New CNC 3018-Pro not engraving

I recently assembled a SainSmart Genmitsu CNC 3018-Pro Router Kit and successfully did an initial engraving using Candle 1.1.7 and one of the test files supplied with the kit. I subsequently tried another project, but after clicking the “Send” button, the spindle moved from the home position to begin the engraving process but the bit in the spindle never lowered far enough to the point where it was actually carving the wood. I’ve also run the same project in Easel with the same result, that is the CNC machine operates normally but the spindle never lowers to the point where the bit carves the wood. The CNC machine seems to operate normally in all other respects – I’m able to jog it along the X and Y axes and move the spindle up and down in the Z axis. At start up, I move the spindle to the front left corner of the wood and lower the bit to the point where it is just touching the board and click the buttons to set the zero point for X, Y and Z. Once I start the carving process, however, the bit is raised and moved to the location where it should begin engraving, and although the bit is subsequently lowered, it never is lowered enough to carve the wood.

I’m a new CNC user and assume there is a problem with one or more of the GRBL commands sent to the machine, but I don’t know what commands might be causing the problem. Any help in resolving this issue woud be greatly appreciated. Below are copies of the GRBL startup settings from both Candle and Easel:

Candle settings:

[CTRL+X] < Grbl 1.1f [‘$’ for help]
$$ < $0=10
$1=25
$2=0
$3=2
$4=0
$5=0
$6=0
$10=1
$11=0.010
$12=0.002
$13=0
$20=0
$21=0
$22=0
$23=0
$24=25.000
$25=500.000
$26=250
$27=1.000
$30=1000
$31=0
$32=0
$100=800.000
$101=800.000
$102=800.000
$110=1000.000
$111=1000.000
$112=600.000
$120=30.000
$121=30.000
$122=30.000
$130=200.000
$131=200.000
$132=200.000
ok

Easel settings:

ok
$132=200.000
$131=200.000
$130=200.000
$122=30.000
$121=30.000
$120=30.000
$112=600.000
$111=1000.000
$110=1000.000
$102=800.000
$101=800.000
$100=800.000
$32=0
$31=0
$30=1000
$27=1.000
$26=250
$25=500.000
$24=25.000
$23=0
$22=0
$21=0
$20=0
$13=0
$12=0.002
$11=0.010
$10=115
$6=0
$5=0
$4=0
$3=2
$2=0
$1=25
$0=10
$$

Hi Stephen,
as an FYI those grbl settings are actually stored on the CNC and is read from that, so both Candle and Easel will always read the same values :wink:

It souds like maybe your Z zeroing method is flawed, possibly the Z probe thickness is not configured properly. Easel default probe thickness is 14.99mm so if you happen to have a thicker probe, than that might be the issue. You can check this setting in Easel by going to Machine>Edit Machine and there at the lower left is a button to access the probe settings where you can set it to your probes true thickness as measured with a pair of calipers.
Over in Candle, Within the Settings there is a line of code that you’d need to edit for the Z probe as well…
You could kinda check this issue by using the paper method of Z zeroing and if that then allows the carve to work right, than you’ve made some progress and it may either be the probe setting OR possibly the Z calibration setting ($102 in the grbl settings)

I suggest joining the Sainsmart CNC owners Facebook Group, there’s 28,000+ members and they are very quick to offer help, you likely would have gotten a response (the right response) in under an hour over there…

AND a great resource for 3018 setup is the James Dean Designs YouTube channel, with a whole playlist for 3018 build, setup, and a bunch of tutorials for getting started with the machine.
This is the entire 35 video Playlist based on the 3018 model>>>>

Seth -

Thank you for your quick response. Regarding your comment about the Z zeroing method, I don’t have a Z probe. Ihave instead been using a piece of paper to manually lower and zero the Z axis on the machine before running a project. I’ve also tried increasing the depth of cut for the project in Easel, but regardless of how deep I set it, the bit doesn’t cut into the wood.

As you suggested, I joined the Sainsmart CNC owners’ Facebook Group and two people have responded to my posting, one saying he was having the same problem and looking for a solution, and the other saying he had the same problem and had found a work-around. He said that when he starts the project in Easel and reaches the point where he clicks on the button to start the spindle spinning and it raises, he lmanually lowers it before clicking on the carve button. I tried doing that with my machine but was still unable to get it to carve.

I had contacted Sainsmart support soon after I had received and assembeled my CNC machine and got a response early this morning saying that they would be sending me a new control board. Hopefully that will resolve the issue.

Thanks again for your response and all your suggestions. I’ll update my post once I’ve received and installed the new control board to let you know if my CNC machine is working.

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Do you mean using the controls to jog down, correct? I just want to make sure that the controls are working properly with up moving up and down moving down, because if they are inverted it could cause some trouble…

for some reason I thought this was the PROVer, your Pro doesn’t have limit switches, does it?
can you verify that the Z axis isn’t hitting the physical bottom of the Z axis… if it is, then you may need to lower the spindle in its clamp or raise the workpiece.

This issue doesn’t sound related to a defective board…
I started with at 3018 too btw :+1:

Hi Seth. Yes, I used the controls to jog the spindle down. Each of the controls for the x, y and z axes is working correctly as far as moving the spindle up and down and left and right and moving the platform back and forth. You’re also correct that my Sainsmart CNC Pro 3018 that I have is not the version which has limit switches. Regarding your question about whether the z axis is not hitting the physical bottom of the z axis, If I understand your question correctly the answer is no. The board I’ve been attempting to carve is a 3/4" thick board and I can lower the bit so that it is below the top of the board when the spindle is positioned to the side of the workpiece so I don’t think that is the cause of the my inability to carve my project. I’m hoping that once I receive the replacement control board that Sainsmart is sending me will resolve the problem. I’m not sure how quickly they’ll send it out, but I’ll update this post once I receive it and try it out.

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When you jog the Z axis 10mm, does it move exactly 10mm?

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Neil, I don’t have anything available to accurately measure the distance the spindle jogs on the Z axis right now. However, I know when I’m using Candle and change the distance from .1 to .5 to 1.0 for the spindle to jog on the Z axis up or down, the distance the spindle moves when I hit the up or down arrow seems to be consistent with those settings.