Noob needs help with what adjustments need to be made

Hey all, just got my Shapeoko xl all assembled and when I try to run the “Hello World” file, my machine is acting really strange. If anyone can help, I would really appreciate it! Here are a couple of links to video clips showing my issue.

Thanks in advance!

You have your Z TOO low! It only has 3 inches of travel from the top. 1) Lower the marker or 2) Raise the paper (Put some wood under it)

Let’s start with this (there may be other things too)

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It appears to be traveling downward initially and the belt/steppers are skipping as it plunges into the bed. Unsure how you’re zeroing Z and setting this in Carbide Motion.

Hey Rich, I tried doing both. First I lowered the marker with the same results, then I tried putting wood under it the 2nd time, but I got the same result with the Z plunging into the bed and then raising up above the paper.

Are you setting your XY&Z Zero? (As per the instructions?)

PS Every video I see the Z Plate looks TOO LOW. remember 3 Inches (80mm) from the TOP to and bottom. It will feed more, then make ugly noise…

Jim, I am using the instructions for setting “0” by jogging to the bottom left corner of the paper, and putting the marker just barely above the paper. Then I click “set zero” - then click “zero all” (all the numbers go to zero), then I click “done” and then I click “load” and find the file, click on it, then click “open” and run, then I click “begin project”, then “run” again. I’m really a noob at this stuff, I’m really not trying to be ignorant or ungrateful, because I really appreciate the help, I’m just trying to be complete with the steps that I am taking.

Here is a clip of my most recent try.

That sound like the Zero Set is correct.

Can you raise the paper 1-2 inches (25-50mm) , reset Zero and try it again.

The bottom of the Z plate shoudn’t go much below the Z rails (and it looks like it is about 1 inch too low)

One problem here is that the XL and XXL are a bit taller than the original Shapeoko 3, and with the new Z-axis plate, don’t have the same reach down, so really, pretty much need a spoilboard to lift things up into reach.

Alternately, install your router so that it is as low as it can go, then strap the pen/pencil to it reaching down even further — the big thing is, you need to keep your V-wheels on the rails, and you need to not be moving down so far that the springs are stretched so taut that they pull the plate up and interfere with operation (one option is to temporarily remove one).

It’s a bit tricky at first, there are a lot of things to tweak / adjust, but patiently watch, observe, change only one thing at a time, and you’ll seen be an old hand at it all.

Ok, I see the Z rails in this video, so the Z looks good, but I also see that the first move is to lower the Z, and this file (Write SHAPEOKO), raises the Z as the FIRST move…so either you are not setting the Z OR the Z is backwards (Happens sometimes)

Tell me: Click on Z+ Button, does the Head (Z) go UP or DOWN?

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ok, When i press “z+” it goes down

Thanks Will!! I’ll keep at it!

So it’s wired backwards.

It can be fixed via a software setting.


But I don’t have the info with me.

Google Shapeoko $3 bit invert. There’s a Shapeoko page that explains it

Thanks Rich, is this something that I wired wrong, or something that was shipped to me with just a setting that needs tweaking? I’ll google it right now, thank you!!

So I’m trying to follow the instructions on this link-

But I can’t seem to be able to get the values or know where to change them.

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Check the Zmount, it sounds like the plate is on upside down - easily done I know from experience.

Should be fitted this way:


Yep, your right!! Do I have to dis-assemble the whole thing or just the z-mount??

You have to remove the Zmount (and the router mount on the plate) and turn it upside down and refit - not really a big deal.

I think from memory you can just manage to take the plate off without further disassembly. it’s a tight squeeze but it does comes off. Probably if you move the carriage forward to the front of the machine where it slightly overhangs it may be easier to remove.

The most difficult bit is readjusting the z belt tension correctly.


That did the trick!! Thank you so much!! Thanks for everyone’s help!!!


My pleasure. You are well on the way to happy CNC’ing.

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