Carbide 3D Closed Loop Steppers?

Hey all, is there any plans or movement toward closed loop steppers for Shapeoko? Even if it’s an upgrade kit in the future. I think the technology makes a lot of sense. Does the Shapeoko controller support close loop?

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The current controller electronics do not support closed loop control.

We can’t speak to unreleased machines or product development.


Is the controller totally proprietary or is some or all of it off the shelf? I ordered a Shapeoko 5 Pro yesterday.

The controller hardware is fully developed by Carbide 3D. It runs GRBL which is an open source software for controlling motion systems. I believe they also have some other bits in there that run other software to allow for their expansion ports.

If you look at the motors they show in their videos of the Shapeoko 5 you can see that they are dual shaft which would allow for things like encoders to be added. Not sure if they are that way on shipping units. They obviously can’t talk about development to much like most companies.

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Closed loop control can be a benefit, but adds cost on both the development side and the customer side. For the most part, unless you plan on pushing the machine to its limits, open loop totally fine. I’ve run 7 hour long programs on older Shapeoko’s without a single missed step. If you do lose a step, it almost always boils down to either user error (in making toolpaths), or the machine needs some attention (you got a hose caught, or it needs some lubrication). So if you stay vigilant, if you do a little testing on your speeds and feeds, everything will be fine.


So how do you handle power outages and disconnects from the computer (both rare I’m sure)?

I ordered my Shapeoko 5 Pro 4x4 yesterday, so this will be my first machine. I ordered a Onefinity Elite Foreman, but the lead time changed and grew to 4+ months. One thing that drew me to it was the close loop steppers and the ability to pause and start back up jobs. I’m not trying to be provocative here, I honestly don’t know how to handle this. I will be using Carbide Motion. I may buy another UPS for the computer so it can’t lose power easily.

P.S. I would pay another $1000 for a machine if it had closed loop steppers and capable controller. Seriously. IF it’s ever an option, even as an upgrade I would drop the cash fast. :slight_smile:

For power outages, I have heard people using a UPS backup. To me, it is an expense that is beyond justification. I use one for my pellet stove in the house. It has to be replaced every three to four years. Momma wants to keep warm.

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For the most part, I would consider any power outage to be an “unrecoverable situation” from the standpoint that you’re going to need to reset things somehow, and that there may be some lasting impacts to your workpiece. Even with whatever Onefinity has cooked up with the Masso controller, the instant you lost power, your router or spindle is going freeze (ideally) and spin down with an endmill in contact with the material. If you’re doing a finishing toolpath, it’s going to burnish or leave a burn mark where it stops. In extreme cases, the spindle could even be pulled out of position while the controller is unpowered. This isn’t common, but I point this out because I would never trust a machine to remember where it is perfectly after a power outage. I would always elect to re-home the CNC.

The safest solution is to re-home the machine once power comes back on, and then start your program over again. You can optionally just run a program with any preceding toolpaths removed to save some time. This is something you can do with any CNC, and doesn’t require any Masso special sauce.

In general, unless you live somewhere that frequently has power outages, I wouldn’t bother with a UPS.


OK, good to know. Thanks for answer, I’m just trying to learn and plan ahead.

On my Shapeoko 3 I added a magnetic power switch. I have had the power drop a few times. Because my power switch is latched with power supplied and unlatched if power goes off when the power comes on nothing happens. I have to physically hit the power back on when the lights come back on. I like that feature although I have only needed it 2-3 times in the last couple of years.

I dont think the UPS is bad but as @wmoy said it is likely unnecessary. But some people live with blips in the power often or have theirs go off whenever it LOOKS like rain. If you do get a UPS it should be big enough to run your operation for at least 15 minutes to include dust collection, router/spindle, Shapeoko, Computer. I would still shut everything down with the power off for more than 5 minutes so you can control what happens. Wait the 5 minutes to see if the lights come back on and if not stop and shut down to avoid big headaches later. A controlled shutdown is better than an uncontrolled one.

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OK, good to know. Interesting idea with the switch.

As for the UPS, I only meant for the computer, not the whole setup. If the power goes out, I would just shut the CNC router off. I was more concerned about the computer since it’s actually running the file right? I forgot I will be using a laptop with a battery, so the need is not major, I just need to walk a few feet to pause or stop things.

I’m a total beginner, I know a lot of random things about CNC overall since I love watching and learning whatever I can about it. So stop me if I say something wrong or stupid! :smiley:

When I got my S3, I wired in an emergency safety switch. It’s WAAAY easier to hit than the on-screen stop button, and in an emergency, I just want things to stop, right here, right now. It powers both the controller and the router.

Since it’s a magnetic switch, it has the benefit that if the power goes out, the system STAYS OFF when the power comes back on.

There are also versions that are ‘plug-and-play’ if you don’t like wiring:

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Thanks for the suggestion Michael, I believe the Shapeoko 5 Pro I bought comes with a large emergency stop button. They call it a Power Pendant. I wish it was a full on pendant that I can use to job too.

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:smiley: So where in the hell is that place? :smiley:

Here it is … my solution has always been a UPS. I have one on every piece of electronics and my CNC system with a router. I’ve finished a small 30 minute job without power to my workshop.


The solution here is to sell an HDM without electronics. HDM with clear path servos and a Masso would be ideal.

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Yeah, I had some of those same thoughts. I already bought a quality shielded USB cable. I’m going to buy anti-static hoses for my dust extractor. I already have a quality Triplite Isobar surge protector with filtering and isolation for each outlet. Also it’s on a 20 amp GFCI outlet, the outlet itself is GFCI not the breaker.

Since the OP was essentially about a more precise way of controlling the stepper motors, I won’t say any more here about this other than to say that a “surge protector” will not add anything more to your system than multiple outlets (other than the additional expense.) The power supply is what needs to be controlled.

GFCI can trip unexpectedly — if you have a choice, don’t use such a circuit.

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As @WillAdams said GCFI can unexpectedly trip. I have a Jet 12-21 Variable Speed lathe. When I change speed the GCFI outlet would trip and shut me down. I replaced the single outlet that that lathe can run on with a standard outlet and problem solved.

The electrical code calls for GCFI in all garage and locations subject to being wet. Well since a garage is made to pakt a car and many times you drive in with a wet car the GCFI is required. The GCFI is a life saver in certain situations and is a good thing. However in my special case I do not have that single outlet not protected by GCFI in my dedicated shop. When I built my building I could only get 200 amp service and I bought the biggest breaker box. At the time I was building most GCFI breakers were double size and took up two breaker spots for a 120 v circuit. So I put the GCFI outlet as the first outlet in a circuit run and that protects everything down stream. I also made 20 amp circuits with #12 wire for everything in the shop. All my lightsing rows (3) are on separate circuits each so if a breaker pops it does not go dark in the shop all at once. My shop is a general woodworking shop with a lot of high horsepower tools that I do not want to have spinning/cutting in the dark.

So use GCFI if at all possible but sometimes it is impossible. Only go to a standard outlet if it is a problem and if there is not an issue with it popping off unexpectedly. That unexpectedly pop off could save your life. Just dont do it because maybe it will pop off.


The power pendent is hard wired into the machine and is a great feature. However, it does not control the routers power. So adding an emergency shutoff into the circuit might be something to consider.

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