Have I made a mistake?

I just recently purchased an X-Carve (hasn’t arrived yet) and I’ve been reading forums, watching videos, etc. I’ve seen a lot of people, especially on these forums, loving their machine. I just recently watched a series of videos on YouTube of someone having rough problems with their X-Carve and it’s worrying me that I’ve made the wrong choice. I really want good precise results and I’m excited at the fact of working with aluminum as well. Can the X-Carve do this out of the box or will I need to do some necessary upgrades? Should I have gone with a different machine?

Sorry for the paranoia. Thanks for any input, you guys seem awesome! :slight_smile:

The problem is, everyone is different. I couldn’t have done any of the stuff I am doing today without x-carve. Is my machine heavily modded (two machines now actually)? Yes. BUT - you have to start somewhere and building this machine and not being afraid to mess with it will put you on the right track to doing all the things you said you want to do. IMHO.

You gotta build it. AND you gotta mess with it. Not necessarily mod it, but play with it… get good at it. Get to know it. It is really a lot of fun - but again, everyone is different. There are, for a fact, people that have done aluminum with ZERO mods. Lots of em. V-wheels tight, belts tight, stable surface, good advice and you’ll be good to go. AND THEN you will want to mess with your machine more because there is always a higher peak to acheive. If this does not sound like fun, you have made and error.

I like building things and taking them apart… and rebuilding. Some are not that way. If you are excited about the build, I think that is a good sign. You will find everything you need on these forums plus about 100 people willing to answer your questions (and about 4 that will answer every question :)) PLUS - as an added bonus, some of these folks are on their 10th round of mods and have modded parts ready to go for you.

Welcome to the adventure.


@Bricbasher If you have any problems we are here to help you. We have a team of people in our Customer Success department to walk you through every step of the way.

If you need replacement parts we’ll help you there too.

If you want to upgrade your machine when the new one comes out we’ll help you there too.

I’d hold off on modding anything…


Do not follow the Youtubers They sometimes lead you down a false path.
I have mine and it works perfect. I have not calibrated it as percise as others but its doing a fantastic job and is as accurate as I expected.
You would laugh at my setup too as I have a shell around mine made out of wood and plastic wrap.
Due to my lack of a shop/garage I put up this to help keep the dust away from everything. (Still waiting for my dust boot.)
So you did not make a bad choice in this machine. Just follow the good folks here advice and you will be making stuff in no time. :slight_smile:

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Thanks for the input everyone. I am super excited/giddy to get it and start the build. I’m sure I’ll be frequenting this forum and bugging all the seasoned vets to no end. Thanks again!!


Still holding … :smile:


Here is what I can do with my system. Its straight off the machine with no sanding.
I started to cut away at the lip then thought I should leave it so I can fill in the background. :smiley:


Cool, looks good. :grinning:

The real trick is how to set your height after you change bits.
I have had some that showed a noticeable difference in the height.
I need to figure out why UGS will try to force the z down into the waste board a times or crash.
I wish I know of an alternative that is pretty rock solid. I would not mind paying 200 dollars for a app that works well with the ability to show me the coordinates as well as other good features.

Look at your post processor for UGS remove the T1M6 command, that causes strange behavior, but oddly, not all the time.

As long as you’re not expecting to be milling aluminum to within .0001" in the first day, you haven’t made a mistake. However, there are quite a few points where it is easy to throw up your hands and give up. Don’t give up, just take a break. The learning curve can be steep if you want perfect results immediately, so plan on just learning for the first few days or so.

I’ve had my X-Carve for over a year now, and I’m very happy with it. It’s accurate to within .003" and can be within .001" if I work hard at it. It’s not very fast, but it’s usually a lot faster than doing it by hand. And it’s a lot more fun to watch than a scroll saw.

Like I said earlier, there will be some points of frustration. Here’s a few friendly suggestions:

  • Use blue loctite or a similar thread locking compound on your bolts during assembly. The machine moves and flexes a lot, and you likely won’t notice that something has come loose until you’re halfway through a 10 hour cut on expensive wood.
  • Your first few cuts will likely not turn out well. Use scrap wood or MDF since it’s cheap.
  • Your first few cuts will likely not turn out well because the machine needs some calibration and pots need adjustment. I have made a series of videos that cover various maintenance/calibration topics (https://discuss.inventables.com/t/x-carve-maintenance-troubleshooting-videos-add-your-own/13405), and this forum is full of people who have learned numerous ways to overcome problems. Additionally, the customer service at Inventables is amazing, so if there are any equipment problems you have them on your side.
  • Your first few cuts will also not turn out well because belt tension and V-wheel adjustment take a little bit of practice and experience to get dialed in. Get a cheap fish scale or guitar tuner for the belts.
  • Out of the box and unmodified, the machine is capable of a lot. It’s not going to be very stiff, so your cut feeds and speeds may be lower than what various others get with the same bits and material. Modifying for stiffness is not a requirement, but it helps make cuts faster and cleaner.
  • You will break bits. Make sure you have a handful of various bits, and come up with a way to test cut depths and speeds. It would be in your best interest to test each bit on each material and record what you think are the best results. A good place to start thinking about how to test your bits is at Precise Bits, http://precisebits.com/tutorials/calibrating_feeds_n_speeds.htm.
  • You will mess up, and occasionally weird computer things will happen. You will fat finger your computer and try to drive your bit down 100 inches instead of .1 inch, which will break the bit. You will crash your gantry by hitting the arrow buttons one too many times. You will likely break a homing switch. Stuff happens, figure out why it happened and take a break if you are getting upset or rushed.
  • Use the forums. Search for various things, look at the topics with the most replies, and just wander aimlessly through random threads. There’s all sorts of various random awesomeness in here, including projects that can give you inspiration.
  • This machine is hobby-level and light, not professional and heavy, so you may be getting it for business but you will never make 1/2" cuts in aluminum at 300 inches per minute. Recognize that it has limits, and push them as far as you safely can.
  • Have fun. Never carve angry or upset, that’s how you end up starting to carve with the router unplugged or drive bits into the wasteboard (theoretically…).

Now you tell me! :laughing:

Thanks Robert that was very helpful. I’ve watched quite a few of your videos and appreciate all the help you’ve given and will give. It’s nice to know there’s such a supportive and helpful community to count on.


It kind of depends on what your skill level and expectations are.

If you are new to CNC the XC is a great machine to start with. I have approached this as if I was taking a class in CNC and it has been a very positive experience.

There are a few limits and issues with the machine, most of which are addressed by the various mods and upgrades on the boards. If you get really into it you may reach a point where you could out grow your XC. But if that happens it will be due to your experience with the XC that developed the skills and knowledge to make a informed decision on what your next step will be. Well worth the time and effort :slight_smile:

Thanks Aaron. Definitely new to CNC. I have a 3D printer and am a seasoned woodworker but I’ve never taken the dive into CNC work. I’m super excited to get my hands on it. My only concerns were limitations and precision. This is quite a chunk of change for me to drop on a machine and I wanted to make sure I was on the right track. From the comments it sounds like I am so far.

Thanks again!

Not being much into unicorns (due to an unfortunate leap frog incident during my youth), I wasn’t terribly impressed with the example in your pic. Then, I noticed the fingerprints in the background and realized this thing appears to be only slightly larger than a quarter! Nice! :sunglasses:

It was mainly to show that you can get good detail with a stock machine.
If you have another pic I would gladly replace it.
Yes its about 38mm diameter. Or for your ref. :slight_smile:

If you want you can upgrade to get more power and more rigidity.

Sure, $1500 isn’t exactly “cheap” on the wallet. But then again, neither is a quality table saw.

Don’t mistake this for a $10k or $50k industrial machine. And don’t get too riled up by the people who seemed to expect that kind of machine for one that’s mainly open source with few proprietary parts.

Did you buy a fully assembled 3d printer, or did you buy a parts kit to build at home? If you built your own machine, you probably know how picky machines built on extrusions/makerslide, v-wheels, and pulleys are.

I don’t have experience with aluminum, but for a $1500 machine - considering the features and a free basic software package that does decent things – you absolutely can’t find another machine at this price point that is going to be exponentially better.

This is a pretty darn good design, with a community that works together to make all our machines better - some of which obviously paved the way for the new upgrades annoucned today.

I have to agree look at what I did with the round wooden 38mm piece.
I have a stock machine. If you saw my setup you would laugh as it is as poor mans as it can get.
I have some cash to work with but not enough for a 10k system. I may get a 2nd one that is smaller and set it up for doing detail work rather than try to get this one to do it all.