Noob questions!

First ever sign today and not a bad attempt.
(Pine with 4mm down cut bit and 6mm 60°V bit) I’m amazed how intricate it can carve.
I did run into a few issues. The first one is pockets of deeper areas from the rough cut. I assume I’m not setting my z axis accurately enough when changing bits? I don’t have a probe yet.
Secondly what is the difference (from a finishing pov between these 2 bits? Where would one be better to use than the other.
Finally I stained this wood before cutting but when I clear wax the finished piece, the stain drags into the white. Is it ok to stain AND wax the blank before carving? I prefer the finish
of wax to sprayed lacquer.
Thanks for all advice given.

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If you have a multimeter, a pair of calipers, and a flat piece of metal stock, you can probe that way.

Just do the following

  1. Move the machine into the position where you want to probe.
  2. Hook the negative probe to the metal stock.
  3. Move the bit down very close to the metal stock.
  4. Turn the multimeter to the conductivity setting.
  5. Gently hold the positive probe to the upper portion of the bit close to the collet (to prevent deflection).
  6. Move the machine down with the jog function and the smallest increment possible until the multimeter starts beeping.
  7. Remove the multimeter leads.
  8. Raise the bit by 0.1 in.
  9. Remove the metal stock that you used.
  10. Lower the bit by 0.1 in. plus the thickness of the metal stock as measured with calipers.
  11. Tell Easel to “Use New Position” when asked.

You really just need a very flat piece of metal (even an aluminum ruler will work…), a pair of calipers, and the multimeter. This is obviously a manual operation, but it is very easy and does not take time at all.

As far as the stain and wax go, something in the wax stuff might be acting as a solvent if the stain is running after it is dried. Maybe if you used Oramask (or equivalent) after staining, carved through it, and waxed the carved parts first. Let the wax settle into the carved areas and cure. Then remove the Oramask, and wax the stained part. It might prevent the stain from running; just a thought…


Brandon Parker

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Not setting the Z identically is a common issue that can cause this outcome, however another common thing that can also cause this even with z set perfectly is using an upcut bit, which can actually pull the wood up and flex the gantry down, carving deeper than programmed…

a single flute upcut would really perform when milling plastics as it does a great job at making larger chips, which help extract the heat and help prevent melting and re-fusing of the material…
The other would be for more general uses, it has a nice flat bottom as well, so good for flat bottoms.

it really all depend on the type of stain used, and whether you can used a non-laquer type spray finish… personally I think laquer looks too plastic and I prefer a water based polyurethane spray finish. Using a stain that dries better might work better for you,… I use the non-penetrating type from varathane with great results.

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Great idea Brandon. I tried the multimeter hack today and it works great :+1:t2: many thanks.


Many thanks Seth for such a comprehensive run down. It’s good of you to take the time my friend. Thx.

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