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My take on a Sled with No Bricks and Using a Spindle (Lots of Pictures)


Hi Stephen,

I love what you have done, it looks great. Have you got it running yet?

I am getting my kit in the February release and really like your idea of using a spindle motor and lead screws for the z axis.

Thanks heaps,



I’m also interested in the spindle motor approach. I’d be curious how it worked out for you before purchasing my own.


Thanks for the info. I just ordered the rail and screw system. I’m going to try and use it with the ridgid router. I’m hoping to refine my Z depth as currently I’m getting inconsistent depth on passes which I think might be caused by play in the latch on the ridgid base.


are you trying to run with the latch open?

you should be adjusting the tightness of the latch (under the latch) and
adjusting it so that with the latch closed things can move, but not too much.

you should also have a bungee cord across the top of the router (down to the
handles) to eliminate the backlash.


No. the latch is closed and I’m using the bungee. I think the issue is the orange tab that locks the spindle portion to the base and screw. The recess in the spindle seems larger than the orange tab(not sure what its called) and it has a bit of play. Its not much play, but its enough that when I do multiple passes at the same depth there always seems to be a slight depth difference that requires allot of sanding. (lines) Maybee Im cutting too deep .13 inch per pass. I also find the ridgid base requires constant cleaning (removing spindle to clean sawdust) to maintain smooth operation.


does the 500w spindle work?


I have not built the frame yet as I have been too busy with other projects, I hope to get to it soon…


Was wondering how this all worked out for you… Looks nice and am thinking about something similar.


Hi Stephen,
I am very keen on your take on the sled, how has it been working, and have you had to make any changes. I am planning to use my old, (little used) Bosch router, I was also thinking of following the same path with a spindle if the router wouldn’t work, so I think we are on the same thoughts.
I would also like to use the pantagraph system you have used, has it worked well.


did you ever get your frame buildt and this spindle cutting Excited to hear results.


Hi Roland,
I haven’t finished the build yet. Ive had some other problems to content with lately and was also waiting for some parts to arrive. Ive made the arms from 25 x 5 stainless as I had it lying around. They are quite heavy, so I may replace with 25 x6 ali. I’ve drilled the holes on my mill with digital readouts so they are within 0.01mm. I ordered some 6mm ball thrust bearings, that took forever and only just arrived on Friday. Choice for ball bearings over needle roller was the balls have a groove in the washers to run in, so I figured they would stay truer . Ive installed them in all the pivot points and it has come up very ridgid. I will have to add one more bearing to the top of each of the 2 centre fix points under the nuts as the movement is undoing them. They are sitting on standoffs about 75mm long hopefully to keep the balance point right.

The main frame of the sled is steel so all very ridgid still have to add the lower weights which will probably be steel also. There will also be short pivot links to attach the chains to so all the arm holes stayed in the same line.

Unfortunately the supplied z axis motor mount brackets are not ridgid enough, so I have new stronger ones of those to finish making. As soon as I can finish the build, which unfortunately will probably be a couple of weeks away, I will post results.

Project of the Week / Community Gardener for August 1, 2018

That is a beautiful build.


short pivot arms for the chains will be needed (on my arms, I carve out a notch for the chain to be able to go into and the bottom hole is small so a link pin with fit nicely)


Awesome build! Did you manage to make some sawdust with it yet? Also, did you implement spindle on/off and spindle speed control in the Ground Control software? I would also be interested to see how you handle the micro switch signals.


@StephenMcG, I too am curious if you’ve had a chance to cut anything. I am considering replacing my rigid router with a dc spindle and would like to know if anyone has any experience with cutting 3/4" plywood.

Also, I really love your sled design. The 10 mm steel was a really innovative move.


I’ve failed on making a low centre of gravity in Z direction sled, because i missed this point from Nov '17 :frowning:
After almost 2 years of balancing 3 sleds i’m convinced that my current choice of acrylic would be better off if i counteract the back-pull of the Z-Tower closest to the sheet by putting the weight closest.
To get my chain attachment height lowest.
Less moving out with the motors, less flex.
If i can’t find a water-jet steel cutter on this remote island, is there anybody out there that would have it cut for me and advanced paid all costs +15% margin?

Edit: 15% margin before shipping cost :wink: