The Meticulous Z-Axis

Awesome, thanks for clarifying!

I went with a C Beam option and I will say that it still took a decent amount of work to get everything to fit properly. Since I did not want mine to be attached with weak brackets I ended up making a large bracket out of 1/8" steel to hold the beam to the sled. I then also had to go through probably 8-10 revisions of router mounts so that the ring, router, dust collection, etc would all fit. As I see it, there is no drop in option that will not take some amount of work. However, I personally like the C Beam so when I do it again on my second machine I will probably do that since I am aware of its flaws and know how to work through those problems. Hope this helps.


@chrisB has a very good point about using c-beams. Depending on how you make your sled, the z-axis will not ever be just plug and play. I tried to come as close as I could by having my sled cut from 1/8" steel with all the holes already put into it for the ring and the Rigid router base. Once I got it all together I just had to screw things in the right places (I still had to thread all the holes or countersink with a chamfer where necessary). I was very happy to not have to measure and drill and screw to hopefully get things where they needed to be. I paid $40 to have the sled cut and shipped, which I think was worth it. That being said, when I decided that the Rigid router base z-axis was just not doing it for me (between the slop in movement, the slow speed, and the holding tab popping out often) and decided to go with a c-beam z-axis, I had to manually measure and drill 4 new holes for the c-beam… so, still some onsite measuring and drilling, but minimal. And had I known from the beginning that I was going to use the c-beam, I would have just included those holes.

The big benefit for me in using the steel sled base is that I don’t have to use additional supports to hold the c-beam into plywood or other material. And I am able to add additional threaded holes to solidly screw things into it (which will soon include my vacuum setup, and if I switch to a spindle, possibly the power supply for it.)

PS, I apologize to all that my recent postings have been rambling. I think that being sick is degrading my ability to be succinct. Hopefully they are not too hard to follow


I got massively delayed on making progress on this project lately, my plow truck blew a radiator hose and then I found a few more problems that need addressing.

Trying to get back some of the issues we’ve had here.

Did you run the nc files or program your own toolpaths off the dxf? I took a look at the files in the repository and in all the files I’ve included the location for the holes. The only thing I can think is that maybe you ran just the 1/4" end mill program by itself?

I’ve made a quick pdf of the base to use as a template. The biggest issue is that the sled is pretty big at 1:1, so I had to use a D sized (22"x34") print to make it all fit. You may need to print it out in sections and register them back together. Just make sure that the outer circle measures 500mm, and the scale should be right.

SledTemplate.pdf (129.4 KB)

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Yep, ran the 1/4 end mill file.
Thanks for the pdf, thats a great idea!

Okay, that explains it. The end mill file doesn’t have any registration for the ring, as the diameter of the bit is too large for the mounting holes. You would have needed to run the “predrill” program (preferably before) running the end mill program to get the holes in your part. This program also includes all the needed screw holes to assemble the Z-axis assembly, so I strongly recommend running this program before cutting out the parts.

I had a reason fro choosing that file but I can’t figure what it was now.
I guess I’ll recut it all.
Pulleys, belt, and lead screw kit came in today. All looks good except the belt I ordered is the wrong pitch.

Given that you already have the parts cut, I think the template I posted should suffice for all the hole locations. I don’t think that recutting it will be necessary.

Mostly just giving my recommendations if you’re starting fresh.

Man, I hate it when I do that! Sorry to hear that.

ok, awesome. I’ll do that then. I wasn’t sure if there were other holes that were important.

Thank you for the awesome work on this this design. It looks like it’s going to work great. I’m new to the Maslow community and also 3D Printing. Wondering if you could provide a little insight on the 3D printed parts. I guess mainly what material you used and do they need to be printed solid for strength. Thanks, Bob

In post 294 they mention printing the dust chute with PLA. Post 187 talks about the details of printing the router clamp parts.

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I used acrylic in the dust chute and it worked nicely. Its there even though its not visible!

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I’ve seen both PLA and ABS for the printed parts. I think that it primarily depends on what your printer is capable of. PLA is probably plenty strong, I’ve seen destructive tests where it outperforms ABS.

EDIT: The strikethrough text below was originally in the above paragraph, but I got a good answer about how well PLA holds up to the heat of a running spindle. While it still holds true (about PLA and heat), the good news is that it doesn’t really matter what material you use!

The only drawback to PLA is that it doesn’t handle heat as well as ABS. Depending on how hot the router gets, ABS might be needed for the printed spindle clamps. Anyone got any good data on the heat here?

I did ABS myself because my printer is locked to that material for the time being. Apparently, to use PLA with my DaVinci, I need to change out the extruder. The firmware that comes loaded on the machine is really restrictive, I need to hack it at some point in the near future.

I have been using 10-15% infill for all of my prints and haven’t had any problems with strength yet. From this post in this thread about the printed carriage plate:

Interesting, related note about infill. I watched the video below a little while back and found it pretty enlightening. I recommend watching it if you haven’t already.

That’s a great idea, love it! Mayhaps I’ll change the design to just use clear acrylic, as that’s probably easier for people to make than the sheet metal I originally designed for. What thickness is that? 0.125"? 0.090"?


Great job! Could you please provide the links for the pullies and belt.

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Could you please tell me the length of the belt you used?

Thank you!

I used the ones spec’d in the bill of materials. Download the files for this project here: You can open the file in a text editor to see all the links to the required hardware.

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I have been running PLA printed spindle/router mounts with my Dewalt router and I have had it running for over 1-2 hours at a time with no problem or deformation. I also have a printed dust collection chute and cover (instead of the plexi) the only time I had a slight issue was my hole not being exactly in the center and the chuck on the router self clearanced the PLA (granted it was only .5mm thick)

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Thank you

Thanks! I was hoping someone had first-hand experience with this. :smiley:

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