First Project & First Mistakes

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:

  1. This thing is legit. With the DWP611 onboard, I expect it’ll cut anything I can throw at it.
  2. 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?
  3. I need to engineer some dust control into my setup
  4. My enclosure cuts the sound down and keeps the mess in. My wife says she can’t even hear the cnc upstairs.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.


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That still great looking for the first job. It’s learning curve. Takes time. Only suggestion I can have is try either down cut bit or two flute straight bit for Plywood. Plywood is the most challenging wood I’ve ever work, and one thing sure, I’m in love anything comes out of Plywood. Check your Belt tensions and Stepper powers as well. Couple spots I can see it’s drifting. Great Job.

Looks great.