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The Meticulous Z-Axis


I spent $1200 to build my first Maker Bot Cup Cake CNC. A the time you made the extruder heater by hand winding wire around brass threaded tubing from a lamp. I feel ya. I think in the last year wood has become one of the largest expenses in my life.

Thank you


You came up with quite an idea here. I knew when I was having Z axis struggles that this was the solution for me. :slight_smile:

The only thing I feel necessary to tell you about PLA is that it is more likely to jam. Since it gets gooey at a lower temperature it is sensitive to heat creeping up the hot end. Aside from jamming, it is a fabulous material and has much better layer adhesion than ABS. I would set the hot end to 200, bed to 60 - 65, and let 'er rip.

I updated GC / Firmware to 1.20 but couldn’t get it to move for the test cuts. Maybe this weekend. Cleared the EEPROM but I feel like it needs to write the new calibration settings. I still haven’t ordered my belt or belt gears yet either.


I’m tempted to try out the large sized cr10 (forget the exact model name) for my next printer. They are inexpensive and I’ve seen some great results from them. Anyone here have one? Currently using a black widow.


The CR-10 is made by a new Chinese company called Creality. They have an impressive operation, good quality control, and the machine is a super-stiff version of a Prusa i3 clone. The extra stiffness comes from using roller bearings on aluminum extrusion.

The two disadvantages (huge ones, IMO) are that they only have Bowden extruders (although you could mount a direct drive extruder, nothing is stopping you) and manual bed leveling.

I would buy a CR-10 if those two issues were resolved, until then I’m trying to convince myself I don’t need the extra build volume. If you had a CR-10 you could probably print the entire Meticulous Z-axis, maybe not the sled but you could probably print a temporary sled that worked with this project. This would be great because I think most of us are here because our routers are not happy with being controlled via the depth knob on the stock router body, so fabbing off-Maslow would be desired since it is essentially a workaround.

Creality factory tour by the ever-popular and controversial Naomi Wu:


I’ve never used a bowden extruder. I kind of want to play with one, but it’s easy enough to replace that if I don’t like it. the . I’d definitely add auto bed leveling too. My black widow has it and it sure makes life a lot easier than my ditto was without it. The S5 build volume is massive though, very tempting.


Quick update on my clamps. [insert Futurama reference here]

The good news is that the Fusion 360 Prototrak GCD post works on the Prototrak mill at work.

The even better news is that I took two hours to get these bad boys machined up:

It took a couple of setups, and most of what I did was drill and tap holes. I did face the back of the clamp to give it a nice, flat surface before I drilled the holes. I also had Fusion program the counterbores in the front part of the clamp. Once I had all that finished, I bolted the two sections together and then machined out the center bore.

Can’t wait to get these bolted up to my sled!


Forking Amazing!

Great work.

Thank you


Gorgeous work! Can’t wait to see it either. Can you anodize mine red please? Lol.


i thought about making an aluminum clamp, 4" tube with 3/16" walls gives you 92mm inside diameter which should be prefect for the r22002 router, but didn’t feel like buying 17 feet of it, which is the minimum order at
just drill a couple of holes and put some locking thumb bolts in and weld a back plate of channel on the tube, with a piece of angle for the 8mm lead screw to go through.


Your easternmetals link goes to a “buy this domain” page. Try this one.

There’s a Eastern Metal Supply near Mooselake Bokeelia, but not sure I need too many 17 footers…


Love the machined aluminum clamps, Bryan. I am mainly limited to CAD work as far as the extra curricular work activities go, so I’m a little jealous.

I did get my sled cut which I think was the biggest obstacle to getting the new Z axis built. The baby-sitting wasn’t too bad but I should think about a dwell after each z-move.

The tab strategy worked pretty well but I put two screws (chicken fasteners?) in because I was skeptical about the z moves.


Bryan, can you give us a sentence or two about the waterjet you have at work? At my work we have an ancient Flow system that could cut those parts out in minutes. I would spend an hour polishing the edges though since we use 80 grit garnet. We use ours mainly for rough cutting, even though it is dead-nuts accurate.


I actually have the S5 at work (500mm cube build volume) It is insanely huge and I have found that most of the time I do not need that kind of build volume, I have not had any issues with this extruder. I will say however that if you are doing a small project it will get annoying because it takes forever to heat the bed, to get to 65* it take probably about that many minutes. Also, it seems that when I slice it the actual machine takes a littler longer than the slice says it should since it has such a huge volume. Finally, the bed leveling on this thing is a pain and you cant add larger handles to make it easier and with my meat hands it is not fun for me to wedge my hands under the bed to make this happen. At this time I am also looking at putting some version of an E3D hot end on it and update the marlin firmware so that I can do linear advance because it has got to get more filament down in a much better time.

On the flip side, I personally have an Ender 2 and Ender 3, I highly suggest the Ender 3, it has a great build volume for the price, tons of wonderful mods you can add to it and even though it is manual bed leveling it does have larger knobs so that my hands don’t even go under the bed. I love the thing and I maybe tweek the bed leveling about once a week. I have used this machine a ton, I got it and started to print stuff for my maslow and my shop and the thing didn’t stop when I first got it for probably 2 weeks straight print after print.

As a complete side note, I have only ever printed in PLA and I have never had a jam as long as you don’t skimp on the filament.


About CR-10, there is an interesting article at hackaday:


That article also mentions that the distributor needed to repair up to 100% of incoming Crealtiy machines before they were fit to sell.

3D printers are still complicated devices, and cheap still means cheaply built. In the long run (might not even be that long) you’ll spend less on something like a Prusa i3 mk3 kit than on the cheapest kit you can find. If you’re willing to live with a tiny print volume, that will most likely work for most of the things you’ll print, look at the smaller Monoprice machines. They have a reputation for working pretty well.

Yeah, that sounds a bit preachy and somewhat OT, but I’ve had them since laser cut plywood was the latest thing, and been a mod on a couple smaller support sites. Nothing turns (most) people off towards 3D printing than spending more time fiddling with the gadget to get it to work at all, when all you want to do is just print something. I liked tweaking, tuning, fixing, modding, adjusting, tweaking, tuning, etc when I got started but moose just aren’t normal. OTOH, if frustration and strong language is your goal, go cheap.


For a list of known 3D printer GPL licence violators, see:

The site list companies that are fully or partially compliant, and companies that flat out refuse to comply with the GPL.


I’m still not sure if I’m necessarily allowed to use our machines for personal projects, to be honest. I’ve talked to a few of my coworkers and the general impression I get is that as long as it’s not in the way, it’s not a big deal. I’m still trying to be subtle about it, though.

We have an OMax Maxium 1515 with a 60"x60" “bed”. We also use 80 grit abrasive, but we set edge quality based on the project. The software is pretty painless to use, it simplifies the feedrates by asking us what quality of cut we want. We can set it to 1 for a quick cut, or 5 for a pretty clean edge. The machine will cut slower depending on the quality desired. There is also a “minimum taper” setting, which is really nice but takes forever, especially on thicker materials.

For the clamps, I set it to quality level 5, and these were the settings that it came up with:


I think I see the difference. Ours is always 60,000 psi. 6’ x 12’ bed, it’s a monster. I couldn’t get a kerf that skinny, that’s for sure. Seems like the OMax is a great machine.


That makes sense. The omax is really nice. It’s our workhorse, most of our parts are started on the water jet. When I set it to the highest quality, I can tap most holes cut by the machine. I have trouble with the kerf width on really small holes, though.


I feel like i just finished a marathon after reading all this. Should hand out trophies to anyone that makes it this far. Have to say i am really excited to get the Maslow complete kit but not sure they are offering them ATM. i have tried messaging them through the site a couple days ago but no luck. I have also posted in the community garden in hopes that someone might have one for sell but again no luck. Will keep trying. Any suggestions?