Unattended? Seriously?

I am in ear shot, working with other tools, outside, or in the house and come out time to time to check on it. At this point i trust it enough to leave it unattended while I’m home. I have this past week, took a nap since it had 2 hours left and it was 1am. Set my alarm and checked on it after an hour, then right before it finished​.

In the beginning I would never do that, but now that the kinks are worked out I have no issue leaving a known program running. New code on the other hand, I stay in the shop.

OOH! I have been guilty of setting up an 8 hour carve, starting the machine, watching it for 10-15 min to make sure it’s behaving itself and going into the house and going to bed. When I come back in the morning, the machine is just sitting there quietly at idle and all is well. Just for the record and I am not sure if it makes much difference I dont run the 611, I have a 300W quiet cut spindle.

I have only done this twice out of necessity, needing to get a job done and having to earn a real living to pay the bills and support the hobby. I do more often let the machine run and not be directly in attendance though, I just make a point of routinely checking on it and listening to it. If something is gonna go south, it’s going to ruin the piece before I can react any way. Beyond that, usually the worst that will happen is a broken bit.

This is interesting. So what is the worst that can possibly happen if you leave it to do it’s job? Have there been cases where it’s cutting as it should and then freaks out and does something unexpected - especially if it’s a cut using a file you’ve used before?

Indeed. Fire either from friction/heat/material or electrical malfunction.
Dust + air at certain ratios are highly combustious aswell.

I see. Makes sense. I guess I’ll be investing in one of those cameras then as well, since mine will be running in different building on my property.

I was hoping to set it and forget it. But I suppose it needs to be treated like any other power tool.

Hilarious this is the very camera I got to watch my CNC in garage …

That’s similar to what I’m doing. I have two cameras, one on the bit (https://www.amazon.com/Delight-eShop-Waterproof-Borescope-Inspection/dp/B06XCHDC4N/ref=sr_1_4?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1490968593&sr=1-4&keywords=Snake+Camera) and one on the machine (https://www.amazon.com/Foscam-Wireless-Security-Detection-Viewing/dp/B01INRUTZW). I can watch them remotely from my iPhone or even my Apple Watch. I’ll be switching out both cameras for a PTZ camera this summer. Then one camera will do the same as both other cameras did. I just need to find some tracking software for it so it can track the spindle.

Hey Darryl,
Happy to.
I got the PI combo kit for my birthday and added the camera later.
The PI is connected to the arduino via usb and connected to my network via WiFi.
On the PI I’m running cncjs ( webpage ) and have the pendant module installed as well. The pendant lets me hit it with anything that can hit a webpage ( ipad, iphone, etc ) and jog, pause, etc.
I have mjpg-streamer running on the PI which lets cncjs see the camera.

I create the gcode, upload it to cncjs on my laptop, set the spindle ( In person in the garage ), and hit play.

I also have the PS3 pendant pieces installed so I can jog with a PS3 bluetooth controller but I haven’t used it much yet.

I do have serial-port-json-server installed on the PI so I could use Chilipeppr or UGS to run the jobs over wifi but I haven’t used it.

So far I’ve had zero issues with cncjs. I love all the features in it and I think it will do a lot more than I use ( new to doing CNC work ). It’s never failed a job or crashed. Since it’s directly connected to the controller over usb I don’t have to work about the network dropping out or latency.

Happy to answer any questions about it.


I have been running a Raspberry Pi 3 to control my X-Carve for a while now and would like to let those interested know that you can also run Easel Local from the Raspberry letting you use Easel as a sender and a CAD program, I have also used UGCS and UGCS platform without problems on the Pi. I have also used Bcnc and Chillipeppr. I like to use Easel for simple designs (designed on main system with Linux then sent from Pi) and UGCS when using the laser or any other code not created with Easel. Best system set-up I have had with this X-Carve.

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I’m trying to set up the Raspberry Pi on my machine but am having a problem homing the x and y axis. The z homes with no problem. Any words of wisdom? Also, what amperage did you set for the stepper motors?

Many of my runs are 8+ hours long. I have a camera set up to watch remotely and wifi receptacles I can turn off remotely if something goes wrong. I am cutting only foam though, not wood, so if it stalls out it just melts the foam onto the bit and smells up the place. It would have to drive into the waste board with the collet nut before it would be a fire danger. If you are going to leave it unattended I would suggest the camera and remotely controlled electrical power so you can shut it down if it goes wild on you.

Hi Kimble,
Are you having the PI run your stepper motors directly? I’ve heard about that but it isn’t what I’m doing. I have the PI connected to the older X-carve controller via usb.
I haven’t done any of the homing yet. I just eye-ball it for now.

did you see this post?

I used to do a few runs on the Aztec calendar and it was about an 8 hour cut. I spent time making a duplicate account in the shop for google, set up a hangout and joined from the house after the first hour. Watched and listened the whole time all was ok. Honestly now I have not been doing massive 3d or 2.5d projects due to how long the unit would run. I like to be near working on other projects personally but a 15 minute run to the bathroom or to eat some food; if you can not have faith in the unit not blowing up in that amount of time you may as well pause it restart after you get back. I have done a few cuts where it’s got 2 hours I’ll run to homedepot and come back but that’s my comfort level dust ignition if your shop is that crazy there’s more of an issue with shops mounting lasers on these imo.

I just purchased a screen set for my Mach 3 thathas “pause program” and “restart program” buttons on the run program run screen.

Since I did the upgrade to auto on/off spindle for the Dewalt 611 and auto on/off for the vac and I have my system running from a laptop with a cam built in… I leave it all the time… be it that I am in ear shot, but I can remote view from the attic craft room using Chrome remote desktop and stop the machine from there if need be. So far so good… not a perfect solution, but I don’t have to be there waiting for a job to finish.

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I tend to sit / work in the room next to where I have the x-carve running. Admittedly I’ve not run any really long jobs yet though and I pop in occasionally to give it a vacuum (as don’t have a dust shoe set up yet)

I have a Raspberry Pi 3 running the UGS platform software controlling things, but also streaming a webcam attached to one of the Y-axis stepper motors. I also use VNC running on the Pi so I can keep a track of estimated finishing time, etc directly on my screen.

Works a treat so far.

I’m like all the others. I find something to do within earshot which will catch most things. I did have a carve go wrong when the 2 sided tape gave out on the side to side part and ruined some wood. I no longer use 2 sided tape only… I’ll use screws or some way to clamp it in there to prevent side to side movement. I will sometimes briefly leave my shop for small periods of time (dinner in the house, etc), but normally when I’m carving something I’ve already been successful with in the past.


For a long carve I usually watch it for 10-15 minutes, then set an alarm on my phone, then walk away.

I setup separate short operations when profiling/cutting pieces free, and instead of tabs I’ve switched to use fairly conservative “onion skins” that can be easily cleaned up with a razor and sandpaper. As long as the piece stays clamped or glued down, I’m not terribly worried about it.

Has anyone tried to wire up a smoke detector that can fire off a Pause or E-Stop signal to the controller? I bet I could rig something up with the addition of a simple relay. Hmm… now you’ve got me thinking…