Shapoeoko 5 PRO hardware, VFD, and spindle Issues from the start

You have got to be kidding me. Seriously. ALL this crap and there is an ICSP header just like the old carbide boards… ON THE BOARD there is the spindle output pin with the signal UNMOLESTED. Next your gonna tell me the coolant output signal is there on a pin too… I know, I know, there is.

Oh look and that board has wifi on it too that is unused.

pwncnc is where I had to get my 80mm spindle holder that came with the adapter plate and I threw in a dustboot v7 because carbide doesn’t offer one.

If that works the way it does on the 2.4e board for my Shapeoko 3 XXL then in my opinion that would be a drastic upgrade for everyone.

No wonder why its “muted”.

Thank you very much. Tomorrow I will do some testing and mark your post as the solution once I verify.
You the real MVP.


Oh crap, I don’t want no trouble! Just trying to help a fellow frustrated woodworker…
crawls back into his sawdust pile


Hey Will. I received the source and have compared it with the main branch of grbl. There are in fact multiple things that are changed.

For instance, besides the normal settings stuff and this is non exhaustive:

The SPINDLE_PWM_MIN_VALUE was turned on and set to 25, which in the source alone states setting a minimum PWM value will reduce resolution of the signal.
Line 362 of config.h

The coolant control was heavily messed with, with what looks like preparation for a laser accessory and laser mode was cloned to another pin. The laser port was hardcoded from a setting from eeprom to a hard on by the looks of it also. Which means it probaly breaks out on the “accessory plug”

The SPINDLE_TCCRB_INIT_MASK prescaler was also changed from 1/64 to 1/8.

I’m just posting this here as some helpful information to someone that might buy one of these machines and maybe save some head scratching when things don’t work quite expected. My spindle issue was resolved by the above solution.

A final note is that the isolation hardware that was spoken of on Carbide team chat are just optocouplers added between most of the things.

If anyone would like to see exactly what was changed I have forked official grbl and merged the Carbide3d changes into my own fork and GitHub lists the changes side by side located C3D · J-eremy/grbl-shapeoko-5@b03848f · GitHub

While I appreciate you taking time out of your day to address a random ranting woodworker on the internet, telling people that the only thing that was changed was the dual y axis is a little disingenuous, while at the same time I know it wasn’t completely on purpose.

I just wish there was some kind of transparency when it came to this as this whole issue could have been avoided.

This has been a week I will never get back. <— Hyperbole. Its not that serious, but is at the same time.



This is solid information here in this thread.


Feel your pain. I went and bought SO5 w/ their VFD spindle - has been days of back and forth. In my case, I appear to have both a bad VFD controller 1.1 AND an issue with the SO5 controller, as I get no voltage across black/white on spindle control (yes, after issuing M3S24000).

Though support was helpful, as I sent him picture of what appears to be fried circuit on the molex connection to VFD controller, I have had crickets for 24 hours on if they are sending me a new SO5 controller. Very frustrating as this was very expensive and it’s a big paper weight at moment :frowning:

We will get you up and running as soon as is possible, and will share what we know — if we haven’t shared a specific schedule we’re either getting things ready for shipment, or working out how to get to that point. Please be patient and bear with us.


Appreciate the response - I get jittery when I don’t get a response. My users have trained me well in my IT OPS org…

Oscar from support called me back and was very helpful aligning expectations. So a little delay, but such is life. I’ll update the forum next week with the results. Thanks!

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Its the lack of transparency and outright attempts to lock you into their painfully marked up ecosystem that worries me and makes me jittery.

The almost forced use of proprietary software, with a proprietary file type unless you pay for the “pro” version to unlock exporting of standard gcode that also worries me.

They are going the “Apple” route in my opinion.

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I hear ya. For me, I was willing to buy into that ecosystem for the premium “plug and play”. I’ve done the same in other areas, such as 3D printing; opting for the Bamabu Lab X1-Carbon. That said, I will remain optimistic with the outcome - jury is still out…

The most difficult thing in any organization is managing expectations. This is often challenged during expansion / reorganization, so perhaps they have some lessons to be learned from this. Since I am already invested, I want to see them succeed and will be “flexible”; within reason.

Well good luck. I was told that the BitZero that I bought with my Shapeoko 3 wasn’t compatible with the new machine because of “new electronics” when I bought my 5 pro.
So I bit the bullet and bought the new Bitzero V2 for 120 extra dollars at the time of my order.

Turns out those “new electronics” were in fact just a new connector they used on the new machine as I thought. absolute same function, power, gnd and signal.

The new Bitzero is made out of a cast part with a plastic bottom and hole center circle corner finder I was forced into buying the new Bitzero for 120 bucks when a 50 cent adapter cable could have been used. The old solid block of aluminum Bitzero could be flipped over if you weren’t measuring zero on an edge, with the new on, because its plastic that’s not possible and you are forced to zero the bit while the plate is weeble wobbling around only being supported on 2 sides.

Not only that stuff, but now with the new design whatever different software you use has to have that functionality of center finding to find edge, or you are SOL unless you can script that functionality in.

Plug and play is awesome, but those plugs can be changed (literally in this situation) and the changes kept secret for monetary gain which translates to more money usually directed at the people that know what you do not for no reason other than them needing to sell more of a thing. I would recommend you be aware of these things and keep your eyes open.

In my opinion, this kind of stuff is completely unacceptable with a machine that is clearly marketed for hobbyist and small business. As both those situations the people who run the machine should know how it works in case of some minor problems that may occur.

Just remember, if your spindle dies for some reason you are now out of business and reliant on Carbide3d not only having them in stock, but being open and still being in business however many years down the road. Because the information just isn’t out there on how most of the stuff really works unless your a giant nerd like me.

Sorry for the rant I’m still salty.


I suspected that about the bitzero, but nobody would confirm back when I asked. My salt in the wound was trying to buy one in Canada to save $50 import fee, finding one on robotshop, getting it, and then realizing it was a V1. There’s no different part number between the two, and the robotshop ad at the time didn’t say it wasn’t compatible with SO5. So I shipped it back, brought in one from the states which amounted to ~$200, and after discovering it works so-so for z and poorly for x/y, it sits in its box. Meh.

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Hey its only money right? /sarcasm

With Arduino you can use any conductive material as a plate. That magnet is just the ground that is passed through the bit to the plate, then back to the GPIO of the controller to signal connection. The positive lead is literally there for the LED… You can literally use a quarter with a wire soldered to it if you know the exact thickness. BUT NOT IN CARBIDE MOTION! lul

The issue was the term “incompatible due to new electronics” that I was told. When I put in my order they wouldn’t even answer if it was still GRBL which it absolutely is even tho GRBL HAL is now a thing so I didn’t want to risk them literally doing something that wasn’t compatible so I bit the bullet and bought it.

So yea, intentional vagueness so you are reliant on them isn’t a good look.

Sorry Carbide, you messed up this time bad. And best of all, this thread will automatically close in 8 days with no way for me to keep it open so it will get burried. That’s fantastic.

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Relieved to know I’m not alone with these issues.

I have a 4x4 5 pro and even got a new studio for it. Spent two months troubleshooting a limit switch issue. As a CNC novice, I thought the support would provide a smooth start.

After 1.5 months, support advised inserting a code-based “limit” to prevent collisions.

I assumed the machine’s cost would speed up my startup phase. I was wrong.

The downtime cost me as much in rent as the machine itself.

Once operational, I enjoyed learning CNC. Started a side business, secured some clients, and completed test cuts. Took a weekend off.

Returned to find a dead VFD spindle. Initial solution: send it for repair and wait. Despite my frustration (and respect for the support team), they’re sending a replacement board by Friday. If it works, my machine will have been down for almost 2 months in my 5-month tenure.

I’m losing rent and can’t earn with the machine. Currently, my 4x4 ‘pro’ is just a stand for my scrollsaw.

Ordered a Makita from Home Depot as a stopgap from a comment above. Hopefully, I can still meet some deadlines.

Thanks to everyone sharing experiences. I find some relief in knowing it’s not just me.

I’m wildy frustrated and wildy broke - but at least I’m not alone!


They are clearly having QC and/or support issues. Feeling less generous today as it appears I received a 2nd bad VFD control board today. Since support (Oscar) couldn’t confirm one way or another diagnostic confirmation that the board is good or bad, I have to assume the latter. It shouldn’t take this long to get a response… :rage:


Its an intresting concept to have a proprietary set of electronics instead of working around already proven parts and it could be said that the sample size of people complaining here is low because of suvivorship bias but that doesnt explain the countless times ive read about people being sent 2 defective units in a row. I know 100% when my hdm was shipped whomever signed off the inspection sheet did not inspect the machine because every single bolt was finger tight and the machine was bolted to the pallet with only 4 screws. When you get to a point where everything is closed source, quality control is bad, support is being over worked to the point of not caring, warranty parts are being shipped without being verified they work before shipment and staff hang around all the popular spots except for discord. It just smells. Theres no other way to put it. Any question you ask about tramming, electronics or code is always meant with some passive aggressive nonsense. The machines and company are advertised as it just works. Up and running in just a day. Leading class support. Where as the reality it seems like is that the majority of problems are going un noticed or reported because of inexperienced users that may not relize there is an issue (things such as tramming and deracking, Loose hardware ectect) and those with the backround and knowledge to pick up on these kinds of problems are gate kept to a very large degree behind a wall. This was prevelant to me many years ago when I was diving into tramming and changing movement speeds of my nomad 3 in search of better tolerances and was pretty well blocked into doing it all myself because the nomad 3 is trammed from the factory and does not need to be retrammed and the tool changing macro is locked and not user editable without using a seperate gcode sender and using your own macro. I was put in a situation where I could choose between an hdm or build a servo driven print nc and I chose the hdm because it was supposed to be almost ready to run and my experience with it has been as polar opposite of that as absolutely possible. Even almost a year later I am still running into very very dumb avoidable problems to the extent of not being able to trust my machine. That in itself is just not acceptable. These are multiple thousands of dollars machines we buy to be able to trust they will cut these parts reliably and accurately. Having to scrap 100+ dollar billets of 6061 because of machine issues will never not create a black hole on people. Its not about being able to go back and repair things by manually editing g code or setting things up ourselves. Its principle. Sending people multiple bad parts in a row (it has happened to me aswell with vices and my threaded table) for proprietary none sense that could be avoided by going with the industry standards just rubs me the wrong way. At a point you just give up trying to go through support.


Just out of curiosity, after all that, have you opted for a different brand of CNC. What’s the bottom line?

Don’t know if it’s just me, but I’ve learned a tonne having to solve Carbides problems - I’m definitely building my own next round.

I don’t know where the line between buyers remorse and Stockholm syndrome is - but I think I’m close to it.


Its not really that simple to be honest. Once you buy one of these things, especially on the internet and especially from Carbide you are commited for the life of the machine. Not alot of people will upgrade the 5,000$ machine for quite a while so if the business is just after first time buyers then people not returning isn’t really an issue is it. I was told directly that allot of the decisions they make are because they want first timers and grandmas alike to be able to use the machine.

The actual reason I was given for why they went to the proprietary file type was that the “older” generation could not differentiate between the project file and g-code. Which is understandable and I have seen happen, but not the choice to exclude the exportation of gcode entirely unless you pay for a “pro” version.

Likely, at this point most customers if they do get a new machine in the future will outgrow these “hobby” “desktop” cnc’s. Especially the Shapeoko 5 pro with ball-screws and a 4x4 bed. The only thing it needs is closed steppers and well, a completely different set of electronics to control it and it would be good for a long time which can be done because its all lego parts with the exception for the extruded aluminum.

There’s no shortage of newcomers to the CNC world to deal with all this stuff, my guess is they aren’t too worried about returning customers. And @Robthatguy is 100% about survivor bias. And no, @YYZ your not alone.

The electronics are a mess, I was still amazed that there was this flat little board in that big black box with a 30 dollar Mean Well power supply running the whole thing. Oh and those connectors are directly soldered onto that board so don’t wiggle them too much or everyone is gonna be in some trouble.

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When this change was made part of the explanation was that many people using Carbide Create didn’t even own a C3D CNC machine and hitting up C3D for support on the software. They explained that this in part was to sort out that problem because support was only for individuals who own C3D products. I agree there are others ways they could have gone with to weed out the C3D owners from those just using Carbide Create (free) but alas this is they route they decided to take. They also got alot of backlash about the decision which is when they explained the gcode could be extracted from the file once in Carbide Motion and connected to a C3D machine (never looked for the option because I use something else for CAD/CAM). People still expressed their frustrations because some use other GCode senders so they decided to host on online service to extract the gcode from files. Here’s the link for that and it’s accessible once you login.

Edit: just to be clear if I was a Carbide Create user I most definately would want the export Gcode option to have remained within Carbide Create but at the same time the statement about exporting gcode was only for paid “pro” versions was not 100% accurate although still inconvenient.

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