All wired. The machine not respond to commands (SOLVED, solution below)

With your Z axis you need to be sure the axis runs smoothly all the way up and down the threaded rod.

The delrin nut will work better if you run it up and down the threaded rod 10 or 20 times. It is also a good idea to purchase a can of dry lube with PTFE to spray on the threaded rod. Be sure you use the dry lube since it will not cause dust to stick.

You also need to check and be sure your spindle is not hitting anything when you move the Z towards the top of the axis.

With power turned off, you should be able to easily turn the top of the threaded rod by hand all the way from bottom to top.

If it is difficult to turn or hits spots on the threaded rod that are difficult you may have a problem with the rod not being correctly aligned.

Mmm those are good advice.

Actually for me is hard to move the Z axis with hand, but I can easily move it upside-down with the screw on top of the carriage.

To be honest I have just made a test, attaching a pencil to the spindle carriage with a tape and “carving” a little drawing (a dog bone) and turned out really perfect, alligned and everything. And I still have to set the V-Wheels! I’m pretty confident at this point.

With your help this should be a surgical machine!

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I followed your advice and today I made some test cust. Nothing too complex, just a some name and simple design like dog bone.

All went perfect, clean, smooth etc. Things that need to be square are dead square, words are clean and perfectly rounded.

UNTIL I had the idea of make some really basic clamp set and since the square cut are still dead square, the rounded “things” look a little ‘‘sloppy’’ (pic attached).

Since they are just MDF clamp I don’t care and I thought that tomorrow I can re-check the V-Wheels but I just seen that the X-Axis belt is a little loose. Tried to tighten it but just turn loose immediately. Any tips? I only thought about adding a shrink tube.


The belts can slip if you don’t have then locked with heat shrink tubing or a zip tie. I like the shrink tubing better because it looks neater.

So loosed the belt screws remove the belt and then and slide a piece of tubing over the belt. Pull the belt tight (with the belt screw about all the way in. Shrink the tubing and then tighten the belt screw.

You may also be losing steps due to improper voltage, so adjusting the potentiometers on the GRBL board needs to be done after you get the belts all set.

Adjusting pot will be my next move, hope to make it tomorrow.

I checked the instruction but I don’t understand the ‘code’ part. I only figured out how to physically adjust the pot.

Anyway, don’t know if I would call it ‘‘loosing steps’’ (or this is the terms for those kind of issue?), but seems like the machine going out of path, just a little.

Usually if it goes off the expected path that is due to “loosing steps”. All that means is the controller told the motor to move and for some reason the motor did not move as far as the controller requested.

To adjust the pots, there is not any code needed. Just tell the machine to jog from one side to the other while increasing the pot. You will quickly see that when the pot is too low or too high the motor does not move correctly. So you want to find the sweet spot that is as high as you can go with the motor still moving reliably.

As you move the pot higher (clockwise) the voltage increases and so does the heat in the controller. If it get too hot it will turn off for a moment and that causes the motor to not move smoothly. If the voltage is too low the motor will also fail to move smoothly.

The only thing I don’t understand is this: “Then issue a very long Gcode command for that axis, something like g0x1000.”

Where and how I have to put that command?

P.s. If I bother too much, just tell me :wink:

That command is just to move the carriage. You can do the exact same thing with the jog commands.

I’m watching some vid for that, need to figure out how to give the correct comand and don’t crush anything

Do you have the large X-Carve (1000x1000) or the 500x500 version?

If the 1000x1000 then position the carriage on the far left side then jog it about 500mm to the right
if you have the 500x500 then jog it about 250mm to the right

That is far enough to see how each adjustment of the pot performs, it is easy to tell when you are too low or too high on the pot.

I have the 1000^2

I’ll give a try tomorrow. I also think should be good to calibrate the motors too. I just need a loong rule I guess.

I’m thinking that those machine could work really well once calibrated in the best way (In fact it work pretty nice just now with a basic setup). Just while I need to calibrate it again I think I will make the little eccentric nut mod, by adding a nilock nut etc etc

P.s. What kind of program do you use to carve? The machine have to cut me guitar templates (for work, I’m a luthier) and complete fretboard (minus the fret slot), but I find Easel pretty tedious to use as always mess up my drawings made with Rhinoceros (I export in .dwg then convert in .svg)

Be careful changing the calibration (mm to steps). The value that is set by Easel is very good. I would not touch it till I had everything else dialed it perfectly.

I use Vcarve Desktop to design and create toolpaths. I recommend it 100%. Vcarve is very good for making signs and vcarving letters and designs. It is also very good at carving imported STL files (3D) that have been created in other programs

If you are wanting to design 2.5D or 3D objects then you will need to purchase a program like Aspire (very expensive) or use the free hobby version of Fusion 360. Fusion 360 is an amazing program that is a full professional solid modeling and CAM system. The leaning curve is pretty steep compared to Vcarve but it is very powerful.

You can learn to use Vcarve in a few hours, where Fusion 360 may take a few weeks.

Ok I’ll leave the motor calibration last, once I really have a perfectly setted machine. Thanks for the advice.

For now, I’m pretty happy by cutting my own template. I had a guy cutting them for me and ask 50€ for 2 guitar body templates and a neck made with 5€ MDF. So you know…

I just need a program that allow me to cut something like this

Is it all flat or does the top surface have any curve to it?

Completely flat with square edges (of course)

Easel can do it, but like you said it is a bit tedious. If you do not want to spend any money you could use Inkscape and import the SVG into Easel.

Or you could spend about $350 and do the design and toolpath in Vcarve Desktop if the size of what you are cutting is less than 24x24 inches. If it is larger then you would need Vcarve Pro for about $700.

Or you could learn and use Fusion 360 for free

There are also lots of other programs that people have been using that I have not tried. This forum is a great source to lean about all the other options.

Mmm I think I’ll give a try to Inkscape and Fusion360. I’m able to use Rhinocesor I guess they aren’t so different.

I also ask a friend if have a copy of VCarve.

Once you use Vcarve you will not want to use anything else!

You can download a free trial here

The trial version is full featured and will let you do everything expect save the toolpath.

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Mmm let’s go a bit over: Once I have the drawing, and the program have generated my toolpath, I need to ‘send’ them to the machine. So I guess I need another program right? A we don’t wanna pass through Easel anymore (I guess)

Yes you are correct, you will need a Gcode sender like Universal Gcode Sender

You can download it here

It is a JAVA JAR file so you will need to be sure you have the latest version of JAVA loaded on your machine first.

You will also need to be sure that whatever software you use to create the toolpath has the correct post processor for the X-Carve. The post processor will be sure the gcode is compatible with the GRBL controller.