Cupcake Y Stage Assembly Pre11

This page is part of the Cupcake CNC build sequence.


Building the Y stage should take you about thirty minutes.

Parts list

**NOTE: This is the old way of putting it together. We've finally updated it and created a new tutorial for Batch 11. cupcake-y-stage-assembly

NOTE: Some of the later 5mm laser-cut kits (batches 6-9) have the words "Y front" etched on the wrong side of the front! Be sure to look at the pictures of the assembled stage and make sure you have it right-side out.

These are the parts you'll need to assemble the Y stage, later batches differ slightly in appearance. All laser-cut parts will 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
  • 8 M3x16 bolts
  • 8 M3 nuts
  • 10 3mmx3mmx3mm gold magnets
  • 1 M3 washer
  • 4 flanged slide bearings
  • 196 tooth continuous timing belt


Insert magnets

The small square magnets help the build platform keep 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. If a magnet feels loose in its hole, add a drop of glue to make sure it stays put.

How to install a magnet

All the magnets should be aligned the same way. 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 washer at one end of the stack to make sure you don't get the stack flipped around. Then, when it's time to put a magnet in a hole, push the end of the stack without the washer until the magnet at the end of the stack is partway into the hole. You should then be able to remove the rest of the stack. Use a piece of strong, flat, nonferrous material to press the magnet the rest of the way into the hole. 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.
  • Press five magnets into each of the square holes on the Y stage
  • 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.
  • Note: It would be a good idea to check that the build surface is level and flush with the Y-stage when inserted, otherwise you will encounter problems later when building objects. Try repositioning the magnets if this happens.

Install the flanged bearings

The four flanged bearings need to be pressed into the large round holes in the Y front and Y back pieces. In both cases, the flanges should face the outside of the part (which is the side the name of the part appears on).

NOTE: These should be a little loose. Otherwise, they can torque the rods and bind up. Sand down these holes if they are the least bit sticky and then put the rods through the bearings. After you've mounted the Y stage on the X stage rods, use a bit of glue to fix the bearings in place.

How to install the flanged bearings

UPDATE: See note above. You want these to be loose so that they don't bind up on the rods.

  • Press two bearings into the holes on the Y front, ensuring that the flanges end up on the same side as the text. Make sure they are loose and as noted above, it is suggested that you hot glue them after the stage is mounted on the rods.
  • Press two bearings into the holes on the Y back, ensuring that the flanges end up on the same side as the text. Make sure they are loose and as noted above, it is suggested that you hot glue them after the stage is mounted on the rods.
  • An alternative to ensure the slides run smoothly - hot glue with the slides in place but not mounted on the X stage. Take care to keep glue off the slides…

Clamp the Y belt to the Y rib

  • Put the Y clamp, one M3 washer, and the Y rib on a single 10mm M3 bolt. Loosely thread a nut onto the far end of the bolt.
  • Place the 196 tooth timing belt on the rib, with the teeth facing the slots in the rib. The teeth should partially engage the slots.
  • Swing the Y clamp down over the belt and tighten the nut. This should firmly clamp the rib to the belt.

Assemble the carriage

NOTE: the tops of the carriage should be shaved down with a blade. If the top pegs of the carriage poke above the Y-stage it will keep the Build Platform from being level. Shave them down so they do not poke above the Y-stage.

  • Insert M3 nuts into the captive nut slots on the Y front and Y back pieces.
  • Use 10mm M3 bolts (16mm on later batches) to attach the front and back pieces to the Y stage. Be sure that the text on each piece is facing outward. (UPDATE: For batches 6-9 text for the front piece may need to face the inside.)

NOTE: the newer batches have a slightly different design (pegs on the side of the Y rib) which forces you to slightly alter the build sequence. Put the Y front and back onto the Y rib FIRST, and mount the Y stage AFTERWARDS.

  • Insert M3 nuts into the five captive nut slots on the Y rib. It's okay if the nuts push on the belt a bit.
  • Place the rib into the stage to that the side with the clamp faces the thin slots in the bottom of the stage. Run the belt through those slots.
  • Fasten a 10mm M3 bolt through the top of the stage to attach the rib to the stage. Then use four more bolts to secure the rib to the sides.

Congratulations! Your Y stage is now complete.

Next step: Cupcake X Stage Assembly

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