2 Potentially Dumb Ideas

I’m really enjoying messing around with my Primo. Tinkering is probably where the value lies for me, but I do enjoying making the occasional project for myself or family. True hobbyist.

Currently I’m enjoying cutting clear acrylic with the router, then laser cutting the mask and painting the back. So I’m switching between laser and router frequently.

My current setup is the HicWic Universal Mount and it’s not bad. Aviation connectors for power and laser signal, and it takes about 15 mins to switch between the tools. But today I realized I almost remove the z-axis assembly to access the two top screws.

Has anyone created separate Z-axis assemblies for each tool? I have some spare steppers laying around, so I’m thinking I could make one for the router and one for the laser. This way I could use a more rigid router mount, while still being able to switch tools.

I could make both out of the same EMT, to be as consistent as possible. I would probably use the Universal Mount on the Laser tool, as it seems to work well. But the router could also be fitted with dust collection etc. Which I don’t currently have.

The second dumb idea is to lengthen the legs on my machine slightly. I’m currently at the 81mm suggested height. But I was given a rotary axis for use with the laser, and I’ll need room for it to work. I built on a thin torsion box of 3 layers of 1/2" MDF in which I can cut a hole for the rotary axis mechanism (cutting deeper would involve cutting a hole in the cabinet on which its installed). With the elimination of my 3/4" spoilboard I’m thinking I’ll only need about an extra 2". Do the “leg stiffeners” I’ve seen work? (The little brackets that fit above the foot.) Just trying to figure out the best way to get the clearance I need.

In the spirit of learning from others I thought I ask for thoughts/experiences before cutting the base/altering the machine. Thanks for any advice.

I wanted my machine to cut well with standard (3/4" to 1") stock, but I also wanted to be able to cut 2" thick foam for cosplay props. My solution was to make the legs adjustable. I drilled holes a bit bigger than the diameter of the tubing under each leg extending through my support table, and I used taller tubing for the legs. When I want to adjust the height, I loosen the screws holding each leg, lift the tubing up, and insert 3D printed spacers on each leg. Here are two sets of spacers for reference.

You also need extra height in the Z axis to match the max leg lengths.

As for my laser, I have two different solutions. The first is a mount tube with the laser inside and an outside diameter that matches my router mount (65mm). All I have to do to switch between router and laser, is loosen the two screws of the router mount, slip out the router, slip the laser in, and retighten. This will only work if your laser is small enough to fit in a tube that matches your router mount.

My second solution was to create an entirely 3D printed Z axis. My idea is more about reducing weight to improve laser engraving times, but a side benefit is the ease of switching between the two devices. I don’t think the reduced weight made much difference, but, since it makes switching easier than even the tube mount, I tend to leave the laser on this mount. Note, there is no stepper motor, so this mount does not have an active Z. For laser cutting, there is a small benefit to having an active Z axis.

I love to see some pictures of your acryrlic + paint projects.


Thank you so much for this reply. This is awesome. Both ideas are so helpful. I’ve already checked the clearance, and the adjustable legs are a very easy addition. I wondered how to keep the machine level, and the spacers make so much sense. I don’t know if my printer is up for printing the tubes or the screw, but making the z a passive adjustment actually solves a problem I’ve been having where the z changes during a homing maneuver and I have to remember to change it back. A passive z would remain right where I need it.

I’ll be working on this for sure. Hopefully next weekend!

I’m so bad - I need to take some pretty pictures to share.

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I don’t know if my printer is up for printing the tubes

Since weight did not make a difference for my laser performance and conduit is cheap, conduit would save some printing time.

As for printing the tubes, I gave my “tubes” a flat side and printed them on their side, not on end. The “tubes” are also solid (50% infill), with threaded holes where the nut traps would be in the steel tubing. It was an easy print with this orientation. I just needed to make sure the flat side was away from the bearings when I assembled the Z axis. I’d be glad to share the STL files for the Z axis, but my Primo uses 1" tubing, not conduit, so they probably are not helpful.