Help with chain skipping

I am at wit’s end trying to figure out how to eliminate chain skipping. I am using the default frame with the metal ring sled fed from the bottom of the sprockets from the motor. I get skips from both sides but the right side seems worse than the left.

Can anyone share any ideas or solutions that have worked for them? I am not sure what to do, at this point my new toy is unusable :frowning:

Any ideas no matter how crazy would be welcome.

In case it’s helpful I have some pictures of my set up here:

A video of the skips in operation here:



Welcome! Looks like you need more tension on the loose side of the chain. Did you try to loop the bungee cord double? The chain feeds from the side of the sprocket. Any guide (like washer,spacer,washer) will also help, that will keep the chain aligned with the sprocket.

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I have had the same issue, my recommendation is that you need to increase the tension on the idler sprocket. The bungee cord in the kit didn’t do the trick for me.

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looking at the video I would say that the chain in too close to the bar on the slack side. The reason I say that is it looks top be climbing the sprocket on the bar side of the motor. Maybe build a spacer to keep the slack side of the chain from riding too close to the top bar.


Consider re-routing your chains to go over the top down to a hanging weight.

I’m using one of the motor mounting holes with an extra long machine screw to hold the plastic idler which holds the chain very close to a lot of the sprocket, and then down to a hanging milk jug (adjustable weight, just add water). Works quite well so far, although I had to add a binder clip to keep the plastic idler from walking up the (too long) screw.


I highly recommend this solution:


the chains should be (close to) parallel to the workpiece.

check that the sled is balanced reasonably well (top forward a bit, which is the
ring a little above the exact balance point, is good)

then look at how the chains are and see if you can adjust the angle by
adding/removing wasteboard material behind your workpiece.

@summetj I am curious if you are seeing any problems with your chain not running parallel with the sprocket on the slack side. I would also worry that the torsion placed on the chain being bent as it comes off the sprocket might lead to excessive wear/stretching of the links. I’d be interested in hearing how it performs for you. I am currently using the bungees in the original set up, but have been considering switching the bungees out for weight, but with a cord running down to the original pulley and back up to another pulley in order to keep my chains parallel. I know that there have been a few posts with that configuration and they were reported as working well.

Thanks for the quick replies. I did try shortening the bungee that came with the kit but it broke. I saw Bar’s link to some more solid cordage and realized I have some I used for on another project.

I will experiment with all the ideas and post back with my observations and hopefully successes.

Thanks, I cant wait to get back to the shop.

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I’ve just set up my machine, so haven’t used it much other than to cut a sled and a test pattern. I only have a few inches of water in the milk jugs, so not a whole lot of weight pulling the chain down, I don’t think it needs much weight due to the large percentage of the sprocket engaged with the chain.

The most common cause of chain skipping isn’t a lack of enough chain engaged,
but rather the alignment of the chain with the sprocket, so that the teeth of
the sprocket hit the edge of the chain and the chain ‘climbs’ up the teeth until
it jumps

Well, I’ve put about 2 hours of cutting time on the machine and haven’t had any problems yet…knock on all the MDF dust…


I am still in the initial learning curve. While setting up my sled and trying to calibrate the chain rode up and the sled dropped to the floor. It was difficult to tell after the sled had fallen,But I am pretty sure I had a chain twisted 180° in the slack somewhere. Now I am a couple weeks down the road and I’m having chain skipping on the side of the machine that did not come off of the motor. It looks to me as though I’ve put a semi permanent twist in one end of the chain. So when the right side chain is short the twist keeps the chain from being as straight as it can and it skips unless I apply counter twist by hand when that end of the chain is going over the motor sprocket. I am simply going to flip the chain around and attach the currently slack end to the sled. Hopefully the twist will never get close enough to the motor to be a problem.
Thanks for all the good advice and shared knowledge in this post.