How much play should the gantry have about the z axis?

Assembly questions and answers for the Shapeoko 3 CNC Mill
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Joined: Mon Sep 04, 2017 3:16 am
Location: Brisbane, Australia

How much play should the gantry have about the z axis?

Post by jimothy » Mon Sep 04, 2017 3:40 am

Hi all,

I have a Shapeoko 3 XL that I've had for approx a year but unfortunately haven't got much use out of because I've had several problems with accuracy and repeat-ability when cutting. The V-Wheels also somehow getting damaged / chewed up during a run which put it out of action for a while. The guys at Carbide were awesome and sent me out some replacement v-wheels for free so massive props to them.

I'm now focused on getting the machine tuned and putting it to some actual use but there are some areas that I can't seem to get right. One of the problems for me is a large amount of play about the z-axis in the gantry / x axis. If I stand in front of the machine and place a hand on each end of the x-axis carriage and attempt to twist about the z-axis I get a lot of movement (each side of the carriage is able to move about 10mm along the y-carriages).

Is this normal? If not what is the adjustment procedure to remove this play and tighten the machine?

In my home shop I also have a manual metal mill and metal lathe so I'm used to constantly checking tolerances and runout and the amount of slop currently in the shapeoko makes me wonder if it will ever be usable.

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Re: How much play should the gantry have about the z axis?

Post by WillAdams » Tue Sep 05, 2017 11:46 am

Depending on how much force is applied and where, and the scale of movement one expects, none to a lot. It's a hobby CNC router, not a mill. However, 10mm should not be happening.

That said, if you didn't adjust the V-wheels, please see: ... g_V-wheels and please review: ... he_Machine

Properly adjusted and squared up, at cutting forces, there should be minimal to no play.
Shapeoko 3XL #0006 w/ Carbide Compact Router w/0.125″ and ¼″ Carbide 3D precision collets

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