Carve gets deeper

Have an issue with my text carvings. The letters start at the correct depth but as the carve progresses it cuts deeper into the wood. Example, text all set to .03125 or 1/32" and ends up .07 or 1/16"+, over twice as deep. I check my material, it’s flat and tight to the waste board. It’s happened on more then occasion. Any suggestions would be appreciated?

Have you checked that your spoil-board is parallel to the spindle travel?

Any chance that your Z-Axis is losing steps? Maybe the current-limiting potentiometer needs to be adjusted?

Is your Z-Axis belt tensioned correctly?

Check any set screws you have on the Z-Axis pullies.


Brandon Parker


Either what Brandon suggest or your Z-stepper stall out (or something is mechanically slipping) during retraction causing the bit to run lower and lower. If this is the case then it will also return to work zero after the carve lower.

If the bit return to exact same position as prior to the carve (minus safety height) => its in the code
If the bit dont return to exact same position => machine/mechanical issues.

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I’ll check these but everything seemed correct.Thanks

bit return to exact same position as prior to the carve, everything comes back as it should. If it’s in the code, is there an easy fix? I’m completely ignorant to that kind of stuff. Thank you

It is not likely in the GCode, but you could share the project and we will take a look at it.

If the bit returns to the exact same position where it started (height included) then it might be your waste-board.

Is it always getting deeper in one direction?

Here is what I would do.

  1. Home the machine, install an endmill of decent thickness (so you don’t just break it…)
  2. Bring the Z-Axis down until it contact either your Z-Probe Touchplate or some other hard surface.
  3. Remove whatever item you just used.
  4. Jog the machine around in the X & Y and test whether the object you just used still fits beneath the endmill.

In the locations where it does not fit or is not right at (spoken touching) that object then you can measure the difference. These are the locations where your waste-board is either high or low compared to the waste-board at the Home position.

If this is the problem, you can simply skim-cut your waste-board by the largest difference value plus a a very small amount to flatten your waste-board and make it parallel to the cutting plane of the machine.


Brandon Parker

I’ll try measuring the waste board in the manner you describe. If it’s within a small tolerance I’ll share the last project. Thanks for helping.

I tried what was recommended and found the right side center a 1/16" higher than on the left side. At the closest end of the ‘Y’ side the right is barely higher than left. I’ve ordered a bit to level the waste board. Hope it works.