It's Alive

How long are those cuts taking to complete? I tried cutting out a simple box and, besides taking a long time, the fit was not very good. Care to share the settings file? Should only be usable by those who purchased the software.

This is a small box (3.5" x 4")…each side took 38 minutes to cut. Right now I am playing with the glue gap setting to get a better fit. With the glue gap set at 0.00", the fit is too tight and requires a lot of work with a small file to work. The one above is with the glue gap set at 0.02". At 0.02" the joint just falls together…no filing at all. I think it might be just a bit too loose…so right now I am cutting the exact same one with a glue gap of 0.01"

Also, the cutout with tabs is not being done with fingermaker, I set a profile cut with tabs in V-Carve to cut the sides out. The settings for this file using a 0.01" glue gap is below the picture.

Here is the one with the glue gap at 0.02" glued up:

4x4 odd.fin (848 Bytes)


Ok, so accurate measurement of the cutting bit combined with a 0.01" or slightly greater glue gap? Noticed any other sources of poor fit?

Nope, that’s about it…I’ll test fit the one with a glue gap of 0.01" in about 20 minutes as that one will be done.

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With a glue gap of 0.01" the fit is much better. Pictures to follow…

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Here is with the glue gap of 0.01" glued together. The fit was much better. All I did before I glue them together was hit the joints with a brass brush to knock off the fuzzies. After gluing, I hit it with the belt sander to smooth the sides.


Cutting the last side to this one now: 3.5x10.fin (829 Bytes)

10" x 3.5" x 3.5" cut in 1/2" purpleheart and cherry. I am using a glue gap of 0.01". The short sides took 19 minutes each to cut and the long side was 31 minutes. I used a feedrate of 45 IPM since purpleheart and cherry are much tougher woods.


Looks fantastic Erik,
I can see you’re diving to sacrificial board way too much. Is that software requirement or you want clean cut.
I’m thinking to buy tailmaker, but still have concerns.
I’m using V-Carve dovetail gadget for my joints. Do you really recommend this one instead.

This one uses a ballnose for the entire operation, so in order to cut all the way through it really has to dig into the wasteboard.

I really like the look of the joints, but it really takes some time to get the settings so the joint is nice and tight, but not too tight. I think I am there now. I have not used the dovetail gadget yet, so I really can’t compare it. What I do like about the tailmaker program is that all of the joints are cut with the board flat on the wasteboard.

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Here is the box, just pressed together. I need to cut a bottom and do some sanding, but I think it comes together very well. With a little bit of cleanup, not much, it will be good. I’ll hit the sharp edges with a roundover bit on the router table and I may do a small relief carve on the front face.


Here it is glued up and after a quick trip to the router table to ease the edges with a small roundover bit. Needs some sanding and a finishing.


You are really making the Tailmaker software look good. I promised myself I would not be buying any new software for at least 6 months, but I really want it!

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The program works well, but it was a lot of trial and error to get really good results. I am still tweaking things, but each one is a bit better then the last.

Yesterday I removed my mechanical homing/limit switches as I started getting noise like several others. I replaced the homing switches with hall effect limit switches. I purchased 5 of them from:

These switches have 3 connections instead of the 2 on the mechanical ones. 1 goes to the Arduino Ground, 1 to the Arduino +5 volts and the third to the appropriate pin just like the mechanical switches. There are 2 LEDs to indicate the state, tripped or not, red and green.

I have run the homing sequence about 200 times since yesterday when I installed them with no issues at all. I set a point using the G28.1 command, homed the machine and sent a G28, I was able to get repeatable homing every time.

I tested them as limit swithces briefly, as I sent the gantry into the switch at 175IPM and it stopped movement perfectly. I will add switches to the other end of the X and Y Axis this weekend.

Here is a quick video of the homing sequence.


Were you using the mechanical switches as normally closed or normally open?

Initially they were normally open, then I switched them to normally closed a few months ago.

Ah, so still a problem in either configuration. Well thanks for the link. Those are some pretty cheap switches. I’ll bet they could be easily potted in some hot glue to keep them from building up too much gunk or corroding.

Started a new project…

I am using an Arduino Due as the brains for this. I chose the Due for 2 reasons, First, it emulates a USB keyboard very easily and second, I had one not being used :slight_smile:

The buttons are wired into a 4 x 7 keyboard matrix, so I have 28 buttons. I will take it all apart, build a box for this to sit on and house the Due and the wiring and paint it.

I decided to go wired as I don’t tend to wander around too much while working. This will sit in front of the X-Carve on the stand.

Everything is wired up and the program is written. All the buttons work great and control the machine through UGS.

The only button that I haven’t gotten to work is the Abort button, UGS has no way (that I can find) to send a CTRL-X to the machine.

@MechanicalGoose - How is your abort button configured?

@WillWinder - Is there a way to send CTRL - X through UGS to the controller?


@ErikJenkins - I had 3 buttons tied in to a wireless 24v relay to push pause, abort and start commands from the remote to the board but after trying it out it is not very reliable. I could get a better relay but I’m trying to keep the cost down because I plan to offer these up for sale. So I’ve decided to move those 3 buttons to the control box next to the e-stop and hardwire them in. I would like to do it from the command line with gcode in UGS with the remote unfortunately I was reading that it is not currently supported.

Cycle start and feedhold works through UGS.

Cycle Start = ~
Feed Hold = !

I have 3 buttons hardwired into the controller as well and they work fine, just wanted them on the pendant as well.

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