Cheap fixes for z-axis slop on the Ridgid R22002

Excellent and detailed write up with great pictures!

Also a much more scientific write up about what is really happening with the stack up of “lost motion”.

Great work.

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you were supposed to loosen the nut so that when the clamp is closed it’s a snug
fit.

how does the rest of your work compare to just putting a bungee cord over the
router to take up the backlash?

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I found it easier to make minute adjustments to the clamp’s tension with it open, instead of snapping it shut, opening, adjusting, closing, checking, opening, etc.

It may have been my imagination, but I could have sworn it didn’t shut exactly the same way every time.

I just tightened to my preference and run it open.


My router didn’t work with the bungee method. Maybe a bad bungee, but I wanted to try and make the link stay perpendicular so the performance would be repeatable. I didn’t know if the degree the link was angled would consistently stay angled that way, etc.

Now I don’t have to mess with it, and it cost $6 to fix.

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I have used the Bungee method, and, along with a lot of work on smoothing the sleeve, filing out the slot in the sleeve to eliminate a casting error, and trying various lubricants, have come up with pretty reliable Z axis operation. Nonetheless, what you have done seems to add some needed precision to the router’s movement, and I will consider this a needed upgrade when I get back to my machine in a few weeks.

Thanks for the effort!

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I’m going to have to give this a try! I want to build the @meticulous z-axis” which is a great design. But for now Tim his could be a quick trip to Lowe’s to take care of some of the issue. Thanks so much for the awesome walkthrough.

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You may be able to use a small c-clamp on the flange lip. Not as permanent as gorilla glue.

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Exactly the “fix” employed at The Maker Station in Marietta, GA. A simple, inexpensive, easy and effective solution.

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… and don’t forget that when you use the bungee cord, if you don’t get the tension right it puts too much pressure on the router. I have had 2 things happen: When the worm gear turns to raise the router, the arm that locks to router in place pivots out just enough to disengage from the router and when the worm turns back the other way to feed the router into the work, the router does not move because it has disengaged itself. The second thing that has happened to me is that with the bungee cord, the pressure (and it does not take a lot) wears out that PLASTIC orange clip (you know, that little tongue on the inside of the clip that rides in the groove of the worm) and soon gives way which causes the router to ram into the work piece at full depth. If your not standing there, Maslow with still continue to mill burning up your bit and create another zombie apocalypse!

I’m converting to Maticulus Z. Eliminates all these issues! … hopefully!

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In addition to adding the washer to the bottom, we glued your recommended bronze bushing to the top of the z axis clip to increase surface area. Instead of clamping - we used a spare 1/2 bolt and nut that we preemptively oiled just in case any glue seeped through - and then tightened a bit to dry over night.

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That’s a great idea @ChuckC!

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Just like to say thanks for this excellent write up and pictures. I think this should be included in the setup instructions for the Maslow Z-axis kit as the quality of cut from the kit is really not good enough. I’ve only just cut one project so far but there were so many z axis related errors that ruined many pieces. Things like:

  • Cutting bit not raising enough between drill ops resulting in lines cut between holes. Even though it was supposed to raise 1/4" above stock between drills.
  • Very uneven pocket cuts where start of cut is elevated and gradually gets pulled down to correct level by the bit. Sometimes 3/8" difference.
  • Tabs that are to thick or too thin and fail to hold the cut piece in place. Resulting in piece falling at end of cut and catching the bit.

Going to try adding a thin bungie cord to get positive down force too.

Thanks again for the effort is creating such a good write up.

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The bungee will really improve your z axis performance. What you describe above are all the things the bungee fixes. Just be sure to polish and lubricate all the “metal on metal” surfaces, and carefully adjust the clamp lock to “just loose enough” for smooth operation.

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Also consider low-friction tape between the router base and the spindle.

UHMW (polyethylene):

PTFE (Teflon):

(These are random examples. I have no connection to Amazon or these products)

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I’m using a version of the upper one on the spindle body and housing. It works, and I’m happy to use it because oil + sawdust didn’t seem like a great combo. Your need to use a screw and nut to hold the housing slightly more open, it’s not made with enough tolerance for 2 layers of tape. Also make sure the ends of the tape extend out of the housing and to the outside, or eventually the spindle will start peeling up the edge and jam in the housing.

Even with the tape, the worm still has drag with the arm, and the spring isn’t strong enough to counteract it.

I’ve tried rubber bands and bungees to press the arm’s “tooth” into the router’s cutout, but they can’t seem to handle the vibration the router gives off them it’s cutting.

I recently tried forming a ‘C’ out of cardboard and fitting it inside the arm’s spring, between the arm and the route housing. It can move up and back on the router housing with the arm, but prevents the arm from rotating.

It’s not foolproof, though - I’d like to find a good way to “lock” the arm in place, engaged with the router spindle - physical fuse be damned. I’ve stopped short of gorilla glue, though :slight_smile:

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Thx Dustcloud (love the handle). Just added adjustable bungie for the z-axis. Already had the clamp lock adjusted but added a light coat of teflon lubricant to the metal parts. Hopefully will have all the bases covered now and not collect too much dust. On my previous cuts the z-axis did appear to move freely but the height adjustment mechanism had crazy slop when moving due to flex. The bushing fix has worked wonders for this and I can wait to try it out tomorrow.

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Thx sprdad, Will certainly try your tape suggestion if I notice binding in the z-axis movement.

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Thx geeklimit, Yes on test runs I noticed that the adjustment arm occasionally popped out of the router core because the clamp lock was too tight. Spent a while adjusting that until it was just lose enough for free movement without the router core tilting when moving.

Even with the tape, the worm still has drag with the arm, and the spring isn’t strong enough to counteract it. I’ve tried rubber bands and bungees to press the arm’s “tooth” into the router’s cutout, but they can’t seem to handle the vibration the router gives off them it’s cutting.

So you still have the ‘arm’ pop out of the router core ‘cutout’? I will keep an eye out on it.
I suspect if I still have issues with z-axis after these fixes then I will try something more drastic like a variant of the Meticulous z-axis (http://maslowcommunitygarden.org/The-Meticulous-Z-Axis.html) which bypasses the whole stock mechanism. The stock mechanism is just not (rightfully) designed for a CNC implementation.

BTW just noticed that this forum does not thread replies so sorry if all you helpfully folk get spammed by my responses.

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Here is a thought, drill and tap holes 120 degrees apart in the base. Adjust so the base is very loose then use nylon screws to take up the play. The nylon screws take the place of the tape. It might take 6 or 9 screws with lock nuts.

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Thx RustyGirl for the suggestion. Luckily I don’t think I will have exert this level of effort but will certainly use it if I continue to experience Z-axis errors.

Thx again to all for all the useful suggestions. What a great community! After applying bushing fix, washer fix, adjustable bungee on Z-axis, Teflon lubricant, and setting zero Z depth again: I am very happy to say that the z-axis is working within acceptable tolerances.

  • Cut depth was generally within 1/16" top to bottom. This was previously about 1/4".
  • 1/8" tabs worked!!! Were 3/32 to 1/16 thick. Which was enough to support the piece in place. This is huge as now I do not have to watch the Maslow during cuts, in case the pieces fall out, and cause serious problems.
  • The backing board had at max 1/16 cuts into it, and most of the time was perfect, with no recess being cut into the backing board and the piece cut through all the way.
  • No more error cuts between G0 move operations. Watched it closely as saw the correct 1/4 raise above zero depth between movement.

FYI, I used Tri-Flow Telfon lubricant which dried overnight and did not retain any sawdust when cutting the next day.

Unfortunately I am still getting depth cut errors in drill operations, where it does not drill though completely, but this is also within 1/16" which can be easily removed. I think this is because of the router bit I am using which appears to have a slight taper. It is burning the wood in the last 1/8" when the shaft enters the cutting depth. Will try adjusting the bungee to give a bit more down force but may need to get a bit that has 1" cutting depth.

Overall this is a huge win. Looking forward to re-cutting failed parts.

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Not recommended, but if you’re going to do this, buy a smoke alarm and screw it onto the top of the maslow frame over the work plane. If the Maslow loses connectivity to the computer or the bit stops cutting for another reason, the bit will rub the wood at 10K+ RPM and set it on fire while you’re away.

It has happened.

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