Spindle plunges through waste board until I turn it off

Brand new shapeoko xxl running on MacBook.
Set everything up ran hello world sharpie test successfully.
Set up probe. Appears to work fine.
Set up bitsetter. Appears to work fine.
Tried tutorial drink holder project. Set depth both manually and with probe. Every time, when I start the run, Z plus goes all the way up, makes a gear stripping sound, then goes all the way past set depth into the waste board. Tried simple shallow cut contour lines. Same thing. Drill is not loose,
Unit seems to initialize normally.
Could this be a hardware problem?
The horror.
Please advise.

That is usually a sign that your initial retract distance (safety height) is too high for your material thickness. Basically, your Z is lifting higher than the machine is capable of. It then “thinks” it’s higher than it is and moves down too far.


Thanks for responding. May retract is set at 4” to clear my t track knobs.

Those are some tall knobs.
Do you have 4" of room to move up when your endmill is at Z-zero?


Yes, I seem to have room.

Oh I see what you are saying. Let me check…

Sir, you are correct. I reduced the retract height and made my first successful cut. Super thanks to you!


For the future reference sometimes people set the spoil board as the top of the project and think they are setting the top of the material. I have seen cases where the opposite from your problem has occurred. The CC has the spoilboard and/or bottom of material set and you zero on top of the material and you get an air cut instead of cutting into the material.

One other thing to consider since this is new would be a threaded waste board (spoilboard) and using low profile cam clamps. Carbide 3d also has the gator tooth clamps and the new tiger claw clamps that are low profile. If you want to look at plans and a video look up Myers Woodshop on youtube and he has plans for a spoilboard, cam clamps and L brackets with a fence for the spoilboard.

The advantage of cam and other types of low profile clamps is you can reduce your retract height and speed up cutting time. If you set a high retract height the router has to go way up in the air and back down and that slows down your production.


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