Realistic Capabilities of the X-Carve with Dewalt Router

Hi Everyone

I am putting together a number of X-Carve videos and also looking at cutters. You may have seen my various X-Carve build and commissioning videos and perhaps even the Ultimate Dust Boot.

I have been looking at the rule of thumb linking pass depth and step over which is the background of the even more general rule that cut depth should be no more than cutter radius. I am also looking at Chipload for various cutters and basing this on manufacturers’ recommendations.

However, the figures that I am getting for a variety of cutters that one might expect to use on an X-Carve look just a bit (pun) too optimistic. The rigidity of the gantry, accuracy of position and so on are factors which limit the actual performance.

So, I would like to enlist your help in compiling some realistic toolpath parameters for the X-Carve with different types and diameters of tool. For example, stating a cutter type and its diameter then reporting the pass depth and step over achieved for a given material and given router speed (I am happy if people just say what number the speed dial was set at on the Dewalt as that will help more people). It would also be nice if you are aware of the chipload for the cutter and then able to say whether it was the limiting factor in your toolpath settings.

This may be a rather big ask but having looked through the topics in this section I think that a better understanding of this area may solve some of the problems that people are experiencing. I am not trying to knock the X-Carve but feel it is important for us all to be realistic about its capabilities - expectation management is a key factor in product satisfaction!

The figures or tables produced may be a great help to the guys doing the work on taking Easel forward.

Many thanks in advance.


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Hi Angus

You are right on each point. After I put the first post up I realised that there should be two separate cases as the small X-Carve is bound to be more rigid. I did not think of the possibility that some will have done a stiffening mod - we will have to get people to say if their machine has had a blue tablet !

I am right in the middle of filming a tricky sequence but will tackle your brilliant idea of the form later - unless, of course, someone from the Inventables team wants to take this on and control this thread from now on. The form will allow data to be aggregated into usable tables that show recommended or suggested ranges or limits for particular cutters. It will also (well done again) allow different stiffening mods to be compared as long as the owners do not exaggerate their efforts.



Google Spreadsheets are by far the best collaborative spreadsheets available.

Hi Angus,

I think Dad went onto those pills in his late nineties !

I will try and work out some detail on the form over the next few days. I will also check out what Google can do.

Many thanks.



This is simply brilliant - well done and many thanks for getting involved. I think that this will lead to a very useful resource which will help many people.



Okay - no problem.

Many thanks for your efforts,

Please would you delete your post with the form otherwise people will be providing incomplete data.


Hi Everyone

I now have a way forward that will not require any data gathering and will be independent of the model, modifications and build quality of a given X-Carve.

Here is a copy of a post that I put on the “Started to get a bit frustrated” thread:

"I think that it would help a lot of people to get Chipload explained as well as the other nuances of the depth=half diameter rule of thumb.

I am working on a video about this right now. It will be relevant to the hand held router user, the table router user and the CNC user.

In this video I will devise a specific test for X-Carve rigidity in the X-Y plane which will help users identify the maximum feed rate and step down/over for their particular machine. This will make the test independent of the modifications and even build quality of the specific machine. I am still thinking about the Z direction and may leave this to a later date.

My aim is to help people reduce their disappointments and increase their enjoyment and productivity.

I may have to enlist some additional help from forum members or the folks at Inventables.

I will repeat this post on the other thread for completeness."

Once the video work is complete I will report back. I hope my idea will work - it is a simple approach which everyone will be able to do themselves and people can share their results on this forum and have a better understanding of how their machine compares to others and therefore whether they need to tinker or upgrade certain parts.



Looking forward to a technical approach on catalogizing realistic operations of x-carve and I would be happy to provide data on my projects with various wood types such as pecan, oak, cherry, maple, teak, and pine.

Many thanks Charles. I see that Inventables have done some work in this area but I hope that we can fill in a few gaps.


The first of the series of videos that will lead to some examples of suitable cutters for the X-Carve and Dewalt is now up on YouTube.

In this video I give a very basic overview of Chipload:

In my next video I will look at servicing the X-Carve and checking its performance. This will then be followed by the CNC cutter video, again X-Carve related. My aim is to help people to understand what they can realistically expect from their X-Carve and therefore have more enjoyment from it.

I will start new threads for each of these two videos.



Great video, thanks.

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Hi Everyone

For your information - I have just created a new thread and attached my Chipload spreadsheet which contains maximum theoretical and probable practical maxima feed rates for the X-Carve.

The thread is “Chipload and X-Carve Expectations”.