Getting used to Easel

Did you design this in easel?

Nice job. Make sure to set work area size to workpiece size or the carve will not do what you expect.

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That is just what it means. It is the only way Easel can ‘see’ xy zero where you set it.
I tries doing a piece 7X7 and had my work area at 10X10, set my XY zero at the corner of the 7X7 but easel started about 2" from the point of origin.
So, just be sure to size work area to the actual work size. If the work size is 12X16 then define work area as such. Then place the work anywhere everything clears, set your XYZ zero and it willl do as expected.
Learned all this the hard way, chased it around and around thinking that the work area was what the machines working area is what was meant. Not.

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No, that shouldn’t be necessary. The work area in Easel should be the workable area of the machine (e.g. 30x30). It’s a good idea to set the material dimensions in Easel though (which it looks like @PhilJohnson already did).

If you had a physical material that was 7x7, and the material size in Easel set to 7x7, and the design fit within that 7x7 bounds in Easel, and you zeroed at the corner of the physical material, that shouldn’t happen. Any chance you clicked “re-use previous home position” in the walkthrough?

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I had the work area set to 10X10 and the actual work piece was 7X7. After the tool cut way off the mark and doing some more research I discovered my mistake.
Now I set the work area to 7X7 and size my shape in that then I can place it anywhere on the XC table and set my XY and it is fine.
Just a misunderstanding of terms.
Use previous home gets me sometimes on the Z.
Easel has too many different windows with not enough info on any one so one has to jump back and forth between them to get it all straight.

The workable area and work area in Easel are two different things. One is what the machine has for a table the other is the work piece that one is working.

Easel uses “work area” (in the Machine panel) to refer to the workable area of the machine (which depends on the rail size). This you ought to be able to configure once through Easel Setup and then leave alone.

For the size of the work piece, Easel says “material dimensions”. This is in the top-right, below the Carve button. This one will vary from one project to the next, based on the material you’re using.

No, I reset the xy zero but I mistakenly had the worker at 10x10 thinking that would be plenty of room for containing the carve.
My bad, I have since figured out that Easel starts with the workpiece not area. Now I have twigged to (maybe) setting a working xy zero.
Seems the tool is offset (no mention of this that I have seen) differently for outside/inside/on path and fill. I have found setting the xy zero at center of tool will only ruin work.

This what I am trying to do.
I want a centered 5/16 deep pocket centered on a 6.5x6.5 piece. Simple right? Wrong, I set the XY zero on the lower left corner of the 6.5 workpiece. I set it at tool center, way off position, set it to the tool dia on the outside of the 6.5 (X and Y), same result, nowhere close to where it should be.
I have the material dim set to 6.5 and the pocket at 4.8wide/long by .312 dp.
So far results have been poor.
My question is where on the tool does one set XY zero so that the tool offsets that easel incorporates puts the carve on position.
I will include the project for consideration.

XY zero should correspond to the lower left corner of the work. That said, it needs to be defined as to what part of the tool it is set to. Center of the tool? Edge set to edge outside or inside. So far I have gotten poor results with all three.
I have to set it to center, cut the piece and trim off to center the carve. Wasteful.

I see a couple of things with your Easel project.

First off, you pocket wasn’t centered in your work area.
An easy way to do this is to click the center domino button and type the center X/Y of the workpiece, in this case 3.25".
Second, you’ve got a rectangle that has geometry beyond the origin point. Are you trying to facemill the work as well as carve a pocket? If so, I’d make the rectangle bigger on all sides of the workpiece, not just -x and -y.

When I set my tool down to the material, I try to get it on the tool center. It’s not always perfect, but it works well enough. If I’m having trouble I chuck the smallest bit I have, or perhaps an engraving bit that tapers to a point, into the machine and align that with the lower left of the material.

I have centered it using the method you describe, same result. I have calibrated the XC to within .004 both X and Y.
I have centered the spindle over the lower left corner, same result.
I cannot depend on Easel carving where I tell it to.

Here’s an Easel project I made that’s similar to yours. Mine is 5" square with a 3" L/H by .063"D pocket, that has .25" rounded corners:

Now, to start with my work material was 5" by like 10" or so, but I made a pencil line to make it square-ish, and besides as long as the resulting pocket is 1" inset from the other three edges it doesn’t matter for proof of concept.

After clamping down my material, I lowered the bit to the surface, like this:

(please excuse how grotty my cutting bit is, I’d just carved something that was taped to the wasteboard and haven’t cleaned the adhesive out of the flutes yet.)

The tool center is the corner point of the material. This means a little bit of the tool hangs in air in the negative axes.
It’s only a .125" bit, so it’s hard to find the exact center but fortunately there’s a divot in the middle of the bit which helped me out.

I ran my carve, and once it was finished I measured the distance from the edge of the material to the pocket: on the left and bottom edges:

6-8 thou of tolerance is pretty good in my book. I don’t know what kind of precision you’re going for but I’ll take that any day. Hell, I might even chalk that up to operator error with the calipers.

The long and short of it is: If you’re not getting anywhere near this level of accuracy from your machine you might want to take some time and calibrate/tune it up.


There’s an analogy between the on-screen representation of the work space, and it’s real life counterpart. What you see on screen attempts to mimic what you have in reality. This is great because it makes carving stuff way easier for people of all skill levels.

But it’s possible to use the X-Carve and Easel in ways that break that analogy but work perfectly fine.
For instance, Easel won’t let you move the material off the origin point, but that origin point is simply wherever you drop the spindle. You can set your work material anywhere it fits, and align your spindle to the bottom left corner and it will cut the same way every time. This is advantageous if, for instance, you have a large machine and want to set up several different materials at the same time. Or, if you want to make several copies of the same part, but you don’t want to tie the machine up for hours on end, or if your material has a bad spot in it or if you’re using scrap material. No worries. Just set the spindle to the corner where there’s space and cut a part out. Then move to the next area and cut it again.

You can also cheat a little bit and get the X-Carve to start from the center instead of the bottom left. If you align the center of your artwork to 0,0 in Easel, it will look silly on the screen and you’ll say “Oh that’ll never work.” But, have faith. All you have to do is put the spindle in the center of your workpiece instead of the bottom left, and it will start from there instead. This assumes that you have enough space around your workpiece that the spindle can get everywhere it needs to.

Remember, the screen is a tool, it’s a guide, it helps you visualize what your parts are going to look like. But ultimately what matters is what comes out of the machine. If you have to trick the software to get it to do what you want, then so be it.

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Oh that would be great if you built it so that it would walk across the floor as the Y axis moved back and forth LOL

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I have gotten very mixed results with Easel. Some good some not so good.
Defining the work area (size of the blank to be worked) and centering the carve therein hardly ever has equal margins on all 4 sides.
I zero the spindle lower left corner and it does what it feels like doing regardless of the placement.
It usually gets in the ball park but out of bounds.
So, for now I will hand write my G code in GWizardE where it shows exactly were the tool is going as I write and is easy to edit.
Then when it is suitable I export to UGS. Works every time. Then if there is a mixup it is my fault and not some glitch with Easel.