How do I raise Z without power

I have a stock 4XL. The controller died in the middle of a 2 hour cut on walnut :frowning: I ordered a new controller. How do I raise the Z so I can get the trapped walnut out. Tried turning it by hand and couldn’t. Hate to put pliers on it. Any ideas or do I just have to wait for the new controller?

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Turn the leadscrew by hand (you’ll want a rag to wipe the oil off after)

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Hi WIll,

It just doesn’t want to turn. I gripped it as hard as I could with my hands and no go. Could that have been the cause of the controller failure? The only thing support came up with is dust. I can slide it around so the X and Y motors can move. I was doing a 2 hour cut in Walnut and it just stopped - it turned the router off and disconnected.


Are the linear rails/blocks clean and clear of debris and well-lubricated?

Let us know at

Loosen the bit?
rest of 20


I took the 4 screws out of the Z motor and lifted the whole assembly. The rails are clear, but really need lube. What should I use to lube the rails? I was thinking a silicone based lube which wouldn’t attract dust / chips.

Mobil Vactra No. 2.


Thanks, I wonder if this is what did my controller in, the extra drag on that motor

That should not have caused the controller to malfunction. It would cause stress on the stepper motor

Hi Sheldon, This should not cause issues with the controller. Steppers get the same current regardless of load. That is why people have concerns about letting the machine idle for long period of time. The increased load would likely lead to skipped steps and position shifting/inaccuracy.

I have the reverse issue where my Z axis will drop to my table after I shutdown my Shapeoko 5 Pro. I had to put a piece of wood under the spindle so the spindle bit doesnt crash into the table and do any damage. I also noticed a small quarter size spot of oil on the table side rail under the Z body. I want to make sure this isnt actually a problem that i am having and dont even know it. Has anyone else had this issue?

This is a feature of the Z-axis having very low friction due to the ballscrews — I put a block of foam underneath mine to keep it from dropping precipitously — I also put a rag on top of the foam to catch any drips (though usually dripping only happens for a brief while after lubricating things).

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I figured the oil was just things clicking in as the machine runs more often. The dropping wasnt too big of a concern, but it did freak me out a little when the Z started dropping. It all works well when it is started back up. Foam actually sounds better then a block of wood. Thanks for that idea.

Shelkol, if you havent figured out how to raise your Z axis, grab the body where the spindle attaches and slowly life it up. It will come up easily enough, but please be careful to make sure not to move up to fast, because if you do it will send electric backfeed into your controller and possibly burn something up inside. Either move it slowly up, or disconnect the wire connector to the Z axis motor and then move it up. Then reconnect it again.

You could also just loosen the clamp around the router and lift it out of the way.

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@shelkol I hate to ask a stupid question, and I’m guessing you did - but just in case: Did you unplug it / turn it off? The controller dying doesn’t mean the stepper motors aren’t still activated…and they won’t move by hand unless you turn off the machine.

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Thanks, but mine would not move by lifting or trying to turn the ball screw as I lifted it. I would up removing the screws holding the Z motor. Then found out the linear bearing and the ball screw needed lube badly.

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LOL, Multiple times! Been in the computer industry for almost 50 years. Reboot, power off, boot, Unplug things, plug them back in, etc.

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