Your Opinions on what to do

Jim, When I first bought the X-Carve, I envisioned myself making signs with it. At the time, Easel only allowed a few fonts to be used and there were a lot of people wishing there was more to the program. So I decided when I bought the machine, that I would also buy V-Carve Desktop which Inventables was selling as well. Because I did this, I never used Easel after the initial test cut when I set up the machine. I began learning V-Carve instead. V-Carve offered all of the fonts you would have on your computer. The bad part and obviously part of my problem is that using different software can cause a whole bunch of other issues that have to be sorted through. For a complete novice like me, those issues are difficult to target where they’re coming from so it’s difficult to fix the issues.

Chris, I would be very grateful to spend time with a fellow X-Carver but I don’t know any that live remotely close to where I am here in Western, NY. As for Feeds and Speed defaults being higher in V-Carve, that could be true. I have no idea. What I do know is everyone has an opinion on what Feeds and Speeds they like to use on a project. There seems to be too much trial and error involved which becomes expensive because of broken bits and ruined work pieces. Yes there’s calculators and the software offered through CNC Cookbook but it shouldn’t be Rocket Science. There should just be a basic rule of thumb for bit size and type of material equals a certain router speed and feed rate. That’s my thoughts on it anyway.

I do know that one of my problems is not having nearly enough time to spend learning the X-Carve. I retired last Spring and you would think I would have all the time in the world now. It’s just the opposite. Between woodworking projects people are paying me to do and the things I needed to do around the house, my free time to spend learning has been limited. Now that the Fall and Winter are coming, things should settle down some and I can devote more time to it.

Jeff, the inches/mm issue I’m very familiar with so I know how to make sure the UGS is set correctly. I had that problem numerous times when I first started. The Post Processors I’m using are the ones Inventables have for downloading to use with V-Carve. when I save any file in V-Carve, I make sure the same X-Carve Post Processor is selected for inches which is how I do all of my work.

Do you have an iPhone? I ask because I was thinking that maybe when we both have time we could FaceTime each other and I would be able to see your setup in realtime. Also we could setup a team viewer session so I could see what the computer is doing at the same time as well. I’m going to visit my daughter at school this weekend. Maybe next week after work we could get together a figure it out, I know I had a bunch of issues with UGS which is why I have moved away from it.

If you have no idea about feeds and speeds, that would be why you’re breaking endmills.

Vectric doesn’t have defaults which match the X-Carve — you’ll need to work up feeds and speeds which make sense for

  • your machine
  • your spindle
  • your materials
  • your endmills

My suggestion would be to:

  • load Easel, input the nearest equiv. to the material you wish to cut, note the suggested feeds and speeds for your combination of all the above
  • mount a piece of scrap in your machine — use the technique from http://www.precisebits.com/tutorials/calibrating_feeds_n_speeds.htm to do a series of test cuts to determine a reasonable feed-speed for you

repeat that for each change of endmill or material

I know T1 is “Tool 1”. What I don’t know is why “T1” appears is some of my gcode files while T1M6 appears in others while following the same procedures. From what I’ve read, different versions of USG can cause this to happen but I’ve yet to read anywhere which versions are good and which versions are bad. Dangling a carrot (Identifying a problem then explaining that you have a problem) and then pulling it further away (Not explaining how to fix that problem) does not help a person learn. It only makes that person not want to reach for the carrot.

Jeff, I do use an iphone. Never used facetime though. When I first got the phone, I got hundreds of facetime requests from numbers I wasn’t familiar with so I turned it off. Trust me when I say, I am not THAT popular lol. Keeping in line with that thought, I don’t use any social media either. I’m an Old School private type of person. Like you, I have had plenty of issues with UGS and think I will just begin to learn Easel and try to become proficient with it. I need to go back to the beginning and pretend that I just finished building the machine and its time to test it.

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You’ve been reading the wrong stuff. T1 and M6 are not UGCS issues. Those commands come from the post processor that you select when you create your tool path.

If you want to use UGCS, then use version 1.0.9. It is the most recent stable version of that program. It does have some issues with very, very large G-code files.

I’ll repeat, the post processors for Vcarve products that are posted on the Inventables website are not what you should be using.

If you would like me to walk you through getting your base machine setup correctly, I will do that. We would change the version of grbl you use as well as tune up the grbl parameters for your machine and then get you post processors that will work for you. It will take some time to get all of this straightened out, but once you get the low level working correctly, the upper level problems become much easier to solve.

Larry, I appreciate that offer and I’d like to take you up on that but can we wait until I get the circle job (going to use my Band Saw and circle cutting jig) and the other job I’m doing completed (a dozen Band Saw boxes and a dozen cutting boards) before diving into this? Paying customers have to come before my learning.

Not a problem. Just let me know when you get to a point that you would like to start and I’ll help you out.

Thank you

M6 is an automatic tool change command.
T is the variable for what tool you are using.
And to make it really confusing the syntax is backwards.
There is a section in the post processer header section of VCarve that is putting this in.

begin HEADER

“T1M6”

I am not sure why it is even there as it literally does nothing. What is worse GRBL can behave erratically when processing the M6 command. So the simplest thing is to just remove it from your post processer.

I also added a “G90” command to the header.
This insures that UGS processes the gCode in absolute addressing mode. When you use a jog command in UGS is switches to relative addressing mode. So it is a good idea to make sure it is switched back when you run the gCode. Adding the G90 to the header of your post processor insures this.

Editing your post processer is easy. It is actually just a text file, so you can open and edit it with notepad.
In VCare, go to the file menu, and select “Open Application Data Folder”
Then open the My_PostP folder.
Finally open and edit the post processer you are using. (You might have to select what program to use, notepad is fine)

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Please note that some communication / control programs will intercept M commands and move the machine around so as to facilitate endmill changes — it’s a nice feature in the apps which have it.