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Improving CNC Setup: Home Switches, Table Mounting / Leveling





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Published on Apr 26, 2012

In this video, I try improving my Zen Toolworks CNC setup to improve accuracy and ease of use. The main things accomplished in this video are...

Mounting the wood table using bolts through counterbored holes:
This was necessary because I was previously using C-clamps to mount the table which only allowed me to used half the X-axis travel. The first attempt at mounting failed because I forgot that the bolts will hit the edge of the CNC machine. This is because there is almost no room between the CNC table and the frame. In the second attempt, I move the holes as close as possible to the center. I still lose almost 1 inch of travel but I still have over 12 inches of maximum travel. The X and Y travel of the Zen Toolworks 12x12 CNC machine is actually greater than 13 inches.

Installing home switches on the X and Y axes:
I used normally-closed lever switches that I found in some junk bins. They are surprisingly accurate. They were toggling consistently down to the individual step which is less than 0.001" on my CNC machine. However, one of them turned out to not work properly and I had to replace it after I had mounted it. The super glue held the switches in place very securely. I had to destroy the one I replaced in order to get it off.

Leveling the wooden (MDF) CNC table:
I needed to do this for PCB milling because the piece of MDF I am using is warped. I wrote a small g-code program to mill the surface of the table flat. I used a 1/8" end mill to mill the table. It is very small for the task, but I am limited by the chuck and the spindle speed. I ended up milling 0.025" deep at speeds between 7 and 8 in/min (I changed the feed rate occasionally during milling). The milling process took about 6.5 hours. It took an extra hour because I had a weird problem were the CNC machine lost track of the position. It is possible that the computer did something that stalled the signals going to the motor control board.

Other minor things that were accomplished was oiling up the lead screws and other hardware, tweaking the machine to reduce some squeaking noise when operating, raising the spindle slightly, tweaking the LinuxCNC configuration to my liking, and modifying my motor control board to tie the parallel port signals for the home switches to ground instead of leaving them floating.


  1. 1

    Retro Computing - Commodore SX-64 + Gameplay

  2. 2

    Retro Computing - 386 PC Build and DOS Gaming

  3. 3

    Quadcopter Updates (2/6/14): Multiwii + Future Plans

  4. 4

    Zen Toolworks 12x12 3D CNC Upgrade (with reinforcements)

  5. 5

    E-Terms 3 - Surface Mount Technology (SMT)

  6. 6

    E-Terms 2 - Through-Hole Technology

  7. 7

    E-Terms 1 - Dual In-Line Package (DIP)

  8. 8

    Build Log 11 - GBA-like Game Console (Part 2)

  9. 9

    Build Log 10 - GBA-like Game Console (Part 1)

  10. 10

    PCB Prepreg Lamination Test

  11. 11

    New Toy - Owon SDS7102V Oscilloscope

  12. 12

    CNC Routing Test Using SketchUp Design

  13. 13

    Homemade Quadrocopter Fun at the Park (Full HD)

  14. 14

    Modifying RC Radio TX with RP-SMA Connector

  15. Improving CNC Setup: Home Switches, Table Mounting / Leveling

  16. 16

    Atten 8586 Soldering / Rework Station Review

  17. 17

    Quadrocopter Flight using HobbyKing Control Board

  18. 18

    Build Log 9 - UAV Quadrocopter Board Version 2

  19. 19

    Build Log 8 - USB-UART FT232R Boards

  20. 20

    Follow Up - Tin Pattern Plating for Protecting Vias

  21. 21

    Testing Tin Pattern Plating for Protecting Vias (Fail)

  22. 22

    Commodore 64 / SX-64 / 128 / 128D Overview

  23. 23

    Revisiting PCB Tin Pattern Plating

  24. 24

    Build Log 7 - More Work on the Quadrocopter

  25. 25

    Build Log 6 - UAV Quadrocopter (WIP)

  26. 26

    Making a Double Sided PCB with Plated Vias

  27. 27

    Build Log 5 - Nexys2-PSP LCD Board (Part 2)

  28. 28

    Build Log 5 - Nexys2-PSP LCD Board (Part 1)

  29. 29

    Build Log 4 - Finishing Up The 2 Watt Laser

  30. 30

    FPGA Tiled BG Image Rotation / Scaling

  31. 31

    Build Log 3 - 2 Watt Burning Blue Laser Build

  32. 32

    Exploring Low Battery Voltage Cutoff Circuits

  33. 33

    Serial Data Transmission Over LASER

  34. 34

    PWM Audio Tutorial using a FPGA

  35. 35

    Bunny Rabbit Doing His Thing

  36. 36

    MARG (IMU) Orientation Filter Demonstration

  37. 37

    Populating the "MAG-BAR" Board

  38. 38

    Homemade Plane for UAV Project (WIP)

  39. 39

    UAV Board Explanation and Initial Demonstration

  40. 40

    Homemade GPS Receiver for Upcoming UAV Project

  41. 41

    FPGA Game Console using ZPU (Zylin CPU) and SDRAM Stuff...

  42. 42

    FPGA/MCU Based Game Console Demo and Explanation (Part 2)

  43. 43

    FPGA/MCU Based Game Console Demo and Explanation (Part 1)

  44. 44

    PCB Multilayer Lamination: Prepreg Teaser

  45. 45

    Homemade Wooden CNC Machine 2'x4'

  46. 46

    Isolation Routing / Milling of a Panel Plated PCB

  47. 47

    PCB Copper Panel Plating Through-Hole / Via Tutorial

  48. 48

    Making Even More Tin Sulfate for PCB Electroplating

  49. 49

    Testing the Tin Sulfate Solution by Electroplating (Part 2)

  50. 50

    Testing the Tin Sulfate Solution by Electroplating (Part 1)

  51. 51

    PCB Tin Plating: Its Applications, Pattern Plating, and Etching

  52. 52

    Making Tin Sulfate Solution for PCB Electroplating

  53. 53

    Homebrew Tile-Based FPGA Game Console

  54. 54

    Making Tin Anodes for PCB Electroplating

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