Q: A motion Axis occasionally freezes during operation, then restarts.
A: The Stepper driver on that Axis is overheating. Several solutions are possible.
- Install Heatsinks on the driver.
- Increase airflow over the driver. A fan is a good way to do this.
- Decrease the current on the Stepper Driver. This can be accomplished by using a small phillips screwdriver and turning it counter-clockwise on the stepper driver. The stepper driver is the chip next to where the Wires for that axis’ motor plugs in on the RAMPS 1.4 board. It takes some trial and error to get the current setting correct for the desired feedstock, mill speed, and workpiece material.
Q: A motion axis reverses direction every once a while.
A: A cable is loose. Unplug and plug-in the motor cable for that Axis.
Q: I get a lot of chatter when milling thin materials.
A: There are two possible causes for this.
- The workpiece is being held down too far away from the cutter. Try adjusting where the workpiece is being held down. If possible, use a sacrificial piece and screw some work-holders into the sacrificial piece. Double-sided carpet tape also works well for this purpose.
- The bit type is incorrect for the material. some materials, like thin acrylic will chatter and produce rough edges when used with traditional carbide bits. This requires a 2-pass milling operation. The first pass is roughing, and can be done with traditional carbide mills. The second pass is finishing, and a very small amount of material is removed at very high feed speeds, using special bits. Onsrud makes a special 1-flute line of bits for this case. They can be bought from Inventables or Amazon.com. Finishing end-mills are very expensive, so it’s probably a good idea to test the G-Code with a simulator, or with a less expensive bit.
Q: The steppers make noise and don’t move correctly, or at all.
A: The stepper motor either is incorrectly wired, or the motion Axis is physically blocked.
- Check to make sure the cable is plugged in correctly. Often, the cable is plugged in “one pin over”, and only 3 of the 4 pins are making electrical contact.
- Unplug the machine and ensure that the motion axis in question moves with little resistance. It is possible that a bearing is clogged. Spare bearings will be available for purchase at reduced prices for those who bought an EasyMaker.