Visual Chronicles of a Nomadman

It came out surprisingly good even though it plowed a couple spots during finishing. That steep and shallow is the business, just awesome. Without it, there would have been 2-3 separate finishing toolpaths and have taken much more time.

Nothing special. 0.010/0.010 left and ran a 0.125 ball at 2k with 0.0015 chipload. Wd40

1018 mild steel 2.25x2.25x2"
Fusion 360 3d adaptive
0.250 4 flute 20rad
CD3 compact router at minimum speed
0.100 doc, 0.010 opt, 60ipm

Lead screw nuts are preventing a deeper depth of cut but it should work. Big chunk of steel CNC’d into a intake manifold runner taper press die.

Pretty excited for the steep and shallow with 0.250 4 flute ball



That’s awesome bud, I would have thought a 4 flute endmill at 60ipm /10krpm would be moving too slow for mild steel, chips look great though. (assuming that’s what the router runs at on speed 1)

You’ve turned the nomad into a mini vmc!


Its definitely got the power to do some real work now. I’ve heard the C3D compact run at 12k min so I shot for a 0.0005 chipload including thinning. I did add 10-20% feedrate but felt like my leadscrew nuts just got angry.
Soooooo, looks like nuts are the next upgrade… then a nema23 Z Axis.

Crazy how much you can do with nema17s right. 85 ounces I think lol


Lead screw nuts
Anti-backlash until you overcome the spring force.
Down into the rabbit hole.

When I first received my Nomad it suffered a broken lead nut during shipping and Carbide3d quickly rushed out a replacement. Well they sent me a whole new stepper and that’s what kicked off this little journey.

Yes there are some high tech Anti-backlash nuts available on the market and I’m currently waiting on a few email replies on price. The stock ones are radial but axial and torsional nuts can handle higher loads while minimizing drive tq. This is important when you only have Nema17s.

That’s where the extra stepper comes into play. I was able to fully dissemble it and remove the shaft without damage. Why do that you ask? Well if the inquires into heavier duty leadnuts fizzles out, then I’ll just replace the entire lead screw with a ballscrew. Definitely a “hold my beer” modification for the master Tinkerer in an effort to minimize machine modifications while maximizing performance. Anyway, ballscrews were already ordered because of a potential shipping delay. They will need some custom lathe work but I’m confident that this modification would be 100% worth it.


You mad, Nomadman :slight_smile:

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I just wanna take a 0.500" doc Adaptive cut in steel, is that too much to ask? :grin:


admit it, you really want to do this:

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@fenrus actually the shapeoko is the speed demon in the family. The belt drive and higher tq nema23s lead to awesome top speeds and some pretty insane acceleration speeds. My current record is around 400ipm running a 3 flute 0.125 adaptive full depth at 60,000rpm in aluminum. Spindle power limited.

Now the Nomad has all the spindle power so the balance of the machine has totally been rearranged. It’s still going to be a highly precise machine but only topping out a little over 200ipm in real life.

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I agree with @Julien.

It’s not “Nomad man”. It’s not “No madman”. It’s “No. Madman”.


@Vince.Fab since you’re one of the few who’ve disassembled the Z-axis carriage, could you tell me how the plate on the bottom connects to the Z-axis rails and the rest of the carriage?

I think I see some bolt heads or something down there, is disassembly and reassembly as simple as unscrewing and rescrewing some bolts?

I ended up buying a Z-axis probe and there’s about 1.5mm too little distance between the spindle and the carriage, I’m thinking of milling a new bottom plate with a small arc cut out of it to make room. It’s in a place that appears structurally unimportant.

@Moded1952 mod

Three bolts, same as top plate

Gotta love not cannibalizing any of the stock parts as well.

The bottom plate is integrated with the bearing shafts. It can be cut without issues to a certain extent.

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Perfect, thanks!

I’ll have to cut a new one with my missing arc, rather than modify this one. I don’t have another machine and I can’t make this one cut its own pieces.

Though now that I know how easy it is to disassemble the Z-axis, I can’t help but wonder about an extended Z axis with linear rails or something, like you did.

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Real deal steel

Pretty close on the flip but suboptimal on the steep and shallow blend, I’ll have to work on that. Work setup was a tough one but a combo supergluetape setup with the vise got things tight. Chip shape was messed with to minimize stab wounds.

Straight off the machine, will hand blend with a scotch brite wheel. Then add an upper tube guide, tube annealing and press party. These will be for custom intake manifolds for a certain VW.


Holy smokes on that finish, batman!
As a VW junkie, you have peaked my interest. If the owner doesn’t have an issue and it’s no bother to you, please share more on the car!


Please note, it’s “piqued”, not “peaked” (from the French, which is esp. apropos given @Julien’s new rôle).

(I actually typed ô with an accent, but it was removed — fixed).


:man_facepalming: thank you for the correction, Will!
That’s what I get for late night posting…

I’m also partial to vws but more aircooled stuff. These are for 8v motors. The plan is to design and machine plenum press dies as well, we’ll see if the demand is there.

Gotta figure out a way to do it with less welding.


20krpm and some spindle power really make the Nomad slang chips. Check out the loading, music to my ears. Cam’d out to a max cutting force 2-3 pounds. Still not crazy happy with the steep and shallow blend but it’ll come to me. Setup consisted of dual workholding, vise plus superglue/tape to ease the mind with higher lateral forces. Velocity based chip evacuation.

Zero EMI issues and the C3D Compact router has been really put to the test. Working great

I am running a Nomad “Hot Tune”
Max feed up 2x, homing 2x, and accelerations up a tad.