Rotary 4th Axis

by BoilerPlateDan, published

Rotary 4th Axis by BoilerPlateDan Jan 21, 2013
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A simple 4th axis for lightweight CNC and 3D printing applications (go on, someone wants to try printing using a 4th axis). Designed to use a NEMA 23 stepper


Makes use of a NEMA 23 motor, but edit to suit. I've fitted a face plate to mine; it is up to you what you stick on the spindle end

I built this for my CNC machine to allow full 3D objects to be machined. Generally its constructed from 6mm MDF glued together to form a frame. I've uploaded an alternative version for those who can print the frame out. I suggest that you take off the top plate if printing.

To make this you'll need
1x Frame (up to you how you make it)
4x Rotary Table Bearing Housings
1x Rotary Table Motor Mount

4x 8x22x7 Bearings
1x Rotary Table Layshaft (8mm rod)
1x Rotary Table Spindle (8mm rod)
2x T5x10 10 tooth gears
2x T5x10 40 tooth gears
1x NEMA 23 Stepper
1x Rotary Table Spindle Spacer
12x M4x22 bolts
4x M4x12 bolts
4x M4x26 bolts
20x 4mm Washers
16x M4 nuts

This doesn't really need instructions- just follow the jpeg and you'll be alright. You'l have to make up various spacers along the way- I used 10mm tube with a 1mm wall.


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can i ask what the native unit is on the stl files. inches or mm. I was trying to make some modifications to it by importing to sketchup. It imports fine but for some reason if i lay it flat the highest spot measure 1574.8 mm instead of what i think it should be which is around 62 mm.

The units should be mm. Hope you work it out!

Is this version for CNC machines also? I'd love to try making this for my CNC but don't have a printer.

Hi. This was made on a CNC router for a CNC router i.e. not printed. I used 6mm MDF to make most of it. The pulleys were bought out items.

My version is great for machinable wax, foam, light cuts on wood but I wouldn't use it for metals so it all depends on what you are planning on machining.

Ok, looks good, just the housing assembly is 1 solid object in the STL file, not individual pieces that can be cut out of MDF. This is what confused me. We need to remove the stepper and bearings and extra other bits to get to the parts to machine from the full assembly. I thought you had each part as it's own file. Am I to assume from the model that you used timing belts? The gears aren't touching, so were these just mockup shapes or am I missing something there also? Thanks.

You are, of course, correct, the housing assembly is 1 solid object in the STL file (note that there is an stl of the whole thing and one of just the housing- perhaps this is where the mistake has come in). To be fair, the housing is only 3 pieces glued together. Just redraw (in 2d) each piece to suit your equipment. I uploaded them as one piece as I consider it a fabrication (and therefore would normally be considered as one piece). All the bits that bolt to it are uploaded.

The parts list calls up T5x10 pulleys so you can guess that T5x10 belts will be needed. I must have missed them out. The pulleys are not meant to mesh (they aren't gears!). Feel free to modify it how you like.

Thanks for the clarification, much of this is obviously new to me. Cheers.