CupCake CNC build, part 8: Building the X stage

3D Printing & Imaging
CupCake CNC build, part 8: Building the X stage

Wow, the holidays (and their aftermath) can really put the brakes on project building! But they’re over, and it’s time to get back to building my CupCake CNC. Next up, building the X stage. It’s another really easy part to the build, and it should only take about an hour or two to complete. My assembly is undergoing a little final QC in the picture above. Fortunately, it passed with flying colors.


The first step is to attach the belt to the X rib using the (2) X clamps. The 264-tooth belt that’s supplied with the kit is a little too long. How long? A little! Just make a slight ‘kink’, about 1/4″ in-between the (2) x clamps to take up the slack. Tighten everything up and you’re done.


The next step is simple. Place the flanged bearings into the x-left and x-right pieces. Do not glue them in yet! Why? Well, keep reading, I’ve got a really handy tip coming up!


Now you can add the (3) M3 bolts to the lower (3) T-slots on the X left and x right.


Screw on the X stage and you’re done! Remember, don’t over-tighten the bolts, the wood can crack.


Now it’s time to mount the pulley. Just add (2) nuts directly under the pulley…


…followed by an additional nut under the X stage. At this point, only hand-tighten the nut, you may need to make some adjustments later.


Next, mount the servo to the right side of the X stage with the (4) 8mm M3 screws. You can attach the aluminum drive pulley to the stepper shaft before screwing it to the X stage, but don’t tighten the setscrews until you add the belt from the Y stage so it can be adjusted to the proper height.

Note: Adding the drive pulley is the same procedure as in part 6 of this build.


Now, add the Y assembly and its belt to the X stage. Next, adjust the height of the steppers’ drive pulley so it’s lined up with the pulley on the opposite side of the X stage. Once it’s at the proper height, tighten the set-screws. It’s a lot easier than it sounds!


Now let’s add the M8 rods for the Y stage to the X stage. Start by adding the X cap to one end of the X stage.


Next, slide the M8 rods through the ‘other’ holes in the X stage, through the Y stage, and into the holes where you first attached the X cap. Next, add the 2nd X cap. It’s OK if the M8 rods are too long, just snug down the bolts, leaving a gap. It’s OK, I swear!


Now we need to add hot glue, or epoxy, to all the bearings to hold them in place.First, add the M8 rods to the Y stage. This will align all the bearings and rods.


Now you can add a nice dab of hot glue to all the bearing of the X stage and the Y stage. Perfect alignment. Done!


The last step is to add the X rib and belt to the X stage. Simply add the M3 nuts to the rib assembly and screw it into the middle section of the X stage. Done!

Next up, adding the X & Y stage to the CupCake CNC.

Ask questions! Do you want to see a better picture of a particular part, a different camera angle, a video perhaps? Maybe you have a suggestion for a cool mod or hack? Let me know in the comments. I’ll try to answer them as best as I can. Thanks!

Want to know when my next build entry is done? Follow me on Twitter @devinck!

Build history:


    Having just arrived home from a quick trip to the hardware store, I was pleasantly surprised to see a large, unmarked, cardboard box sitting on my front steps. This isn’t an uncommon event, since I am constantly checking out cool products and projects for the Maker Shed, however this box was a bit larger than normal.

    Oh wow, it’s the CupCake CNC kit from MakerBot Industries! I’d ordered it weeks earlier and had completely forgotten about it. (The truth is out: I have an atrocious memory, sad but true.)


    And so the adventure begins! I’m going to document my “out of box experience” with a MakerBot. How many posts will the series be? I’m not sure since I’ve never built one. How often will I post about the build? Again, not sure, but I’ll try to do at least one a week, maybe more, it all depends on how much free time I have between all my other maker-ly projects.

    A little background: My CNC experiences


    I’ve been tinkering with CNC for about 10 years, and consider myself an enthusiast, not an expert. I do own a few CNC mills, routers, and lathes. I have retrofitted old mills, and even build one from scratch. Pictured above is my mobile CNC machine, dubbed the “MobileC.” I stuffed all the components into a mobile tool cart so I could bring it to hackerspaces, workshops, and events, all in the hopes of helping out fellow makers.


    The mill is a Sherline 5400 that I retrofitted for CNC. Also, I added a few extra parts to make it even more useful. It has a longer reach, thanks to the headstock spacer block on the column, and a larger table that I simply mounted to the stock table. It’s a sweet machine. I love my little Sherline!


    All the electronics are housed in the cart too! There is a 19″ LCD monitor, wireless keyboard and mouse, desktop computer, and CNC controller. It’s a tight fit, but it works perfectly. There is even an extra full-size drawer for tooling and accessories.


    I’m thinking of replacing the computer, keyboard, and mouse with an HP TouchSmart, but I have to save a few more pennies for that upgrade.

    Does anyone want to know more about my MobileC? Let me know in the comments. After I build my CupCake CNC, maybe I should do a series of articles on CNC machining?


    I purchased the CupCake CNC kit with my own hard-earned cash. I waited several weeks for it to arrive, just like everyone else that placed an order. No favors, no freebies! Why did I buy one? Well, for two reasons.

    • Reason #1 – I like what MakerBot Industries is doing for the open source community and open manufacturing, so I wanted to support them!
    • Reason #2 – I am going to document the build for Make: Online, and if I like it, I’ll let you know, and if I don’t… well, I’ll let you know that too! No biased reviews here.
    • Reason #3 – I am a CNC junkie, and I had to have it, even if my wife was questioning whether I really needed another machine in my studio! “Ha!” I said, “You can never have too many machines!” Oops, only two reasons, right?! :)

    Questions & suggestions:

    Ask questions! Do you want to see a better picture of a particular part, a different camera angle, a video perhaps? Maybe you have a suggestion for a cool mod or a hack? Let me know in the comments. I’ll try to answer all of them as best as I can. Thanks!

    Build history:

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