Troubleshooting: Mechanical Issues

If there is play/ slop/ backlash somewhere in the machine's mechanics you will see wobbly engraves, closed shapes that don't match up at the end, wiggly bits on corners of lines and a range of other issues.

The most likely culprits are loose belts or debris on the rails, but it could also be an unsecured lens, mirror, toolhead, axis, leadscrew, frame, etc.

  • Follow your laser manufacturer's directions for cleaning the rails and any other motion components in your laser.
  • Identify the issue by attempting, gently, and with the machine off and unplugged, to wiggle mechanical parts of the machine. See if anything is loose and tighten as necessary. Belts should be taut but not overtightened. They should be able to be plucked like a guitar string. See your device's user manual for more information on maintaining your specific device.
  • If you can’t find anything loose it could be that your table is wobbly, and the inertia is carrying into your machine or moving your material. If it is possible to do so, try putting your laser on the ground in order to identify this issue. To correct wobbliness, consider adding cross-bracing or a backer board to stiffen and square up your table.

If it’s still occurring after these checks, you are likely running speeds that are too fast for your machine. It is not always possible to preserve quality when running at or near to your machine's theoretical maximum speed. Try a lower speed.