First big project done - with unexpected issues

I finally got my first big project done. It is a sign for our local tool lending library.

I still want to stain the part outside the logo with light stand and put a clear finish over it all, but they need it for a trade show by 10 am tomorrow so no time to cure a finish. But hey, I think having a bit of a DIY look to it somewhat fits the organization.

It is a pretty straightforward sign. I sketched the vectors in Solidworks over the image of their logo, and fortunately they used Times New Roman for the font. I had previously done some test carving on the mill using free softwares, but ultimately decided that I needed to go with Vcarve Pro (which had been the plan from the start anyway - I already had an older version that I could upgrade).

I had done all my tests using gSender with no problems. I loaded the .dxf into Vcarve and set up all the toolpaths. I was confident enough that I did not do any test cuts, just clamped the final sign plywood down and started up.

Immediately the errors came. Error 24, but I never saw any problems with the Gcode. I could just hit resume and it would start again, but as I learned when you do that too much eventually you are going to get your bit going off in a straight line in a random direction. I tried all the toolpaths, and repeated some, and discovered the errors were all random.

So I’m banging my head against the wall - the only obvious change in workflow was Vcarve. There was an update available for Gsender, but that made no difference. I had replaced the hose on my shop vac, and just in case it was a static electricity issue added additional grounding. Still no change.

The next morning I decided to try a different sender program. I had thought I read something about sending directly from Vcarve, and discovered Vtransfer. It is the definition of bare bones, and a real pain to manually manipulate the axes. So I lined up my zeros with Gsender, then closed it and opened Vtransfer. And that worked like a dream, no issues whatsoever (except I forgot to set a floor depth for the vbit, and had two points get to transparency thickness from the back. Those got a little CA glue for reinforcement).

So I am not sure what the issue is with Gsender. Vtransfer has no option for resuming, so I would like to have that ability back. Or perhaps I can go with a different software. Either way it felt good to finally make a product for a customer, even if it is a donation.

I would double check the post processor in VCarve and make sure it is grbl (mm). I think that was the problem the last time I saw ‘Error: 24’. You need one of the grbl post processors and I recommend using the (mm) one even if you design in inches because it is more accurate. It’s more accurate because it’s a smaller unit so rounding and inexact binary representations have less of an effect. You can still design in inches and view in inches in gSender if that’s the way you like it.

I hope that’s the problem because it’s an easy one to fix.

Yeah, I did check that, even tried grbl in inches just in case that would make any difference (not that I expected it to, just checking the effects of different variables). I searched the forums and Google in general for mentions of the error message and the type of problem. So far I haven’t found anything helpful. I haven’t had a chance to get back to it since that day, had to man a booth at the trade show the sign was made for and now I have to write a review and midterm test for my Solidworks students for this week. Fortunately the next week is spring break, so hopefully the weather will be mild enough (unheated shop) that I can work on finding and testing solutions and making cool stuff :sunglasses:

@GranaryWoodcrafts It would help others to help you if you can post the .crv file.

Question: After you imported the .dxf file into VCarve, did you use the vector validator? Did you do any cleanup of the nodes in the file? .dxf files are notorious for being messy.

Yes I did do a fair amount of vector cleanup. But who knows, maybe I missed something.

@gwilki Should I be using a different format than .dxf for export from my CAD software?

Actually I am not very concerned about getting gSender to run on that laptop - I paid about $600 for it this past summer and really shouldn’t be using it much where ambient sawdust is present anyway. I have two alternatives that I am probably going to test on the Longmill tomorrow:

A Raspberry Pi 400 loaded with UGS - I tried for a couple days to get gSender to launch on any of my three Pi 4s, but finally gave up and got UGS.

A netbook that is about 10 years old that got too bogged down on Windows that I switched over to Mint Linux a couple of years ago. It launched gSender with no problems.

As long as one of these more expendable computers does the trick I won’t have to worry about what works on my main laptop (and won’t have to build quite as an elaborate enclosure). If anyone has any things that I should watch out for using Linux I would appreciate if you share!

@GranaryWoodcrafts All things being equal, .svg files are generally cleaner than .dxf files.