Assembling the microCarve A4

The complete microCarve A4 CNC

Step 2: Overall Assembly (cont.)

We're almost done with the mechanical construction of the machine. Once the Z axis is mounted, all that's left is putting on the motors and the spindle.

Z Axis Installation

microCarve Z Axis--a thing of mechanical beauty.

This is easy, but it's nice to have a bit of a guide. In my case, no matter how obvious something appears, I can't help but wonder if I'm missing something subtle. In this case, it really is as easy as it looks.

Z Axis installed on microCarve A4.
Turn the leadscrew on the Z axis by hand to run it up about as far as it will go. This will get the slide clear of the mounting holes. There are two sets of mounting holes. I've used the set that puts the Z axis up a little higher in these pictures. Unless you're planning on working on thick stock, mounting your pieces up high above the table, or otherwise feel it needs to be especially high, you may just want to use the other set of holes at first.

Z Axis installed on microCarve A4.

Use the same routine as you would on a car wheel. Put all the screws in loose, then tighten them up a bit at a time while working the Z axis to seat as cleanly as possible before going around and doing a final tightening.

The Name Boards

The name boards of the microCarve A4, one customized with paint, the other as delivered.
Before and after I customized the painting on my sideboards. I painted the second board after this picture was taken.
Completed A4 with sideboards, but no motors, spoilboard, or spindle yet.

There are five screws with nuts for each name board. I've customized the paint job on my boards a bit, as you can see. These screws can be snugged down. Installing these boards is optional from a structural standpoint. But the machine will look cooler, and the breeze will blow over it more smoothly, once you put these babies on it.

Next Steps

The final mechanical steps are mounting the motors, the spindle, and the spoilboard (make more of these, while the first one's intact.) To some degree, these will be specific to your setup. John has motors, a spindle, and a spindle mount he suggests on the basis of their past successful use.

I'll detail my motor mounting soon, it'll be pretty much the same for any NEMA 23 size motors. For a spindle, I'm using a home made mount and an inexpensive imported router while I learn my way around my CNC. I'll detail these soon, too.

Stay tuned for more!

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