Laser inaccuracy related to X axis stepper

I’m trying to cut wooden gears with much finer teeth then capable on a cnc router. I’m testing accuracy on junk plywood at 80mm diameter and 60 fine V grooves. The gears look good but when cutting a pair and then aligning gears (face to face) teeth are offset 1/2 tooth from one side to the opposite. The machine doesn’t doesn’t seem to be loosing steps. See image.

I’m using an under $10 nema 17 stepper for the X axis. I’m also running a standard XL belt with .2 pitch and 20 tooth pulley. Over time it really takes a beating (probably from engraving) and is getting very hot. The stepper has 4 heat sinks attached to it. It was no longer smooth so I took it apart and found the resin in the rotor seems darker, probably due to heat. Also, the X axis belt wasn’t as tight as I’d like it to be.

Anyway, I cleaned the machine, replaced the stepper, tightened belts and all the teeth line up now. Not a permanent solution as I’d really like to find some nema 17 motor/driver combination that wouldn’t get so hot, and yet not loose steps.

Interesting situation. Based on what you were seeing I think it would have been extremely difficult to even suss out that you were experiencing this issue. It’s not everyday that you cut out 60 teeth gears.

One thought… if you’re getting very high steppers, consider reducing current to the stepper assuming you don’t lose steps by doing so. Should directly reduce heat output.

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