Why are my steppers so weak?

So I have had my xcarve for awhile and I have to say that even with the NEMA 23s the thing is PAINFULLY weak, I can literally stop the carriage with a single finger. My process of diagnosis is as follows:

  1. loose belts
  2. crappy wiring (on my part)
  3. crappy steppers (on inventables part)
  4. maladjusted gshield
  5. unrealistic expectations for a hobby cnc

Am I missing anything?

Check this:

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What are the specs on your motors?

There is one thing you didn’t mention. Have you checked your eccentric nuts? The V wheels on the bottom should be making good contact, but you should still be able to turn them with a little effort using just 2 fingers.

When unpowered, is the carriage difficult to move by hand?

I have the NEMA 23s from inventables, shipped back when they were selling the “can of marbles” quiet cut spindle. (which I still desperately need to upgrade) I could provide the lot numbers on the motors, but im going to try adjusting the pots and 2x checking the belts before I question the steppers. The wiring is solid, I’ve crossed the green and black to make sure it holds. (it holds stronger than it drives) I’ll try adjusting the pots tomorrow and see if it helps. Im having to cut MDF at 40ipm and its driving me crazy.

Have you tried using a meter and checking for continuity from your terminal block all the way to the shield terminal connections? Twisting the black and green only prove those two wires. Is this in all axis or just one?

I would also suspect parasitic friction in the makerslide / v wheel systems. Does it seem like your gantry is easier to stop moving in any particular direction?