Sealing the Nomad 883 Pro - Keeping things tidy

Brief summary: There are some quick and easy DIY improvements that can be made to the basic sealing of the Nomad, reducing the amount of chips and dust that make it outside of the machine. Please read on if you find this of interest.

[Post edited to update the installation info and correct a few typos. -Eddie]

I have been working on improving the sealing of my Nomad 883 Pro in an effort to keep things tidy and more contained within the machining space of the mill. There have been several good ideas posted here on the Carbide forums for enclosures for the Nomad 883. I especially like Mark’s (mbellon) solution. Building or buying a proper enclosure with vacuum dust capture & filtering is on my to-do list. And a must if working with the some of the more hazardous materials the Nomad can handle.

But for the moment I have been exploring less ambitious approaches to keeping things clean around the mill.

I thought I would share my results to date.

Most of my milling is with 6061 Aluminum, HDPE, Acetal/Delrin. And I see some FR1 PCB isolation milling on the horizon. Nothing really hazardous health-wise with respect to dust at this time, except for the occasional hardwood project (Padauk and PurpleHeart). This is an amazing little machine and I am very satisfied with it. The team at Carbide 3D really nailed it with the quality and accuracy built into the Nomad.

Like many Nomad owners I am comfortable using mine inside the house, considering the selection of materials I choose to mill with the machine. The machine is quiet and fits nicely in my workspace in my home office. I find the Nomad does a pretty good job keeping the bulk of the chips and mess inside the machine but I still have some external clean up to do after running the mill. Chips tend to find their way onto my desk and carpet around the machine. And with some stock, a light coating of dust on all of the nearby surfaces.

I spent some time this weekend examining my machine and found a few key spots where chips (and dust) are finding their way out of the Nomad:

  1. The cutouts in the machine floor for the Y-axis travel (duh!)

  2. Small gaps between the front polycarbonate door and the bamboo/HDPE side panels and machine floor. Chips and dust are sneaking by here. These gaps are made worse on my machine due to contact between the power plug on my DIY mill lighting and the front door. Other Nomads may not have as much of a gap here.

  3. Some small gaps between the white plastic back cover where it interfaces with the top and side panels of the machine. Also, on my machine, the four holes in the back cover that line up with the Y axis stepper motor screws were slightly undersize and did not fit over the screw heads. This caused the back cover to bow out at the bottom. Chips leak through this gap too.

  4. Open rectangular slots in the machine floor, one behind each of the two X/Z-axis uprights. Chips fall through these holes and end up outside the left and right sides of the machine. These were the main culprits sprinkling chips on my carpet.

I worked on items 2-4 this weekend and am happy with the results so far. No solution for #1 just yet.

For the gaps at the front and back covers (items 2 & 3 above) I used some long strips of blue painter’s tape. I folded over the edge of the tape to form a simple lip seal. Applied this to the front door, and along the top and sides of the back cover. I may replace with neoprene for a more durable seal but the tape is working well for the moment. No chips and much less dust outside the machine and on the desk around those areas now. Lovin’ those blue pin stripes on the door. :slight_smile:

For the under-sized holes on the back cover, I just drilled them out to a slightly larger diameter, so the holes now fit over their respective bolt heads.

For #4 I fabbed up some plastic form fitting plugs in Fusion 360 and printed them on my 3d printer (the Nomad was busy at the time). This modification made the biggest improvement. These really cut down on the mess I was finding on my desk and carpet.

For those that want to try this solution, here are the STL files for the form fitting plugs.

Plug For Left Side - Nomad 883 Pro.stl (81.7 KB)

Plug For Right Side - Nomad 883 Pro.stl (142.5 KB)

They fit the Nomad Pro, not sure about the non-pro Nomad. Note that the left and right plugs are slightly different because the right side part has to clear a wiring harness on that side of the Nomad.

The plugs can be made in the mill or printed on a 3d printer, text-side facing up. If you print these, feel free to use a sparse infill for speeder printing. These parts don’t need to be strong, they are just space fillers.

Installation is an easy job, took me about 2 minutes per side to install the plugs.
Remove the Nomad side panels by removing the 4 Allen bolts (two short and two long bolts per side), install the plugs and reinstall the side panels. I did one side at a time. When re-attaching the side panel bolts, avoid overtightening the bolts (just use monkey tight) as they are threaded into the machine frame. You really don’t want to distort the frame by over-torquing the bolts.

I had the sides off to get the dimensions for the plugs anyway, so I installed them before reassembly. But you could probably install these without any disassembly at all. You should be able to drop these in place while reaching in from the front of the machine. While it is powered off. :slight_smile: I didn’t try it that way but it should work fine.
Be mindful of the wires on the right side and don’t force it in and pinch a wire.