Was soo excited, then this

Got everything setup for 1F Journeyman. Created first job for surfacing spoilboard. Got all axis homed (z-probe) and ran program. Disaster!

Honestly, I’m not sure what went wrong. Went through settings and calibrated Z-Probe to be sure it was 100%. Everything was homed (X,Y, and Z). MDF spoilboard was set to .76 thickness and cut was to be .02

Spoilboard dimensions are 48" x 32.125".
Bit used = Whiteside #6210
3 Wing
1/4 Shank
1 inch cut diameter

As a new user, I can’t upload the files (unless I’m doing something wrong).
Where do I begin to fix this?

Hardcore Noob.

Thank you,


Hey Craig,

first thing I would do is check to see if bit became loose in the collet. If you use the hand trim router, don’t use the red button of router axle and a single wrench, use always two wrenches instead when tightening collet nut. If you use a spindle with ER collet, be sure you used the right procedure to engage the collet into the excenter ring inside the collet nut.

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Hello Aiph5u -

Thank you for your response and welcome!

Using the Makita router and tightened the bit using the provided (2) wrenches. After the “incident”, I double checked and the bit was still tight.

Hey Craig,

tight okay, but did it come out? It can come out and still seem to be tight.

Nope - Remained in place. Did not move in either direction (up/down).

Craig -Surfacing Journeyman.crv (14 KB)
Spoilboard Surface 020.ngc (1.8 KB)

Attached are the files if anyone would like to review. I’m sure the issue is user error.

Hey Craig,

I did not have a look at your file because such an issue is rarely coming from the program (and I got to leave). But if you run the Spoilboard Surfacing program again but with “milling air” (you could remove bit), ist the “Z wandering downwards effect” reproduced?

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Hey Aiph5u -

Thank you for your replies! What is the best steps for doing that?
1 - Power on machine
2 - Home machine
3 - Run program (without bit)

Trying to understand as this would bypass zeroing the “Z” axis.

Thank you,


Hey Craig,

let the machine on and Z probing value like before. Just run the program again (play button) but with bit removed. Z should not wander down like shown in your photo. Does it still wander down when it is moving towards right?

Got to leave now but I am sure others will assist you. Americas people will wake up in about five to nine hours (europeans are going to work now).

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Where did you tell it to zero from material or spoilboard (in the software) as you might have to told it to zero from spoilboard? Just a thought as it looks like it is ramping down

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Hi Craig,

I had a look at the .crv file but don’t see any toolpaths. Anyway, I loaded the gcode file in ncviewer and it looks ok to me. Also, if you look at the gcode there are no Z command instructing the z-axis to move in either direction, other than at the beginning and end of the file. So it would suggest something mechanical.

So yes, you should do what you have suggested - run without the bit and see what happens.



I know you said it was tight but you really have to make it tight with the two wrenches. I set them together so they make about a 15 degree angle and squeeze. This looks like slipped bit to me.


Couldn’t see any toolpaths in the CRV file, but your GCODE doesn’t show the Z axis coming down further than 0.02. The ramp of the cut looks very gradual, I have to agree something seems to be sliding down gradually… the bit, the router or whole Z mechanism.



Can you post a picture of both sides of the 1F? Is it possible that one side is higher than the other? An easy way to check is to zero the Z axis on the far right side and then move all the way to the left and manually move the Z-axis down until it’s zero on the display. It should be very close to the spoilboard.

If that looks good I would rerun the program like Aiph5u said but watch the Z position on the screen. If it’s surfacing the spoilboard the z number should be -.02 from zero. If it’s not then there’s an issue. If it’s staying at -.02 watch the coupling on the Z axis between the stepper and the lead screw to see if it’s turning. It shouldn’t be.

If there’s no problems I would rerun it with the bit at speed once more and watch the Z-axis and the coupler moving once again. Personally I surface the spoilboard with the joypad, not a program. I find it’s easier if I find a low spot to make adjustments so I only take off what’s needed.

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Sorry all - Thought I saved the file after the toolpath was saved. Here’s the proper file.
As far are the bit being tight, trust me, it is. I’m no Mr. Olympia, but I had a hard time loosening the collet to get the bit out.

Craig -Surfacing Journeyman.crv (40.5 KB)

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Since the spoilboard is the material, I placed the Z probe on the spoilboard and zeroed from there. Then in the setup in VCarve Pro, top of the material was set with cutting start depth at 0 and the .02 for cut depth. As you can see in the picture, it went more that a 1/4 inch.

Hopefully I’m setting this up correctly. Watch a lot of videos for surfacing spoilboards.

ah was just checking as @Aiph5u suggested run it either with no bit or set the Z height really high and see where it goes. it looks like it is going to start the cut from the right hand side of the machine.
just keep your finger on the pause button :slight_smile:

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Check away :smile:

This was my first cut so there’s a good chance something I did was wrong.

That’s a great idea - I will do that!

Check that your router is tight in the mount. When you do try running it high or without the bit watch the z ball screw after it gets to what should be cutting depth. If it is turning that means the z is moving when it should not be and it is either being told to move by the program or slipping somehow (not sure if that is possible, but who knows)