Dialing my SO3 in a little

Having modded my SO3 to move the motors and gain a few inches of area over the table, I now turned my attention to the aluminum table I sourced from the eBay/Amazon seller (Carbide 3D didn’t have any of their single-piece units).

I wanted as little variance between the table and the spindle as possible. In the past, I’ve done this by making small adjustments to the position/height of the extrusions. That works okay, but my concern is parts shifting over time.

This time around, I replaced half of the screws holding each extrusion with 6mm flat-head screws. I used the holes closest to the edges on which the wheels ride, figuring that is where the money is.

No, the steel is not countersunk, and the flat-head screw sits proud of the steel a bit. BUT, the taper of the flat-head screw DOES wedge into the holes in the steel and pretty much eliminates any variability in positioning. When snugging the flat-head screws, you CAN feel the extrusions move ever-so-slightly if you hold you finger at a corner between the steel and extrusion.

With that done, I turned my attention to the aluminum table. I spent a little time with a DI mounted to my dust shoe mount, moving the z-carriage around and measuring my distance to the table. I was able to determine that I needed two of my card-stock shims at each of the three screw-hole positions at the back, and one card at the front-right.

After getting those shims added, I am within about +/- .002" around the entirety of my now-larger (due to reconfiguring the motor position) work area. I honestly think it is more like +/- .001" but I’m having a hard time believing that myself.

And I feel like I could loosen/tighten any screws necessary without having to go through a complete realignment.

I’m not advocating this method for anyone else, just sharing what I’ve done.

My first photo shows the flat head screws I’ve added, the second photo shows the pretty much completed rig with the aluminum tables.

And yes, I’ll likely tear-off the excess cardstock now that I’m done with my show and tell.




Looks great! I’ll probably be doing this soon as well, seems to be wasteful in stock configuration with all those unused tapped holes in the back

Right, for the type of stuff I do, this will work much better for me.

Nice work!

It looks like Carbide could (should?) modify the their kits and instructions to allow customers to choose either the original or your configuration during initial assembly.

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Neat idea, but goes against the project goal of one standardized design.

I’m glad it worked and it certainly works for some folks, but we do not need additional complications in support.


I’ve done IT support for over thirty years, I’ve heard it all. I’m talking about people that call because they’re having a problem with their computer or an app and when you ask them what is on their screen at the time, they tell you crap like “a network of interconnected colored pipes” (yes, describing the pipes screensaver that used to come with older versions of Windows).

I cannot fathom what it would be like to have to support people when you include a still somewhat esoteric device like a CNC router.

I know you guys aren’t going to share any stories, but I’ll bet you have one or two doozies.

If I were you guys, I might include the holes someone would need to reverse the motors w/o even mentioning their existence. If someone reading forum posts decides to embark on such a modification, they might smile at your thoughtfulness.


Actually, mostly folks have been really nice to work with — I think the mindset of CNC hobbyists is similar to that of woodworkers, and they’re mostly nice folks who want to work with their hands.

It was kind of interesting how the instructions for the SO2 worked out — initial machine deliveries were for kits w/o electronics, so were self-selected for folks who were comfortable working that end of things out themselves — then the full kits started arriving, but by that point in time, we had the instructions in a pretty good place, and they kept improving:


The most marked point was when there was a full page mention in Popular Mechanics (it’s not been the magazine I grew up reading for a very long while) — dramatic uptick in orders, and in folks who weren’t as mechanically inclined or as able to visualize the 3D arrangement in parts based on the textual description.

That resulted in the interactive SVG diagrams (click on the part descriptions to highlight/unhighlight the matching parts):


(one customer was convinced that there was only one M8 hex nut in that because the second wasn’t fully drawn in)

The wild thing was that for a couple of weeks, the mention of the interactivity was removed from the front page of the instructions — did a poll, and while a significant number of folks expected the interactivity, most didn’t, and many missed it w/o the explicit mention.

It helps that the SO3 is DFA (Designed for Assembly).

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