New problems on my z-axis

I’m still having problems with my z-axis, so I took a video to show what’s happening.

First off, my z axis is working perfectly when I control it manually. Whether I do it through repetier or with the LCD board, both motors work fine. All axis work fine, in fact.

But when I run an actual cnc program and all axis are moving, that seems to be when things get messed up. In the video you can hear the grinding sound. The router is off so it’s otherwise quiet.

By the way, when I disconnect and power down the motors, its very easy to twist the screw to move the axis up and down so its not super tight. And as I mentioned, everything works fine when I control manually.

Any ideas? I’m at a loss for ideas right now.


Can you post the first hundred or so lines of your gcode? Not sure what I’m looking for but a few possibilities can be eliminated…

Yes, here are the first 200 lines. By the way, I just ran it again from an SD Card to eliminate my laptop and Repetier from the equation, and the problem still remains…


;Project dog5
;Created by Estlcam version 11 build 11.113
;Machining time about 00:01:24 hours

M03 S24000
G00 X0.0000 Y0.0000 Z0.0000 F2100
G00 Z2.0000 F480

;No. 1: Part 1
G00 X1.8244 Y90.4306 F2100
G00 Z0.5000 F480
G01 Z-6.0000 F180 S24000
G03 X1.5319 Y86.8523 I23.8813 J-3.7529 F900
G01 X1.5425 Y86.0539 F900
G01 X1.5458 Y85.9715 F900
G01 X1.5839 Y85.2660 F900
G01 X1.5890 Y85.1972 F900
G03 X3.7571 Y76.2795 I27.7831 J2.0324 F900
G01 X3.7843 Y76.2209 F900
G01 X3.9495 Y75.8730 F900
G01 X4.1491 Y75.4824 F900
G02 X6.2930 Y71.3177 I-58.4946 J-32.7454 F900
G02 X6.7844 Y69.5072 I-3.7290 J-1.9841 F900
G02 X6.0965 Y65.2113 I-10.5272 J-0.5172 F900
G03 X3.4644 Y56.2985 I54.5296 J-20.9485 F900
G03 X2.8089 Y50.4631 I29.8271 J-6.3049 F900
G01 X2.8138 Y49.7793 F900
G01 X2.8435 Y49.0404 F900
G01 X2.8987 Y48.3178 F900
G01 X2.9069 Y48.2377 F900
G03 X3.5430 Y45.0004 I20.8792 J2.4216 F900
G03 X5.6893 Y38.1242 I87.8849 J23.6590 F900
G02 X6.7388 Y34.2406 I-22.6301 J-8.1991 F900
G02 X6.8690 Y30.0524 I-18.8928 J-2.6834 F900
G02 X5.4462 Y27.6184 I-3.1700 J0.2203 F900
G02 X2.8168 Y26.0770 I-10.8061 J15.4194 F900
G03 X-0.1565 Y24.0003 I5.4978 J-11.0385 F900
G03 X-1.5860 Y20.9378 I2.9832 J-3.2573 F900
G01 X-1.5850 Y20.7791 F900
G03 X-1.5571 Y20.5109 I2.6650 J0.1417 F900
G03 X-0.5725 Y17.7227 I13.4181 J3.1703 F900
G02 X1.1920 Y12.7802 I-33.8917 J-14.8859 F900
G02 X1.4600 Y11.8196 I-41.2637 J-12.0295 F900
G03 X2.7208 Y7.5893 I35.6334 J8.3168 F900
G01 X2.9430 Y7.0156 F900
G01 X3.2013 Y6.4132 F900
G01 X3.2383 Y6.3332 F900
G01 X3.4741 Y5.8446 F900
G01 X3.5191 Y5.7579 F900
G01 X3.7644 Y5.3075 F900
G01 X3.8185 Y5.2153 F900
G01 X4.0751 Y4.7999 F900
G01 X4.1390 Y4.7042 F900
G01 X4.4088 Y4.3208 F900
G01 X4.4823 Y4.2242 F900
G01 X4.7672 Y3.8699 F900
G01 X4.8494 Y3.7753 F900
G01 X5.1513 Y3.4470 F900
G01 X5.2402 Y3.3576 F900
G01 X5.5611 Y3.0524 F900
G01 X5.6538 Y2.9706 F900
G01 X5.9956 Y2.6855 F900
G01 X6.0890 Y2.6132 F900
G01 X6.4538 Y2.3453 F900
G01 X6.5447 Y2.2832 F900
G01 X6.9345 Y2.0297 F900
G01 X7.0203 Y1.9775 F900
G01 X7.4372 Y1.7355 F900
G01 X7.5161 Y1.6925 F900
G01 X7.9621 Y1.4592 F900
G01 X8.5100 Y1.1968 F900
G01 X8.5908 Y1.1609 F900
G01 X9.2627 Y0.8754 F900
G01 X9.3586 Y0.8382 F900
G01 X10.0458 Y0.5877 F900
G01 X10.1407 Y0.5564 F900
G01 X10.8400 Y0.3407 F900
G01 X10.9339 Y0.3147 F900
G01 X11.6419 Y0.1337 F900
G01 X11.7353 Y0.1127 F900
G01 X12.4487 Y-0.0339 F900
G01 X12.5417 Y-0.0503 F900
G01 X13.2572 Y-0.1626 F900
G01 X13.3503 Y-0.1745 F900
G01 X14.0645 Y-0.2528 F900
G01 X14.1583 Y-0.2604 F900
G01 X14.8679 Y-0.3049 F900
G01 X14.9627 Y-0.3081 F900
G01 X15.6643 Y-0.3189 F900
G01 X15.7608 Y-0.3175 F900
G01 X16.4512 Y-0.2949 F900
G01 X16.5498 Y-0.2887 F900
G01 X17.2256 Y-0.2328 F900
G01 X17.3271 Y-0.2213 F900
G01 X17.9849 Y-0.1324 F900
G01 X18.0899 Y-0.1148 F900
G01 X18.7265 Y0.0068 F900
G01 X18.8356 Y0.0315 F900
G01 X19.4477 Y0.1856 F900
G01 X19.5615 Y0.2187 F900
G01 X20.1457 Y0.4050 F900
G01 X20.2647 Y0.4481 F900
G01 X20.8178 Y0.6664 F900
G01 X20.9422 Y0.7216 F900
G01 X21.4610 Y0.9715 F900
G01 X21.5905 Y1.0414 F900
G01 X22.0717 Y1.3228 F900
G01 X22.2053 Y1.4101 F900
G01 X22.6458 Y1.7226 F900
G01 X22.7815 Y1.8304 F900
G01 X23.1781 Y2.1739 F900
G02 X25.4391 Y3.4481 I4.9681 J-6.1729 F900
G01 X25.8973 Y3.6297 F900
G01 X25.9793 Y3.6647 F900
G01 X26.4154 Y3.8599 F900
G01 X26.4981 Y3.8997 F900
G01 X26.9113 Y4.1076 F900
G01 X26.9949 Y4.1527 F900
G01 X27.3847 Y4.3725 F900
G01 X27.4690 Y4.4234 F900
G01 X27.8347 Y4.6541 F900
G01 X27.9198 Y4.7116 F900
G01 X28.2607 Y4.9524 F900
G01 X28.3463 Y5.0172 F900
G01 X28.6619 Y5.2672 F900
G01 X28.7477 Y5.3402 F900
G01 X29.0374 Y5.5986 F900
G01 X29.1230 Y5.6808 F900
G03 X30.9522 Y9.0172 I-3.9244 J4.3212 F900
G03 X29.5170 Y13.1683 I-5.0285 J0.5851 F900
G03 X26.6852 Y15.0718 I-6.1784 J-6.1332 F900
G03 X25.1784 Y15.6909 I-18.0246 J-41.7248 F900
G02 X23.5943 Y16.4771 I2.5103 J7.0475 F900
G01 X23.5759 Y16.4966 F900
G01 X23.5745 Y16.5530 F900
G02 X24.2923 Y18.6121 I4.0920 J-0.2719 F900
G02 X27.0141 Y21.7841 I14.4792 J-9.6702 F900
G02 X32.1832 Y26.1073 I46.3249 J-50.1370 F900
G03 X36.3572 Y29.7245 I-31.4749 J40.5366 F900
G01 X36.5029 Y29.8774 F900
G01 X36.5472 Y29.9258 F900
G03 X41.1138 Y36.6481 I-25.9285 J22.5265 F900
G03 X42.4177 Y39.5462 I-33.7646 J16.9331 F900
G01 X42.5562 Y39.8501 F900
G01 X42.5773 Y39.8578 F900
G01 X42.6895 Y39.8045 F900
G01 X42.9592 Y39.6709 F900
G01 X43.3243 Y39.4877 F900
G01 X44.4955 Y38.9258 F900
G01 X45.8405 Y38.3372 F900
G01 X45.9031 Y38.3112 F900
G01 X47.2742 Y37.7608 F900
G01 X47.3317 Y37.7388 F900
G03 X52.0342 Y36.1143 I27.8339 J72.9517 F900
G01 X52.0829 Y36.0996 F900
G01 X53.7938 Y35.5845 F900
G01 X55.5104 Y35.1004 F900
G01 X56.6630 Y34.7959 F900
G03 X75.7583 Y31.4484 I29.0453 J109.5462 F900
G01 X77.3373 Y31.3437 F900
G01 X77.3482 Y31.3415 F900
G01 Y13.6085 F900
G03 X77.4233 Y13.1256 I1.5950 J0.0008 F900
G01 X78.5834 Y9.3277 F900
G03 X80.2759 Y4.2253 I62.8290 J18.0084 F900
G01 X80.5265 Y3.6126 F900
G01 X80.7795 Y3.0510 F900
G01 X80.8193 Y2.9690 F900
G01 X81.0401 Y2.5340 F900
G01 X81.0919 Y2.4396 F900
G01 X81.3140 Y2.0561 F900
G01 X81.3808 Y1.9502 F900
G03 X84.4293 Y-0.5582 I5.1930 J3.2044 F900
G01 X84.8015 Y-0.7056 F900
G01 X85.2739 Y-0.8757 F900
G01 X85.3622 Y-0.9046 F900
G01 X85.7204 Y-1.0146 F900
G01 X85.8270 Y-1.0435 F900
G01 X86.2304 Y-1.1426 F900
G01 X86.3200 Y-1.1621 F900
G03 X87.8999 Y-1.4155 I3.4526 J16.4727 F900
G01 X87.9628 Y-1.4224 F900
G03 X95.9494 Y-1.1696 I3.1236 J27.5987 F900
G01 X96.3800 Y-1.0724 F900
G01 X96.4763 Y-1.0476 F900
G01 X96.8649 Y-0.9392 F900
G01 X96.9450 Y-0.9147 F900
G03 X100.4771 Y0.8240 I-2.8665 J10.2802 F900
G03 X102.0601 Y2.7022 I-3.5687 J4.6137 F900
G02 X103.4030 Y3.6581 I3.1970 J-3.0703 F900
G03 X104.5821 Y4.3073 I-5.1430 J10.7359 F900
G01 X104.6529 Y4.3528 F900
G01 X104.9068 Y4.5215 F900
G01 X104.9800 Y4.5730 F900
G01 X105.2161 Y4.7452 F900
G03 X107.3470 Y7.7805 I-3.1097 J4.4487 F900
G03 X105.5746 Y12.7959 I-4.8674 J1.1008 F900
G01 X105.3323 Y12.9972 F900

It looks like youve done everything right as far as software. Try decreasing the z rapid feed rate to 180 instead of 480. I am guessing this will get you up and going at least, and your manual jog will work like your cam job.

It looks like Estlcam uses the rapid feedrate to go up, and the plunge feedrate to go down, which is reasonable. After all, going up is not cutting and going down is potentially cutting. But going up you are going against gravity so you need more torque. Slowing down should help.

BUT at 480 you should still have plenty of torque, so something is still wrong and needs to be fixed. If you are borderline when raising the tool then for a long job if you could lose some steps and best case you only ruin your work.

Maybe with motors energized, try turning the coupler with your hand and see if you can skip steps with your hand. If so, see if both sides feel equal. You could use a multimeter to measure the current through each winding of each motor, but setting that up is quite a hassle.


Thanks, I’ll try those things in the morning. I was thinking that today I had added an aluminum beam for wire management, as well as connected shopvac hose, so I’ve recently added some additional weight. If I’m srtessing the torque with my feed rate, that additional weight certainly won’t help.

By the way, I can definitely skip steps with my hand by holding the coupler. I tried that today, but I wasn’t sure if that’s normal. Is that a bad sign?

Thanks again!

Jamie - thank you so much! I woke up early this morning anxious to try slowing down the z rapid feed rate, but lo and behold when I went into my estlcam settings I found that my previous settings had disappeared. It seems that my z feedrate was trying to run much faster than 480 in Marlin. So I set it back to 480 and everything ran smooth as a baby’s butt.

I was so focused on mechanical and electrical, I completely missed the obvious. This was good though, I learned a lot more about the software, firmware, and gcode along the way.

This morning im leaving on a short family vacation and it’ll be much more pleasant knowing I’ve got a working machine waiting for me when I get back!