Z Axis Slider Review - UPDATE

(Stephen Kidwell) #1

Hey guys,

So after using this thing for just over a week I will flat out say that unless you want to remake the X plate you are not going to be happy with it. At least not in my case, and here is why:

  1. The original X plate is thin but made firm by having the original aluminum rails that the Z carriage moves upon. You must remove these to add the new Z-axis slider.
  2. The Z Axis slider is attached via 4 screws, 2 in the middle and 1 at the top and 1 at the bottom. However, MOST if not all users will have to modify their X plate to be able to use the center 2 screws as they will not align with the slider.
  3. Given the way this slider is mounted, it has significant sway from front to back. I had changed the way the front plate that the spindle mount attaches to have a wider top and bottom connection to its guide rails and it barely made a difference.
  4. I machine mostly aluminum sheet metal and cast acrylic, acrylic being upwards of .5" thick. I had to dial all my common toolpaths back a bit because the forward and backward motion just couldnt handle all that excess vibration caused by the lack of stability in the way this thing attaches to the X plate.

Honestly, other than that, which is a pretty big “that”, I do like it so far but I am machining a new X/Z plate for the rails to mount to as we speak out of .5" aluminum plate to add rigidity. If it doesnt work then its back to square one…

(Luke) #2

Very sad to hear this. I thought there was allot of potential in that bolt on kit… however I think you need to take a look at the DIY option :smiley:

(Dan Nelson) #3

@Savant_PCs The rails you’re talking about on the X pate, do you mean the ones the original Z rides up/down on? I just measured my CNC4Newbies slider and it’s right at 3" wide. The space between the rails is 3" as well, if they are flipped upside down they would probably give at least another 1/4". So couldn’t you just bolt them back on and get the strength back in your X plate? It appears as though you could no?

Disclaimer: I still have my new slider yet to be installed (for various reasons). Just seeking info before I tear it all apart.



(mikep) #4

Keep an eye on those two cutouts in the middle of the back plate - on mine they aren’t placed right and nothing lines up. They had to be enlarged. Additionally, the two screw holes in the middle don’t quite line up on mine, and I had to add a little clearance on the plate side.

(Stephen Kidwell) #5

Hey all. Here is an update. This is the plate I milled out to attach the Z axis rails but replacing its original back plate:

Fusion actually didnt move 4 screw holes at once like I had originally planned so this had misaligned screw holes for the rails to screw onto it so I made a change for the next iteration here:

You will notice less stock which will make it even lighter but the main brunt of this is .5" aluminum plate 6061 to get some real rigidity out of it. I also left holes to allow for installed 8 total V wheels instead of just 4 to hopefully add even more rigidity to it. Not sure if that would matter but it was worth the added few minutes to mill the holes out.

My new buddy at the powder coating shop gave me that piece from a scrap pile to work on but he is out of town this week so I won’t be milling it until next week. But I am looking forward to getting it installed. In the meantime I will be designing a better plate for the spindle mount as I will be putting in the 2.2kw. I am hoping, hint hint** @WillAdams that we can eventually get the settings unlocked to configure carbide motion to allow for more Z axis cus then I can get rid of a whole layer of MDF off my waste board.

(Stephen Kidwell) #6

Hey sorry for the delay I have been extremely busy. Yea I thought about reattaching the aluminum rails but I couldn’t find a method that would be suitable and remaking the X plate with my own design is what I wanted to do just to go the extra mile for rigidity’s sake. That and I heard someone say at one time that if the V wheels where then the weakest link that adding some could work so I made the design to allow for 8 total V wheels instead of just the 4 so we shall see late next week after I am ready to start milling again.

(Dan Nelson) #7

Coolness! I’ve had my slider for like months and still yet to install. I actually started to install right when I got it and discovered that it wouldn’t fit the latest X plate. Sent dimensions of my plate to Joe and got a new plate a few weeks later. Installed new plate, but then I had a zillion projects to cut (mostly Christmas ornaments and small gifts) so I put it on the shelf. My machine has been running great in stock form and projects keep piling. So one of these days I’ll give it another go, or maybe I’ll just sell it unused?

Thanks for the updates!


(Stephen Kidwell) #8

I totally understand I use mine for production too so taking the time to do these projects that aren’t 100% solid is not easy to justify sometimes. I’m really looking forward to having this done as once this is ready and the 2.2kw is installed I won’t need to do anything but maintain it and buying end mills (what a relief I dream of)

(Dan Nelson) #9

While I spend a bunch of time playing ShapeOKO and surfing the forums, it’s just one machine in my shop so for example the last few weeks I was doing more projects with my table saw and router table. I do it as a hobby in my spare time, so some days I’d much rather be out riding my bike, or whatever I enjoy, because it’s “spare time”. Heck I bought a small lathe last year from LMS that I haven’t even fully tuned, still has a whole DRO setup to install sitting in a drawer, haha! I guess what I’m saying is once something around here is whole and working I have other stuff to do besides taking it apart, and so far the “simplicity” of just a quick tear down and re-assembly isn’t quite there like I imagined when I bought the new Z. So it continues to get pushed behind other projects. If had to use this for real “pay the bills” production I’d definitely leave it alone until something broke.

Looking forward to the next update!