Woodbrew 5x5 Build With Vertical Table

Hi everyone! My wife Molly and I recently put together our 5x5 Pro machine and I wanted to document the process.

I will preface this article by saying we owned an Inventables prior to this, but had virtually no real CNC operation time prior to using this machine. The inventables machine had its own software that is vastly different from Mach 4 + V-Carve.

General Assembly

General assembly took two full shop days. The process was both fun and easy, honestly I was expecting a nightmare of a time after assembling our Inventables machine and various 3D Printers. That is mostly because the parts on those machine are very small. All of the screws and parts are large on the Avid CNC and therefore assembly isn’t annoyingly intricate. The frame took the longest, the gantry was the hardest part, and the wiring was the easiest.

If you would like to view the instructions you can here:https://www.avidcnc.com/support/instructions/

I can’t emphasize enough getting the tools Avid recommends for assembly. You can view those here: https://www.avidcnc.com/support/instructions/pro/6060/21.1/tools/

The one deviation from the plans was to extend the top extrusions over the front of the machine by 6". This gave us a perfect spot to mount a vertical table.

Calibration

Calibration took a few more hours. Our machine was perfectly square, but needed the spindle to be trammed. This took longer than expected just because I needed to learn to use Mach 4 and V-carve first.

I followed Avid’s guide for calibration found here: https://www.avidcnc.com/support/instructions/machineSetup/levelingSquaringAndTramming/

The only thing I did differently was use a Whiteside 6220 2" flattening bit for the tramming test. The larger diameter bit, the better your results will be.

Spoil Board Design

Our spoil board design is heavily influenced by Jay Bates, with a few simple twists that better fit our workflow. The spoil board is three layers of ¾" MDF. It features T-Track for clamping and alignment as well as dog holes.

Layer 1+2: The first two layers were glued together. The t-track dados and mounting holes were cut into these layers. The mounting hole has a slot for the screw in the bottom and ¼" is left in the MDF to create the correct depth for the screw to engage in the nut. The T-Track dado is ~¾" wide x ⅜" deep.

Layer 3: This layer is glued on over the T-Track and the ⅜" slots are cut down to the T-Track using the 2nd layer as a (Z) Zero point. This is all explained in the video linked above. The reason we did it this way is to allow the 3rd layer to overlap the T-Track and therefore lock it into place. This allows for much greater clamping forces.



Vertical Table

The vertical table is made from two layers of ¾" MDF and looks almost identical to the horizontal table. The table is mounted to the front of the machine using the same T-Nuts in the front crossmembers.

This video shares most of the details:

Clamps

We are currently working on 3D printed clamps that allow you to use the T-Track slots for alignment. These clamps are also unique in that they clamp multiple boards at once.

Running The Machine

We chose to run our machine from the machine Home position instead of using a work zero. This allows us to place our parts and materials in a specific location in software that correlates to a known location on the physical machine. I made an entire video explaining this in great detail and it is also a great introduction to CNC. Please excuse any missteps or incorrect statements as I too just learned these things. This video is very informative though:

https://www.loom.com/share/7704ce4ce564435c9eff2ce2c0255377

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This is a fantastic build. I’ve been watching your videos all the way through and I love how you did the embedded T track.

:point_up_2: :point_up_2: :point_up_2:

THIS! One thing I’ll add: Get an extra 6mm ball end hex driver. I was halfway through my build and mine broke!

So what are the plans for the vertical table?

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I’ve been watching your build progress, and I’m loving your vertical spoilboard. I plan on incorporating some of the features you built into yours into my design. One of the things I like most is how you moved the front legs rearward, in line with the upper and lower crossmembers. I’m seriously considering that modification myself. Since my machine is a 4848 Pro, however, it means either cutting down the length of my electronics bars, or ordering shorter ones through 8020. I’m still in the “thinking about it” stage, however, so I haven’t committed to it yet.

All in all, nicely done!

Mark

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I did the same thing on mine Mark: move the front most legs back a bit. My guess is that you could cut down the electronics bar pretty easily. If you do, see if you can find someone with a “cold saw”. That will give you a perfect cut with a mirror like finish on the end. There’s probably enough room to crowd your control boxes together a bit more.

You could also just order one single piece of 8020 that’s shorter. If you do, just make sure that you have them mill in the connections that are on the ends.

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I am super impressed that you got this done in 2 days. It took me a almost a full day with help to get the main frame together!

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Don’t feel bad… it took me a week to get a 5x10 together… and then I reconfigured half of it after I built it :slight_smile:

I would highly recomend setting it up that way. I would second that you can probably cut the electronics bars down your self. I would take extra care adjusting a miter saw to 90 degress and cut them with a standard blade. You can clamp both bars together and clamp them to the saw to get an accurate results. If you use light straight down pressure on a miter saw they can cut quite accurately. Worst case scenario you have to order more. I would imagine drilling the holes in the side of the track for the bolts may the more difficult part.

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I think the biggest advice I would have for others is to study the instructions prior to delivery and watch Avid’s/others build videos on YouTube. I had a pretty good idea of what I needed to do prior to arrival and it made things go much smoother.

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I used a 3/8" cordless ratchet and it made life much easier too. Highly recommend this one: https://amzn.to/3RV4R40 (affiliate link). I wouldn’t recommend a standard impact driver as it’s hard to maintain even torque across the bolts. The great thing about the ratchet, is you can snug the bolt up and then tighten by hand (not pulling the trigger) to maintain an even torque spec.

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I tried an impact for the first couple of bolts and quickly went out and got a battery ratchet similar to that one. Game changer.

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I used my cordless drill, which allows me to adjust the torque. I set it to half its capacity, then tightened the bolts by hand. For fasteners that needed to be tightened evenly (tramming plate and spindle mount) I used a torque wrench, and tightened the fasteners to 120 in lb. It’s less about the torque value though. It’s more about making sure the bolts were tightened to the same torque, so I knew I had even pressure on each bolt. That made for more accurate tramming later.

Inspirational work guys! Thanks for sharing.

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Nice work!! I have T-track in my table but not as extensive as yours. Continually dealing with dust in it though even though I have a decent dust collection system. Not sure if I will keep the t-Track when it comes time to replace my spoilboard.

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Nice build Mine is a 48x48 expanded to a 48x70 my spoil board is similar but it attached the tee tracks to the top of a 3/4 piece of Baltic birch then rabbited 1 in MDF to hold the tee tracks down.


So my spoil board is in 48 x 8 in strips. My vertical front is very similar as well.

But my biggest change is the Rotary I didn’t want to loose the full table so I designed a drop I can lower my rotary 10 cm to be under the spoil board then raise it back up when I need it.

It runs on 4 linear rails and has a lift to raise and lower it. I got with an engineer associated with 8040 to help design it.

Ahhh! I’ve seen this setup, you posted it on the FB group didn’t you? This is AWESOME.

Why use 3 levels of MDF? I was thinking doing something similar to what you did but use just 2 levels of MDF and cut the t-track into the first level. This does leave just 3/8" support beneath the track but isn’t this enough since the clamp force pull’s up into the 3/4" upper layer?

Dylan: I may have missed something but in one of your videos you used glue to hold down your tee track. Was that meant to hold the bond entirely without screws and if so what kind of glue did you use. ?

He did mention in the video that he used some dabs of CA. You only need to keep side-to-side motion prevented since once clamps are applied the force is upwards into the top MDF layer. You could probably also use a screw or two for this if your t-track has holes (or you make holes). He mentioned he used less expensive track which I assume was holeless.

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I am a little late in seeing this but have to say that you have used some unique techniques in the T-track installation. Specifically how you have encapsulated the tracks and dealt with the junctions. This greatly reduces the cost of the tracks and gives you a better utilization in my opinion.

I use the same Home position concept as you and have found it to be superior to using the touch plate each time on a work piece. I know exactly where each of the dog holes are to position the work piece and can easily set XY offsets accordingly. I always touch Z off the top of the spoil board not the work piece so I only have to use the touch plate once at the beginning of a session and for each bit change.

Outstanding job!

Steve