Unofficial way to surface your wasteboard

So as some of you might know I have my machine set up with a 3/4" MDF wasteboard with T-Tracks every 5" down the Y-Axis. I also have my Z-Axis mounted in the “Middle” holes which poses a slight bit of a problem with shorter bits as it runs in the “soft limits” area on some jobs. I have overcome that issue but adding a few 2" x 12" strips of sacrificial 1/2" MDF under my projects before I clamp them down and it works flawlessly.

HOWEVER, when we’re talking about Surfacing the Wasteboard clearly there is no way to jack that up.
SO I got creative. The machine with a 1.5" surfacing bit (the cheap $14 ones on Amazon - there are a ton) will go down to about 1/2" from the bench surface which is plenty to surface my wasteboard a few times.

But when I run the file that I created to take of .05" it errors out as the machine is beyond its “soft limits”, so as I started searching to locally available 1" MDF to swap out my 5" strips it dawned on my… OneFinity gave us this awesome feature “the controller” with the machines. While I could not run a program to surface my wasteboard I can move all over the work area and adjust Z height.

Hence the Unofficial wasteboard surfacing idea was born: I used the old paper trick to get my bit to the Z-Zero and then turned on the Spindle and Vac and using the controller set in ultra slow mode… dropped the bit a few thousands and using the top lock buttons (to ensure I stay true on the X &Y passes) I moved the machine with the controller back and forth in ~5/8" passes and 30 min later I had a perfectly flat wasteboard.

One WORD OF CAUTION- AVOID THE Z CONTROLLER STICK AT ALL COSTS. I bumped mine and dug a quick hole (nothing a little liquid plastic could not fix), so just pay attention and it works great.

Hope this helps a few folks out if they are stuck and in the same boat as I was of not wanting to lower the Z to the bottom bolts.



Great work around Alex! Nice work.


Cool idea! I thought it might be fun to try moving the router around on a piece of wood with the joystick, but then I thought that might be kind of silly since it’s supposed to do it itself. That’s why we bought automation to begin with lol. We should call your technique the “Etch A Sketch” waste board flattening method!


LOL love it, maybe I’ll change the title of the post


You have to make this technique searchable!


I love out of the box thinking!


+1 for an FAQ thread somewhere.


That’s cool! I did something similar by running a v bit around the perimeter of the cutting area to lightly mark it on the table top. It was helpful for me in figuring out my wasteboard design.

1 Like

Can’t you move the router to the lower set of holes? (I just got mine yesterday,so maybe I’m missing something)


Not sure what you’re referring to? I was able to surface the entire wasteboard using this method. However if you WB is larger than 32.25" x 32.25" you will have spots that the bit will not reach unless its some massive bit.


What are the “top lock buttons” you are referring to? I am using Vcarve Desktop for design so I am limited to 24 X 24. This method could provide me a way to surface the waste board and maybe v-grove a grid. Thanks for the idea.

John the controller has two index finger buttons on the top edge (can’t remember their designation) but when you push and hold then the lock out diagonol travel so the machine will move in perfectly straight lines even if you move the joystick sightly off pure X & Y planes.

Does that make sense, there are a few early videos showing it in action. But it will make sense of you have a machine & controller… Just try it.


1 Like

Thanks, Made perfect sense.

1 Like

What speed did you use on the X-Y direction? Do speeds and feeds matter when trying to flatten an MDF board like this?

Are there any downsides that anyone can think of about using the z-axis near its limits? This is my first cut with my machine and don’t want to break anything. But moving the z-axis to the lower bolt holes seems silly if the machine can reach the board with the flattening bit.

The Onefinity video with this approach has the presenter talking about “Extreme limits” a few times which makes it seem the things is going to fling itself apart if you aren’t careful. Flattening A Wasteboard On the Onefinity CNC - YouTube at 1:49.

Hey Jeremy,

Of course it matters since you can always overload your hand trim router if you use one. Especially you should only remove the wasteboard material with a shallow depth. It is known that when the hand trim routers burst into flames, it was usually when they used one of these large (ø > 25 mm / 1") flattening bits

Of course with a CNC you can destroy the CNC, or, at least, you can make a hole into your wasteboard :slight_smile: But if you want to flatten your wasteboard, this is exactly what you want: Mill lower than the top of the wasteboard.

Don’t worry, should your g-code program to flatten the wasteboard be outside the workarea of the machine, all you will get is one of the famous “limit errors” and the machine refuse to execute it…

What the video means is that because you want to flatten the entire wasteboard (and not leave out some part of it), the file is as large as the machine’s workarea, so the workpiece zero has to be set accurately, or you will get a limit error.

There is a lot of info about flattening your spoilboard in this forum.

Before flattening the wasteboard, did you make the checks that the machine is rectangular (“squared”) and that it is coplanar (not twisted)

Welcome to the forum!