Pretty frustrating installation [march 2017 xcarve 1000mm]

The instructions go from great to zero. Here’s my comments based on just finishing the setup and not having done a test carve yet.


The instructions start getting seriously lacking by the time you’re installing the chains and limit switches.

I seem to have an issue where the V-wheels get tight the closer I get to the top of the z axis, the first many times, the acme rod would get loose from the motor, I couldn’t figure it out. I adjusted the top vwheels to make it as wide as possible and the problem persists, I guess I will look to see if the screw is perpendicular?

None of the parts for the controller are pieced out with numbers. The instructions show an old controller.

How do I install the collet and get it back out? How do I assemble and use the clamps?

The software is so frustrating. So much time was spent on presentation, but it’s just super frustrating when you try and use it:

REMEMBER SETTINGS. I have maybe had to enter that i have an xcarve with 1 meter gantry and acme screw like 16 times and this is day one. An entire page dedicated to “save spindle preference” that DOESNT save the preference… Make all these one single page that includes XYZ jogging and a stop button. Allow the user to save prefs and load them from a file.

GIVE A BACK BUTTON. The process is broken into many full page steps, but the implementation of the website means tat when the user presses ‘back’ on their browser, they’re dumped to the easel page and all setup is lost ::facepalm::

ONE PAGE: Keep it simple. Breaking the process into many pages means that you have many more contexts to deal with. As you don’t really tell someone where to place the screw that hits the switches, chances are they are going to need to press “STOP” and then move the screw. When pressing STOP you land on a page that allows you to either reverse the motor, or say a switch is faulty. Again, going back is not possible due to website design, so the user must move a screw a few MM and START OVER COMPLETELY.

DIRECTION OF GANTRY MOVEMENT. Remember the great animated gifs in the early instructions? By the end there’s nothing, not even a diagram with an arrow. Not even a note telling the user that the Y+ and X+ are in the lower left of the wasteboard. Upon first hookup, wiring to the EXACT DIAGRAM, the thing moves inverted. Many would think that this is how the machine works, they go on to home and it slams the router into the wasteboard and rolls the vwheels right off the z. Come on guys. First off, how, when following your wiring instructions, are axis not moving properly? Second, at least show an image with an arrow telling people what normal movement is.

PROBE. You set it up and it asks you to touch the thing to the spindle. Great. The z didn’t move, so how does it know what the correct depth is? How does the probe work… software tells you nothing.

FIRST CARVE. after you set things up, how do you get back to the first carve page? How do you attach a bit? How do you use the supplied collet? How do you get it out of the dewalt when it is in? How do you use clamps? How do you assemble the clamps? What do the colors mean on the clamps? What do the colors mean on the bits? What bit should be used for the first carve? Where do you place the board?

So many questions… it’s a real shame, it’s like the person writing the docs just got bored 3/4 of the way in.

There is definitely a learning curve to CNC.

There is a great community here to help answer questions. The search feature at the top of the forums should bring up just about every issue you might have. If you have a new one, someone will definitely have some advice.

The staff from Inventables are regular participants on the forum.

I cound a video here showing how to use some of the clamps:

However, zero information on how to clamp something when the default board is right at 0,0. Is the image the bed, or is the image the coordinate space? Is it 0,0 of the material? Or 0,0 of the bed? Because it’s not possible to clamp something to 0,0 of the bed.

I have been looking on the forum, but when starting, you don’t know the lingo. Look at my statement above, I don’t know if it’s called the bed, or the waste board, or the surface…

Ok, so anyone with these questions about 0,0. If you do the setup process again, from scratch, it will dump you on the test carve page (I don’t know how else to get there) Doing the test carve requires you to zero the ‘machine’ and also the ‘material’. before you can start. So that answers that question. The axis presented in easel are the local axis to the material, they just look like the bed, the material does not need to be in the left corner.

Hopefully, I won’t confuse you more, but zero is where you set the start point of your project. Zero can be any place on the wasteboard.

I am new to XCarving as well having just setup a new 1000 unit myself. I agree with you about the instructions and basic essentials. There’s a dearth of ‘beginner-level’ instructions on the Inventables web site to explain even the simplest topics of getting started etc. For example, nothing discusses the Z probe until you get ready to perform your first carve and that little wizard interface walks you through it.

I’d like to see the instructions given to someone who’s never setup an XCarve and then observe them and rewrite the broken parts of it…like the backwards axis movements; mine worked the same way.

The people at Inventables are very helpful, however, it appears to me the attitude is to push customers to the forums for you to search through and find answers for yourself. As part of the open-source/open-build/DIY environment, we’re expected to figure it all out on our own.

Now, having said that, the forums have some GREAT folks who are on the forum boards every single day who can and will quite readily answer your questions; even going to great lengths to help you get your machine tweaked and working perfectly. Inventables would be struggling immensely without those helpful volunteers on these forums; they just don’t have the manpower to do it themselves…so remember, when you gather up and build a wealth of experience, return often and contribute. We all benefit from a wide collection of community knowledge.

Hang in there, READ as much as you can here and be patient. I’ve already thrown Easel and Inventables under the bus only to be ‘corrected’ by someone with more knowledge than myself. It takes time to figure out these machines; sometimes the only way is through trial and error.

If you hit the magnifying glass icon at the top right of the page and type “zero”, you will get a lot of hits. There are a lot of topics. I would definitely take a little time to read. You’ll learn more about machine zero and work zero than I can retype in a reasonable amount of time.

The best advice I can give you is to enjoy the process. This is an incredible machine, the likes of which was out of reach for most of us just a few years ago.

There is much to learn and experience. We all went through it in the beginning, but we got there eventually and so will you.


Patience my friend. Watch the videos and search the forums. I didn’t waste any time while I waited for this machine (2 months). I’ve been using it for a couple weeks now. If you’re new to cnc’s there is no substitute for getting educated. I’m extremely please with the machine but I had to learn (crawl, walk, run). You’ll get there and the people here are willing to help.

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I was just trying to give feedback. I work at a company that makes 3d software that millions of people use. I got everything working, I just disagree that you should need to hop on the forums to finish setup and print a first print. I guess I sounded a bit frustrated, I screwed together and wired the last parts for 10 hours on my birthday, so when the default wiring led to the thing slamming my z/spindle into the MDF I got a bit angry, I actually think this may have resulted in the odd z axis issue I am having.

The first few pages are so well done, with diagrams and animated gifs… hell if the docs just said “Your machine will walk you through the steps of clamping your board down and zeroing your board on the bed.” --BOOM, that would be super helpful. But since it’s a machine with a cutting end mill, I didn’t want to click the CARVE button until my board was clamped and local coordinate system was setup.

Here’s my first carving, I am very surprised by the speed of the machine, the z/spindle shakes a bit, but i think it’s because my v-wheels get looser the farther down the z (as discussed above)

I find myself wanting to move the gantry to look at my final product or something, why not have gantry buttons accessible at all times on the right or somewhere? or on the faceplate, there was zero documentation about the play pause stop buttons, I assume they match the ones in the app. I would pay extra for physical gantry moving buttons, I’ll look for an aftermarket thing.

Phil, your stepover image was great, you’re a hero! Your video would have helped me, I think because I searched for 0,0 and not the word zero, I didn’t see it.

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Please tell me you work at Pixologic and you get get me in the beta process :smiley:

I did search the forum. My feedback about the software and instructions is completely valid. I can’t believe you’re defending that, it’s just not implemented in the best way. There’s a difference between saying there’s room to improve a process, or that something is wrong in documentation --and being ignorant.

Did you read where I and other users said that following the wiring instructions led to the z slamming into the table? This is following the instructions, and we’re not talking about paper instructions, but on a server that could be updated/improved at any time.

Are you saying that on every page of the instructions the user should search the forum to check if they’re valid? I mean, you don’t need to answer that, I just don’t get your logic.

One thing you can count on is Inventables making improvements. The machine that is shipping now has many improvements over the first generation.

Soldering header pins, anyone?

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I tried to have this conversation before and I also was told that I was ignorant, but I can not help but to try again, If you (that right YOU) have a part of the instructions that you do not understand then you really need to search the forum as there is more likely an answer in the forum that will answer/clarify what you do not understand. this thing is open sourced so input from everyone is what makes answers for problems resolved and in the end make the product more usable for everyone, if you do not like it then you have that option to change it, it really is that simple. it is not anyone’s responsibility to make you happy with the end result but you, you will make this what you want. the more you put in the more you will get back.

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We certainly don’t want anyone to feel like they are being called ignorant. Messages on a forum don’t always accurately capture the authors intent.

For me personally,there is nothing more frustrating than computer related issues. Software or hardware not working or failing will get my jaw clenched faster than just about anything.

Suggestions and questions are never discouraged.


I meant ‘ignorant’ as in not knowing. This thread is largely about documentation being incorrect, wiring diagrams not being correct. Design and software issues like the back button in the browser not going back to the previous page.

As I said, the comments are valid. Wiring the machine up following the diagrams lead to the z axis screwing into the wasteboard. The software needs work, etc.

I don’t see anyone refuting that, only people chiming in saying it is correct and they had the same issue. Then others saying “RTFF” and basically “the issues are your fault for following the inventables instructions and not groping along blindly through the forum for disjointed and unofficial user tips”, :poop:

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I completely understand. I’ve been trying to set my dollops per inch all morning and get this project finished.


Hey, @ChrisEvans - Thanks for all the constructive feedback!

We are always making tweaks and adjustments to the instructions, and it would be most helpful if you could send in your feedback to us directly. Our Customer Success (CS) team helps write and edit the instructions. We’re a small team, so we don’t get the chance to read through everyone’s forum posts. If you could send your feedback to us we can work on getting some changes made.

I’ve also shared your Easel feedback with our software engineering team, as they’re always looking for ways to improve the Easel experience (especially the setup, as that’s most user’s introduction to the program and it benefits everyone to have it be a positive experience). We’ll pool your thoughts with other feedback submissions. Hopefully, we can get some ideas implemented for future users.

Again, it would be great if you could send your instructions feedback to the CS team directly. Let me know if I can help with anything else. Thanks again for your thoughtful feedback!


Will do. Thank you guys for taking feedback and allowing the community to comment and help improve the x-carve!