Z axis Ball Screw Conversion Kit

Seen a bit of discussion and couple people doing there own Z axis conversion to a ball screw. Does anyone know if someone has put together a kit for doing this. I’m actually busy using my machine to make product and the time I have I’m usually designing reliefs for the next job.

I do find the Z axis belt driven operation is the weak point of the Shapeoko 3 and upgrading this portion would be nice.

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This seems to be a popular choice: New Linear Z for my SO3 XXL - Long post with pictures

Just curious, what is about the stock Z you don’t like?

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I run a lot of long jobs some take 12 hours on a single tool. Sometimes the tool hits something hard or bit just doesn’t cut when plunging. This causes something, I’m assuming belt slip, and the remaining cut may be out by .1 to .3 mm and you don’t find out until the jobs done. Very annoying plus job is scrap.

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Direct link to the product mentioned above:

This is the only commercial custom fit one for SO3 that I am aware of. Otherwise you are building your own, like in this thread:

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For a link where you can actually purchase it from.

I’ve also had issues with the z axis skipping but it was due to low temps in my garage (20F)

Thanks Guys, appreciate the help, definitely my next upgrade, very happy with the machine it’s allowing me to do a proof of concept for a home business model, this issue was the most annoying to me right now.

Not to be outdone by @Luke, I’m working on plans and parts list for a custom one myself :slight_smile: Too bad everything from AliX takes two weeks to get to the states :-/


2 weeks is alright, I waited 4 weeks for each of my ball screws :smiley:

what kind of rails are you going for?

Standard 12mm hardened rod with pillow bearings. I thought about linear-motion slides because they are lower profile, but I think the leadscrew/bearing is going to be my limiting factor in terms of overall carriage depth. Plus, over the ~7" of span, rods should be fine in terms of deflection.
I’ve got some other sneaky ideas in mind for limiting the leverage applied to the entire x/z axis assembly too… but I need to get off the damn road (for work) and have some time with the machine to actually do any of this.

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Sounds interesting, you are correct though the ball screw is your limiter and it’s around 22/24mm depending on which one you buy. Many of the motion sliders are either way too heavy duty or too narrow.

Keen to see your ideas!

I’m actually working on an all-axis bolt on leadscrew kit for the Shapeoko using 12mm trapezoidal screws. It going to take a short while to finish but I want to use as many original parts as possible, So far the costs are pretty reasonable. I’ll set up a post to share information when I have more to report!


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