My tool path is stuck in an infinite loop

After my first test print I went to carve some of my own designs. The first project is building a keyboard and mouse tray for the PC that will be permanently in my milling table. Until then I have been controlling the x-carve with a macbook air and easel, using safari. When I setup a job it runs the first pass on the first cut and just loops that. The progress indicator in Easel continues to count forward but all the x-carve does is run the same path. Has anyone else had this issue?


Check out your hardware first:

Look at the Z-Axis
• Is there anything physically preventing the motor from turning? Any binding/sticking? Anything blocking the screw or delrin nut in the back?
• are the grub screws tight on the belt pulleys?
• Is the stepper turning?
• Are all the electrical connections solid from the motor through all the terminal blocks to the arduino?
• Is there a solid connection between the arduino and the G-shield?

Then look at software:
• Do you have the correct configuration for your machine in the “machine setup” dialog? e.g., do you have your Z-axis set for the appropriate type of threaded rod?
• Check your toolpaths in Easel using “Show toolpaths,” are there layers to the toolpath?
• Have you set the depth of your shape to cut further than one layer? Is your depth of cut too shallow or deep? Are you using automatic feeds and speeds under Cut Settings?

If none of this works, try a full reset of everything: Computer, Arduino, Power Supply, etc.

Thanks for the advice Mike. Most of that I had already gone through. The mechanics of it seem fine. It is running through the x - y motions to draw a complex path, it just continues to do it without moving to the next step. I have looked at the tool paths in the preview window but is there a way for me to examine them more closely. It all seems right but it is small and in an isometric view angle so it is hard to be sure. I do have an issue with my z axis. Everything physically seems fine but I do seem to lose steps even when I have the power to the motor all the way up on the shield. Trouble shooting that issue was going to be another question of mine. It seems ok most of the time but every now and then it doesn’t raise like it should. As for rebooting everything, I definitely did that.

In Easel, a great way to examine your tool paths is to check the “hide material” box. This will show you only your toolpaths without the simulated wood being cut.

You can use the mouse to rotate the piece, scroll to zoom in, and shift-click-drag to pan in the 3D view. You should be able to get a worm’s eye view of your paths to see how many layers it’s carving.

You can also share you Easel file (just click “shared with link” under File --> Share and copy/paste the link here. That might help us to troubleshoot your file if there’s something wrong with how you have it set up.

As far as the hardware goes, you shouldn’t have your pots turned all the way up on any of the axes. You’ll lose steps by overdriving the motors as much as you will by under driving them. If you’re having problems with the Z axis raising properly check to make sure there’s nothing binding it. With the machine powered off you should be able to turn the nut on top of the threaded rod by hand. (use a socket to save your fingers) If it binds up or doesn’t move easily, check that you’ve run-in the delrin nut properly. You may have to take it apart, chuck the threaded rod into a drill and run the delrin nut up and down a few dozen times to wear it in.

Also double check your electrical connections. If you’re using bare wire on the terminal blocks, I would recommend changing to fork or ring crimp connectors. With bare wire, even when you have it solidly in the terminal block, the wires splay out and sometimes the connection quality isn’t great. It can cause intermittent faults like what you see, especially if it’s one or two but not all four of the wires doing it.