Hey! I really desired a few quality-of-life improvements to my X-Carve so I designed and implemented them myself. It’s all designed, built and programmed by me.
These upgrades are mostly about one key thing: Being able to run complex work that require very high accuracy, but that also takes a really long time to complete, featuring tool changes and moving of the work-piece, and doing all this even though I can only run the machine for a short while every evening, since I have a life and a day-job.
The upgrades are these five things:
- My X-Carve has its own mini computer which is WiFi connected receives orders from the main workstation computer. It allows me to reboot the main workstation computer, without the X-Carve dropping what it is currently doing, and there’s no USB cable to trip over and accidentally disconnect.
- My X-Carve has a high-accuracy touch probe (0.04 mm repeatable accuracy) and several custom calibration routines which enable improved homing relative to the work piece. It removes the annoying process of trying to define the zero coordinate of your work piece manually. It also allows you to do multiple passes on a single work piece, even after you pick it up and place it back down again, since it finds its way back accurately.
- My X-Carve has a high-accuracy touch plate (0.06 mm repeatable accuracy) which allow me to automatically and reliably find the tool Z height after a tool change. Combined with the touch probe, I can do multiple passes on a single work piece, including switching tools and moving the work piece, without any off-alignment artifacts!
- My X-Carve has a generic pen holder, and the held implement can utilize the calibration plate to measure exact pen location. This enables it to label the surface it just carved with highly accurate markings of various kinds, on top of also making really neat multi-medium Christmas greeting cards.
- My X-Carve has a custom g-code sender software which is really really really sweet. I call it the “Lenient X-Carve Controller”. I no longer have need for Easel or Universal Gcode Sender. I can’t really spread the software because it relies on three of the previous items (the WiFi device, the touch probe and the touch plate) to function.
These are the features of my “Lenient X-Carve Controller”:
- PNG heightmap 3D interpretation (give it a PNG heightmap file and it gives you a 3D tool path)
- SVG interpretation (basically the same stuff Easel does)
- Seamless pause and resume, skipping, section skip, section repeat. So when you notice that the tool was messing up during 30 seconds in the middle of a 40-minute job, then you can pause, clean the tool, and just rewind and replay that specific section. No need to throw away the work piece, or to start the whole 40-minute job all over again.
- Seamless real-time control of movement speed, spindle speed, maximum depth-cut per pass, safety height for rapid movements, and more. It allows you to adjust and tune all these things halfway through a running job session and they take effect immediately.
- Silent mode, allowing you to start a long job, and then in the middle of it enable silent mode, so it runs with such slow speeds that its pretty much inaudible and you’re able to sleep in the next room, and can wake up the next day to find the work finished. (p.s. don’t fall asleep unless you got proper fire control. I have proper fire control)
- Handling of huge time-consuming jobs, by splitting the work up into zones, doing one at a time. This allows you to see one section finished all the way to final surface finish, without having to wait for the entire work piece to first pass through the roughing stage. This enables you to quickly iterate your project, testing various materials, testing cutting tools for each pass, etc etc, before committing to a complete run of the whole thing.
- Power-outage memory. It will resume a long job after a power outage, exactly where it left off.
- Tool change routine (X-Carve moves to a convenient location for each manual tool change, beeps for you to notice, and then when you’re done it automatically recalibrates the tool Z height and resumes the next chapter of the work).
- Joystick jogging (there’s a gamepad game controller next to the X-Carve, steering the joystick button causes the X-Carve to jog).
For me, these upgrades are the difference between my X-Carve being a chore, and being a true moneymaker. I’m thinking of creating a package of all these upgrades and selling it. So I’d like to gauge the interest.
So my question now is; Is there anyone interested in having these things?
If I sold this, would you buy it?