Perfect cut one side, stepped look on other

Major newbie here and really struggling. My machine bit seems to “walk” on one side of my design. This has been a repeated issue over several tests. On the left side, it cuts flawlessly, but on the right, it seems to walk and cut in a stair-like fashion. So if you look at the photo, you can see one side is cut perfectly and no indication of passes but the other side looks shredded and each individual pass can be seen and is around 0.5mm off. Any thoughts on why this is happening? I would be so eternally grateful for any help.

Material is 1/4 in MDF
1/8in bit

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Also mention what kind of machine you are using. SO3/4/5 Pro/HDM

Were these 2 sides of the same cut? i.e. Is the smaller piece the offal from cutting the larger piece?
I’m wondering if the difference is the direction of cut (Conventional vs Climb cutting)??

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Usually a stepped appearance is caused by lost steps.

Per the machine operating checklist: Machine Operating Checklist - Carbide 3D , the basic points of adjustment for a machine are:

A good video overview on setup:

Ensure that all screws are in place and secure, esp. on the linear rails on a Pro.

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What and how was your work holding during the job?

Did You cut the right sides in the picture first?

It was clamped down in 6 places. It was cut all at once - counterclockwise around the letter.

Thank you, thank you! This is what my research last night was leading to. I will take a look at all of this. This behavior is referred to “stepping?”

All the same cut! It’s an L. I just zoomed in for the photo.

I would say the result is “stepping”, and the behavior is called “lost steps” — ideally, this would happen so rarely that there wouldn’t be specific terminology for it.

To add to the above:

  • (for HDZs, and HDMs, and SO5 Pros) check that couplers between the motor and ball screw are secure

Also verify that all wiring is in good condition and all connectors are secure, and that all wiring leading into connectors are properly in place.

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1 like for using the word ‘offal’!

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I agree. 2 votes up for offal. Flotsam would also have been a good word, but it would have been incorrect usage.

But seriously folks . . . did the OP possibly do a single-pass full-depth slot cut using a 4-flute endmill? Clogging up and leaving no room to eject the detritus?

EDIT to add . . . on the first cut, the bit had solid material on both sides of the slot. On the second return pass, the bit had solid material on one side and a thin leg of the “L” on the other, which was repeatedly pulled into the bit and flapped back and forth leaving a ragged edge.

Jetsam would be bad!!! “Detritus” also a good word. :slight_smile:

That’s what I was thinking too. But the stepping suggests “illegal motion”. i.e. lost steps.

“Counter Clockwise” would suggest climb milling?? CC rarely does that.

It’s not just a ragged edge. You can visibly see where each pass was. And no, I didn’t do one single pass. There were probably 5-6, whatever carbide 3d calculated.