In this instalment we are going to add the Z-carriage assembly. It is similar to the previous two assemblies, but instead of the basic shaft supports we will be using pillow block supports.
Z Carriage Components
The Z-Carriage consists of a Z-Carriage Plate, two 16” 8mm shafts, four 8mm sliding bearing trucks, and four 8mm pillow block shaft supports.
The Z-Carriage plate is supported by the two shafts and four bearing trucks, while the 8mm pillow blocks are used to secure the shafts to the X-Carriage. As with the previous carriages, I had to find the sweet spot for the distance between the two trucks. The further apart they are the more rigid your table will be. The down side is that you lose travel.
The trucks on the Z-Carriage are 4-1/4" from outer edge to outer edge. The shafts are 2" apart. This will yield 3" of Z travel.
Z Carriage Components
Z Carriage Hardware
In addition to the carriage components listed above, the following hardware fasteners were used to secure the Z-Carriage plate to the bearing trucks and the pillow blocks to the X-Carriage plate:
- 16, 4mm x 16mm machine screws
- 16, #8 washers
- 16, #8 lock washers
- 8, #10-24 x 1-1/4 machine screws
- 8, #10-24 hex nuts
- 8, #10 washers
- 8, #10 lock washer
Please note that I used #8 washers for the 4mm machine screws. This is only because they are cheaper and easier to find than their 4mm counterparts.
The first step is to install the pillow block shaft supports, as shown in Figure 2. The supports are held in place with two #10-24 x 1-1/4" machine screws.
The screws are secured (Figure 3) with a #19 washer, #6 washer, #10 lock washer, and finally a #10-24 x 1-1/4” hex nut. At this point the nuts should only be finger tight. The shaft supports should look like the ones shown in Figure 4.
Next, the shafts are inserted through the upper pillow blocks, and two 8mm trucks are added, as shown in Figure 5.
The shafts are pushed through to the lower pillow blocks and secured with the set screws on the shaft supports, as shown in Figure 6. The bottom of the shaft should be flush with the bottom side of the lower pillow blocks. Don’t worry about the excess shaft that is sticking out above the upper pillow blocks. Later you will install a motor mount to the shafts.
The Z-Carriage plate should be created from a piece of 3/4" stock. I recommend melamine coated particle board. The plate has four holes for each truck and two holes in the middle to mount the ACME nut. Several additional holes were added for attaching the spindle mounts. The truck and ACME nut holes have a 3/8” pocket so that the heads of the hardware won’t interfere with the spindle (Figure 7).
Two square recesses were added to the rear side of the Z-Carriage plate. These allow the plate to clear the lower pillow blocks. (figure 8)
The plate is secured to the four trucks with 16, 4mm x 16mm machine screws. A #8 washer/lock washer combo is also added, as shown in Figure 9.
Once the carriage plate is secured to the four trucks, move it all the way to the top and tighten the screws on the upper pillow blocks. Next, move the carriage plate to the bottom and do the same with the lower pillow blocks. Once you are happy with the movement of the carriage, tighten all the nuts.
This completes the KReduCNC Z-Carriage assembly. As stated earlier, the excess shaft lengths on the top of the Z-Carriage will be used to support the Z motor mount and later to secure hoses and/or cables.
The drawing files for the Z carriage can be found here:
Please note that these files are subject to change. You will need some sort of CAD software that can import eps or pdf files to use them. They are raw 2D drawing files without annotations.
Please note that there are cheaper linear motion components available. These are the ones I used. Almost all shafts and supports will works, but don't cheap out on the bearing trucks, as you get what you pay for.