My X-Carve is up and running! (mostly)

The table is the proper hight on the left side, but lower on the right side, so rather than cutting too deep, it’s cutting too shallow. I’ve not leveled it yet because there do not appear to be any instructions on how to do so.

When I first set it up I placed a sheet of paper on the table and lowered the Z axis until I felt resistance between the paper and the end mill, then moved the X/Y to the 4 corners and checked for spacing. Once I know how to independently adjust the hight of the 4 corners I should be good to go, but that process does not seem very obvious at the moment.

I assumed the feeds/speeds/depths in the easel HDPE preset would be well tuned for the machine and the HDPE they shipped with it. But now I’m out one end mill and one 12x12 piece of HDPE.

“Intro to Easel” is the first project you run after completing your machine setup. You can change it freely and rename the project.

Renaming should work (verified that I could rename the Intro project myself just now). What problem are you having with this?

The speeds/feeds in Easel currently do not take your bit size into account. That is something we plan to add. I’d say in general if you’re using smaller than a 1/8" bit you might want to dial them down to be more conservative.

Post pictures and/or a project page if you do make the vacuum attachment. I want to make one of those myself.


@JeffTalbot My first 3 attempts to rename a project all failed. I tried renaming “Intro to Easel” to Test Logo. The first 2 attempts yielded no result, the name remained the same. The third just added escape characters to the existing name, renaming “Intro to Easel” to “Intro to Easel” rather than Test Logo as I had defined. Eventually I was able to get it to rename.

I’ve been running into a lot of UI/UX issues with Easel like this. Might not be a bad idea to add “beta” after the name so users know what to expect. It’s not a bad thing, software has to start somewhere, and they are actively making improvements based on feedback and providing an amazing level of support, but acknowledging that it’s not “ready for primetime” may ease some expectations.

As for the speeds and feeds, I assumed Easel took the user-defined end mill size into consideration as it is handling all the presets.

I’ll post pictures/files when I make my first shop vac attachment. It will likely be flat-pack style so it can be laser cut out of acrylic and attach using magnets. I’m basing the design off an attachment for the ShopBot I work with,.

So, I finished my build last night, I knew I would find some bugs and it sure didnt take long to find them either. I too fell victim to the limit switch install miscue, I installed my x axis and y axis extrusions upside down, never even gave it any thought as long as the rails were in the correct orientation I didnt think it mattered. I did find success in flipping the limit switches upside down and adding the post-insertion clips. That made me feel a bit better. Now if I can figure out why my Y Axis is making weird sounds and losing its position I think I might be set finally.

I too agree that the way all the wiring ended up all over the power supplys is messy and unkempt, I am looking for a solution to fix that.

When I first powered my maching on, only the z axis would drive, i found that I had to remove the arduino and the shield from the case and press them together and make a better connection for the machine to work, now i cant screw the arduino back to the bottom because the case sides are in the way.

These are good forums, im glad people are posting to them as we are all learning this machine and its bugs together.


@JamesMurray If your Y axis is making odd sounds it could be a number of things. I’d check that the belts are not too tight, which could cause strain on the stepper motors, or too loose, which could cause slippage. I would also make sure that the rails are free from debris/obstructions, and check that all your wiring connection points are solid. If a wire is vibrating and connecting intermittently it could cause all kinds of headaches.

You can also try removing the Y axis belts and seeing how freely everything slides back and forth. If one side is binding up it can create torsion, which would stress the motors, create chatter, or other not-so-fun things.

I’d also check that the set screws on the stepper motor pulleys are nice and snug. That could also cause a difference in how the two sides move in tandem.

The Arduino not seating properly is a bit concerning. Normally these type of shields slid on and seat quite well. I’d double check that you don’t have any bent pins.

And I totally agree, the forums (and the support from Inventables) are great!


Hi @JamesMurray,

Another item to check for with Y axis problems is to make double sure that the stepper motors are wired to the terminal blocks correctly… one should have a different wiring from the other.

Thanks for all the tips! So I went back and really took a hard look at the setup, I found some of the wheels loose and the belts not tightened correctly. After taking my time with that now the y axis works great. Did my first project on it yesterday with no issues. Very Happy now! One thing I did was attach some small zip ties at the ends of the belts to help keep them locked down.

@JamesMurray Glad you got everything working! I originally had issues with belts slipping when attaching them based on the instructions which rely on friction alone. I resolved this issue with about an inch of heat shrink at each end. This holds the folded belt together and is still flexible. The only down side I’ve found to this method (so far) is that it makes changing the belt length a bit more difficult. Removing the heat shrink to adjust belt length is pretty easy though, and once you have it dialed in you are good.

Congrats on getting your machine up and cutting!

First two carves went great, now, each carve I am experiencing the Y axis will eventually misalign.

I’ve followed all the comments on the threads, but nothing is working at the moment. I checked the belts, checked the wheels and checked wiring.

The carve starts fine, on one project it completed the first ‘level’ of cut, began the second level and then eventually shifted the cut. I have yet to see it actually happen as my latest projects have been over an hour in and tough to watch the entire time. On the video, the guy says belts ‘as tight as guitar strings’. That’s the only thing I’m a little unsure about. I would say I have the ‘taught’, so when I lift on them they are firm and snap back, but maybe not as tight as guitar strings (at least as I know guitar strings to be?). Can someone give me a nudge as to how ‘tight’ this actually is? Maybe I have quite a ways to go in tightening them?

I have a message into Easel Help tonight in addition to this post and will follow up if I hear anything different than the above.

I was victim to installing the MakeSlides upside down as well per the video, but am leaving as is. I like the idea of just switching the limit switch so will do that - - - thx!

I am experiencing a bed leveling issue on the 1000 as well - lower on the left, higher on the right. Any tips would be helpful.

Although I don’t have mine yet, i’ve been reading all the posts and saw this gentleman had the same issue and slowed down the Y axis speed and that cured the issue Inventables forum post

Hope it helps

1 Like

Brian, Thanks for responding. Here are some photos of what is occurring that may help explain the actual type of shift occurring. One fairly large leap, roughly 2-3 cm

Hopefully slowing down the rapid travel wil fix that shifting issue.
For the 2nd pic though, what type of endmill or router bit were you using? That is one ugly looking cut - like you just tied a rabid beaver to the spindle, taped the power cord to his tail and cranked up the electricity to “rotisserie” level. :smiley:


Hahaha. Yes. Couldn’t agree more. I bought some ‘craft’ plywood from Menards to test on and it frayed something horrible when it was milled. I was using a two flute carbide straight bit thinking it would prevent chipping, but not exactly. Would a spiral bit have worked better?
I currently have chosen ‘Birch’ in Easel. Are you saying to choose a harder wood in Easel with different spindle speeds to slow down the inches per minute?

Sorry, couldn’t tell you. The only things I’ve ever used the plywood for is scrollsawn puzzles. I’d think a spiral bit at highest speed/feed you can push would do better, but that’s a guess. If that black stuff in the pic is burning, then the bit is sitting in one spot way too long.

1 Like

I will definitely try that. I have only used a flute bit. The coloring is the under layer of the plywood, not from burning. I was hoping to get an Intentional color shift in the plywood by going down to the next layer :smile:

A couple things that should help. Yes slow the feed rate down but keep the spindle speed high, and if possible make your first pass very shallow which will have a scoring effect on the fibers. They say a straight fluted bit tears less and I would agree but not always. I have also had luck putting a coat of finish like lacquer before carving. The quality of the plywood plays a big part too as some of the imported stuff has a super thin top layer that is more stringy glue than wood and very soft. Hardwood faced Plywoods work well for me too like birch or oak. Good luck!

1 Like

Thanks to @Zach_Kaplan for his devotion to this issue through Easel Help.
Turns out I had significant tightening to do on my belts. He made some suggestions, along with spindle speed and depth recommendations. Afterwards, we performed an axis test and things are running as should be today. I’m still learning and despite all my questions and concerns he hung in there. Truly an amazing person.

1 Like

Hey @pike_lake we all have a beginners mindset here. Thanks for hanging in there.

Now the world is your canvas to start making things!

1 Like

no intending to thread jack but,

In a distant sort of way, I consider Zach to be a friend.

in one of my first posts to this forum, The response came from the CEO of the company. That does not happen often in today’s business climate. Hat’s off to you sir.

I have seen many responses to posts by this guy and always with a measure of humility. There must be many off the wall types of folks out there that he has to deal with, and it cant be easy.

I have recently noticed more of a focus on “making” and “makers” recently, on the radio, on the web and in television advertising and it seems that we may be on the forefront of the revolution in our little corner of it, and I think we have a heckuva guy in the lead. The rest of the team desrves just as many kudos as thier leader as well, Because a leader is only as good as those he leads.
( you can exhale now, Zach. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:)


James, what nuts came loose on your X Carve?
I had all of my eccentric nuts come loose on the Z carriage and the X carriage, luckily though I was keeping a close eye on the entire machine at this point & was lucky enough to stop the machine & find the lost nuts.
After re installing the said nuts and adjusting the V Wheel (as per the X Carve instructions and recommended procedure) I visited the hardware store and got some nylon nuts & used those to “lock” the eccentric nut’s on my X Carve. Works a treat & haven’t had any more trouble. :slight_smile: I probably should lock all of the eccentric nuts while I’m at it now.
Good Luck & happy carving