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X-Carve and Easel howto topics. If you have any troubles with the X-Carve, please report it. If you have any questions or suggestions, please email davelers@gmail.com.

Machine Setup

Machine SetupIf you get prompted to setup the X-Carve; use the pictured settings (click to enlarge) and choose no homing, manual spindle control and no z-probe.

If the X-Carve is cutting too deep, the lead screw setting is wrong and needs to be set to Acme (coarser thread/less revolutions than M8). I'm not sure what is causing it, someone using the default/wrong settings or the X-Carve loosing its settings and falling back to the default settings.
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Dust Collector

Dust CollectorThe new dust collector swings out of the way for easy bit changes and provides good cut visibility.
  • Loosen the side knob and swing the plate out of the way
  • Insert/tighten the bit and set its start location/height
  • Turn on the CNC controller to lock the stepper motors
  • Swing the plate over the bit until the bit is centered in the hole/plate
  • Set the plate just high enough to clear all clamps/screw heads.
  • Insure that the space between the router body and plate is >= depth of cut.
  • Tighten the side knob.
In the example the plate is relatively high because it needs to clear the knobs (bad idea), luckily there was enough clearance to make the desired depth of cut... There are some new low profile hold down clamps to help with potential clearance issues... Added a rotational stop to simplify bit/plate alignment... Widened the bit slot for the 1/2" V bits, even the collet nut will fit when the flats align with the slot.
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Repetitive Cut Fixture

Repetitive Cut FixtureThe fixture is a combination square and spoil board that allows routing multiple pieces using the same home position. While the square is not particularly square, it does allow for reasonably accurate repetitive (re)positioning. The example is one of three marble mazes that were routed with a bullnose bit and then repositioned and through cut with a straight bit.

The fixture has 5mm holes on 75mm centers (same as the X-Carve) that allow positioning and clamping anywhere on the table. There are also some special 2 hole clamps for clamping 1/4 and 1/2" stock to the fixture (example stock is 3/4).
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Router Bits

Router BitsGenerally, cutting wood works best with straight two flute bits and plastic with single flute up-cut spiral bits. Down cut spiral bits can provide cleaner cuts in wood and may be worth the extra cost in some applications (I'm not sure the X-Carve is rigid enough for them to make a difference). Compression (up/down spirals) are only beneficial when the first pass is deep enough to get past the up spiral portion - not possible w/ the X-Carve.

Wood pocket cutting works reasonably well with a 3/8" T-slot cutting bit. The primary reason is the relatively large cutting surface on the bottom of the bit. Most specialty surfacing/bottom cleaning bits are too big for the X-Carve. While 1/2" open center mortising bits are another option, they are typically significantly more expensive and the current Easel algorithms favor 3/8" (over 1/2 and 1/4")... Nov '19: anything over 1/8" takes longer, i.e. there's no advantage to using a larger bit.

Inventables bit articles:
Carving Bits 101 - Bit Basics
Carving Bits 201 - Feeds, Speeds, and V-Bits

Cheap Bits:
AliExpress : Milling Cutters
single flute   single flute 10pcs (e.g. 1/8 carbide $6+)
straight two flutes   straight two flutes 10pcs (e.g. 1/8 carbide $9+)
1/4" shank, 3/8" pocket cutting
The straight two flute HUHAO (Hozly looks very similar) brand is better than Fdit (Walfront looks very similar). Both the tip and edge grinding is simplified/slightly flawed/cheaper on the Fdit's. More facets on the ground shape generally means higher quality and a few bucks more... That said, the Fdit's seem to cut fine. The Weix spiral two flute bits are ground well (better than Kitbakechen).
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