I am at my wits end. I am about to sell this thing. I have two young kids so I am unable to get out to the shop much, so when I do, I’d like to be productive, or at least carve SOMETHING that just works without ruining the wood, skipping, going 90% well and then crapping out for whatever reason, etc.
I bought it around 18 months ago, but have used it for a successful project only once. The other 20 or so attempts have let me so frustrated. I have followed various tutorials (the screws in the X-axis to stiffen it), some y-axis stiffening with L brackets, followed the belt tensioning “guidelines”, etc. I upgraded to the Dewalt 611. Added the Suck-it dust-boot. I built a folding table and so on and so on. I don’t need this to be machining precision. I just want to carve a simple sign without having to try it 30 times, only to have to go back in to the house wanting to push my face through a plate glass window and come back to it sometime in the future and go through the same thing again.
I am not really sure what suggestions anyone can make as I am being somewhat vague regarding the issues, but truthfully, it could be anything, from speed and/or pass depth to incorrect machine setup, to … the wind blowing out of the east at 23.3 mph.
I am wondering if anyone in the Austin, TX area has one and is using it successfully and would be willing to come give me some pointers or let me come to them to get some pointers.
Hopefully this results in something positive for my x-carve, otherwise, check the for-sale section soon.
I am sorry you are having such issues with the Xcarve. I started using the machine when it was a Shapeoko 2 and have since upgraded mine to a 1000mm X-carve. So I understand frustrations and a steep learning curve. I wish I lived closer as I would be more then willing to come over and help but since I am in Iowa that is just not an option. What I can offer is feedback to your questions and concerns. I too understand having kids as my daughter takes up some serious time anyways. If you want to explain the problems in more detail (or take a video of what is going wrong) we can see if we can sort it out with you. I would even be willing to take some videos showing how to fix your specific problems. My setup might be a little different then yours (since I have an upgraded Shapeoko 2) but I am willing to give it a go. Really after you get it dialed in the machine can be very fun to use but even now after using it for 3+ years I still run into strange issues I need to work through.
The issues I am having are various. The project seemingly goes fine and then, boom. It goes off track. I am not exactly sure what I would see when one describes “chatter” but there are times, especially on curves (like the letter “O”) that it appears to be … stuttering, briefly, but I don’t know if it is chatter or how the g-code is generated for the small steps required for the curve. I have already run through the pot adjustment when I was getting obvious skipping, a while back, and that seems to correct it, but maybe now my skipping is just less obvious?
For this last carve, I did a 1/16th bit on the Dewalt 611 with a speed of 30ipm and a depth of .02 (on Cherry). This is supposedly conservative. It was going well and then one of the letters toward the end was shifted over about an inch to the right of where it should have been. My overall depth for the letters (a simple profile) was 1/16th of an inch. I just wanted something simple to see if I could get it to work at all, without taxing the machine. No luck.
My Dewalt is set to 3 for the speed. I use Aspire and set the 1/16th bit with a stepover of 20% and the settings I mentioned above. I also set the rpm to 20000 based on what I have read here about the timing tests done on the 611.
So, I feel like I have done quite a bit over the last year or so to make the best of it and try to figure it out, but haven’t had much luck. I have read varying things on the tension of the belts and have tried various things. I think I remember reading something about being able to raise it about an inch with your finger … or some pull test like that, but it has been a while.
Anyway, I am not sure if that helps answer any questions regarding the issues.
Hum! I read your comments and do understand your concern. I am new to CNC world I do have a 1000m X-Carve which I got only few weeks ago. So far I broke few bits already and it gets upset. However, reading tons of comments and material submitted by hundred of X-carve users who makes all kinds of suggestions and wants to help to solve some issues, it still that Inventables (even with their good intention of an open system) the responsibility being the designer of the devices to help and support their client (Indeed, they do a good job), but it seems that they are overwhelmed by the amount of questions (specially from beginners like me) to respond to several questions daily. Indeed, I notice a lack of written material such as books or data info about specially the preliminary set-up process of the X-carve machine. There is good material and pictures upon the assembly of the unit. Beside pictures Inventables provides videos of the mounting process, you need to pay great attention about the mounting of the unit (I had to dismantle and reassemble due of wrongly mounted in the first place) because I did wrong in the first place.
I am still in communication with Inventables - Support group, they respond to my concerns in most cases, sometime they want me to send a picture or even a video of my mishaps so we can clear the matter and carve successfully my project.
Training and ‘‘trial an error’’ it is the hard way to learned, but at the end of the day, you will be successful. Do not give up keep plugging… Cheers…
It can be frustrating. There is a learning curve both for the software, settings, and hardware.
Plus tracking down a mechanical / calibration issue…
I recommend considering the upgraded X axis rail. It makes a HUGE difference.
Also check you belts and pulleys, then check them again. There is a reason the new upgraded version used motors with the pulleys permanently attached. (If your motors don’t have a flat spot in the shaft for the set screw you might want to consider using a Dremel to make one.)
Also look to make sure your belt is not chewed up or damaged. After one bad jam a couple of teeth on a belt got squished and caused me no end of grief until I figured it out.
And after all I have done I still need to adjust my v wheels from time to time.
Pretty much, when the x- Carve was first released there wasn’t a correct post file type offered by vetric, that’s since been corrected and is built into the software. Open an existing project create a cut path and then when you save the g-code right under the file name see what post file is selected, it should say either “x-carve in, or x-carve mm” depending on how your machine is setup.
I like to take people at their word. You have said that you have looked at your hardware and you don’t think you have a problem in your build so let’s explore other options.
I’ve had mine for a little while now (1yr) and I’ve had your major problem twice, by major I mean the bit wondering off coarse towards the end of a cut. The first time was when I still used Easel, I know Inventables says you don’t need an internet connection to work but in fact you do, so are you using wireless? If so how strong a connection, can you run a Cat5 from the router to the computer to test? The second time was not that long ago. I use dust collection on my setup and even though it’s grounded, I had an occasion where the hose touched the z Axis motor and sent a 1/4" bit in a wild direction when it was 3/4" deep into a cut, talk about a oh crap moment. Every other time I’ve had a problem it was something stupid I’ve done, either in my setup hardware wise or software wise. (PS, #3 speed setting w/ a 1/16 2 flute is way to fast drop it down to 1 at 30 to 40 IPM depending on material and the chattering will just about go away.)
I agree with everyone else, if you could please post you file so others could look at it that would be a great help. If you could post your GRBL settings that would help, if you could post a vid of the machine going nuts that would get you a long way towards finding the root issue. I’m heading out of town tomorrow but I’ll keep looking at the post. If you don’t have it solved by the this weekend I’ll give you my number and we can setup a team viewer session and I should be able to go through it at least on the computer side.
Thanks so much for the thorough response! I’ll check my settings this weekend and get back to you with more information. Also, I forgot to mention that I am not really using easel. I generate the g-code in Aspire (using the x-carve in setting) and then UGS to send the g-code to the controller. So the connection speed is not an issue.
I don’t want to discourage you but I think your expectations for this machine are a little too high, this is a “hobby grade” machine so it needs constant attention especially the 1000mm version. The 500mm version has less stiffness related problems.
In my case I started a few years ago with the original Shapeoko2, that I upgraded with NEMA23 motors and 1000mm rails. At that point, I got a lot of reliability issues, belt slipping, V weels getting loose etc. I managed to use it relatively successfully with a constant cleaning and maintenance routine that I did before each job. When the first X-Carve upgrade came out I upgraded my machine, it helped a little but the X axis was not stiff enough for the DWP611 router. I know that there’s a new upgrade kit available with a new X axis rail and a new controller but at that point I decided that it did not make sense for me to continue investing more money in this machine because this upgrade will not solve belt slips and debris blocking the V wells etc. I think the x-carve can be a good entry-level machine for someone who doesn’t mind the fact that the CNC will become a hobby in itself. But it’s not a good machine for someone who just want something done reliably in a specific time frame once the machine is built, it’s not gonna happen, it will need constant adjustments, modifications etc.
Personally, I decided to go with a higher end machine because it didn’t make sense for me to spend all this time maintaining this machine and keep wasting expensive carbon fiber sheets.
I’ll follow up some more this weekend, but I was able to get out there this morning and run a quick job (30 minutes or so). This was the same job that had failed a couple of times before. I checked all of the set screws on the pullies, tightened the belts, and checked and tightened the eccentric nuts. I also ran some compressed air over all of the v-wheels and the machine. In all honesty, everything I did here was simply a check-up as the wheels, pully set screws, etc were all seemingly fine.
But, I am convinced that these two recommendations were the driving force for success:
On a 1/16th inch bit, to turn the Dewalt speed down to 1 vs the 3 I was using. @JeffAnderson
The Aspire bezier curve fix. Wow, what a difference. I had NO idea that is was doing that with all of those points. @RobertCanning
I ran with those 2 changes and a 40IPM. I felt it could have been pushed faster while it was running, but that comes with more experimentation.
So, another question. What is the best (simplest) way to determine the Dewalt speed per bit size and type? And the IPM. I have seen people post about software to calculate it, spreadsheets, etc. But I haven’t had much luck with that either, but now that I fixed the other two issues, maybe that wasn’t really my issue after all.
Bonjour Jean Marc, Reading your comments, I can understand as to what to expect from the X-carve. As indicated by Phil Johnson, you need to perform regular maintenance on a so small CNC. Over and above the maintenance, (I have a 1000mm machine) I isolate the waste board on the main table with an absorbing vibration rubberized (about 1’’) material. The spinner D611 create quite high pitch vibration cycles which do affect the overall performance on a long run of the X-Carve. It is unfortunate that Inventables do not make any comment about schedule maintenance and cleanup of the equipment. Anyhow, regular maintenance is required specially on such small CSC machine.
Brian, here is the formula I use to find my maximum IPM feed rate for my bits on the 1000mm X-Carve and adjust accordingly:
Feed rate (in/min)= D (bit diameter) x .02 (2% chip load) x # of flutes x RPM (setting 1 on Dewalt 611 is 16,000)
Thus: for an 1/8" endmill, .125" x .02 x 2 flutes x 16,000= 80 IPM
This should get you close to where you want to be feed-wise. For depths, generally in machining you should be able to go as deep as the diameter of the bit. However, with a less rigid machine like the X-Carve, I’ve noticed that I have to cut that number in half depending on the material, bit size, and feed rate. These are good starter settings and you can play with them from there to find the sweet spot your machine prefers.