Cupcake Y Stage Assembly

This page is part of the Cupcake CNC build sequence.


Building the Y stage should take you about thirty minutes.

Parts list

These are the parts you'll need to assemble the Y stage. All laser-cut parts should have their names etched into them. Find and put aside these parts:

  • Laser-cut stage parts
    • Build platform
    • Y stage
    • Y front
    • Y back
    • Y rib
    • Y clamp
    • Acrylic build surface
  • 12 M3x16 bolts
  • 12 M3 nuts
  • 10 3mmx3mmx3mm gold magnets
  • 4 flanged slide bearings
  • 196 tooth continuous timing belt

You'll find the bolts in the bag labeled Hardware burrito.
The lasercut parts are in the Cupcake CNC Lasercut Parts box.
The belts and flanged bearings are in the Belt, Bearing and Pulley bag.

You'll also want to have on hand:

  • 2 smooth Y rods (the shorter pair of rods)
  • superglue
  • hot glue gun or regular wood glue

If you have a deluxe kit, you'll probably also have a spare build surface kit, with an extra build platform and magnets. You can use these to build a spare platform, in case the one that comes in the laser-cut kit gets misplaced or damaged. Just make sure that you get the magnets the right way around when you do!


Insert magnets

The small square magnets keep the build platform firmly in place on the Y stage when the Cupcake CNC is in motion. The magnets are press-fit into the square holes on the build platform.

How to install a magnet

All the magnets must be aligned in the same direction. The easiest way to make sure you don't get a magnet backward is to stack them all so that they stick together.

Put a nut or other iron object at one end of the stack to make sure you don't get the stack flipped around. flickr:4314987416
Push the end of the stack without the nut into the hole until the magnet at the end of the stack is partway into the hole. If you're having trouble getting the magnet into the hole, try reaming out the edge of the hole slightly with a small tool, like a hex key. Once the magnet is in the hole should then be able to remove the rest of the stack.
Use a some sort of blunt tool to press the magnet the rest of the way into the hole. We like to use a large hex key for this. Don't hammer the magnets into the holes— you may shatter the magnets or the piece. If you're having a really hard time, try using a vise or clamp.
  • Place the Build platform and Y stage pieces on a flat work surface so that the text on each piece is facing upwards.
  • Press five magnets into each of the square holes on the Build platform.
  • Use a small tool to push the magnets all the way to bottom of their holes. These magnets should be flush with the bottom of the Build platform. If they stick out from the bottom, push them back up a bit. Make sure they're not protruding— you need the bottom of the Build platform to be flat against the top of the Y stage.
  • Add a dot of superglue to each hole to help lock each magnet in place. (You may want to glue in the holes on the back side. This will still hold the magnets in place and you will be able to keep the front side with the flush magnets nice and smooth.)
  • Press five magnets into each of the square holes on the Y stage.
  • Make sure the magnets on the Y stage are flush with the top of the Y stage. If they stick up at all, push them down a little.
  • Add a dot of superglue to each hole to help lock each magnet in place.
  • Place the Build platform on top of the Y stage so that the round holes line up. The magnets should each attract the corresponding magnet below it. If there are magnets that repel one another, you have a magnet in backwards— carefully push it out and insert it the other way.
  • Make sure the build surface and Y stage are flat against each other— if a magnet is sticking up, it can be a pain to adjust for later.

Attach the acrylic stage to the Build Platform


Use 6 M3x16 bolts and 6 M3 nuts to attach the acrylic stage to the top of the Build Platform.

Clamp the Y belt to the Y rib

  • Put the Y belt (the small, 196 tooth one) on the Y rib so that the teeth of the belt mesh with the slots in the rib.
  • Use an M3x16 bolt and an M3 nut to attach the Y clamp to the Y rib.
  • Tighten the bolt with a hex key to firmly clamp the belt into place.

Assemble the carriage

  • Insert M3 nuts into the captive nut slots on the Y rib, Y front and Y back pieces.
  • Assemble the Y rib, Y front and Y back pieces. Make sure the Y rib is facing towards the small slots in the Y front and Y back, and that the Y belt is threaded through these slots as shown above.
  • Bolt the front and back on to the rib by hand. Don't tighten these bolts yet.
  • Slot the Y stage on to the rest of the assembly, and bolt it on with three screws.
  • Once the assembly is complete, tighten all the bolts.

Install the flanged bearings

  • Insert the flanged bearings into the round holes in the Y front and Y back pieces. Turn the bearings so the flange is on the inside.
  • When all four flanged bearings are all inserted, turn the stage on its back.
  • Insert the Y rods into the bearings. (These are the shorter of the two sets of smooth rods.)
  • Use a touch of hot glue or white glue to secure the bearings in place. Be careful not to get any glue on the rods. If you do, wait until it dries and then peel it off.
  • Once you've confirmed that the rods slide smoothly on the bearings, remove the rods.

Congratulations! Your Y stage is now complete.

Next step: Cupcake X Stage Assembly

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