Waves with my rotary

This was a Topic I reviewed on the Forum from Matt McClain in Sept '22.

“just received a Mansfield Customs rotary tool for my OMtech 130W auto focus. I am getting “waves” for lack of a better term on slanted text such as K & V. Squared letters, ie T, I, are coming out sharp with the same settings. I’ve calibrated my steps per rev with the roller, and adjusted numerous setting trying to narrow down what’s wrong. The items are not slipping and rotating to scale properly.”

The only difference is, I have an 80w. There was really no clear direction.

Wavy text using a rotary roller


With the Laser engraver powered off, slowly move the engrave head by hand in each direction to confirm that everything moves freely.

I’m hoping that something feels out-of-round.

The next thing to check is if the engrave head is loose. Wiggle it and confirm that it doesn’t rotate a little bit around the gantry. Gently pull and push the work-facing end toward and away from you.

The next thing it could be is Ringing, or Gantry Bounce. Change the engrave speed by 20% in either direction and re-test to see if the behavior is reduced.

Is the Y axis powered by one or two electric motors?

Everything feels tight. When I engrave on something flat everything works fine. Only when I install the rotary. I have slowed the speed down to 25mm. I ran two cups and the waves are the same on both of the cups. I was thinking it was a software adjustment and not really a hardware problem.

Roller or Chuck Type?

I have a Mansfield rotary

I was wondering if flood fill is enabled or disabled for that layer?

I dug out my rotary that I bought with my OhTech and with the Lightburn setting that I have, there was no wave. I’m thinking there is something else wrong, where the software in not communicating with the hardware correctly. I also read something where another problem could be the wires from the rotary are backwards causing a problem.

I looked at the Mansfield engraver and another user saw similar behavior.

I’m curious if the dual wheel idler supporting the solid end of the tumbler is set too narrow or too wide and climbing one of the idler wheels and slipping back and climbing back up and slipping back.

If the wave is more pronounced as the engrave head moves toward the two idler wheels I’d think it was the lower wheels. Conversely, if the wave is more exaggerated at the top of the engraving it could be wobbling on the driven end.

If it’s ‘both’ it’s most likely neither end.

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