First cut - needs some love!

Hey all! I made my first major cut (1hr) and uncovered several spots for improvement. Any help would be appreciated!

Settings: 10k rpm, starter Maslow .25” bit, 30ipm, .3” depth of cut. My frame is bigger than stock so that I can cut 5x5 Baltic birch. About 10* angle. 10lbs of weight on the sled.

I created vectors in Inkscape, exported as .svg to easel for placement and to generate gcode.

Tear out- this seems excessive. Could I expect better with a carbide diablo bit?

#1 and #2 - both of these were on the downward stroke after the right hand side had been cut. There was some slack in the chain. Not sure what caused it?

#3 maybe chains are extended too far at this point? Ie not enough tension. My other thought is a screw catching on th bottom of the sled.

#4- the outline of the cut is what I was hoping for. I’m guessing I set it to the wrong cut style in easel?

#5 just for fun, I made a passive smartphone speaker. Let me get it sanded and cleaned up and I’ll post a follow up.


I have had a few similar issues. I mostly solved them with taking a less aggressive depth of cut (1/2 of bit width) and adding a little extra weight to the sled. I haven’t had any screws in the sled path to catch on but it might be an issue. The one time I used skirts on the frame I did sand a slight bevel on the skirt edges to make it slightly lower than the work piece edge to ease the sled edge over the joint. Sled also has a rounded over edge on all the openings including the weight bolt countersink holes.

Contact paper can be used to mask areas that will have a higher amount of detail. It will help reduce tear-out. Another benefit of masking, is you can pre-paint pieces before cutting and they will be ready to go after the job runs.

Is this just the plain brown contact paper or does it have adhesive? Great idea!

Any kind with adhesive will work. Most department stores carry it in roles for lining cabinets and drawers. If you decide it works for you, larger rolls can be found on amazon.

A tip for cutting out SVGs in Easel.

There are three settings for outline cuts. Outside, Inside, and Path.

Outside places the bit on the outer edge of your path (lines)
Inside places the bit on the inside of the path.
Path uses the lines in your SVG as the cut line.

Here’s a quick screenshot from one of our projects we did recently showing where those settings are.



the chain going slack and cuts going bad while moving down is showing that the sled is sticking, try rounding the edge of the sled, sand and wax the bottom of the sled to help it move more smoothly.

as for tear-out, what bit are you using? an up-spiral bit is good for getting the material out of the way, but results in more tear-out than a straight-cut bit


So if I use a 2 pixel wide line and want the bit to trace the outside, the outside the line setting will do that? Thanks!

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I’m cutting .5” Baltic. So try .125 or so for depth of cut. Will do!

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Correct. Using the outside setting will put the edge of the bit on the outside of that 2px line.

Thanks for the replies! Still fine tuning.
.25" carbide 2 flute straight bit. 10lbs weight. 10° angle for frame.
Rounded/sanded/waxed sled.
Cheap z axis fix(bushing/washer) is awesome!
Easel settings: .18 depth, 35ipm

Problem: cuts in the top half are pretty solid. Cuts in the bottom half are ok and bottom left/right sides are terrible. The sled is going off track and popping out.

Is 10lbs enough weight? What is upper limit? Originally I was at about a 12degree pitch and the chains were slack. Chains less slack now but still problems.

Note: trying again with .14 cut for 4 passes vs 3.

In the lower part of the workarea, if there is a vacuum hose attached, that might cause problems. As to weight, I think that having somewhere between 20 and 25 pounds for the sled, router, z-axis and weights is a good target. Chips sticking up from the surface can cause problems that are worse in the lower corners.

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Could it be the baltic birch? It seems the tear out is specific to layers?