Z-Axis Calibration

I just finished my X-Carve build and I attempted using the calibration project in EASEL and the carve wentthrough my 1/2" MDF board and another 3/8" into my waste board.

Do I calibrate the Z-Axis with or without material?

I am a newbie at CNC.

I recommend doing your initial calibration without material, and then doing the calibration project once you have it dialed in. I designed the project to be indicative of lost steps and calibration errors under load, but the default values provided by Easel usually need to be tweaked slightly for the individual machine.

If you have a dial indicator, you can attach it to your spindle mount and calibrate the Z axis using it. I showed how to do that near the end of my video on calibration, in this thread: X-Carve Maintenance/Troubleshooting Videos - Add Your Own!

What is your current steps/mm setting for your Z axis, and what type of lead screw do you have (M8 or ACME)? You can look at the Machine Inspector in Easel to find the setting, and if you post it here we can tell you whether it’s roughly accurate or not.

My X-Carve is heavily modified, here are some pictures. I am using an C-Beam™ Linear Actuator Bundle “ACME SCREW” from OpenBuilds and I amusing X-Controller.

See following PICS

Machine Inspector has the following readings.
Machine PO1
X 12.700
Y 10.150
Z -25.400

Work POS
X 0.00
Y -0.010
Z 0.00

$100 = 40.000
$101 = 40.000
$102 = 188.976

Thank for your help.

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Nice looking machine! Did the actuator bundle add any significant weight to it? You’ll definitely be glad you’ve stiffned the X-axis if it did.

The $100-102 settings look like what I had initially, so assuming it’s the same size screw you’ll just have to dial it in using the calibration procedure. When you tell it to move up and down, does it move about the right distance?

Larger images would let us see some detail.

Sorry about the pictures. Let’s try again.

X-Axis was stiffed using Aluminum T and the C-Beam™ Linear Actuator Bundle is light and stronger and allows easier mounting to x-axis and spindle mount than what is standard on X-Carve.

Sorry, still not much bigger than thumbnails

Clean and organized. But in operation the location of the X-Controller is a problem. Hard to reach the E-stop quickly but more importantly you can’t reach the pause, stop, resume buttons on the front.

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I have a similar config and problem, I’m relocating the Estop to the side of the enclosure and the pause \ resume pcb to the face. I’ll post pics once complete.

I have realized the issue with power switch, e-stop and control buttons after build was complete and first used. My plan now is relocating the button panel and power switch to top of X-Controller instead of side and add a second E-Stop outside of X-Controller for easier access.

I plan on writing up my build with all mods when I can get an opportunity. Any recommendation for improvements are welcome.

For the life of me I cannot figure out how to calibrate the Z-Axis.

I am using the X-Controller and made a touch plate (.180 thick) and ran the following code G38.2 Z-.5 F1;G92 Z0.5;G0 Z0.25 using Universal G-Code Sender without material. I Reset to Zero and rehomed and then Return to Zero - all good.

I then went to Easel ran same code with touch plate on my 1/2" mdf and created a simple project to carve a square box 1/4" deep using 1/2" MDF.

X-Carve cut .675 inches deep instead of .250.

What am i doing wrong?

Z-Axis has been an issue since build completion.

When I tried to use Easel for the touch plate, I had to do my final move command and workplace zero-ing via Easel itself.

Whenever I tried to zero via G92, I experienced similar to what you are seeing. However when I used Easel to lower the bit and zero the stock, it worked properly, all the time.

Were you ever able to get your grbl settings correct? I just replaced my Z Axis with the same Openbuilds linear Actuator and I’m having problems with distance traveled. I’m using UGS, when I tell it to move .1" it moves .5".

I have a machine made from CBeam and use 400 steps per mm at 16x microstepping. I don’t know what microstepping the Xcontroller uses by default but it would be 200 steps per mm for 8x

$102=50.000 (z, step/mm) for Xcontroller

Thank you @Deepnoizer for the reply, I got it close with 50, wound up at $102=49.9 and it’s perfect.

Sorry for late reply.

I hate to admit this, but I have only used my X_Carve 1 time since I purchased it. I have been too busy with work and family to use. I will attempt to fire it back up and respond this weekend and reply.

did the c beam z axis take away any of the workable area along the y axis?

No problem man, I’ll admit I’ve spent far more time working on my machine than I have have building things with it.

But that’s the fun part!