Assembling your Routakit is fairly straight-forward. Keep in mind these instructions reflect the method that we find to be the easiest to follow, and is by no means the most efficient for everyone. You may find some parts easier to do another way, which is great! NOTE: The machine depicted is a prototype, hardware and parts shown may vary slightly. If you purchased the SDX upgrade assembly is virtually identical to the standard SD with very minor differences, however please refer to the SDX section at the bottom of the page to see what’s different.
The Base Frame
We will first assemble the base frame using the hardware packet labeled “Base Frame”. Orient the extrusions as shown in the photo below. Pre-assemble the L-brackets with the screws and extrusion nuts, leaving as much space between the nut and bracket as possible. This will allow you to easily slide the brackets on. Tighten the screws when everything is assembled.
From the pack labeled “Elec. Mount”, slide two (2) extrusion nuts onto the back extrusion. These will be used later to mount the electronics plate.
The Ball Screw
The ball screw is composed of 4 parts; the screw with assembled housing (1), the top bearing and housing (2), the bottom bearing and housing (3), and the ball nut (4). The bearing housings come with their respective hardware for securing to the ball screw (5 & 6). Locate six (6) 15mm M5 screws in the packet labeled “Ball Screw”.
First slide the ball nut onto the ball screw housing and secure it in place with the six M5 screws.
Next install the top and bottom bearings. Secure the bottom bearing with the provided clamp. It is very difficult to put on so you might want some pliers or other tool to assist. Secure the top bearing with the provided nut, ensuring to loosen the set screw beforehand, and tighten the set screw when in position.
NOTE: Do not torque the top bearing nut to the point that the bearings have difficulty turning!
Last, position the Spacer Plate on the face of the ball nut with the adhesive patch.
Using the hardware found in the packet labeled “Limit Switches”, assemble the limit switch mounts as shown. Note that the holes on the switch are not pre-threaded! It will require a bit of effort to install the screws the first time as the screws must tap into the plastic casing of the switches. These will be used on the x, y, and z axes, so keep them handy!
The Main Assembly
[Pic1] Begin by loosely pre-installing screws and extrusion nuts on the z-axis rails using the screws and nuts from the large pouches of OpenRail Screws and Extrusion Nuts (these pouches have enough screws and extrusion nuts for all of the rails).
[Pic2] Slide the rails onto the z-axis extrusions.
[Pic3] Ensure the rail is aligned as square as possible with the extrusion as you tighten the screws.
[Pic4] There are 2 pouches of wheel kits, one containing wheels with nylon nuts and one containing wheels with eccentric nuts (nuts with the hole slightly off center).
[Pic5] On both x-axis plates, install two (2) wheels with nylon nuts in the top wheel holes, and install two (2) wheels with eccentric nuts in the bottom wheel holes. Note the eccentric nuts require a larger hole. When installing the wheels be sure to put one washer between the bearings of the wheels and another washer between the bearing and plate.
[Pic6] Leave the eccentric nuts loose on the wheels for now as this will make installation easier later on.
[Pic7-8] Install wheels on the second x-axis plate. Using hardware found in the packet labeled “X-Axis” thread the long screws through the plate as shown, and slide on the spacers provided.
[Pic9] Place the first plate on top of the second plate face down, wheels facing inward. The screw threads should be accessible from the top.
[Pic10] Loosely thread extrusion nuts onto the spacer screws.
[Pic11-12] Slide the z-axis extrusions onto the extrusion nuts, ensuring the rails face inward.
[Pic13-14] Carefully flip the assembly over. Ensure the z-axis extrusions and rails align with the bottom of the assembly before tightening the spacer screws.
[Pic15-16] Slide on and secure a limit switch to the top inside of the z-axis rail. Ensure the switch arm reaches toward the rail.
[Pic17-18] Using the hardware in the packet labeled “Ball Screw”, mount the ball screw to the x-axis plate using a size 5 metric hex key and 10mm wrench.
[Pic19] Install three (3) wheels of each type on the spindle plate, again leaving the eccentric nuts loose.
[Pic20-22] Slide the spindle plate into position along the z-axis rails. Ensure the spacer plate is in position when aligning the ball nut with the spindle plate.
[Pic23-25] Hand tighten the eccentric nuts on the spindle plate wheels. From the inside of the assembly there is a hole in alignment with the z-axis wheels on the spindle plate. Use this hole to access the wheels for tightening the eccentric nuts by manually turning the ball screw until the top and middle wheels align the key hole. The bottom wheel can be accessed more easily by simply reaching up from under the spindle plate. While tightening the wheels, take this time to seat the eccentric wheels by turning the eccentric nut to such a position that provides the wheel with a snug seating on the rail. Do this by slowly turning the nut until you feel the wheel catch on the rail. The wheel should be snug, not tight. If the wheels are too tightly seated to the rail then the motor will have to work harder to move the spindle plate up and down.
[Pic26-28] Now would be a good time to mount your spindle. The one depicted here is not identical to those provided with the Starter Kits, but is of the same form factor and mounting design. Re-position the spindle plate as far down as possible, moving the bottom wheels off of the rail. This will provide best access to the spindle mounting holes.
[Pic29] On the back side of the assembly, attach two (2) double-hole mounting brackets. Ensure the screw heads are on the inside, otherwise the threads will interfere with the belt. Note the orientation of the angle brackets as the holes align differently on each face. The face with holes that align closer to the bottom edge should be fastened to the plate.
[Pic30-31] If you opted for the 1.5kw spindle than you will have different mounting hardware to the one above. Located in your spindle bag there should be eight 35mm M6 screws, eight spacers, eight lock washers, and eight nuts. Reposition the spindle plate as far down as possible, moving the bottom wheels off of the rail. This will provide best access to the spindle mounting holes. Position the spindle’s mounting holes over their corresponding holes on the spindle plate. There is no right or wrong way to install the screws, you can have them coming from the back of the plate or from the front, whichever is easier for you to install. The spindle should just barely clear the wheel screws, however it is normal if it rests on top of the screws so long as the spindle is still resting on the spacers.
The Y-Axis Plates
Install two (2) wheels with nylon nuts in the top wheel holes, and two (2) wheels with eccentric nuts in the bottom wheel holes. For ease of assembly later, leave the eccentric nuts loose.
Install two (2) double-hole mounting brackets on the back of each plate. Ensure the screw heads are on the inside (the side with the wheels), otherwise the threads will interfere with the belts.
The Motor Plates
First, locate the motor cables (Labeled “Mo X”, “Mo Y”, and “Mo Z”) and solder the cable wires to the motor wires. IMPORTANT: Make sure to write down which wires were connected to which! This info will be important later!
Locate the packet containing six (6) bearing pulleys, assembled as shown, as well as three (3) motor pulleys.
Install two (2) bearing pulleys on each of the three motor plates as shown. Install the motor pulleys on the motor shaft (the Z-axis motor will not have a motor pulley) providing a gap able to fit a washer, and tighten the set screws.
The Rails and Y-Axis
First prepare the rails by loosely installing screws and extrusion nuts in all of the holes. Slide the rails onto the top and bottom on one side of each extrusion as shown. Ensure that the rails are as square as possible with the extrusions while tightening. This is most easily achieved by squaring and tightening each end first as well as one or two screws in the center. Note that some kits may have a double-wide extrusion for the gantry, and those will have rails installed on both sides. Other kits will use two extrusions for the gantry, as shown here.
Using hardware found in the packet labeled “Belt Clips”, attach a belt to an “A” clip and a “B” clip, as shown, noting that the curved side of the clip should be facing downward (thus lowering the belt from the screw’s position). The angle bracket should have the face with the centered hole facing the end plate. Slide both clip mounts into the top extrusion slot between the rails (Make sure the belt isn’t twisted!). It does not matter which side of the machine each is on, though it is recommended to place the “A” clip in the back to keep the thread away from the operating area.
Using hardware found in the packet labeled “Limit Switches”, assemble a limit switch mount as shown. The screws will self-tap into the switch holes. Once assembled, slide the switch mount onto the bottom extrusion slot.
Using hardware found in the packet labeled “Base”, prepare the end plates as shown with loosely installed screws and extrusion nuts. Locate the packet containing the self-tapping screws and accompanying key. Using the self-tapping screws, attach base plates to both ends of the extrusion. NOTE: Be sure to keep the self-tapping screws as level as possible during first installation, as they can easily tap at an angle! The rails should be oriented facing outward. Slide the base plates onto the base frame. For ease of assembly, do not tighten the screws joining the base plates to the base frame just yet. The rails will be permanently aligned later.
Repeat the above steps for the other side, excluding the limit switch as only one is needed per axis.
Begin by placing one y-axis plate onto the rail (Note the slopped side of the plate should be facing the front of the machine). The left plate was installed first during these instructions, so if your build is intended to reflect the build here, install the left plate first. Place the top wheels on the rail first, and with the lower wheels loose they should easily wrap under the bottom rails. Ensure the belt runs behind the plate, and bring a short loop through the hole in the plate. Seat the lower wheels and tighten the eccentric nuts until they are seated in their holes. Once seated, rotate the eccentric nuts until the wheels engage the rail with a snug, but not overly tight, fit. Once the wheels are properly engaging the rail, hold the eccentric nuts in place and use an allen key to torque the wheel screws.
Now, use the self-tapping screws and matching key to attach the gantry extrusions to the other y-axis plate before installing it on the y-axis rail. With the gantry attached to the plate, place the wheels onto the rail as before, allowing the gantry to rest on the opposite rail extrusion.
Assemble a belt with belt clips “A” and “B” as before. Slide on the first belt clip. Note that it does not matter which should be installed first, though it is recommended to keep the tightening screw away from operating areas for safety reasons.
Now feed the belt through the bottom half of the main assembly. Carefully slide the main assembly onto the gantry, ensuring that the bottom wheels align with the rails. With the assembly now on the gantry, slide on the second belt clip. Assemble a limit switch mount and slide it into the lower extrusion slot.
Using the hardware provided in the packet labeled “X/Y Motors” attach the X/Y motors to the motor plates.
Using the hardware provided in the packet labeled “Z-Axis”, assemble the z-axis motor plate as shown. Ensure the motors have the correct cables attached as they are different lengths!
Set the assembled motor plates aside for now. For ease of assembly, we will attach them to the machine at a later point.
Lift the gantry and slide the opposing y-axis plate into alignment with it. If necessary, adjust the distance between the y-axis rails such that the gantry fits snug between the y-axis plates. Now engage and tighten the lower wheels on all remaining plates. Slide the assembly up and down the y-axis to align the rails, then secure the base plates to the frame.
Motor Installation and Belt Tightening
Install the belt motors by lower the motor pulley into the belt loop, while making sure that the back pulleys sit around the belt. Using the hardware found with the double-hole brackets, mount the motor plate.
Pull the belt clip “B” all the way to the base plate and secure it in place. Pull the belt clip “A” toward the other end.
Feed the tightening screw thread through the hole on the base plate. The belt should be fairly snug before the clip fully reaches the base plate. If it is not, feed more of the belt through the clip until it can only reach ~0.5 inch from the base plate without added pressure. Make sure the belt properly engages the motor pulley and the belt does not hang off the top or bottom of the back pulleys! Now thread the wing nut onto the screw and tighten the belt. The belt should be tight enough that a gentle tug will not pull it more than an inch from the extrusion. The tightness of the belt is important, as a belt that is too loose may experience skips on the motor pulley during operation while a belt that is too tight may flex the pulleys causing misalignment!
Repeat the above steps for the other two motor plates.
Attach the coupler, found in the “Z-Axis” packet, to the ball screw. Carefully lower the assembled z-axis motor onto the coupler. Ensure the coupler joins evenly on both the ball screw and the motor shaft. Attach the z-axis motor plate to the top of the ball screw bearing housing using the hardware found in the “Z-Axis” packet. Don’t forget to tighten the set screws on the coupler.
We will now want to bundle the cables running from the motors, limit switches, and the spindle and feed them through the drag chains. The drag chains are already mounted in the images, yours will not be mounted just yet. It is easier to feed the drag chains prior to mounting. As shown in the image, the main assembly will run the x-axis and z-axis motor cables, the z-axis limit switch cable, and the spindle cable through the x-axis drag chain. Note that the twisted wires labeled “spindle” in the image are replaced with an actual cable in the kit! You may find it easier to feed the cables through the drag chain by taping the ends of the cables together and feeding them all simultaneously. After feeding the x-axis drag chain, continue with the cables into the y-axis drag chain joining the x-axis limit switch cable and the y-axis motor cable. At this point it may become cumbersome to feed the large bundle of cables through the entire length of drag chain. To ease the process, breaking the drag chain into smaller chunks and feeding the cables through those individually is much easier! The drag chain can be broken apart with a bit of force as shown in the image. Reassemble the drag chain after fully feeding the cables through. Lastly, feed the opposing y-axis drag chain with the single motor cable.
We will now mount the drag chains. Starting with the x-axis, remove the screws on both ends of the bottom rail on the back of the x-axis. Thread the long full-thread screws, found in the “Drag Chains” packet, through the holes on the drag chain channel, securing them loosely in place with the supplied nuts. As shown in the image, feed the screw through the holes at the end of the drag chain. Attach the drag chain channel to the x-axis using the open screw holes at both ends of the rail. Attach the top of the drag chain to the x-axis using hardware supplied in the “Drag Chains” packet.
(Soon to be outdated, new method is to install x-axis drag chain on top of gantry for additional travel)
NOTE: If you find that the x-axis drag chain slides around too much for your liking, some double-sided tape can be applied near the center to keep the drag chain in alignment.
Attach the y-axis drag chains to the y-axis plates using the hardware supplied in the “Drag Chains” packet. Join the ends of the y-axis drag chains to the back base plates using the angle bracket hardware as shown.
Wiring and Electronics
You may find it easier to mount the electronics to the mounting plate before wiring, but we found it easier to connect the wiring prior to mounting which made some of the tight fits easier.
Begin the wiring process by connecting the motor cables to the motor drivers. Note that the color code shown in the image is of the wires coming from the motors directly, not of the cables! Your cable connections will depend on which cable wires you have previously connected to the motor wires.
Using the supplied wire, connect the power leads from the driver boards to the barrel jack as shown. Also note the position of the jumper and DIP switch on the driver; jumper at 2.5A, with ONLY the 3rd DIP switch on (1/16 step).
Using the supplied ribbon cables, connect the driver boards to the main controller, noting which motors connect to which “Axis” on the controller for software configuration purposes.
Wire up the spindle power supply as shown. You may connect the power supply to the controller in order to use software controlled ON/OFF, or you may connect the supplied knob for optional speed control. Connect one or the other, but not both. Connecting both will not harm the hardware, but it will not have the desired effect either, requiring both knob and software to activate the spindle, however not utilizing any speed control.
Note that your supply may have a switch for 110V or 220V, ensure that it is set to the voltage you intend to use. If a switch is not present, then it must be supplied with 220V AC power.
Connect the limit switches to the controller board as shown, with the X switch to LIM1, the Y switch to LIM2, and the Z switch to LIM3. The switches are wired to the “No” (“Normally Open”) pin in the image, though if you or your software require a normally closed switch, you may connect to the “Nc” pin instead.
Mount the controller, drivers, and spindle power supply to the electronic mounting plate as shown. Hardware is provided in the packet labeled “Elec. Mount”. Use 2 rubber spacers to seat each board above the surface to avoid contact with the plate and potential shorting. Drivers will be mounted using the smaller M3 screws. The controller is mounted with 10mm M4 screws. The spindle power supply is mounted with the longer M4 screws.
Finally, attach the electronics mounting plate to the base frame using the hardware supplied in the “Elec. Mount” packet and using the extrusion nuts installed during the base frame assembly.
1.5kw Spindle/VFD Wiring and Settings (Does not apply for 600w spindle)
PD001 – 0
PD002 – 0
PD003 – 400 (Default frequency, can be set to 200 or 300)
PD004 – 400 (Rated frequency)
PD005 – 400 (High End frequency)
PD008 – 220 (High End voltage) *Set to 110 if have you the 110v version
PD009 – 14 (Mid End voltage)
PD010 – 7 (Low End voltage)
PD011 – 200 (Minimum allowed frequency)
PD014 – 10 (Acceleration time)
PD015 – 10 (Deceleration time)
PD070 – 0 (Speed control input)
PD072 – 400 (High End frequency)
PD141 – 220 (Rated spindle voltage) *Set to 110 if have you the 110v version
PD142 – 7 (Rated spindle Amperage) *Set to 8 if you have the 110v version
PD143 – 2 (Number of poles)
PD144 – 3000 (RPM of spindle when running at 50hz, 400hz is the maximum so 3000 x 8 = 24,000 which is the max RPM of the spindle).
Note: The wiring instructions below are for a 3kw spindle but would be identical for the 1.5kw and 2.2kw spindles.
Power On and Software Settings
At this point the CNC is fully functional! Hook it up to both the 24V power supply and a 110V/220V outlet (depending on your spindle power supply). Connect the controller to a computer via the supplied USB cable.
You can find predefined settings for the Routakit SD and a handy guide from Planet CNC on our forum! Just head here
In this section we will cover the necessary settings and preliminary adjustments to be made in the software supplied with the starter kit, CNC USB Controller provided by PlanetCNC. Your software choice may vary, but the necessary setup will be similar.
Begin by opening the settings through File -> Settings… . In the “Axes” category, ensure each axis is selected in the drop-down menus that correspond to the axis you have hooked up via ribbon cable from the drivers. Note that the second Y-axis motor will be set up as a slave to whichever slot the first Y-axis motor is connected to. In the image this is set to “Slave 2” because the first Y-axis motor is connected to Axis 2. So, if the first Y-axis motor had been connected to Axis 1, this would be set to “Slave 1”. Also note that the slave Y-axis motor, as well as the Z-axis motor, are Reversed.
Keep note of the tooth count of the motor pulleys. While most kits ship with 20 tooth pulleys, some ship with 18 tooth pulleys due to what we currently have in stock during packing. If this is the case the steps per unit will differ from the predefined settings from our Routakit SD profile settings. Instead of 1354.6693 steps per inch (20 tooth pulley) the new value would be 1505.2448 steps per inch (18 tooth). The z-axis should always be set at 16256.0325 steps per inch since it is not driven by a belt and pulley setup. Keep in mind that these values assume that micro stepping is set at 16x on the motor drivers. Setting it to 8x or 32x will require different step values. Setting the units to metric will also require you to convert the step values.
In the “Output” -> “Spindle & Coolant” category, ensure the “Output pin – On/Off” is set to pin 6, because that is the output pin we connected the spindle control to on our controller.
In the “Axes” -> “Limit” category, make sure the proper check boxes are set for the limit switches. Note that the machine will not stop when a limit switch is activated if the check box for the direction of motion is not checked. If you have followed along with these instructions then your settings will most likely match those shown in the image. If you’re not sure which direction to check, checking both will work just fine.
Navigate to “View” -> “Show I/O”. With the I/O panel open, manually trigger each limit switch individually, ensuring that the X-axis switch triggers a green dot for Limit 1, the Y-axis switch triggers a green dot for Limit 2, and the Z-axis switch triggers a green dot for Limit 3. The software assumes that X is controlled by Limit 1, Y by Limit 2, and Z by Limit 3 so it is important that they match. Swap limit switch wires if necessary.
NOTE: Activating a limit switch may highlight one of the axes in the GUI green, purple, or red. This does NOT necessarily reflect that the switch is activating for said axis and can be very misleading! Use the Show I/O dialog as described above to verify that your switches are wired properly.
Be cautious! Always know how to stop the machine in the event of a malfunction! There is an emergency stop button in the top left of the software GUI, but if this is not accessible enough during an emergency, do not hesitate to pull the plug! You may want to install a physical emergency stop switch at some point, as they can be quite handy.
As a first step, attempt to move the assembly by a small amount in each direction (X, Y, and Z), making sure that the motors are moving in the desired direction. Be especially cautious when moving the Y-axis for the first time, as having just one motor accidentally reversed could cause the machine to contort! If any of the motors are reversed, check that the motor was wired correctly to the driver. If the wiring appears correct and the motor direction is reversed, this can be remedied by reversing the axis direction in the software settings shown previously.
The SDX Upgrade
The SDX upgrade is a great solution for adding extra rigidity to your machine for very little cost. Below is a list of differences that you should be aware of when assembling your machine.
1. The SDX upgrade adds an additional 40x80mm extrusion to the gantry, making for a dual extrusion setup.
2. The SDX upgrade replaces the 20x80mm extrusions used on each side of the y-axis with 40x80mm extrusions.
3. The SDX upgrade adds 8 more v-wheels with each X and Y plate using two.
4. The SDX upgrade comes with 110mm screws and additional spacers for the carriage assembly to allow for proper seating when on the dual extrusion gantry.
Your Routakit SD is now fully assembled and functional! You’re ready to start cutting, milling, engraving, etc! With that said when operating your Routakit please take the necessary safety precautions.