ABOUT DRIFT ISSUES:

About system drift

Drift in the machinery causes imprecise cuts. Note that drift isn’t the same as incorrect scale factors or Gcode that is of the wrong dimensions.


Drift is the behavior where, over time, the machine will either accumulate error or oscillate between having error and being on target.

There are a two main causes of drift, Electrical and Physical.

Physical drift is caused by loose parts. Potentially loose parts are Pulleys (motor or ball screw side) that can spin freely or where the set screw oscillates on the flat of the shaft, loose couplings, belts that aren’t tight enough, loose mechanics, etc. When you have a loose physical part, you may receive the Axis drifted error message. If you get an axis drifted error but a Pulse test shows no error, the problem is not electrical, and can only be physical. Note that a loose encoder counts as a physical problem, not electrical.

Pages pertaining to troubleshooting physical drift:

Axis drifted

Drift test

Mark Pulleys


Electrical drift is caused ONLY by problems with the electronics of the machine. If you have drift, and you get the Pulses were gained or lost message, the issue is not mechanical (unless there are two things wrong, electrical and mechanical, which is rare but possible). If you perform the Pulse test and the system gives an error, your problem can only be either the electrical wiring or a damaged/dusty encoder. No amount of loose parts, couplings, shafts, etc, can cause a pulse drift error.

Pages pertaining to troubleshooting electrical drift:

Pulse test

Pulses were gained or lost

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