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Old 05-10-2020, 11:25 PM
NorthernWI NorthernWI is offline
CAMaster Owner
Join Date: May 2019
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 45
Default Shop floor out of level

I just discovered my shop floor - exactly where the CNC is to be installed - is not level. The floor is not rough or cracked; it's just a smooth plane that falls 2 inches over 10 feet. Being out of level has never been an issue for use as a woodshop and basic mechanical shop. I didn't notice it until building out a new shop area and used a laser to roughly layout reference lines.

My question, how level does the floor need to be for the CNC to work properly? What is an acceptable tolerance for level? Is a 1/8" or a 1/4" over the length of the machine close enough?

Is it a good idea to use 1" steel road plate to build up a pad under the two legs on the low side of the floor? My concern is machine movement during operation and making sure the pads are large enough to prevent the CNC from falling off the pads. The road plate could be welded together for the needed thickness and epoxied (or similar, I don't recall) to the floor.

I thought about using concrete but 2" or less atop the existing floor seems like it might result in cracking. I could cut full-depth holes in the floor and place concrete in forms set to the level elevation. That option creates a problem if I change CNCs, rearrange the shop, or sell the place.

Thoughts? Am I making too much out of this?
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Old 05-11-2020, 12:00 AM
Xray Xray is offline
CAMaster Stinger Owner
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 1,769

They should have adjustable feet, would be easy enough to shim up anyhow.
I think ideally you would want a level machine sure, but the machine itself not being perfectly level wouldn't mess up any cuts so long as you are properly trammed and spoilboard is perfectly flat.

Stinger 1
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Old 05-11-2020, 09:45 AM
Jim Becker Jim Becker is offline
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: SE PA
Posts: 1,905

My shop floor also slopes because the building was originally designed as a garage and that's how garages are often built. I fortunately only have about a quarter inch drop back to front in the specific area where my CNC workbench has a much deeper slope to compensate for and my sliding table saw, which sits perpendicular to the slope has a whole 3/4" change in elevation back to front over about four feet! I just use shims. 1/4" shims under the front pads of the CNC, for example. I didn't want to use leveling feet because I wanted the whole ~4" square pads on the floor. (I do have casters, but only install them if I have to move the machine)

IMHO shimming is the way to go in most cases because if keeps the weight of the machine on a nice, big, solid pad.
Jim Becker

SR-44 (2018), 1.7kw spindle, Performance Premium, USB, Keypad, T-Slot table (y-axis configuration), WinCNC, VCarve Pro upgraded to Aspire

Non CNC stuff...

SCM/Minimax - slider/JP/BS
Festool "a good collection"
Stubby - lathe
Oneida Cyclone

Retired from full time work in the telecom industry 9/2017
Commission work for equestrian tack storage and other custom furniture and cabinetry
Located Bucks County PA
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Old 05-11-2020, 02:45 PM
mike.davison mike.davison is offline
CAMaster Owner
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Bolton, Massachusetts
Posts: 556

Originally Posted by NorthernWI View Post
Thoughts? Am I making too much out of this?
Yes. Ensure the machine is supported firmly and evenly.
Mike Davison
Stinger II with Recoil, GCNC Sidewinder Lathe, Aspire, Sketchup
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Old 05-12-2020, 11:29 AM
The real JP The real JP is offline
CAMaster Owner
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 756

The machine doesn't care if it's perfectly level, just make sure it's solid. I believe I kicked a wooden shim under one of the feet 4 years ago and that's all it took.
I have wondered what it would take to run my cnc on it's side like a panel saw.

Industrial electrician by day, Cabinet and furniture maker by evening and weekend. Cnc newb.

June 2017 Stinger 3 SR48
3kw spindle, FTC, Laser, Recoil, Hurricane
V Carve, Mozaik

Last edited by The real JP; 05-12-2020 at 11:35 AM.
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Old 05-12-2020, 01:44 PM
bmilam bmilam is offline
CAMhead Legend
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 271

I used a level and got mine all set or so I thought and one day when I was jogging the gantry really fast I noticed a small rocking of the machine because my floor isn't perfectly flat. I had walked around it and pushed on the corners and it seemed like everything was solid. So once you get it in place use the gantr to help verify that it is solid then don't worry about it.
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