Multiple issues - stepper, spindle, gcode

I have been running my new 1000 mm X Carve for a week now, and up until this past weekend, it was performing great. HOWEVER… Now I’m having multiple issues which is resulting in a damaged spindle, wasted wood, broken bits, and absolute frustration (both mine and my friends who are / were considering getting one of their own).

  1. While cutting out a piece of 3/4" plywood, before the X-Carve made it all the way through, it suddenly went off on its own path, trying to hog out 1/2" of material. By the time I got it stopped the damage was already done, both to the piece I was cutting and the motor. I now have to spin the motor by hand to get it started (yikes!). I was using UGS on an iMac to communicate with the machine.

  2. Both the Y and X axis are struggling when manually moving it (either using UGS or Easel). The stepper motors (NEMA 23) just kinda groan and not turn at random intervals. This is more prevalent with the Y axis, which I initially thought was just a result of two steppers trying to keep up with each other. But now the X axis is also doing it. I first thought this was just me trying to move them to fast , but even if I try to move them slow, now they still do it. I’ve tried tightening the belts, which actually seemed to make it worse. So then I tried loosening them but didn’t really make much of an impact. I’m concerned that these motors are struggling while cutting, which would account for some strange inaccuracies that I’m seeing.

  3. Last night, no matter what I did, I could not get the machine to cut out a large pocketing operation of a somewhat complex curve. I had used Fusion 360 to generate the toolpath and was sending the code via UGS (again on an iMac), It would run nicely for about 20 minutes and then just go off an do its own thing, again trying to hog out way too much material than it should. Luckily this time I stopped it before it broke the tool - but again it ruined the piece I was trying to make. (I’ve attached a picture)

  4. The last thing I tried last night before completely giving up was to engrave some letters in the scrap wood that was still clamped in the machine. This time I used Easel (figuring maybe UGS was just being quirky), and it started out ok, but when it came back to do the 2nd pass, the letters were offset from the first pass, and got worse as it went from one letter to the next. By the time I realized what was going on, my 1/32" bit was toast.

I’m at a loss and really could use some rapid response to these issues. I haven’t given up hope, as when it was working it was awesome. But the frustration is mounting, and like I said, my friends (and would-be X-carve customers) are getting leery - and that means that I’ll get stuck making stuff for them!! :slight_smile:

It sounds as though you have two issues. One is you need to adjust the voltage on the GRBL shield to get the movement right, see [Solved] Cutting wrong, loosing position

It also looks as though you have a bad spindle, this is a known problem. I would contact Inventables directly to get warranty.