First Real Carve (...& Fail)

Well I started my weekend with great ambition to start the first detailed carve using Easel. The image was taken from the internet and because I am still trying to figure out the best way to convert an image to a grey scale I just imported it into into Easel and carved it out.

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Sorry your carve results a bit abstract for me to figure out what you were carving.
Was it a map?
Or a tree in front of a mountain?

What photo were you originally working from?
What went wrong?

If it was an actual picture I am guess that you needed to make a negative of it?
As darker = deeper?

Ok, it carves. next step is getting it to carve what you want, where you want.

Keep plugging along. with every attempt, and each failure you willlearn something that will help you at a later date.
Most are small things and you dont realize that you picked them up until you catch yourself using the knowledge and some are real bulb-above-the-head-lighters.

It is supposed to be a tree and i used a photo off the internet (Seen Below). I ran a less complex carve this evening and around 80% the step motors began to jump again. Throughout the carve I continuously aired off the gshield and v wheel track and all was going smoothly then the step motors in the y-axis randomly skipped. This has happened to be 3x now. Is it not enough power to the step motors on the y-axis?

Also, What is the process from taking a photo as below, turning it black and white then converting it to a vector? From there can I simply import it into easel?

Below are from the carve tonight and you can see where the steppers began to slip causing the whole thing to ship and be ruined.

I know one big issue I had with the steppers skipping after the machine had been running for a while was the gShield drivers overheating. One of the best mods I did was to hack up a heat sink from an old Dell and use thermal adhesive to glue them on top of the drivers. I am now able to run the Potts almost maxed out without issue.


Do you have a video or instructions you went off? I feel like this is probably my issue because both times this happened the unit had been running for a few hours.

I think i need to make a few adjustments to the belt tensions and mess around with the step motor voltages slightly to get where i need them and where i want it, but this sounds like it may be apart of the problem as well.

Another annoyance i have been seeing is the dust which covers the step motors and belts on the y axis…has anyone come up with a solution to prevent this? Understand I still haven’t make my dust boot, which i know will help significantly.

I don’t. I came up with the idea myself after having burned my fingers on the drivers :wink:. I can grab some photos for you if you like. I also included links to the components I used below. For the heat sinks I just measured the driver chips and cut them to size with a hacksaw and cleaned them up on a bench grinder and wire wheel. You can get ones that are already the correct size but I like the tall fins. Take note however I do not have my electronics in the standard enclosure from inventables. I am also using an 80mm pc fan for cooling. As for dust on the steppers and V wheels the best option is some acrylic strips placed along the y axis makerslides. Most people combine that with the y axis stiffening mod. You can find info on that in this post.

re: Another annoyance i have been seeing is the dust which covers the step
motors and belts on the y axis…has anyone come up with a solution to
prevent this?

Robert, I used some clear plexiglas stuff from the home store along with some small angle brackets. I’m sure cardboard or plywood would do just as well. I also covered the wind blast from the bottom of the router with a small piece of plastic.

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I would love if you could provide some photos of how you placed the heat sinks. I have had problems with my z-axis loosing steps after a period of intense z activity. I pushed the pots up in thoughts it was inadequate voltage without improvement but finally backed them down to .8 (1.6V) and it seemed to improve so I think it is an overheating problem.

I’ll see what I can do. I won’t be able to grab them today but I’ll see if I can swing by and get them tomorrow afternoon.

Sorry about being unclear but I measured at each point. I pushed to 80% of the max amperage of 2.8V for the NEMA 23 motors without improvement and then dropped to 2.18V, , 1.9V and eventually to ~ 1.7V when things seemed to improve. I did assume that the fact that I had no Z drops until 30 minutes or so of intense Z activity was indicative of overheating.