Need Help... about at the end of my rope

Have an x-carve 1000mm that we purchased this past spring. When cutting out projects I get places that don’t cut all the way through.

I have leveled each corner using my probe and business card as a feeler gauge.
I have made a waste board to go on top of my factory one and used a fly cutter to true it to my spindle.
Using calipers to measure material
Have added up to .020" and still at time will have the spots or added to much that my tabs fail and pieces come loose and ruin project.

These “spots” that don’t cut all the way through are random. Cutting back to back projects, some will be better than other and some much worse. Current process and hold finish work up to lights and if I can see through the material that is left I will attempt to sand. If I can’t see light, scrap… This is creating a ton of clean up on parts that should be close to complete off of the router.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Was so excited to get this router and starting to hate to even bother with it.


Have you tried the glue and tape method? It will allow you to cut thru deeper without tabs.


You can increase the length and height of your tabs. Increasing the height will help with your problem. What type of wood are you using? If your wood isn’t flat that would cause some problems with the Z axis and cutting through. Keep at it and you will figure it out

Thanks for the replies, I haven’t tried tape or glue. As far as material, I have used 1/2 and 3/4 MDF, 1/4, 3/8, 1/2 and 3/4 inch plywood ranging from the cheapest to birch. Same result on all. I did try increasing the tab height on a cut tonight and added .020" to my material thickness. Didn’t lose my tabs but still had spots that didn’t cut all the way through.

And you said that you surfaced the piece of MDF that you put on top of the waste board?
MDF is usually pretty flat, not plywood not so much

Yes, surfaced the waste board. crazy thing is that I get the same results using the added waste board or just putting a scrap piece under what I am cutting.

Couple thoughts:

  1. You mentioned earlier you were using a probe. Are you using this probe to set your Zero?
  2. You confirmed the probe thickness is set correctly in easel?
  3. You have calibrated your Z axis?

Yes, using the z probe to set my height. As far as calibrating my z, I made sure it was square to the table.
I haven’t confirmed it in easel since installation last spring. I will check that tomorrow and will reply with results.

Thank you for your time.

Are you using calipers to measure the actual depth of the wood? Often will find a random thickness for woods (except for completely synthetic boards like MDF). I always measure the stock using my Mitutoyos and add 0.01" to the thickness. And like mentioned earlier, when I switched to tape and glue my quality of profiling went way up, it seems the act of moving around the tab makes it less happy, and the tape/glue method is so easy (see @PhillipLunsford’s youtube channel - he has a good video on the technique, but essentially you are making your own on the fly double-stick tape out of 2 sheets of blue painters tape). And make sure your scrap is not warped (that happened today, needed an extra clamp to flatten it.

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By calibrating he meant wether the step/mm value ($102) is verified.
Do a 1" jog command = 1" actual, exact travel?

Using the calipers that came with the machine. I measure at least all four sides of my blank depending on the size.

I see. I will check that today after work

It will take a couple of z axis calibrations to really sneak up on its accuracy and use something really accurate to check it. Digital calipers are good for this. Also check to make sure your wheels aren’t so loose that the machine flexes. My wheels just turn under hand pressure.

You’ll want to change $102 to adjust the Z. Here are the settings for GRBL.

Here is my response in this following thread as it’s a numerical ratio that produces the number you type in for $100, 101, or 102.

I first would make sure that the belts are tensioned, the wheels are tight, but not too tight, and that the pulleys are not loose on the motors. Then I’d put a straight bit in the router so you have a sharp edge to gauge the measurement. You need to keep doing the math until the movements are as accurate as you can get it. It’s a ratio of what you want to what you get. (20/19.875) x $159.70 = 1.006 x 159.70= $160.70 as the new number for the Y axis. These numbers could change after you tighten things up though…so it’s just an example.

Thank you for your reply. Will run some test tonight and see what I get.

You can change the height too? HAHA. I had no idea. UGH


Ran Z 1" with a dial indicator. Down read 1.001 and up went back to zero. You guys know better than I do but .001, I wouldn’t think that would create all the fuss… thoughts?

The problem lies elsewhere.

If carve depth is “all over the place” and randomly so, the next question then is do the bit return to the correct Z-position after the carve have finished?

If yes, then there is mechanical play on your Z
If no, then something is slipping on your Z-assembly. Set screws, screw block, bit in collet etc.

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Another thing to consider is machine rigidity. I have the 750 model and I can imagine the 1000 can only be more susceptible to this. For example, I was having a similar issue where the depth of a cut would not match at certain spots on the stock. Worse was that sometimes it would not happen. I had tightened down the frame, belts, wheels, etc and added a waste board that I faced. All this in an attempt to figure out the problem and implement a slotuon in a similar manner to what the OP describes. I struggled for quite some time to find the source of this odd behavior and eventually found it. My machine is mounted on a rigid, flat table, but often, when the job was getting close to the end I would approach the machine to inspect the work and inadvertently lean gently with one hand on the waste board. That was enough to warp the machine and distort the vertical axis. What i realized was that with typical stock like wood the cuts were deep enough that I was not noticing this action. It was when I was carving out traces on a PCB with a 0.15mm depth that made this obvious.

Then I started paying attention and noticing more closely that even the pulling (up cut) or pushing (down cut) action of a milling bit working against the secured stock could have this effect. I noticed it more with larger bits which take larger bites, like the 1" facing bit.

So in short my contribution to this thread in hopes that it helps in some way is to really check the rigidity of the setup, don’t lean on the machine or cause the surface the machine rests on to warp and try taking shallower passes in an attempt to see if that gives you better consistency.

Good luck!

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