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X Carve upgrade

Discussion in 'The DIY Tool Shed' started by guitarbuilder, Jul 5, 2018.

  1. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Mar 30, 2003
    Ontario County
    A few months back a friend of mine asked me if I could cnc some lawn art for craft work. What he was asking me to do was a bit bigger than the working area on my cnc so I thought about my shapeoko 2 in mothballs. This was the basic shapeoko2 fully assembled. Mine was modified to be longer.


    https://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/ShapeOko_2


    I bought and assembled that kit about 4 years ago. That thread here:

    http://www.tdpri.com/threads/inventables-shapeoko-cnc-router-build.464841/


    I found the shapeoko 2 was kind of toylike and I found the software/firmware a bit oversimplified compared to what I was using. So 4 years pass by and the Shapeoko2 evolves into a Shapeoko3 and x carve. The founding members took the Inventables and Shapeoko concepts, and split into two different companies; Carbide3d and Inventables. Carbide3d still makes the new and improved Shapeoko. Inventables modified and improved, and in some cases simplified, the parts on the X-Carve.



    This is the shapeoko 2 iteration I made. It was destined for necks. I ran a couple cuts for neck perimeters and made a pickguard. I was kind of disgusted with it and it just sat around. It just didn't have the flexibility and accuracy I was hoping for.

    shapeokomarty.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2018

  2. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Mar 30, 2003
    Ontario County
    So a few months ago I decide to upgrade the S-2 into an X carve. Inventables has an upgrade list.


    https://www.inventables.com/

    They also have an upgrade from the x-carve 2015 to a new version. I decide to go cheap and just upgrade to the X carve. Later I decide to upgrade to most of the new parts. This is the new machine as of today.


    Every part that is aluminum looking are old parts. The black anodized parts, controller, and router are all new. I had a lot of extrusion on the old one and really beefed up the base compared to the 1 x 1 extrusion used on the X carve. I used birch ply as the table surface and made a laminated pine side board. I think I'll make that even wider to hold the laptop.


    xcarve.JPG
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2018
    nickhofen likes this.

  3. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Mar 30, 2003
    Ontario County
    Now I really have to give Inventables credit for engineering a nice kit. Their photos however lack in many places where black parts are attached to black parts. They don't show up very well. I will take the blame for assembling things out of order, and ordering parts piece meal. That meant that I ended taking things apart a few time. I got to the end of the controller and found out that the first piece should only go in one direction and wasn't symmetrical like I thought.
     

  4. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Mar 30, 2003
    Ontario County
    Software wise they have Easel. Where you draw the part and it converts to the machine language. I think I could get used to it, but my internet is so bad and the X carve is in the garage and the old laptop wireless just isn't getting it done. I spent a LOT of time trying things...…


    Anyway today I downloaded the UGS Universal G code Sender program which was updated as well and that seems to get things moving. It's been around 95 for the last week and the garage is hot. I'm burned out for the day. The machine is working. Now I have to try and get the other accessories working too. Maybe....

    Now this upgrade wasn't exactly cheap. You can see how much stuff cost here:

    https://inventables.desk.com/custom...pgrading-a-shapeoko-2-to-an-x-carve?b_id=9562

    and here is x carve upgrade to current technologies

    https://www.inventables.com/technologies/x-carve-upgrade-kit
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2018
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  5. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 18, 2014
    Near Detroit, MI
    .

    I have the Shapeoko 3, with the X-axis extension (cutting area 17x42inches). I had a friend with an aluminum sheet project where cutting that showed how the offset of the router tip to the support beam magnified the compliance problems a lot more than when cutting wood -- I abandoned aluminum cutting.

    I did get the upgraded controller board last winter (they were nice enough to send me the replacement upgrade board for free even though I've been out of warranty period -- I have one of the earliest shipment batches of the SO3). I went with the SO3 due to the much more substantial axis beams than the X-carve at the time.

    [​IMG]

    The router tip is about 80-82mm from the face of the x-axis which can create quite a bit of moment into the support bearings allowing the tip can pop up out of the (aluminum) material being cut. So I have been intrigued with this design by the "mostly printed cnc" team as possibly more rigid from off axis twist (but the conduit pipes will flex like noodles).


    [​IMG]


    I'd be very interested in seeing more z-axis X-carve router cradle upgrade pictures if you have a chance to post them.


    .
     
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  6. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Mar 30, 2003
    Ontario County
    Here is the router holder from both sides:



    router1.JPG










    router2.JPG
     

  7. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Mar 30, 2003
    Ontario County
    I may support the Y span in the middle to the plywood with a pylon on each side. They do sell the wider makerslide in 1000 mm lengths I think, so upgrading to two of those with custom made front and back mounts could be money well spent...maybe.

    I sprung for the limit switches and the z zero clip thing, which are really handy. I don't know if they will be compatible to the UGS though.
     

  8. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 18, 2014
    Near Detroit, MI
    .

    Thanks for the pics. Those look a lot like the SO3 rails and rollers. However it has an Acme screw drive where mine is a belt, but the problem is in the rollers and plate flexing. Yours is tucked in quite tight.

    I have the limit switches but need to add the z-zero. Currently running UGS from a 2000-era 32bit PC I had around with modern Debian Linux.

    I did try Pycam for quite a while but found it had problems with lopping off spheres (kind of difficult to make dome-top Tele knobs) but there have been a couple of version updates since then. Switched to Fusion360 CAM after that. I design in FreeCAD then transfer and CAM in Fusion360. Latest FreeCAD has some CAM upgrades so I will try those again ... While Fusion360 is great, I am leery of lock in and having the game changed as that software model of free/cheap in the beginning then rude price increases later has been pretty popular for decades.

    .
     

  9. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 18, 2014
    Near Detroit, MI
    .

    Z-axis mounting on my SO3. I added some measurements between wheel axles. SO3 z-axis wheels are inside the z-axis rails while the X-carve's are outside -- and I can see how that could improve stability there and maybe I can look at a mod to put them on the outside provided they clear the other mounting points that were probably the decision for mounting the wheels inside.

    Most of the lash on mine is rocking the whole head unit to the x-axis beam so I'll have to see about that (the 4.25inch set here in the first picture).


    aIMG_20180705_133244.jpg aIMG_20180705_133301.jpg aIMG_20180705_133321.jpg
     

  10. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Mar 30, 2003
    Ontario County

    I think the parts are all open source so you may be able to make or buy them for a conversion.


    http://x-carve-instructions.inventables.com/xcarve2015/step07/


    I have had one of these for a few years and may put it on down the road. Mine isn't drilled for anything in particular, so that would require a bit of accuracy or a slot for adjustment.


    http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-5...0001&campid=5338148343&icep_item=122741523524
     
    jvin248 likes this.

  11. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Mar 30, 2003
    Ontario County
    So I got things up and running and scribed the work area on the plywood. My home switches aren't working. I may have messed them up with a couple of crashes, so I ordered more. I'm not sure that is the exact problem as they were checking out ok on the meter.

    Anyway I re-did my g-code for a body using the Ehawley drawing. Thanks Ed! I ran the code for a 1/3 scale body and found some human errors from cutting and pasting in notepad. I redid it again this morning and just left well enough alone. I just changed the varying depths on the routs.

    I flipped it over and planed down the back manually with jogging. This is the result.

    The perimeter cut and routs are really clean, almost better than my K2 does. I used a new 3/16" Whiteside bit too. I had done a hole location program too, but removed the body from the machine and figured it was too much hassle to do it again on this one.

    There's a learning curve to dumb down to the universal gcode sender from mach3, but I'm getting there. I find an annoying glitch in the x controller when going from a macro ( zero setting command) back to normal. I work in inches and after the macro, it stays in mm.

    Switching everything off is a safe way to avoid that. All in all I'm not disappointed with the upgrade. If I can get my home switches working, it'll make life easier.


    DSC05937.JPG


    One beef I have is that Inventables doesn't have an easy recipe to use the UGS ( universal gcode sender) with the x carve. They tell you to use it if you can't use their Easel program. Easel involves the internet, and mine stinks in house, and is really bad out to the garage. They have an easel forum which you have to try and navigate through to set up the ugs software. It would have been easier to just set up for the xcarve with a set of instructions like they had for the Shapeoko.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018

  12. adirondak5

    adirondak5 Wood Hoarder Extraordinaire

    Oct 24, 2009
    Long Island NY
    Marty , how long you think it will take to cut a tele body , perimeter and pockets ?
     

  13. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Mar 30, 2003
    Ontario County
    Herb, I haven't cut enough of anything to even guess. It has more potential speed than my K2 but it's not as rigid so that's a tradeoff on accuracy.
     

  14. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Mar 30, 2003
    Ontario County
    The limit switches are now operating. The z axis wheels were too tight and that was causing the axis not to hit the switch. It homes in Easel and UGS. I couldn't get it to do the test cut in Easel, as the internet connection is just too weak. I guess I'm ready to try it out on something that I make up.
     
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  15. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Mar 30, 2003
    Ontario County
    Well.....It's been a while and I've got the machine working. This morning I did a test cut in some plywood. I made a 1" square with a 1/4" bit and found that it was within a couple of thousandths of an inch. Other test cuts weren't that accurate but not horrendous. I tightened things up and found that it was binding up, so I relaxed the eccentric nuts a hair. Time to rout a guitar part. I previously took a pickguard drawing for a '72 thinline and converted from a PDF to a DXF file in Rhino. That drawing was in here:

    https://www.gitarrebassbau.de/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=6

    I eliminated lines and dimensions and replaced the Fender pickup openings with a Duncan opening,as I wanted to use regulation sized humbuckers if the pickguard got to that point. Then I took the DXF and converted it into GCode in CAMBAm to make the G code. I separated the drawing into 3 files. The UGS ( universal gcode sender) likes simple. One file cut out the pickguard, one file bevels the sides, and one file was going to take the v bit and mark the holes and switch slot.

    Now UGS doesn't like all the G and M codes that Mach3 uses, so I edited some of the codes out. I did a few test run on some plywood. Finally it was time time to cut a pickguard.

    I set the pickguard material up and zero'd the machine. I set the cutter to the zeroing tool. That works pretty nicely but UGS is a bit weird with macros, so I end up closing the software after every step. When you open up the UGS, it sets where ever you are at 0,0,0.

    So we're zero'd and ready to go. I jog up a bit, start the router, and press send.

    DSC05941.JPG DSC05942.JPG DSC05943.JPG DSC05944.JPG DSC05945.JPG


    It cuts it out.

    I go to change the bit to the Vee bit...and the carriage moves. The motor isn't strong enough to hold it against my manly finger pressure......

    So I don't bother with the other two files because my zero is off.

    I didn't bother homing the machine in the beginning.

    In testing a pickup for fit. It's OK on the bridge rout, and tight on the neck rout.....


    So now I have to make a plywood pattern for the holes and use that to locate the holes on this pickguard.

    At 15 dollars a pickguard blank, this can get expensive.

    Today's lesson. Always home your machine first.
     

  16. nickhofen

    nickhofen Friend of Leo's

    Glad to see that you make your machine reliable !
     

  17. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Mar 30, 2003
    Ontario County

    I'm not sure reliable is a word that I can use with this machine yet. :) There are lots of quirks that Mach3 doesn't have. If inventables had a graphic on their x carve website on how to set up ugs for an x carve, this would be a lot simpler. I'm not sure why they don't. The inventables forum is like this forum, A million posts, and hundreds of similar topics that you have to sift through to find what you want to know.

    For instance, if you home the machine and then move to a new 0,0, set it, and then home again, the display is in negative numbers. Apparently you can change that, but it involves reflashing the GRBL, which is out of my comfort zone.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2018 at 2:17 PM
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  18. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Mar 30, 2003
    Ontario County
    I ran across a piece of cream pickguard material from my LP making days and decided to try again. This time I took the drawings and made the centerline 10 inches from the homing position. I remade the gcode for the bevel, the cutout, and the holes/slot. I used a 45 degree bit for the bevel and the hole locations. I only had the bit go into the material about. .020 to just make a divot for drilling later on.

    Then I drilled the holes by hand. After cutting this out, I found the upper rout was tight again. I went into the drawing and found that I must have deleted the wrong line there. Operator error.... not the machine. I noticed on the bevel cut that the arcs at the bottom weren't smooth. I think this is a Cambam problem, as the initial cutout is smooth. I divided that curve into 10 curves and will try again another time. 3rd times the charm, right? Press a button and out pops a pickguard...yeah right.


    pickguard 2.JPG
     
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