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Steven Hines
Lives in Barcelona, Spain
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Steven Hines

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Ok, I created a video of the PCB engraving run from the autoleveling job I posted earlier. The system state was unchanged from the job. Before running, I confirmed the zero point was unchaged (using a test probe).

As you can see in the video, some areas are too shallow and some are too deep. 
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Have you tried slowing down your spindle speed to control the runout? You may find reducing it 20 or 30% gets you a beautiful fine point at the tip rather than the blurriness I see in the video.
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Steven Hines

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Hello, I'm trying to use autolevel in Chilipeppr w/X-Carve to mill PCBs, but getting consistently bad results.

I'm using the same toolchain that was used in a PCB walkthrough on the X-Carve site: Eagle -> FlatCAM -> Chilipeppr. I have a z-min probe wired up to the X-Carve, and the probe is working correctly. The autoleveller in Chilipeppr runs w/o incident, generating height levels across my PCB blank.

The problem is that after I run the autolevel, and apply it to the PCB gcode, and then engrave the blank, I get consistently poor results: the engraving bit is being lifted off of the surface of the PCB in the same place across many PCBs. I've run this test a half-dozen times on different blanks. I've tried every 3, 4, and 5 mm. I've reduced the probe feedrate all the way down to 0.5 (not sure how small the steps can really get).

My blank is well secured to the bottom board. I've even repeated the same autolevel job 10 times in a row just to make sure there's no drift, etc. The actual values vary somewhat from run-to-run, but they are sometimes higher, sometimes lower. And never off by more than ~.02mm. I've tried several methods, but the last few times I've done this (browser is google chrome on Windows 10).

Drag the PCB gcode from FlatCAM into Chilipeppr
Home the machine (using limit switches)
Use G28 to return to the lower left corner of the PCB
Move the bit down to 3mm from the PCB surface
Run the "Test probe" action to bring the bit exactly to the surface
In the Chilipeppr Axis controls, zero out X, Y, and Z axis
Move the bit up 3mm
Start the autolevel job
When autoleveler ends, view autolevel results
(Note that the button to "view autolevel results" brings up a window, but the button to "view autoleveled gcode" does nothing, which I assume is a bug?)
Load autoleveled gcode into the workspace, scroll through the results to confirm its been applied
Start the job
I've attached images below of two PCBs:

Photos withb Autoleveling OFF (just zeroed with "run test probe" and started) shows the copper correctly engraved and autoleveling ON (showing leftover copper).

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That error would only seemingly happen if there was no Gcode loaded in the workspace? So I am concerned. Could you take a screenshot of the workspace when you see this error and post that? Or video of errors would be better.
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Steven Hines

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Here's a video of my autoleveling job. The video capture extension I use doesn't show the Chrome Developer Console, but notice when I click the "view autoleveled gcode" button (at about 8:17 minutes in) no window opens. That's when the error I mentioned before was added to the console. I tried again after "Send Autoleveled gcode to workspace" and it didn't open then either.

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I just watched the vid again. Everything looks 100% perfect. I don't see any problems. Even the test probe you ran at the end was perfect. It was essentially showing 0.00 so it's great. If sending the job is the failure, then can you make a video of that?
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Steven Hines

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Watch it because you can!
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Petition on whitehouse.gove: Reform ECPA: Tell the Government to Get a Warrant
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