Issues with Z depth

I’m attempting my first cut with the Shapeoko XXL. I have the Z plus and the router that carbide sells. I installed the 1/8” precision collet and the #101 ball cutter. The workpiece is a 1/2” thick piece of MDF. I used the precision probe to probe all 3 axis. However when I attempt to run the job, the bit doesn’t reach the workpiece. I’m sure this is something I’m doing wrong but can’t figure it out. When I jog the Z axis down as far as it will go, the bit is still about 1/2” above the workpiece. The attached photos show the bit installed and the Z down as far as it will go. Any suggestions?image|375x500

You’ll need a spoilboard on top of your baseboard with the Z-plus.

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Silly questions first;

Is the router as low as it will go in the collar?

Have you installed an additional spoilboard on top of the MDF baseboard on the machine?

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Neil’s right. You’ll need a spoilboard/wasteboard on top of your baseboard, and the spoilboard needs to be a certain height with the Z-plus](Flattening bit doesn't touch waste board)

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Thanks for the responses. I was planning on attaching 3/4” MDF wasteboard so I guess I’ll have to do that before I make any cuts with the shorter 1/8” bits.

Be aware Cody - It’s not concise to me, but in that thread that I linked to, it seems like with the Z-plus, you’ll need to go thicker than 3/4". Post #33 by @mmoses shows a picture that mentions success by sandwiching a 3/4" + 1/2" MDF board. Post #44, Ed Ford bullets the technical differences between kit Z-carriages as well as a DIY EZ tram plate to circumvent the requirement of stacking wasteboards.

Good luck and happy milling!


Yeah it was very frustrating trying to get the z plus machine set up. Especially since it was my second machine and I knew it how to put one of these together.

Anyways, running a total of 1.25" wasteboard has worked out well so far.

Is that still not in the assembly instructions???

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Thanks everyone for the tips. I added a full 39 1/2” x 42” piece of MDF to the factory base. Then I cut a 32”x32” piece of 3/4” MDF for the waste board. Downloaded a file from Meyers Woodshop and it’s currently cutting the holes for threaded inserts. It was not in the instruction manual to add these extra pieces but you guys saved me.


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