Have I damaged my Shapeoko 3?

I’m setting up Lighburn so that I can use my JTech laser with my Shapeoko 3 standard. In Lightburn I hit the home button and the Shapeoko moved way over to the left corner, beyond the limits that I normally see in Carbide Motion. When this happened there was a horrible chattering from the carriage.

I set the controller back to CNC mode and connected with CM and everything is moving okay, no noise. What was happening when the Shapeoko went out of bounds? Where was that chattering noise coming from. Have I damaged my Shapeoko? How can I prevent this from happening again?

I would recommend checking the belts; if you grind too much the thing that is most likely to damage is “teeth” on these belts.


Just check that no screws worked loose. The steppers can skip like that without causing any damage.
If it makes you feel better, I don’t think you’re the first person to crash a Shapeoko.


Chances are you have not set the Lightburn work area to the correct size of the Shapeoko’s work area. Note that in Lightburn you do not change the work area size to the size of the workpiece or the spindle carriage will attempt to move beyond the machine’s actual limits. The software in Lightburn will make an attempt to follow your instructions, even where they are impossible. You must match the work area in the settings to the size of your machine’s work area.

The first picture is my work area on my Standard SO3

The second image displays the settings (under working size) which I use on my standard sized SO3


Understatement of the year :slight_smile:

@infinitemach : while this is admittedly a scary experience (the first time even more so), we have ALL been there once or twice (those who did not, you will, it’s a matter of time :slight_smile: ) and in 99% of the cases there is no damage (but do check the belts and screws as others said)


Like I was told whilst rallying, “if you’re not crashing, you’re not trying” :wink:

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Is it possible to limit the X/Y? I did crash the pro as well :slight_smile: I figured there would be X/Y limits in carbide motion based on the size we define. Or maybe mine are off by a few MM?

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Soft limits are a great idea and have been requested before. Even better, CM could want you before you even start that you might crash.

Wouldnt it be $130 and $131?


You can run soft limits, apparently they can cause some odd behaviour occasionally and complicate support calls so they’re not on by default.

TBH, whilst the grinding sound of steppers is initially worrying, the belt drive system is remarkably resilient and I have learned to worry a lot less now about accidentally crashing the machine. I did fit an E-Stop button when I installed the spindle so I can just punch that when I do something really stupid.

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I think I know what was causing my problem.

I was moving Lightburn to another laptop and was re-configuring my setup. When trying to use the move commands in Lightburn I was getting an error message back in the console about G-Code being locked. I did some searching and discovered the the $X command. Well this does unlock G-Code commands but it also seems to throw the whole controller out of wack, where the coordinates are not interpreted correctly.

I followed the instructions on the Lightburn to setup the macros to switch between laser and CNC use and all seems to be working okay now.

I’d forgotten, Julien put a good description of how to set the soft limits in his ebook

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These are GRBL soft limits, and will work as you suggest.

I was really thinking after you’ve set your zero and hit start, Carbide Motion could just apply the bounds of the GCode movements to the zero point you’ve set and the type of machine you have, and maybe say “I don’t think this fits - are you sure you want to run this?”

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Seems like the sort of thing that CAD/CAM ought to be able to do doesn’t it? I can’t recall being able to trick Prusa Slicer into running the machine into an endstop.

However, it seems to be a harder problem that one might expect, Autodesk are only just starting to tackle it with their giant dev team.

I don’t think a warning is very hard at all. The maths are pretty simple.

CM could even permit a “perimeter jog” function where you move the spindle to six points and indicate that these are your soft limits, and it could tell you if your gcode crosses them.


Woah, this is a good resource! Just reading this

“The usual words to characterize an adequate belt tension are “guitar-string tight”. For the Y belts, a good indication of proper tension is that when the gantry is at one end of the rail, it should be possible to lift the belt a bit, but it should not be possible to slide a pinky finger under the middle of the belt.”

Holy shit, that’s tight! I should check mine, I think I can get a pinky under there easily.

For the main X and Y belts you can actually measure the tension pretty easily, see this thread

Over-tensioning the belts leads to early failure of the belts and stepper motor shafts.

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