I’m using a X-Carve 1000m / Nema 23 / Acme Rod / Dewalt 611 setup.
Ok, so I’m not one to start small so I jumped right in after a couple of quick test carves.
Had to learn how to create tool paths in Inkscape from images and text. Once I figured that out and cleaned up the paths, I exported into Optimized SVG and imported into Easel.
Lesson 1: Create everything in Inkscape and don’t bring it into Easel and expect to get everything lined up correctly.
Next I enabled the Beta tool paths and two stage carves. Not not much to say about the tool paths, but the 2 stage carve was pretty cool. It’s not exactly intuitive what happens at the end of the rough carve pass. You kind of sit there waiting for it to prompt you to change the bit and then realize you need to hit Carve again and then select the Detail pass.
Lesson 2: It’s really, really important to have the rough bit and detail bit at exactly the same height, otherwise you’re going to see marks
Lesson 3: You can’t just pick the same home position as the Rough Carve Pass… The bits were totally different heights… The first attempt at the Detail Pass saw the bit hovering above the surface as the X-Carve thought it was doing it’s job. Thankfully, the Detail bit was SHORTER than the rough bit, otherwise I’d have destroyed the project…
Speaking of zeroing the bit to the work surface… Every time you hit Carve, it defaults the value of the X-Carve’s movement to .1. Whoops. I had set it to .001 previously and hadn’t noticed it reset it self.
Lesson 4: If you drop the Z-Axis into your piece because you aren’t paying attention to the movement, your bit will break.
I made some quick “clamps” to hold down my piece…
Lesson 5: The X-Carve has no idea where your clamps are and if they’re in the way, well, they get hit.
I had previously seen a post from @PhilJohnson regarding the Dewalt 611 speed and depth settings, so my 611 was on 1 with a conservative depth / ipm setting. Worked great.
I chose a plain old pine board for my first cut as 1, I had it lying around and 2, it’s cheap if I wrecked it. Also, it’s so soft, I figured it was a great test piece and not likely to cause a bit to break if I did something stupid speed / depth / feed rate wise.
Looking at the piece post carve, with my caliper I can see the right side of the piece is slightly shallower than the left by a few 10ths of a mm. I’ll go back and have a look at the X axis’ squareness.
I also in full ghetto disclosure simply zip tied a small shop vac hose to the side of the D611. That worked, except when I switched to the smaller detail bit, I realized it was so much shorter than the Roughing Bit that the vac hose was probably going to hit the top of the work piece when it got down to the 1/2" depth. So a quick pause and I cut the zip ties.
There also appeared to be a fairly decent stress exerted on the D611 which I would assume would be there even with a dust shoe. Going to have to figure out how to let the hose just flow with the router and not cause some deflection. I wonder if the left side was slightly deeper because of the vac hose, I’m betting it played a role here.
So there you have it, first project carve a total success with lessons learned and room for improvement.