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  1. #1851
    WWI Flying Ace
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Southwest Michigan
    Ok guys, I have a strange one here, and I'm looking to see if any of you have encountered the same or similar issue. It is now after the holidays, so I am no longer making Christmas presents with my CNC and the trim router, which worked flawlessly, by the way. I put my needle cutter head back on and have been getting things dialed back in. I cut a new top sheet waste board for my vacuum table, and that has also been working wonderfully.I was ready to cut some real plane parts, so I chose the FT Mustang, since my original Mustang had seen better days. I used Jasons video tutorial on converting FT plans from PDF to gcode. I did some test cuts in an old sheet of white foamboard to make sure my cut depths were correct, and the whole time I haven't had a single glitch with the CNC. I then placed a brand new, pristine sheet of waterproof FT foamboard on the table, made sure my home point was still correct, and clicked Print. The cutter head was working perfectly and sounding really smooth. When I did the programming in Estlcam, I made sure to do all my score cuts and perforations first, and then do all my through cuts last, so that I wouldn't have loose parts while still trying to make cuts on them. The score cuts and perforations went great, and then the through cuts started on the outlines of all the parts. As I was watching, I noticed the needle getting closer and closer to the edge of the foam, and I started to wonder how close it was going to get before turning the other way. It continued to cut right off the end of the board and into the air. Ok, that was strange. I decided since it didn't breach the physical limits of the machine, I would let it continue to see what happened. It finally turned around and starting cutting back the other direction, as if it thought it was cutting foam the whole time. you can see in the picture that the lower side of the fuselage is cut correctly, but the upper side of the fuselage has a very extended nose section.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Also notice that the wing hole on that side of the fuselage is back about an inch too far, and the score cuts and outline cuts on the power pod mount area do not line up. This was not a matter of skipping steps on the stepper motors, or everything would be shifted the same direction. Just to make sure, I pulled up the file in Estlcam that I had saved and looked at the preview of the cut, and it looks perfect, so I'm fairly certain the gcode file is also correct.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Has anyone else run into this kind of issue, and if so, what was the problem and how did you fix it? I hate to think it was just a glitch, since this was the first problem like this I have had, but also the first FT plan PDF -> Inkscape -> Estlcam -> fresh cut foamboard that I have done.

    Hesitant to waste another good sheet of foam.


  2. #1852
    Flite is good TEAJR66's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Rocky Mount, Mo.
    Do you have Repetier Host? If so, view the gcode there and see what it looks like. If the RH view looks the same as the Estlcam view, then it was probably a machine glitch. If the RH view looks like your cut, then it was gcode export glitch. Export the gcode again. Look at it in RH prior to cutting.

    That is my best guess because i am far from experienced enough to know exactly what is going on.
    Be safe and have fun,

  3. #1853
    Posted a thousand or more times jhitesma's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Yuma, AZ
    I've run into that a few times for a couple of different reasons.

    Well, two that I can think of off the top of my head.

    1 - the obvious reason. Something hung up. Wires got caught in a roller, or something got caught in a roller and jammed an axis. Or due to a cutter issue (doesn't sound likely in your case) things hung up. But one way or another something physically obstructed the machine and caused the steppers to miss steps. Cleaning up my wiring, upgrading my cutter, and squaring my machine before each cut has GREATLY eliminated this and I haven't had it happen in some time.

    2- Marlin. I'm running an old pre 1.0 beta version of Marlin and it' some issues. If I use G92 to zero the machine instead of resetting the RAMPS board then sometimes it works fine...but others it will suddenly loose track of it's position as if it hit a software endstop - but then after hitting that mysterious limit it does REALLY crazy stuff.

    Not sure what release of Marlin you're on (they've done some MAJOR changes lately and the coordinate systems internal to Marlin have been changed big time in a way that should make things better for more traditional CNC style work -'s new and not super well tested.) but I don't see the really crazy stuff I usually had happen after hitting a firmware issue.

    So....I'd be checking things mechanically, particularly the X axis.

    Also it could just be the camera angle but it looks like the upper fuselage gap is smaller than the lower one (the gap where the sides fold up.) And not just at the front but the whole length.

    But mostly it looks like something caused you to miss some steps physically at some point. Could be the WP foam creates a bit more resistance and it's enough to put you over the edge. If your steppers are running cool and not making too much noise you may want to just try turning up the current to them a tiny bit.

    Overall though I've also found that for me the WP foam seems to be cursed. Every time I've used it more things have gone wrong and not just while cutting it Not sure why it doesn't seem to like but it always seems to give me a hard time
    Stop in and say hi in the unofficial FT IRC channel!

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