What is feed rate?
Feed rate is the rate at which your machine advances along carve your project. For X-Carve and Carvey, the feed is measured in inches per minute (IPM). There’s a lot to learn about feed rates and cut settings!
What is feed rate override?
Easel’s feed rate override feature enables you to have greater control over your machine while carving by allowing your machine’s speed mid-carve directly from Easel.
Rather than having to input precise feed rate cut settings before carving a project, you can use the recommended settings in Easel as a starting point. Once you’re carving, you can use feed rate override to fine-tune the specific speed of your machine.
How do I determine the correct cut settings for a given bit?
The bits in Easel’s Bit Selection menu come with cut settings for bits we sell on our site.Whether you’re using one bit or performing a two-stage carve, these bits use cut settings we have tested at Inventables for your selected machine type and material type. Feed rate override allows you to make adjustments to the machine’s speed once you’re carving, but this can help you get started.
We recommend learning more about how to determine your cut settings.
How do I use feed rate override in Easel?
When you’re ready to carve, go through the carve walkthrough menu and complete all the pre-carve steps. When your machine starts carving, the feed rate override panel appears in the upper right corner, near the carve button. Once you’ve confirmed you want to activate this feature, the feed rate override panel appears every time you start a carve in Easel.*
Use the plus and minus buttons to increase or decrease your machine’s speed in real time.
Feed rate override will not help you calculate feed rates. The feature will only increase or decrease your machine’s feed rate from the cut settings you selected before carving. Feed rate override is for on-the-fly adjustments and real-time speed control once you’ve started a project.
*Make sure you are using the latest version of GRBL firmware. To check, make sure your X-Controller is connected to Easel then go to Machine > Advanced > Machine Inspector. If you do not have GRBL 1.1f or 1.1g firmware, you'll need to update. You can update by clicking Machine > Advanced > Upload Firmware.
How do I know if my machine is moving too fast?
Carving too fast will result in broken bits and material tear out. Oftentimes, you can hear when your machine is working too hard if the feed rate is too right. You may hear chatter from the bit or a straining, whining sound from your router. A machine carving at the right speed will not sound like it is forcing its way through the material.
Splintering and rough edges on your material are often indications that your machine is trying to carve through too much material too quickly. Your machine may skip steps or go off-path if your feed rate is too high. Lower your feed rate until your machine doesn’t sound overworked and your bit generates smaller chips.
Easel’s feed rate override will increase up to 200% faster than the initial cut settings you select in Easel. Keep in mind that the machine may not always move at the full accelerated speed. If you're carving something with intricate details or a lot of small movements, your machine will constantly speed up and slow down as it changes directions. Carving straight lines or long, smooth curves allows your machine to maintain its speed.
How do I know if my machine is moving too slow?
Look at the size of material chips your bit is expelling from the stock material (you’ll need to turn off your vacuum if you’re using a dust collection system). Your bit should generate chips, not dust. Dust is an indication that your machine is taking too long to remove chips and is simply shredding your material. Dust should not be flying in the air around your machine; your carved material chips should settle on the waste board or stock material when carving. You may need to remove your dust control system in order to see the chips properly.
Your machine could also burn or melt your material if it moves too slowly. If you smell your material burning or melting, or if you see dark edges along the bit’s carved toolpath, you should slowly increase the feed rate until you don’t see these marks or smell the burning smell. Use feed rate override to gently accelerate the machine’s movements.
Remember: feed rate override is not a replacement for understanding cut settings. It’s important that you understand the chip load and depth per pass settings for your bits before altering your cut settings too drastically. Easel’s feed rate override feature can help you learn more about optimal bit and materials pairings and experiment with different cut settings. However, feed rate is only part of the cut settings equation.
You can learn more about how to calculate cut settings in this support article.