Help with my XXL in Minnesota

Good afternoon,

I bought my XXL nearly a month ago, and have yet to get it to work correctly. I’ve been working with Carbide support throughout this period. I ended up buying Vcarve Pro, because it has features I wanted to use - and I like the interface much better.

Here are the issues I face:

  • The unit was square when I built it, and now one side is about an inch out from the other side, when positioned all the way to the rear. Yes all the screws were tightened - I checked.
  • The unit has never homed correctly the 1st time it tries to home. It goes all the way to the rear, the Z goes all the way to the top, and then it start moving to the right and stops maybe 6-8" from the right stop switch. I have to power cycle the unit to get it to finish homing.
  • They sent me a replacement board because the feeling was the original was experiencing issues. The new board would not move the steppers at all (not even the initial jump when you turn the power on), and none of my laptops would recognize the port being available.
  • I put the original board back in and finally got the firmware to upgrade to 1.1. For about a week the upgraded firmware allowed the device to home, but as of this week it is doing the same thing again.
  • The upgraded firmware on the original board no longer allows the unit to travel all the way to the left anymore, so I love maybe 4 inches of use on that side.
  • The unit will flip out and begin cutting in random spots, at random depths, it has already drilled down in to the frame of the unit before I could stop it. I have stopped the job and started it again, and without any changes, it starts working at the correct spot.
  • I get the occasional door open error… when no door is open.
  • I get cycle aborted quit often.
  • I’ll set the zero and start a job, it will move to the job and drill… then only lift slightly and drag the bit across my work, ruining it. I stop and restart, and it works correctly. This tells me it cannot be the job, since I am reloading the exact same gcode.

Attached are files from the run I did last night. I’m also providing a link to a video of a different job that freaked out.

Do any of you with pro knowledge of the unit live near Minneapolis? I would welcome someone to come over and give me a hand. I have a ton of projects that I cannot start until the machine is reliable.

I would start by tightening your belts. Loosen them up, square your machine and then tighten.
Your machine is skipping/losing steps. That’s why it goes crazy, then when it homes and resets you can run the same job with good results.
I’m guessing at some point you had a major “crash” causing a big loss of steps and putting your machine out of square ?
You can recover from it just have to start by squaring and tightening ALL your belts ( don’t forget the Z belt)
. G/L Ray


Yep as above allot of what you describe sounds like the belts not being tight. You should be able to pluck them.

Also when updating the board firmware did you upload the correct settings to the board after?


Hey fellas… it’s not the belts. They are all tight, and have never been loose.

MrBeaver…the new firmware has a dropdown box to set the machine and settings. See image. I was not able to set additional settings. Could not find instructions for the new firmware to do so, like the old had.

I could have swore that support told me nothing further was required.

That sounds correct, have you sent the XXL config data to the machine?

It might be worth stepping back and running a simpler job?

What if you run the Carbide 3d logo using a pen?

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well… If I had a dollar every time I heard "the screws are tight or the belts don’t slip"
You’re losing steps some how, screws, belt, weak stepper motor connections. G/L Ray

I appreciate the feedback guys… I can assure you the screws are tight and so are the belts. Neither of which make the machine suddenly go a hard left and grind against the left side of the machine.

Are the litte tiny set screws on the stepper motor pulleys tightened on the flat of the shaft? These come preassembled from the factory so they won’t be screws that you tightened as part of assembly. They are part of what comes already assembled. There are two in each pulley. It is not enough for them to be tight: one of them MUST be tightened on the flat of the shaft or you WILL have gremlins.

The ones on my XXL did not come tightened on the flat from the factory. This was discussed muchly on the forum at the time and C3D presumably improved their process, but it is possible that yours were not assembled correctly at the factory.

I mention this because I can’t tell you how many times folks have been sure that all the screws were tight, but they still had this specific problem.

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To review — mechanical things to check:

If all those things are good, then for the electronics:

If all that checks out, then software — unsupported G-Codes can cause rather strange behaviours — check against:

If you find a specific problem which can be duplicated, please send in the files, and a full description of how they were created and the steps needed to cause the problem to and we’ll try to have someone look into it.

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I’ll check that when I get home later… thanks for the suggestion. I didn’t even think to check the preassembled stuff.

Thanks Will… I’ll go through your checklist later. :slight_smile:

Yeah I figured it out the hard way myself haha.

Check your cables - every inch. This sounds a bit like an internal short in a cable.

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Check the preassembled stuff, I had a 1 mm wiggle in the z axis because the the left bottom v wheel was not tight to the rail it was pre assembled, .do you use Motion to run your G-code? If notting has wiggle room I would start with the Sharpie drawing the Shapeoko logo, using CMotion. Step by step from the start.

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I noticed you said you updated the grbl to version 1.1. I had same issue with machine stopping about 6 inches from end of homing cycle. i had to manually update the board size using the grbl commands. Click on settings tab in the carbide motion software to check, the last two lines are your board size. Just click on the MDI tab and manually set the board size to something over 800. My setting is $130=830. More info If you invest in the super PID for automatic speed control using the dewalt router let me know I have that set info also. Your inch misalignment sounds like something has moved. Mine moved when I added holed to my mdf boards and then retightened the screws. Hope this helps and good luck.


Your door open issue might be a bad switch. Mine was on my y axis.

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I’m in the twin cities, and I’m not sure if I can come up with more than these guys have I’m willing to try and help.

Thanks Mark. Hoping to have some time tonight to try the things people suggested.

Randy… that $130 setting TOTALLY helped with going all the way to the left. Thank you very much!! Looking at the rest of the stuff now.

Your welcome. Just a little note on your limit switches in case one goes bad. These switches are not very durable. I have made several mistakes and damaged quite a few z limit switches when I hit the emergency power off button. The part number for the switches is SW1221-ND from digikey. I keep a few on hand since I don’t want to look at the machine when I am waiting for parts.