Shapeoko 3Z axis pro XXL is stuck

New to cnc. Bought last summer used, but the previous owner showed me how to use it. Started it, and in moving the router it got stuck. Whenever I “initialize machine” it just vibrates in place and chitters. Hit STOP and get a box that says "GRBL Alarm 9- Homing fail could not find limit switch within search distance. Can’t seem to be able to change zyx axises. Thoughts? Thanks much.

So it depends on what Z you have. An SO3 can have the original belt drive. There is a belt on the back side that could be loose or the stepper motor pulley is loose. If you have a Z-Plus it has linear rails that need to be lubricated. You can try to turn the lead screw by hand to see if the Z will move. Also there is a coupler at the top that attaches the Z stepper motor to the lead screw. The HDZ had a ball screw but the same linear rails. You may need to lubricate them. Also there is a coupler at the top under the Z stepper motor that could be loose.

So try to manually move whatever Z you have. If it moves smoothly then start checking lubrication or belt tension. For the Z-Plus and HDZ there is a maintenance guide and it requires you to remove the Z to get lubrication to the lower bearings. The oil is Mobil Vactra #2. C3D sells maintenance kits that have the oil included.

The Shapeoko Pro maintenance kit has the oil but also has 15MM belts and your SO3 uses 9MM belts. You can also buy Mobil Vactra #2 on ebay and other sites. A quart will be a lifetime supply. Plus you will need some pipets to apply the oil.

Be sure to pick the SO3 kit but that does not have the oil. A maintenance kit is a good thing to have on hand.

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I have had my new Shapeoko Pro XL for 4 weeks and was having the same issue. It would not home, and the only way I could get it to move was to push down forcibly on the router while the machine was attempting to home/initialize. It would “break loose” then complete the cycle. With no power to the machine I could not get the router to move up or down, no matter how much force I applied.

With help from support, I disassembled the Z assembly by removing the router, router carrier, and removing the front metal plate. There are 16 screws in front (4 per block) and two more cap screws that go in from the back slide of the front plate. You will need a long T-handle wrench to get them out. Once the plate was off, I lubricated the linear rails with spray silicon lubricant and loosened the back lash spring a couple of turns.

CAUTION: If you go this route be careful not to let the blocks slide down off of the linear rails. Use a wood worker’s clamp or c-clamp attached to the bottom of the rails to keep the blocks in place.

After I reassembled everything I’ve had no problems with the GRBL Alarm 9 error message. Also lowered the Z limit switch on top about 1/4" down for good measure. NOTE: I am not recommending you take your machine apart; I’m just saying that is what I had to do to remedy the problem. Hope this helps.

Make sure your wires are all pushed in tight on the connectors at your limit switches

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