# Levelling a frame laser cutter

Hi Just starting out with the Xtool D1 Pro. I’m an engineer by trade, so need to cover off a question. Ive squared the frame and aligned the gantry with vernier /tape, however the level for the frame is off, not by much.

When I’ve installed massive machinery we were told to level at the point where all the work is being done as mostly everything else will either follow that levelling process of not matter. So putting a level on the laser head it its out by half a bubble on my level in both X & Y axis.

Question for everyone that knows better than I, for this little machine does it matter so much for frame level or head level, or am I over thinking things? If level is important, then where are you all levelling it out, on the frame, gantry of on top of the head?

Cheers

Is the surface level? You care mostly whether the head is trammed and the beam is normal to the axes; level doesn’t matter. (Even on machine tools level is a proxy for tram.)

Do you have any idea how many degrees (or rise/run) “half a bubble” is on your level? If the beam is significantly out of perpendicular to the surface, you could cut at a slight diagonal, which depending on what you are trying to do might or might not matter.

Are you planning to engrave, cut, or both?

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I agree with Michael that “level” isn’t super important. What you are concerned with is whether the separation between the laser head and the work surface is consistent across the work area. That is, you want the focus point of the laser, on the work surface, to be constant as the head moves.

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Thanks for the replies.
Told you I was over thinking it.
My previous life I installed punch presses and press brakes. Only X & Y axis moved, the punch head was static therefore only the machine needed to be levelled at the head.

Now I’m visualising how the laser is moving in space relative to the work plane.
Squareness will give me accuracy and correct engrave/cuts.
The head parallelism will give me… Quality?
Eg if it was off on a big laser bed, 0 error at home point and the head is off drastically by the time it gets 10 feet away its going to have some horrible effects, but this little laser is only a foot wide, therefore will it be that noticeable?

Frame level is off corner to corner and it rocks fractionally about 1 mm, so I’m visualising that in that instance the head will not be parallel to the work piece. Plan to shim with a washer or the like.
The gantry is square to the frame, set with a vernier, not by eye as a lot of people seem to do.
I’m placing the whole unit on 20mm marine ply with anti vibration mounts for levelling and the fact the unit is in a room with wooden floor boards which induce a slight bounce with movement. (you can tell the wife she has to stand still, I’m not! Lol)

Half a bubble is on my small torpedo level not on a machinist level where I could say degrees per foot. But this is with the level on the head.

I’m doing both cutting and engraving. I imagine the it will vary slightly on the angle of cut in comparison to work piece thickness but not enough to see a huge issue

You do want the head the same distance above the work, because the beam goes through focusing lenses. A laser beam is coherent, but in order to cut or engrave, it goes through lenses that focus it down to a much narrower beam, but only through a narrow depth of field. So if the head isn’t the same distance from the workpiece everywhere, you will cut some places and not others, or engraving will be lower-resolution and lighter in some places than others.

You might consider MDF instead of marine ply; MDF stays the flattest of all wood products across humidity changes, as far as I know.

If you can square the frame by putting shim stock in the joints to avoid “potato chip” racking, that’s probably better than shimming under it with a washer, but you probably won’t notice the difference. It’s just using up a little bit of the tolerance…

What you really want to measure is height between the laser and the surface, and many folks just make a rough gauge block of the right height and compare to the surface across the range of the machine travel.

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If what it is sitting on is level, that’s a problem…

The machine needs to be square in all three dimensions to function as designed. If you set it on a level table and it wobbles as you describe something is not square.

You have measured it for square, but it might be in two dimensions but it must be square in all dimensions.

Any cut with the laser beam out of square with the material will leave a sloping cut… that is usually visible.

These should work if you stick them upside down on a sloping roof… it’s only the relative squareness with the parts/materials that are of concern. Gravity is just a handy item to make use of… it’s all relative. NASA has a 3d printer on the space station… doubt they used a level up there …

Good luck

What about one you get it onto the level table, slacken the corners so the frame relaxes and settles then retighten, sounds like you built your frame squint.