Off-path cut. Differing Depths

First off, after very little time building a frame and calibrating, I am shocked at how good things are working. The elegance of the Maslow design is hard to overstate. I think it’s amazing! Thank you to @bar, @dlang, @MeticulousMaynard, @Gero and all of the rest of this amazing community for providing me broad shoulders to stand upon.

I am excited to get to get to the Meticulous Z-Axis, and so I began with the design from the Garden. (I would like to say thank you to the author but I don’t see it there. Maybe @jwolter?) Dust chute, metal frame, alibaba z-carriage, water-cooled shield (yes I bought one of those) are all dancing in my head, but first, a bit of troubleshooting.

Can anyone tell me what caused this? I don’t believe I had any chain slippage or sled obstruction at the time. It just decided to wander there. (I know engineers love phrases like that!)

Next up is differing cut depth. I would like to ask whoever made the cutting paths how many depth plunges are involved in the design. I can go look at the code, which I will get to eventually. I suspect my issues come from a lack of spoil board support. I definitely have some warpage. The good news is that this gives me a proper excuse to rebuild and improve my frame now I have a better appreciation for the design.

My rig, as it stands today:
Bar’s bolt together frame with 10’ unistrut top bar, r2202, ring + original z-axis

@MakerMadeCNC - How about a billet aluminum meticulous z-axis kit? Christmas is coming…

Thank you all again for this amazing community.

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Where on the the ply-sheet is this cut?
Looks like the router was on the way down (outer path counter clockwise?)
Not enough weight on the sled? To deep Z in the material?
A similar pattern is created if the vacuum pipe touches the floor, or some heavy chip-out is ‘guiding’ the sled sideways. I do have a ‘hand sand block’ with rough sandpaper and go after the sled each path.

Kind regards, Gero


The wandering can be caused by many factors:

  • Sled tilting off working surface, Incorrectly balanced sled or add support scrap wood beyound working surface.
  • Cutting too fast/too deep. Dull bit.
  • Cutting at extremities of 8x4’ board which causes excessive chain slack. If you need accurate cuts then work in stages and keep cuts within center 6x3’ area. Can be fixed by extending top bar further past cutting area and adding longer chains.

The rounded/wonky corners on the rectangles can be improved by decelerating the cutting speed when changing cutting direction. This is done in you gcode creation software e.g. Fusion 360 see:


I centered the full z-axis design in the sheet. It’s big / complex and I have certainly contemplated breaking into components. I failed to mention that my temporary sled is too short on the North side by 3 inches, and this has clearly been an issue, so it seems in line with @tinker’s comments.

Brand new bit and 10K RPM, so I’m thinking that’s not the issue. For now, I will go with some extra weight on the temp sled and watch it closely.


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I made those programs. The step downs should be around 6mm, which shouldn’t be causing errant moves like that.

I would check your sled weight like others have recommended. It’s possible that your sled is too light to follow the path well. Most machines have sleds somewhere around 30 lbs.

Another thing I’ve run into before is the power cables for the router and z-axis snagging on something and causing the sled to wander. Same thing goes for the vacuum hose.

If you need to break it into the individual components, you should be able to make separate programs from my fusion 360 file. See the Meticulous Z-Axis thread for the link.


that looks like the sled is sticking and then dropping, try making the sled slicker.

other than that, a heavier sled or the frame closer to vertical could help

a video of it in operation as it misbehaves would be very helpful to see.


as for different depths, do you have a bungee over the top of your router to eliminate backlash?


No. This will be done soon.


Inexpensive fixes for z axis will also help with slop in the z movement while you work on the meticulous z.

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