Bit stuck in spoilboard

Just bought a used Shapeoko 3 and the previous owner set the bit into the spoil board(supposedly for transport) and now I cannot initialize the machine because it’s stuck in the spoilboard. Please help.

Loosen the collet. When you initialize the router will try to lift. With the collet loose it should be able to.

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I’ve tried initializing and it tries to go further into the spoil board. I keep getting a system message “GRBL Alarm 9: Homing fail. Could not find limit switch within search distances

If it tries to go down instead of up check your wiring and make sure that the connectors are not flipped.

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Also check that no homing switches are stuck on and that the BitSetter isn’t depressed and that the BitZero and grounded aren’t touching.

Which axis does your machine have?

If a Z-Plus or HDZ, with the power off rotate the screw/coupler so as to raise the Z-axis all the way, then lower it to the halfway point and then try again.

If that doesn’t help, let us know step-by-step what the machine does at

When you setup Carbide Motion you’ll also have to setup your machine configuration and send it to the machine. If the Z-axis is not stock you’ll have to option to specify this in the setup wizard and this could explain why the goes down on initialization. For example on my Shapeoko pro when I upgrade from the Z-Plus to the HDZ I forgot to redo this part and upon initialization I seem to recall it went down instead of up as one would expect.

Edit: for the setup in Carbide Motion I’m referring to V5, not sure about V6 since it’s not released for the Raspberry Pi yet, nudge, nudge, wink, wink…

Good point. Forgot about that.

And I second the nudge nudge wink wink.
I have not upgraded the OS on the PI either given the issues people had. Figured I would do that at the same time as the CM upgrade.

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Loosen the router / spindle from the mount and pull it up and off the Z axis.


When the spindle goes down during initialization you have picked the wrong Z. Initialization starts with the router going up to the proximity switch and/or mechanical switch. There are 3 choices for an SO3, Belt Z (original), Z-Plus and HDZ. The HDZ and belt z run in the opposite direction from a Z-Plus.

Go through the configuration and pick the Z you have. You can see pictures on the site for the HDZ or the Z-Plus. If you have a belt driven Z you can find pictures on google. Just look behind the router plate and if you see a belt it is a belt Z. The Z-Plus had a metal stud at the bottom with a hole that the lead screw goes through. The HDZ had a bearing at the bottom of the ball screw.

The standard SO3 is about 16" x 16", the XL is 16" x 32" and the XXL is 32" x 32" on the spoilboard.

As others recommended loosen the collet nut to free the bit from the router. Then after router is out of the way you can remove the collet and bit.