Z Axis ramp/step problem [Resolved]

New X-Carve owner, just set up my 1000mm device and I’ve calibrated it so the wheels run well, and the X and Y motion is smooth. I’m having a problem with artifacts in Z, however… it seems to be creating “steps” at weird places. I doubt this is a calibration or mechanical slipping error, since the gcode is causing curved steppes within the design, and I’ve watched the spindle move up and down smoothly and it’s not catching anywhere.

I’m using Vectric’s PhotoVcarve software to do a test; it’s a bowl shape with dome in the center. The small center dome is mostly smooth (albeit with a vertical ridge, which is odd), but the shallow bowl is not curved but stepped. Here’s an image of how it routed out:

The original was supposed to look like this:

I generated gcode with the X-carve post processor (inches) and sent it to the router using Universe Gcode Sender.

I’m really hoping it’s a software issue caused by my n00biness, rather than a hardware or electronic issue. I can also post this on Vectric’s forums if that software seems to be the problem. Any help finding the core problem (and solution) is much appreciated!


Looks to me like you’re losing some steps in the X direction. Could be an issue with loose/tight belts, loose pulleys, low/high pots, or a number of other things. A couple quick things to check are belt alignment (make sure belts are in the middle of pulleys and roller wheels) and pulley set screws (make sure both are tight and one is seated firmly in the flat on the shaft).

I’ve made videos covering belt tension and potentiometer adjustments and posted them at X-Carve Maintenance/Troubleshooting Videos - Add Your Own!. They may help you think the tension or pots could be giving problems. First time use is always a matter of dialing-in the X–Carve, but it shouldn’t take you long to get that bowl perfectly carved. :smile:

Awesome, I’ll check those out tonight! Thanks. :slight_smile:

OK, I’ve run through checking the machine, and my problem was a combination of:

  • A loose screw (story of my life)
  • Wrong post processing driver
  • Slightly out of adjustment potentiometer

Here’s the final version:

(Note I re-used the same wood so there’s cut-through in a small area)

Thanks for the links and information, Robert!

This problem has been resolved.

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Glad to help, I can’t wait to see some of your projects!