Problems with cutting (Off Center)

I’m really getting tired of wasting wood. At this point, I have been assuming it all has been an operator error. I tried to cut a wine caddy tonight. Well, it is off-center. It would not be a problem except I had a ribbon of purple heart running side to side. So the ribbon is high. ANy thoughts on what I’m doing wrong?

Zero is the lower left hand corner.


Well, the obvious thing would be that you are setting your zero point incorrectly. I see that you have a corner setup to reference from, and judging by all the cuts in your waste board, this isn’t your first project. I’m assuming you know how to set your zero, and that you’ve got it well established at that corner reference.
However, do you check your x/y zero after the machine initializes?

The only time I’ve had issues like this, I’ve cut too far to the back of the machine and lost steps when it hit the limit switch and tried to keep moving. Then, everything else I cut was too close to the front. I had to reinitialize the machine, and then reset the zero point (I have a similar reference corner setup).

It’s definitely something I would check with some MDF or scrap wood before I cut any nice wood.


Before committing w/ an expensive piece of wood — do a sanity check in some way — draw in some extra geometry on the drawing and then jog to the same point after setting zero and check the machine coordinates against the dimensions.

Also, while we suggest Lower-Left as the default origin, your example above is one of the instances where Center would make sense to use — you could have marked the center of the board w/ a pencil, then jogged to the X w/ a suitably small/pointy tool and set XY manually (and Z, or used a BitZero for that).

Also, if you’re cutting away the center of the part and have some leeway, set up a test cut which drills a shallow hole at the center — if it’s not perfectly centered you can measure, adjust (remember to halve if need be) and then re-try the drill until you are satisfied.

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I agree with @WillAdams on this one. This is the perfect place to use the center of the project for your zero. I do a lot of projects where I am working with stock that is not square or I need to know where center is specifically. I do almost all my projects with a center point as my zero. Find exactly where I want the center of the project and work out from there essentially. I a case like this you could even carve a template where you could have a hole at center and then position the template on your wood and see exactly what it would look like before carving. Make the template out of a clear acrylic and you would not even need to trace it to see the effect. Just mark your center after it looks right through the template.

Using a foam board is an inexpensive route to test a project cut.

This is what I’d use.

Cuts nice on my SPXXL.

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I had a similar issue today. Ugg.
Somehow my X, Y, and Z got out of whack and I ruined my newly made spoil board.

The EZ fix was to turn off the machine and close CM. Then restart everything.
Blamo problem solved.

One issue that I didn’t realize was messing me up is the Bit Zero location. Long story long, my X location was too close to the edge of my cutting area. When I ran my Bit Zero the X hit the limiter switch.

Looking at the pics of the stock and the design/setup, it looks like the stock is actually wider than 4.5", which effectively throws the design off-center. Agree with @WillAdams & @rnicolson, establishing zero in the center would alleviate setup errors.

Take care


I thought that might be the case too, but if you look at how far it cut below the target piece compared to where the stripe is on the wood, I think the width was close enough that it should have worked if the zero was the correct point.
I agree with the center zero, but that is a design decision that is easy to see in hindsight and hard to anticipate (unless you mess up something like this).
The question I really want to ask is why didn’t you stop the cut when you saw the very first cut go into the piece?

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