside dimension of the flip frame is 2.95" x 4.95" x 1.25"

In regards to filling up the stock with parts for flipping, yes, but you need to allow for the material to be held, so you need a border and supports.
You can surely fit 2 knights, maybe 3?
A quarter inch safety border inside the flip frame is a good safety margin, you don’t want to drive the cutter or collet nut into the flip frame.
Just a reminder, when you set your max depth in meshcam, make sure to check that the cutter you use has that much reach. if my max depth is 0.5" make sure the endmill, when installed, is longer than 0.5" from tip to collet.


I’m just getting started programming a 2-sided machining job in MeshCAM. My part requires me to machine almost all of the way through from the top and from the bottom, the z depth won’t need to be as deep. I don’t see an option to set different z cutting depths for side 1 vs side 2, am I missing it? It would also be nice to have the option to use different tools for each side but it looks like I may have to set up two independent single sided jobs to make that happen.

(Apollo Crowe) #10


I like the added control of setting up 2 meshCAM jobs, one for each side.

Thats how I did the chess piece above, and it sounds like it will work for you as well.

Just rotate 180 degress around the X axis.


That’s how I did my 3D cuts - by setting them up as 2 separate cuts as Apollo mentioned. I believe that method gives us a lot more control. And since you have to stop to flip the jig anyways, having 2 cut files doesn’t really add much time to the entire process.


For a contoured 3D shape where you’re using a ball-end cutter, you can set the Max Depth to the bottom of the stock, and choose Machine Geometry + with a margin just less than your cutter radius (i.e. for .250" cutter, choose margin of .124"). Use a tight calculation tolerance, and the cutter will just not “fall off” the edge of the part. There will be a slight cusp at the “parting line” (which doesn’t need to be level) but realistically you’ll have a little hand-smoothing at the parting line with any two-sided part.

The beauty of this is that you can even do hollow bowl-shaped workpieces, and machine the whole interior without a lot of excess machining around the outside (which is machined from the other side).


(Mark Walker) #13

OK. I just got my new Nomad and set it up and chose to do this project first because I didn’t get the metal sheet for the wrench. Now I have another noob question. How do I remove the piece from the supports?

(Apollo Crowe) #14

We ran out of the Dibond sample sheets last week!
I just cut some more, I’ll get you a piece in the mail.

To remove supports, I use a bandsaw typically or for fine wax parts an exacto knife.

You could also use a Jewelry Saw.

(Scott Shwarts) #15

I’m just now starting to play with the flip jig and have a couple of questions.

If you were running this as a 2 sided job (not 3D), instead of needing to center the stock in the jig with shims, can’t one just zero z to the new side after flipping the jig? For a 2 side job, you go to the full depth of the stock anyways (of course you’ll want a sacrificial piece under it). What am I not understanding?

(William Adams) #16

Here’s a tutorial on using it:

Hope that helps!

(Scott Shwarts) #17

While I appreciate the link back to the same place I posted this :slight_smile:, my point was that instead of running it as a 3D job, if you ran it as a 2 sided job. In the video for example that Darren Lafreniere did, he milled the fan that way. He did tho need to shim the stock to be in the middle of the frame, hence my question. Apollo mentioned he was going to do a do a Meshcam 2 sided machining tutorial (I presume with the flip frame) but didn’t get around to it. Thanks

(Apollo Crowe) #18

You can do it either way.

I prefer to have 2 meshcam files, so I can control each side of the parts tool path more completely.

If your stock is uniform, you can zero off the top of the stock for each side.

Your part should be most accurate if you set the zero only once. This is why it’s worth taking the extra time to center your stock in the flip frame and setting the zero in the center of the part.

Please post a picture of your part in case I missed something. I can demo the process for you, just post the details.

(Scott) #19

I’m going through this now. I’m confused because if I attach the flip jig and screw it down (bolts forward, but doesn’t matter here), and use CM to “rapid move” to the center point (to set zero to dead center, as above), the center of my jig is left of center of the bed itself. I guess this doesn’t matter if I use the top center of my 2x3 renshape but did something change or am I overlooking something?


The jig is not centered in x (unless something has changed since my machine was delivered several years ago)

The y axis (front to back) center is critical and must line up with the centerline of the jig. This is what lets the sides line up when you flip the jig, since the jig flips over front-to-back. The x axis (side to side) is set for each job and, as long as it is not changed when the part is flipped, can be anywhere that is appropriate for the part, since the x positions do not change when the part is flipped.