I just got my x-carve put together last night. The process probably took a total of about 12 hours over 3 nights. While I was at it, I added the x-axis strength modification that others have done. I used a 3/16 x 2" x 36" piece of steel and 3 40mm furniture bolts for the mod. It definitely stiffens up the gantry and was worth the extra time spent.
Here is a video of my first cut.
I did have a ‘rookie moment’ right off the bat. I was using a 1/4" up-spiral bit which I had pre-installed in my DWP611 a few weeks ago (I used a 1/8" up-spiral for the letters). When I started the carve, the bit cut about 2" of the outline as expected and then traced the rest of the profile without carving at all. I immediately stopped the program and realized that the bit wasn’t tight in the collet at all. I tightened it up and re-ran the program without issue (2nd attempt is in the video).
This was meant to be a smaller scale/plywood test cut of a house sign I wanted to make in hardwood for my inlaws around xmas time.
I liked it so much that I decided to stain it using Minwax “chestnut”.
I also quickly realized that the DWP611 is a dust machine. My enclosure keeps the dust contained to inside the box (and cuts the noise down to a level that I can talk over the cnc no problem btw) but I will need to invest in a dust shoe to hook up to my dust collector without a doubt.
My 2nd project was not as successful. I decided to try Fusion 360 and loaded up another test run of a project that I want to make out of hardwood later. This one started out well, I used a 1/8" up-spiral bit through 3/4" pine plywood. I learned right away that I need to pay more attention to the feeds and speeds that Fusion uses as default. It cut the whole project at 60ipm and .125 step-down, which REALLY caused the machine to chatter. The DWP611 had plenty of power and never bogged down at all, but my Z v-wheels didn’t fair so well. The bottom V-wheel eccentric nut loosened up and allowed for some very ugly cuts before I realized what happened.
Overall impressions and lessons learned:
- This thing is legit. With the DWP611 onboard, I expect it’ll cut anything I can throw at it.
- I need some down-spiral bits. My 1/4" did fine, but the 1/8" bit leaves me with a lot of work to do sanding off fuzzies. I’m hoping a down-spiral will give me a cleaner finish. Anyone have a suggestion?
- I need to engineer some dust control into my setup
- My enclosure cuts the sound down and keeps the mess in. My wife says she can’t even hear the cnc upstairs.
- Fusion360 is powerful, but watch those feeds and speeds! The defaults might work on a Bridgeport, but the X-carve needs you to back off the throttle just a bit.
- Eccentric nuts… need I say more?
I’ll keep posting projects as I keep carving. I also started uploading videos to my youtube channel (never done that before!) because I feel like there can never be enough x-carve videos on youtube.
I hope this ramble helps someone, and I’d love to hear anyone’s advice or thoughts on all the above and more.