Troubleshooting for close to a month now

Hey guys. I’m having memory issues that are rendering easel virtually useless. I really don’t know what to do next. Even fairly basic carves sit in perpetual “simulating details” often for 5 minutes before generating. Then, god forbid I have to change something on the screen, it starts all over again.

I’ve tried all of the following: changed browser from Chrome to firefox (seemed to be worse)
-changed power saving settings to performance
-no sleep mode
-prioritized RAM allotment to Easel
-ran an ethernet cable instead of wireless
-changed computers
-updated my drivers (I think?)
-closed unused applications
-checked my ground wire
-plugged tower an computer into dedicated circuits

Easel - Copy of Untitled

this one takes 6 minutes to load

then when it is ready, my carves will often crash halfway through.

more sad than frustrated at this point.

Hi Sean,

You would need to setup your project and project position. The depth of your carve was set to zero.
I would ditch the Vbit for now until you get the setting working for you.

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It’s your design.

I notice the same thing with overly complex tool paths.

Have you noticed this problem with other designs? More simple designs?

The processing is not done on your computer anyway as this is a cloud based software. Your computer is just sending commands and displaying results through your browser.

Also, if you are v carving with custom bits, pay special attention to the bit diameter.

It gives you a different program based on the diameter you type in for the V bit. Even in cases where it should not.

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Hey John,

Thanks so much for the reply. In fact I have noticed it in other carves. This one is, perhaps, a bad example because of how many parts and layers it has.

There is a very specific set of symptoms that occur during the carve that will let me know it is doomed, and it’s just a matter of time before it crashes. First, I will lose my simulation. I like to watch the simulation in real-time about 30 seconds ahead of the machine to watch for problems. The screen will stutter (like a quick reload) and my preview will go blank. From then I just wait for the machine to crash.

I spent almost 2 weeks with the machine down making a concerted effort to fix all of the issues. I was feeling really good about it- and this one crashed 3/4 through. No bit change.

Any ideas would be super helpful!

Hey Ken,

Thanks for the reply! I did start deconstructing this one, and I didn’t even realize how heavily layered it was.

I will definitely ‘simplify’ this one and work backwards cutting back to 1 bit for the sake of troubleshooting- but this is the one that got me:

After all of my efforts, this is the second carve I tried (the first went fine) and it crashed about 45 minutes into it. I’m becoming an expert at saving crashed work though.

The problem seems to be getting progressively worse since December (the first time it happened and I reported to easel). I accounted it to my work growing more complex- but its struggling to simulate renderings that I feel like it didn’t have a problem with 6 months ago.

All of these symptoms point to my machine being the problem- so I even changed the damn tower out for my office computer- and hardwired the internet.

I’m struggling here.

Edit: The Marion Creative crashed about 10-12 minutes into a 16 minute carve. Not 45 as stated

This statement is actually not quite accurate, the toolpath IS generated on the user’s PC and rely’s on adequate RAM and a decent processor. This can be user proven by setting the PC to airplane mode and then running the sim or calculating the gcode file, or running the carve…

there’s also this FAQ from inventables about this…

Note that the Marion Creative has some tabs, but the placement and quantity isn’t going to hold the cut pieces in place properly, this could be a reason for the crash, the first part that is cut is the A hole and it has zero tabs in there to hold it in place.

here’s a tab denoted by the yellow, but notice there are not any to hold the A-Center in place, and there is only one tab for the rest of the letter… the center piece (unless held in place using double sided tape from below) will certainly lift up and cause the bit to jam when the gantry tries to move into the next location…

it sounds like the page is refreshing, this will certainly cause a loss of connection to the CNC once the gcode that’s qued on the machine istelf is complete then the cnc will stop and the Z axis will begin to slowly lower due to gravity… OR if it’s engaged in a cut, the motors will not hold position and the router spinning will just cause it to slowly drive itself around randomly…

I’d suggest opening another tab or browser window and previewing the simulation in that other one while leaving the one that’s running the carve to keep doing it’s thing, that way it doesn’t refresh on you. That said, personally I always download the gcode, then use a different software to send the gcode to the cnc, one that is not browser based which ensures it doesn’t refresh like that, ever… (OpenBuilds Control is the sender software that I use)

Seth- thanks again. I will for sure look into sending the gcode to the machine with a non browser-based program. I’m not sure what that means yet- but hopefully I will by the end of the day.

This all makes a lot of sense. I didn’t understand that the code is essentially sent in chunks to the machine. This would explain why my screen would go out- and then I’d know to hover over my mouse to stop the carve in anywhere from 2-6 minutes. It ran out of code?

On the tab’s issue- I’ll put more thought into placement in the future. I was cutting 1/2" PVC in 2 passes at like 160ipm so the cuts ended up clean without knocking the work around at all. I have made the mistake with 1" hardwood before and damaged the piece severely before I could grab the mouse.
Seth- I would love to one day have the skills and knowledge that you have. Did you go to school for this or is it all stuff you learned yourself?

as for the standalone sender program, this is what I use: Best CNC Software is OPENBUILDS CONTROL - Cool Features - YouTube

It’s a really long story, but basically i got a small desktop cnc back in 2017 and was learning as much as i could on the weekends and right as i bought a 4ftx4ft machine my company closed when covid started in 2020 and i had a little over 2 years of me time to spend wherever i wanted and i chose cnc… like probably too much time… and by helping others, mostly through the multiple cnc facebook groups, I’ve managed to learn a lot along my own journey.
Now I’ve got 6 cnc’s, 4 laser engravers, and 3 3d printers in my shop (a few are shelved, I’m not actually using them all at once) I’ve been blessed enough that I’ve only paid for 4 of them though the others have been provided by brands who wanted their product tested/reviewed, or a red-lined assembly guide, or a random giveaway I won by joining their livestream when the company was in its infancy and they were doing weekly giveaways to boost the customer base…

Yes the processing is done on your computer. This runs Javascript, javascript executes on YOUR machine not on the cloud computer, the cloud server only provides the javascript that is downloaded to your computer, your browser executes this javascript and it runs like a program in your browser. The problem is that it’s memory intensive. I’ve had issues with Easel and it being a memory hog.

The computer I have in my shop is just a Raspberry pi, but I don’t run easel on it. I use Sammy Kamkar’s method, where I have just the easel driver installed on the shop raspberry pi. My computer running easel stays in my office, inside the house. My office computer sends the GCode to the raspberry pi over my wifi network. To get the job going I have remote access installed on my office computer, so I just take my ipad in with me to the shop that displays my desktop computer’s screen which is running Easel. From there I can tell it to start, the carve, do the probing etc. Once the job is kicked off I can then leave the shop with my ipad in hand. The nice thing about this setup is I can be in anywhere in my home just have to have my ipad and I can see the status of the carve, stop or pause it. I wish Easel showed a graphical progress like what it shows when it does a preview. I don’t have to have an expensive computer eating woodchips, dust - my shop is for woodworking not computing. Tossing a cheap computer away if / when it fails is not a big deal. I’ve spent more on router bits than I did on the Raspberry pi.

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Rich, thank you so much for the detailed explanation. I came here with 2 questions this morning and you touched on both. The system you described sounds perfect. I am in the process of moving my machine to a new table- and building filtered and ventilated storage space beneath. This is my attempt at keeping the dust off the electrical equipment.
In my shop I have 2 ‘gaming’ computers (please excuse my elementary level technical vocabulary) purchased new in 2020 and 2021, and an old one I just run music and quick internet searches. The 2 newer computers both run easel- 1 in a semi-protected office space, and 1 gets crapped on daily underneath the cnc. I have a couple of dust shields set up, but it is severely abused, and this may be part of my problem.
I have a projector set up from an HDMI for a display behind the machine. At first, I had no problems watching renderings in Easel as they carved. I didn’t think anything of streaming Pandora, searching the internet, and running CAD as the machine carved.
Then… things started to happen. I’ve definitely checked all of the likely suspects (change power saver settings, firmware updates) so I swapped out my computer towers- loaded Easel drivers and firmware with no change. So I began addressing what I could about my specific machine- changed from Google to Firefox, ran an Ethernet cable instead of wifi, knocked down all other programs I could, and began obsessively watching my resource monitor as my available memory kept topping out as Easel tries to load a detailed preview. All of this I can handle- but the unpredictable mid-carve stops are costing me a lot of time and patience. If I just set up and totally leave the machine alone (don’t even look at it) with no vacuum and running nothing else in the shop… it seems to be alright.

But that’s no way to live. I want the dream that you have now. I’ll be going down the Sammy Kamkar rabbit hole today, looks like.

Oh- so dedicated PC is the conclusion I’ve come to as well. I don’t know anything about the Rasperry Pi but is that essentially what you use it for? A dedicated processor (processor?) to do nothing but send code from Easel to CNC?

I really appreciate the time- thanks again!

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