2023 X-Carve CNC Upgrade

For 2023 we have upgraded the X-Carve, our open-source CNC milling machine from Inventables that uses a De-Walt 611 router to carve 2D & 3D profiles in wood, foam and plastics. The upgrade has increased the available milling area to 850mm x 1200mm. In addition, a new Parf-board clamping system can clamp wood lengths up to 100mm vertically. While the X-Carve can potentially carve aluminium, the Makerspace now has dedicated lathe and milling machines for metals.

The vertical slide has been replaced to allow milling to a depth of 45mm, and the overall rigidity of the device has been massively increased. With four new stepper motors and the Arduino motor driver replaced with the X-Controler from Iventables, we now have three times the power to drive the translation axes.

Regarding Sofware, we still have the bCNC driver software, which interfaces well with Fusion 360 for 3D carving and Vectric Desktop for V-Cutting. The Easel software by Inventables is rapidly gaining capability, and we expect to use it more in the coming year.

The X-Carve has a strong maker community that provides regular suggestions for upgrades. While our machine has a laser upgrade consisting of a 2.8W laser with a constant current driver, allowing the X-carve to engrave wood, leather, acrylics, and many other materials. However, given that we now have an excellent large-format dedicated laser cutter, we have put off the necessary laser light shielding for safe use till next year.

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