Dewalt V-Groove Z-Axis

Hello all –

Long time lurker first time to post. :grin:

As I am eagerly and not so patiently awaiting my Maslow (should be here Monday 3/26!!) I have been working on my Z-Axis and am wondering if anyone else has done one like this and if there is any feedback since it is still very much a work in progress. I am using V-Groove bearings and extruded aluminum from Open Builds with a very rudimentary 3D printed bracket that if the design holds will be made into wood or aluminum. I plan on having some form of extruded aluminum coming off of this to help take the load and strain but I am waiting for my ring so that I can see how much space I have to work with on the sled.



I few of us have done some similar mods.

Although, I would say your holding blocks look better than mine. The above forum post has my design files for my Z axis upgrade. I used a different rail system but it might be helpful. You’ll also have to figure out some way to mount your Z motor on that thing.


Thank you for the input. Yeah I figured I would have some more drafting/building to do once my components got in. I think from a cost perspective yours would be the way to go! Since mine was not very cheap haha. Thanks for the link!


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Looks good. Keep up the good work.

Thank you

I finally have an update! I got finally got a free (ish) weekend to work on my maslow and I have finally gotten it to move!

Here is a picture of my temp sled.

And here is the bracket that I made. I might have slightly overbuilt it but that has been the whole process it seems for me, oops.

But as I have continued to build I was using the bolt together frame as my guide in a way but I really hate how the chains at the top have so much slop in them and was wondering if anyone has looked at some form of retracting reel or the excess chain? I was thinking about taking a cheap retracting reel (Retractable Reel) and re-purposing it so that I do not have the excess cables everywhere. Any thoughts on this would be great as I will probably start this endeavor on Wednesday or so of this week.


very nice

I did my first cut tonight with it and it seemed to go well, I unfortunately only had a 2 flute straight bit but it still looked decent.

I have to figure out how to tune my Z axis because it is currently pretty far off of the correct dimensions. I have changed the pitch because my lead screw is 2 instead of the stock 3.17 but I think I need to adjust the encoder steps since it was supposed to cut I had it set to cut 1/8" deep at a time and it definitely went all the way through my 1/4" piece of ply and about 1/4-1/3" into my scrap.

Any ideas what the best way to fix this is?

Sorry, lots of questions, been going full tilt on 2 machines the last couple of weeks haha

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Are you using the stock Maslow z-axis motor? The encoder steps for that one shouldn’t need to be changed.

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Yes, I am using the stock z-axis but I am using an openbuilds 2mm pitch lead screw assembly. What else would cause the depth to be so far off?

I’m not sure. I’ve been playing around with z-axis stuff, different motors, etc. It seems to me that you shouldn’t have to change the encoder steps, as that maps to output shaft revolutions. The z-axis pitch set to 20 should do it.
I ran into a flock of funnies this evening that sound something like yours, but I was getting roughly 50% of the appropriate travel from a z-axis gcode. G1 Z1.25 should have travelled 1.25" but was only going 0.67". I had messed about with the $18 parameter (default value 12.6) and that was the cause of the issue. I’ve learned that 40 is not a good value for that parameter :thinking:.

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Thanks, I will give 20 a try when I am home from work. Can I just put that number in and then say tell the z axis to move up or down a set amount and then measure and adjust the number form there? Is that the easiest way to do it?

would love to know what you end up doing with all of your motors etc., I am hoping to get a slightly different motor with maybe half the gearing or less since my motor setup is much less friction than the stock and should not need a lot of torque.

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I think that’s the approach. Put in 20, then in the z dialog ask for a 20mm movement. That should do one revolution of the motor shaft.
Playing with motors has tumbled down the list here. Spring is here in force and there is much to do to keep ahead of it. :sun_behind_small_cloud:

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Okay, so you were totally right, I did 20 and then when’s I told it to plunge 20 it didn’t 1 full rotation but that’s was not moving the bit 20mm which is the goal correct? So I did some measuring and guess, test, revise and found that at 8.126 I tell it to move up or down 20 and it moves 20.03ish. Did some little test squares and it’s looks like the depths are really close. Did I do it right? Haha

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So you found that using 8.126mm for the Z-axis Pitch moves the bit 20mm when you ask for 20mm? That surprises me, but sound like you’re getting the accuracy you need, so - good going!

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Yeah, it took quite a bit of guessing, but it’s appears that with that number it moves the sled very close to the number I tell it to move. Which is many more rotations than I had expected honestly. Another reason I think I eventually need a different motor, with finer threading than stock router.

It has been my experience that all OpenBuilds lead screws are 8mm per revolution, plus or minus a very small amount. They’re a 4-start screw, with 2mm pitch, so 8mm/revolution.


did you ever get this setup and running? I have been looking for someone with a working cnc type z axis for days and it seems like there is only discussion or sled builds, no completed maslows yet?

CrisB - can you advise what the bracket is made from ?

Have you use this modified Z axis?

I have a different router and have one of these C Beam Z’s left over from a different build. I want to repurpose it for the Maslow sled.


I have been running this setup! I just recently got it all running and calibrated because I was in the process of building a show and did not have time to get this taken care of in the garage or the wife wouldn’t be happy haha. I will be adding some pictures! I love the thing! If you have any other questions about it please let me know.

Edit: I have also been looking at getting a new motor for the Z axis that is about 1/2 to 1/4 of the gearing ratio of the stock since there is very little friction with this setup I don’t think that I need the high torque gearing. Others with similar Z axis setups have said it significantly decreases cut times. That makes me happy!!


I designed the brackets in tinkercad and then printed them with PLA in my picture you can see I just recently got a new printer and am working out some of my extrusion issues so they are not perfect. I am also looking into some other filaments such as PLA HT like the proto pasta but not sure how well that will work. So far PLA has done the job just fine with some thread lock on each of the screws. I am also looking at other options such as making it out of HDPE or aluminum. But I love 3d prints because they are disposable and in a few hours I can make a new one and test a new design. You can see in the pictures I have updated those brackets some to make them a little more streamlined and make sure they cant ever hit the Maslow Ring.

I do use this, I have attached a picture that shows one of my cuts, you will notice the cirlcle isnt perfectly round that is because I was dumb and did a trace with easel just to see how it worked, I have now gotten an SVG and it looks much cleaner in the detailed preview.

I think this is a great option for any kind of router, just need to get a mount that works for your router and it should work just fine.

The only problem I have seen so far is I have not had the time to design a good dust collection option. I am still working on that in my (little) free time.

Hope this helps, let me know if you have any other questions!


If and when you get a chance to do a write up on your z-axis, could you put a link to this thread (assuming a new subcategory hasn’t already been created).

Thanks for all the info! great build!