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Meticulous Z-axis - partially cut, manually aligned, sniping/biting when cutting

TLDR: Partial cut of Meticulous Z-axis, manually aligned/centered/finished, test run scary; bit sniping/biting causing torque flex in router clamps/backing plate leading to very rough cuts. Any ideas to fix?

I anticipated that the standard z-axis kit would have increasingly worse tolerances or fail completely on the Ridgid R22002 simply because it is not designed for continuous use. So I got the parts to build the Meticulous Z-Axis which is much more robust. Thanks to all those involved on this project and for providing it to the community.

I only managed to get through part of the cutting process, when lo and behold, the z-axis failed! The orange button thing got stripped during tool changes as the z-axis bottomed out, due to difficultly in aligning it between tool changes.

I tried to make the best out of what was already cut. This involved many hours spent releasing partial depth cuts with jigsaw, aligning router backing plate to sled frame, aligning router ZX/ZY to backing plate, and centering Ring frame (which is not circular?) to sled base. I used a magnetic digital angle gauge and true square metal block spacer to align router ZX/ZY to sled base. Got perfect on ZY and 0.05 degrees on ZX. Used a router bit with string to draw circles to align the metal Ring.

Once it was all glued up, 24 hour dry time, I performed centering test by dropping Z into stock and manually rotating the sled 45 degrees left and right. This showed good results that deviated less than 1/32" oval in X & Y.

I then ran through the whole Maslow calibration process using measurements I previously made that worked great before. Ran the calibration alignment test which was off by less than .5mm. I then ran test cuts for the pieces that did not complete like the dust chute.

At this point it got down right scary. During the cut the router bit would catch / bite / snipe at certain angles, which caused the lower router clamp to torque flex, which also made the carriage plate flex at the bottom. This resulted in many scary noises, like the whole thing would disintegrate, and very uneven cuts in XY. I was standing a safe distance away, out of XY cutting line (bit breaking), with fire extinguisher on the ready. Yeah, it was that serious. XY cuts were terribly fluctuating nearly 1/8" where as Z axis was perfect.

Has anyone experienced something like this?
Can I recover from this by adjusting something or should I cut all meticulous z-axis parts from scratch?
Thanks for all input!

if you can get access to a 3d printer, you can print a replacement

there should not be significant play in the router, the fact that you are
getting such play indicates something is very wrong. figure out what part is
flexing and how that part is mounted to the base.

David Lang

The router was not moving in the clamps. The lower clamp was torque rotating because the backing plate that it attaches to was flexing.

I have hand cut v2 clamps (which seem beefier) and a square backing plane out of highest quality birch ply. Going to try changing the rail mount position too, moving it lower and less space between end rail mounts, to see if it will reduce flex.

Thanks for the link to STL files. Unfortunately I do not have access to 3D printer but might get one soon.
I did however find the part for $0.75 + $5.95 shipping on 1800TOOLREPAIR. So I bought 10 for a grand sum of $13.95!

Damn, I’m sorry to hear of your troubles. Something seems horribly off. What material did you make the spindle clamps from? What grade of plywood did you use for the carriage? Was the plate flexing along the Z axis of the machine, or the Y axis?

Well, at least we got that going for us :upside_down_face:

My only worry here is that you might loose a lot of Z travel. Bit of a moot point if the whole thing brings your machine down, though.

PM me about 3D printed parts. I just got a new Ender 3 and it’s kicking the butt of my old printer. I’ll try to get you back up and cutting.

Everything was made from 5 ply AB grade marine Douglas fir originally. The new clamps and backing plate, I have yet to test, are from 7 ply AB grade birch.

The plate, and lower clamp, was flexing around Z.

Yep, but its easily adjusted and will rule out flex in the rails.

Thanks for the generous offer. I still have my old sled and should be getting replacement router orange button part soon. I will first try the changes on the meticulous z-axis sled. If that does not work then I will recut and build a new one using the old sled. If that still has issues then I will contact you. Thx again.

This is an issue that @dlang and I had speculated on in the development thread, and we concluded that plywood, particularly anything that has voids in it, would not hold up the structural demands that the spindle clamps would be under. To me, this is likely evidence that those conclusions hold true. It’s possible that a high quality ply, like Baltic Birch, which has no voids, may be better. I have also heard people have had some luck with solid wood clamps. From what I’ve seen, it seems like most people head in the direction of 3D printed clamps. Even PLA seems to work well for that use.

Like, flexing around the lead screw? I’m surprised marine grade ply is holding up so poorly. It’s hard to say exactly what is going on, but when I have a chance to do some testing I’d like to see if I can recreate what is happening here.

This is true, and has been another point of speculation in the development thread. If you do find the rails flexing, that would be very useful data as I continue to improve this system.

Good luck on cutting the new parts. Hopefully it goes better the second round :crossed_fingers: