Lots of un-necessary Z-moves and rapid?

So, after a fairly pain-free build process and a somewhat less pain-free and still ongoing leveling-and-squaring process, I have completed my first couple of projects! In the course of these three carves, I’ve noticed something rather odd with Easel. For some reason, I’m getting a LOT of un-necessary z-axis movement and rapids. Funny thing? This is almost exclusively (not entirely, but close) confined to cutting text. In SVG imported graphics, it cuts pockets smoothly and as a single operation without raising the Z. For instance, it would cut part of a letter in this one, say, part of the serif on “H”, then skip over and carve part of “E”, then go back to “H” and make a pass around, then go finish “E”, then come back and finish “H”. I’d guess perhaps ~30% of the entire spindle time was spent on this kind of thing. The apple was carved in a single, smooth motion with no z-raises at all, just four smooth passes around, stepping down as expected between passes. Also, instead of carving each letter fully, then moving to the next letter, it was carving each step down into all the letters in a word, then going back and re-carving each letter down one step more. I thought a bit ago there’d been an optimization to make it carve pockets as whole entities before moving on, to avoid that?

For reference, the project is: Easel - Haley's Kitchen Sign

It just seems really odd that it’d spend so much time in Z-travel, I’d really rather it didn’t, that’s adding a LOT of time to every carve! Next project, I think I’ll shoot some video to detail the behavior better.

I don’t have an answer for you, but I ran your file and see what you’re describing. Easel is not optimizing the tool paths very well. As you said, it did the entire apple, then started on the letters. To me, optimizing should mean cutting each letter completely before moving on to the next. I know Inventables has worked on optimization; it’s better than it was but still has a way to go.

I can see why this is happening. Each word is treated like a single object. Instead of treating each letter like a single object.

It will probably be something that @JeffTalbot or @Ruwan would have to look at.

The only current workaround to this would be to either make the lettering outside the program and import them as SVG or make them all one letter at a time.

In this screenshot I deleted the H and the A from HALEY’S and added them back as separate text items, and you can see that they complete each letter before moving on.

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That’s apparently what’s gong on, I asked the question about that in the “optimization” thread as well, and received the same response. My real question, though, is what’s up with all the moves back and forth BETWEEN letters? As in, why does it carve a bit on one letter, at one layer, then retract the bit, move to a different spot on the same or another letter, carve more on that depth, then come back and carve the rest of the depth in the first area? Just seems really weird.

Yeah, looks weird to the watcher… it is treating the whole word as one, so any part of the whole object is fair game to the algorithm that decides what part to carve as long as all of that 1 layer is carved by the end of it.

I think the guys at Inventables are working on further optimizing the tool paths, so this may get better as time goes.

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Oh, no doubt there! They’re making all kinds of cool progress on Easel. Weird quirks aside, it does end up with a fine product in the end, it just takes a lot longer to get there than it really needs to.

I ran into something similar trying to cut out some of those cam clamps last night. It carved it correctly and normally down to the last layer where it broke through (around the perimeter, move to cut the holes to that depth, then go around again, repeat), then in the last layer it kept cutting little bits, then pulling the bit clear, moving to another spot and cutting again. It ended up leaving a bunch of odd marks all over the outside from all the retracts. Just weird.


We’ve done some text carving improvements, please check them here: "Depth-first" carving for text and smarter "outline" grouping