Understanding Zeroing out the spindle

Please move this to the appropriate location if this is not the right place.

I’m not the most techie guy around so I had some help with assembly and calibration from a friend that does IT work. We got the X-carve built and set up and ran the calibration file (the little smiley logo) on a piece of the bi-colored acrylic. I thought we had the material dimensions set correctly (1/8 inch thick), put the corner of it on the lower left corner of the waste board grid, zeroed the bit using the Easel control buttons, and set it to carve. It seems to be doing a fine job, except that it carved through the acrylic and about 1/16th into the waste board. This is all fine as it’s kind of ‘autographed’ the board with our first attempt.

I’ve now moved the X-Carve to my shop from his and set it up and want to make sure to get things set up to minimize waste. My main purpose will be to carve 2-D designs into parts of woodworking projects (such as drawer fronts) that will then be inlaid with resin. I will seldom be working in anything other than wood (solid and ply). The usual thickness of the work piece will be 3/4 inch. I plan on backing the work piece with 1/8 inch hardboard, attached with double stick tape. The usual cut depth will be no more than one half of the thickness of the workpiece (3/4 = 3/8 depth, 1 inch = 1/2 depth, etc.). I will most likely use up-spiral router bits of no more than 1/4 diameter, with occasional ball-end bits if I need a radiused carving.

The question I have, based on the above work parameters is "Where do I set the ZERO point of the carving?" I plan on putting the lower left corner of the work piece a few inches right of and above the X-Carve’s lower left grid point. My designs will typically be 2 inches high by 6 inches wide, centered on a 6 inch high by 12 inch wide drawer front. There may or may not be a single or double line border around the edge of the drawer front, about 1/2 inch in from the edge. Is the actual corner of the work piece the point where the bit is zeroed to? or is it the 0,0,0 point of the X-Carve waste board grid? Do I need to create a ‘border’ of the workpiece in Corel that is NOT carved that represents that point?

The attached image (I hope) shows an 8 inch by 4 inch drawer front (the dotted line) with a carved border 1/2 inch in (solid line) with a carved legend (Junk Drawer).

If this is mounted on the X-Carve wasteboard with the lower left corner at the 50,50 point on the grid, where do i have EAsel set my Zero point?

Rambling, I know, but once I wrap my head around this, I think I can move forward.
Thanks for your help.

You want the bit zeroed (Z) out on the top of the material, not the wasteboard. You have a choice of where to zero the X and Y, but I typically try to zero it out in the lower left corner of the material itself. Doing that will keep you from having to remember how far the material is from the zero point.

It wouldn’t hurt to have a secondary wasteboard, similar to what you’re talking about with the 1/8" material. If you put 1/2" or 3/4" material down, you can set the zero point somewhere on the secondary wasteboard, and then cut a square .050" deep so you have a solid edge to register your workpiece against. It will also give you plenty of material to shave off for seasonal changes or whenever it starts to get cut up too much.

Here’s a picture of my secondary wasteboard setup (tertiary actually):

typically zero the z to the top of the material being cut. however, depending on software, the z can be set at the bottom which can ensure not cutting through the wasteboard. in the software you would program the part above the work zero.

I really like the covers you made for the Y rails. I’ve been trying to figure something out? Are you willing to share? Thanks

Absolutely, I put up the information and materials on this thread: