Need help for consistent cut depth

I recently purchased my xcarve. The cut is not consistent from right to left - the right side of the cut is deeper than the left as shown in the picture below. Vwheels are all spinning (but not freely or too snugly), belts twang like a fender, and table is level (also in picture). I’m sort of at a loss for how to fix this error - it isn’t much but it’s clearly visible.

All help is appreciated!



I’m a new owner also, and have had the same experience as you. For now, it’s not been an issue for me, but it will be at some point.

Take a look at the first 15 minutes or so of this video. Food for thought:


Excellent!! I will try this tomorrow and report back on the results. I really think the business card issue and making sure the rails are level relative to each other will help a ton!

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Possible causes:

  • Materials are not even in thickness so when you zero off of the top of the material there will be depth variations.
  • Waste board not parallell to the Z axis => depth variations. Key word here is “Tramming / Skim cut”

The waste board does not have to be level.
It does need to be parallel with the X and Y axis.
Research skimming or surfacing waste board.


I worked on correcting this error for about 4 hours tonight. I just can’t get it. I did the business card trick… if front left was one card, front right was 4, back right was 4, and back left was 1. Everything else is level and square. I checked all the wheels again. I checked for squareness with the spindle. Checked all the screws everywhere to make sure they were all tight. Belt tension - check. We’re basically talking about 3 standard business cards difference from left to right.

My problem is that the text I’m cutting is only .02 inches deep. So 3 business cards on that from left to right is very noticeable…

I’m wondering if the x-axis gantry is off by just a little.

I ran one final test tonight. I hand jogged the spindle all the way to the front left and lowered the bit to touch the wasteboard. I then hand jogged the spindle to the front right to see the difference… somewhere between 3-4 business cards. I took those business cards and measured the thickness with the caliper… .055" or 1.397mm. That has to be within an acceptable range for a self-assembled machine right? I’m thinking that on larger projects without this level of detail it shouldn’t be terribly noticeable. I don’t really like the idea of shaving down the wasteboard.

Your waste board is level relative to what?

Add a 2nd sheet and skim cut it, that way you are sure the surface is level relative to Z which is what you want.

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Thanks Hal! I resigned myself to the fact that I’ll have to try that next. I guess I just don’t understand why, if everything is level and square, there is a variance. The wasteboard seems to be a consistent thickness throughout but perhaps the .05” just isn’t perceptible to my naked eye.

How big should this additional wasteboard be? Full table dimension?

Whatever size work for you :slight_smile:
Sometimes I just use small additional wasteboard, just large enough to hold the part I want to make.

Any variation will come from mechanical setup, material dimensions. While a CNC can be level, it dont assure precise level with Z height. Skimming do that. As far as the CNC care, you could place it in the ceiling :slight_smile:

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For that very reason I did not buy the fancy printed one, I made my own. Some details in the name WASTEBOARD.


Well exactly I know. Wasteboard is too dang pretty. Honestly inventables should make that the first project. Clamp a piece of mdf to the rails, level it with the router to make sure everything is in alignment.


How about a wasteboard, instead of being screen printed, made of multiple colors of MDF glued to show the pretty grid. As you face the board, the grid and logo never goes away!
Based on what I read in the forums there might be a market for that.

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Too true! Crap they could probably sell a little projector that superimposes the grid onto the wasteboard.

Just made mine out of 3/4 MDF. Shortly after getting the XC running I made a sharpie holder and printed the ruler for X and Y just outside the designated work area with 1/4 graduations. Very helpful reference for placing clamps out of the way for profile cuts.
I did later add an additional small wasteboard on top and when flattening it I created 1/16th bump stop for consistent alignment of material.

If I’m thinking through this correctly, if I make the new wasteboard smaller than the xcarve dimensions (I have 1000mm) then I’ll need to ensure the wasteboard never moves because if it does the reference will be lost. Or if it does move I’ll need to make sure to always reference to the same exact position.

I’m probably going to hold the wasteboard down with clamps and use double sided tape on cut material.

FWIW the silk screen in terms of precision offer very little and not something one depend upon.
Most set work zero relative to material anyways.

Should a fixed zero spot be desired, just make one and a bump stop to support it - and if anything changes redo the bump stop. IMO not really a concern :slight_smile:

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I dowelled my small waste board for repeatable alignment. It also has holes that match the inserts below.
I can hold it down with screws and/or clamp thru it.


A wasteboard is definitely the answer. As for the size, the X-Carve cannot cut the entire surface of your regular board. If you have items to cut that may hang over the end, then make the wasteboard small enough so that there is not a lip that gets in the way of the material. I occasionally need to cut on an aluminum bar that is longer than my cutting area on my 750x750 X-Carve. My wasteboard is about 18 inches deep and it is leveled all the way to the back. If the aluminum hangs off the back, there is no tilt. On a prior wasteboard, I made it too deep so I had a lip that I later had to deal with when using long material.

Another thing. I was concerned that my wasteboard may separate from the underlying board a little and I would never know. If I cut the wasteboard and then clamped my material down (using the inserts on the underlying board), I could drop the center of the wasteboard without knowing it and ruin the effect of my leveling. What I did was clamp the wasteboard down, then glue in wooden dowels to force the two boards into a constant relationship, then remove the clamps and level the board. The dowels were levels with the board. I am not sure if this made a difference or not, but my levels have been fairly good since I did this. When I want to remove the wasteboard, I know that I will have to drill out the dowels, but that should not be a big deal

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I noticed a little play when attaching the ends of the rail to the side brackets, so I made sure to push down on both sides when tightening so they would be even. Not sure if it’s enough to make a 4 biz card difference, but may be something to check.

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