The Meticulous Z-Axis

Yes, with the design of the dust chute, it is required to install that to the base before attaching the spine for the Z-axis.

I was just looking through my instructions in the Community Garden for assembly and realized they’re terribly out of date. I will need to fix that, hopefully sooner rather than later. I’ve never expressed the order of operations here, so I can see where it would be confusing.


I’m sorry, my post was not meant as a complaint. Just prioritizing, I will need to set my new 3D printer up before I finish the Meticulous Z axis is all. Personally I am grateful for the work you have put in and shared!


I didn’t see it as complaining at all. I was thinking as I was writing my reply that I had made note of the order of operations when I wrote up the instructions. So when I went to look at it I realized that they were written for the old configuration and had no mention of the order. Not too much has changed in the assembly process, but it still needs to be revised.


I wonder if this would fit within the ring and be able to sync up with Ground Control.

I have seen 8mm rods deflect pretty easily. With the weight and torque of the router, is anyone seeing that with this z axis?

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I’ve had it with z-axis troubles.

I’m hoping that a meticulous z-axis setup will improve reliability. A while ago I bought this beast on e-bay:

So, now I’m going to take the plunge (that’s a z-axis joke), and build it out.

I’m sure I’ll be back in this thread with a lot of questions. Wish me luck!


i see there is a design with “new clamps” is there a new file uploaded outside the community garden? the file that i downloaded does not show these clamps in it.

also i downloaded the large master file from the community garden however when i upload the .nc file into ground control it does not import to scale. i cut the entire file out but it made everything much larger than it should be. closer to a 22" sled than an 18"… unless this is correct and i didn’t read it. there are 260 posts in this thread so forgive me if i missed it.

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Sorry guys, missed a couple of comments here, will do my best to answer them now.

I’m not sure, but my theory was that the Maslow has low side-load for a CNC router given the typical 1/4" step-down and the low feed rate. I do plan on putting this design through its paces to find out if the guides will deflect from the side-load, but I need time to get back to working on my machine. I have a couple 1/2" bits I’d like to try and do full-depth cuts, so I’ll really get a chance to stress test the design. If the rods are in fact too flimsy for our applications, I plan on upgrading to these:

They’re more like what a gantry-style machine would use, although they up the cost. I was trying to make this as cost-effective as possible.

I feel ya, relying on the Rigid router base can be incredibly frustrating.

I’d love to see that massive axis slide set up! That would certainly solve the above deflection worries. :wink:

The one thing I’d want to look at is the location of the spindle on that. If you cut the DXF as is, the spindle could be either to high or to low, in the Y direction on the machine. That could result in a significant loss in accuracy. In the current design, the spindle centerline is 118.11mm to the face of the spine, where the slide would mount to. If the difference isn’t too much, you can probably compensate for it with the spindle clamps. If you’re familiar with Fusion, you can download the model I made, and add in your axis to see what changes you will need to make to get it to the right spot.

The DXF file with these clamps is in the community garden folder. They are in 2D CAD Files/Prototype Sled Nested V2.dxf. See the below image for location inside the CAD:

That sounds like it could be a scaling issue, but it’s really hard to say without being at your machine. The sled in this design is 500mm (19.685 in) to make room for the gussets. What you got is 112 % larger than the correct size, which means that the plywood won’t fit in the slots correctly. I can’t remember if ground Control can scale G-code or not. Couple of ways (I think) this could happen. First would be calibration, where it would be distorted in the X and Y dimensions. The other would be using a different tool than I programmed it with, which is a 1/4" bit. The latter I think would be less likely, because you wouldn’t be that far off.

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Thanks for the tip, @MeticulousMaynard. I was planning to do just that with the y-axis. The rail is 1.66" back to front, so I’ll compensate by making the clamps a little thicker.

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Thanks for the reply. The side load may not be that high, however, in my mind it would be magnified but the weight of the gantry and router. Maybe I am thinking about this incorrectly. The MGN linear rails are nice but I have had some hit or miss experience with them. The cheaper ones seem to “stick” in place. By that, I mean it takes a bit of force to get them moving but once they do then they go smooth. For 3d printers, this initial jerking motion of getting the rail slide moving caused some bad layer alignment issues. I don’t think you would see that problem here. Any linear guide (like the MGN or the rod type linear rails) is at the mercy of the flatness of the wood. In the case of the Meticulous Z axis design, if the wood isn’t flat then the rail that is bolted to it will not be straight.

I decided to go with a C-Beam setup. I have seen some other CNC machines use C-Beams as well. Waiting for it to come in the mail. I planned on 3d printing the mount for the beam along with making alignment pins that would precisely align the mount to the sled. I was also going to 3d print the router mounts as well. The Maslow is not a high precision machine but I figure anything I can do to help it would be good.

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According to the online Fusion 360 model, the distance from the front of the z-axis spline to the front of the z-axis carriage is 2 inches. As long as that matches the DXF file, I’m good. Since my rail is 1.66 inches thick, I’ll need to make the clamps 2.00-1.66 = 0.34 inches longer (assuming the clamps are right against the z-axis carriage on my rail).

When I did the math, I got .249". I prefer to work from the distance from the spindle centerline to the spine myself. This is mostly because it’s the distance we will want to end up with in your design. Both our methods are valid, and entirely a personal preference.

The spine is 4.6654" (118.5mm) from the spindle centerline, which is actually 0.39mm off from what I had previously started. That’s because that’s the clearance factor I add into my models so that the plywood tabs fit into the slots in the base.

In order to determine how much the clamps will need to be elongated, I also took the measurement from the carriage face to spindle centerline, 2.756" (70mm).

To get the spindle clamp height, we would want to subtract the height of your carraige assembly (1.66") from the distance from the spindle centerline to the Z-axis spine (4.6654").

  • 4.6654 - 1.66 = 3.0054"

To make the clamps the right offset, we would need to take their current size from the required size:

  • 3.0054 - 2.756 = 0.2494"

So you would need to offset that back line 0.2494" to get it right on centerline.

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Thank you! I’m glad I said something. I see now that I made mistakes taking these measurements.

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Not a problem, I’m always happy to help. :slight_smile:

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Have you been able to get your C beam in? I am curious because I have one and have spent months working on dust collection for the C beam and I think I might finally be close! I had to take some design ideas of my own and combine them with the meticulous chute and it seems to be operating well. I hope to have pictures of it soon. But I would love to see pictures of your setup when you get it done.

I have not received it yet. Hoping any day now. I had some ideas for the chute but haven’t started designing yet. I would definitely like to see your pics and design. Are you sharing design files?

I can absolutely share what I have! Just know it is still a work in progress, however it seems to be working for me. Tomorrow I will see if I can’t get some stuff uploaded. I may put it on the thread I already have about my Z axis as to not hijack this one. If I do that I will mention you.

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I cut the sled with the file. What’s the best way to get the alignment holes, or screw holes for the ring system on there in the right places?

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I just checked the files, the holes for the ring system are not in any of the G-Code that I have put in the Community Garden. Here I merged the code between the predrill and 0250-1FL files to see where all the holes would end up.

This is proving to be a little problematic to determine the best way to add those holes to the part. I was able to find the file I had used to make the nc files in the Garden, but I had to dig through the previous versions of my nest file to get it. I added in the ring system holes, since the model is old enough that it predated me adding the system in. The only weirdness about doing it this way is that the holes are blind, and are drilled from the side with the counterbores, which would typically be facing down. However, all the counterbores are for the linkage systems, so they will not be needed if you’re making your sled with the ring system, so it shouldn’t be an actual problem.

This is the updated, nested model of the sled:

I also took a moment and made up a drill program for the ring system holes using the same origin as the nc file with the 1/4" end mill, so you can just run that using your same setup. I don’t have the Maslow post on my work computer, so I posted it using the GRBL post. Should still work fine for drilling. (917 Bytes)


@MeticulousMaynard You are a mensch, thank you!

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