Having been quite disappointed in the rigidity of my plunges, and with a lack of success on projects since the Acrylic Debacle of ’11, I got torqued-off yesterday and rebuilt my z-axis. Why you ask? For one, all hard plunges into soft wood would cause the entire z-axis section of the gantry to deflect outward, by as much as 1/32″. This is BAD. So, I decided to tear it apart and start over. My goal was to move the lead screw as close to the z-axis as possible. Before, it was several inches behind the main gantry. This lack of proximity, I gathered, was causing part of the problem, by applying too much torque to an otherwise less-than-rigid design.
I cut out new parts, moved the lead nut lower, and now the lead screw is MUCH closer to the z-axis. Plunges are now nice and straight down, without the prior deflection. This has made cutting much better, imho. The only problem now is, the lead nut is at the bottom of the y-gantry. AH OH, I can’t move the router as high as I used to. Oh well, I have enough cutting room for now, so I guess, I’ll make due, until X-CNC:Gen.2 is in the making.