Z axis depth decreasing

I have made or tried to make a couple signs. Lettering only. The latest is 21.5" X 3.75" X .25". The lettering from left to right gets shallower to the point at the end, its not even cutting. My wheels are tight, as per instructions, my table and waste board are flat and level. I have the 1000 X 1000 X Carve with the x carve 24v spindle. The latest bit was double flute .125 bit. Can anyone please let me know how to solve this problem?

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Sounds like your Z-axis is slipping. Check the set screws on the pulley to ensure they are tight. I used a Sharpie to put an alignment mark on the pulley/stepper motor rod…that way you can tell very quickly if the pulley is slipping.

Hi Tarry,
Thank you. However, I checked all those things. Every screw, nut and belt is tight. The excentric nuts are set so there is no play, the wheels are all rolling just as per instructions.

Would it be possible that the bit is slipping inside the collet? That actually sounds more plausible to me than the pulley slipping, the more I think about it.

Hi Tarry,

Okay. That was one that I didn’t think of. However, after just putting a vice grip on the bit and trying to turn the spindle shaft, that isn’t the problem. Its very tight.

Dang…then I would say you’d need to turn up the Z-axis power on the g-shield.

Okay, I watched those two videos. Good stuff there. I believe that I will check the pots. My next question is, how do you change the g shield?

Looks like your work surface is not level. You can lover your bit on left side until barely touches, and start jogging to the right to see if it is touching work surface evenly.

The work surface was flat. I re-sawed the wood myself then ran it over a jointer and sanded it down with 400 grit. The spindle runs across it from left to right with short .001 gap about 3/4 of the way across lasting for about 2 inches.

To make work surface level, you have to use .75" flat bit or similar and run large pocket until bit clears surface. Jointer flatten does’t help you. X-Carve must do it itself.

Okay. I have no clue what your telling me there. Here is what I have. My table under the x carve is flat and level. The waste board is flat and level. I put a straight edge on it 6 ways. FLAT. It’s also square, corner to corner crossways. The board I am trying to carve lettering on is flat and straight. All the screws, nuts, belts and wheels are tight and as they should be. Yet the lettering starts out on the left just right. Depth and cut is good. As it progresses to the right it decreases in depth. Finally at the right end it doesn’t engrave at all. I have done several other projects on this machine but the lettering is the only thing that comes out this way.

How deep is this lettering?

The board is 1/4 inch and the lettering is 1/8 inch. Standard easel lettering.

To understand what I’m telling, go ahead and lower your bit to surface until barely touches, jog it to the right side of the machine with right arrow key on easel or UGS and see if it is touching to surface. That tells you your surface is level to your X axis or not. If it is level we will come up with next possibilities. One step at a time.

Okay. I did that. Perhaps I didn’t articulate it properly. What I did was lower the bit to the project piece. I ran it across the piece with a .001 feeler guage underneath it. There was a short area about 3/4 across that was about 1/2 thousands out. That area was about 2 inches long. Well within my tolerance.

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It’s very rare problem you have. If any problem with your spindle noise, it starts to increase depth.
You’re saying that, Z axis pulley set screw is good, and I believe you did mark with marker to see if it’s staying solid.
Your belts are not skipping teeth.
Your pods adjusted for proper power.
Your V-Wheels nicely adjusted, no tight spot. Going up and down easily when you’re jogging manually.
No more possibilities I can think.

Just for gits and shiggles, can you try it a couple times with different feeds/speeds? One at 75% of the original depth of cut with original speed, and with original depth of cut and 75% of original speed? If they came out identical to each other and your original, it could help rule out an external influence (force causing slipping or flexing somewhere because the bit is plowing through too deep/fast). If nothing else, it would give us more data to help us get to the a-ha moment.

Okay, The one thing I haven’t done yet is check the pots. I will break out the VOM tomorrow and do that. I just saw that video this afternoon. The V wheels I have cleaned 3 times now along with the maker slides. The whole machine now is so clean you would think it was just out of the box. Then again, I’ve only had it now for a couple months.
Robert: I hadn’t checked that out. But I will. The depth cut wasn’t much. It did it in two passes. Only 1/8 deep for the cut depth was set. I will adjust the speed as well.
Odd thing is, I don’t care much for lettering. I bought the machine to do inlay. If my wife hadn’t wanted a little sign, I might never have noticed this. Anyway, tomorrow when I check the pots, I will post and update. Maybe that is it. Hopefully.
Thanks to everyone

A couple more questions just popped into my head.

  1. When did you get your X-Carve? I wonder if you have one of the 24V spindles from the first batch they had.
  2. Can you give more detail on the bit? I see it is a 1/8" double flute, but was it ball-end or flat? Straight flute, upcut, or downcut?
  3. What material are you cutting into, and what depth of cut and speed were you using?

.063" is a pretty deep for the 24V spindle, especially if you’re cutting into something somewhat dense or sticky.

When I got my x carve I had to wait until the new spindles came out. I got the kit first and about a week later the new spindle came. So I have one of the newer ones.
The bit I’m using is an 1/8 inch double fluted straight with a flat tip.
The material I am cutting into is padauk. Hard wood, but I’ve used it on this machine before for other things. I don’t recall the spindle rpm exactly. I think it was 12K. I don’t recall the depth per cut but since it was only 1/8 inch and it took two passes, I’m guessing it was 1/16 deep per pass. I can’t tell you what the speed of the travel was. I don’t recall.