Air cutting after cutting a pocket, machine still thinks there is material there

I have been using Carbide create a lot lately. I am cutting a disk with a shaft on it. Kind of like a top that you spin. I use a pocket cut to clear away the material around the shaft, and then do a out side cut to cut the final piece out. The issue I have is that the software doesn’t remember that it has removed the material and does the cut as if it is still there. It goes around and around. It can be very frustrating waiting for it to finish and watch it cutting air until it gets down to the material. Some of the cuts are hours long because of this inefficiency.

Does anyone know how to resolve this issue?

  1. Fusion 360 or any other high end CADCAM does this adjustment automatically.

  2. CarbideCreate: I create a new program to reset my Z to the new (lower) surface while making sure that the clearance plane (default value of 12mm) is high enough to retract safely. (( I remember someone telling me “Hey, it’s free with the machine, so you got what you paid for.”))

Unfortunately, Carbide Create lacks a mechanism for defining the initial Z level for a cut. Options include:

  • extract the plain text G-code and post-process using a CAM optimization tool which will address this
  • dupe the Carbide Create file, redefine the stock thickness and perform the balance of the cuts
  • use a different tool such as MakerCAM

Please do request this be addressed, either as a manual feature, or by the program keeping track of the remaining material.

Thanks for the quick response. I was thinking that it was lacking the ability to remember the Z level. I was just hoping I was missing something. I like to use CC because it was what I started out on and it is fast for me to design, but very slow in the cut. I have messed with Fusion 360 but kills me on the front end, time wise. Guess it might be time to man up and force myself to use it. :slight_smile:

How tall is the shaft?
Can you set the Retract height to avoid it?

Can you set the DOC for your secondary features to plunge past the Shaft height?

CC has its limitations, but it is fast.

The items I am cutting are very small. The shaft is 2mm tall by 5mm wide. The size of the disk is 2mm and can be from 13mm to 41mm wide. I start with a block of wood that is 2X100X100mm so I have to remove a lot of material to get what I need. I normally use a 1/4 bit to remove the first 5mm than reset Z and run another code with .063 bit. I guess what I will start doing is running it in 3 phases.


I did one small project that had three layer depths to pocket out. I got it to work by defining each layer shape’s top start level as lower than the first (which was the top of the stock). My first failed attempt at it the machine was cutting air while it slowly got down the the next layer to cut but after I figured it out it went well.


I will give that a try and see if I can trick the system some how.

It was the very first small sample project I tried after getting the machine set up. I didn’t save the .nc file so I can’t go back and examine exactly what I did but I recall setting different top heights for each layer. I believe what Will said above is what I did. Set each layer as a different stock thickness with the cut for that layer starting there.