Setting up X-carve for Mach3

So I was having trouble getting the Arduino to work correctly on my new X-carve and decided I would convert everything over for use with Mach 3.
I had another CNC router machine I made years ago using MDF that I scavenged the drivers, power supply and breakout board from.
I left everything connected as it came off the other machine, tested the X-carve steppers with my multimeter to find the wire pairs and hooked those up to the Microstep Driver CW230 drivers.
At least after doing this I can hear life out of the stepper motors but the issue is they don’t want to turn.
When I manually jog the machine the steppers try to move but just operate erratically. I could hit the left arrow key continuously and the motor may try jogging to the left or it may jog to the right. Either way it never actually moves the axis in any direction.
So I’m stumped as to what is going on. My drivers have a max 3A current that I can set them to and I’ve tried all of the current settings with no luck.
Any thoughts?


So either the motors I received with the X-carve are dead (unlikely) or I just do not have them wired to my drivers properly (very likely).
For kicks I decided to pull the NEMA 23 480oz stepper motors off my old cnc and install them on the X-carve X-axis to start and BAM! It moves silky smooth.
Now the question is, can I run two of these motors off of just one driver or do I need to get a 4th driver for the other Y-axis motor? The machine they came off of only used 3 motors.


I seem to be answering my own questions today. Lol
Figured out during the process of wiring the bigger NEMA motors that I had the original X-carve motors wired wrong. Fixed the wiring on the remaining Z-axis motor and sure enough it worked.
I may upgrade the Z motor at a later date to match the others but I want to get this thing up and carving! I have a project I need to complete by the end of February.

I am using the same setup as you on my “Son of X-Carve” scavenging parts from my old MDF “Book Machine.” Funny. On my 1000mm x-carve, I upgraded to the Gecko controller and that thing is a crazy improvement. Speed, smoothness, etc.

Very cool. The “book machine” was my first venture in CNC anything. It was far from perfect but I was able to make most things work.
The X-carve was my next stepping stone. Can’t wait to take it to the next level. :slight_smile:

Curious what your x y and z axis steps/in are set at?

I was dialing in my machine tonight and using Mach 3’s calibration tool my X-axis came out to 500 steps/in while my Y-axis was set at 2000.
My Z-axis still needs some work.

I don’t have the Arduino/GRBL shield set up. But it sounds like your microstepping jumper is plugged in. On GRBL shield, (at least in the old days), there were jumpers for each axis to control microstepping. It is printed on the shield and I believe NO jumper is 8x, which should be appropriate (at least for your x and y axis).

The instructions are printed on the shield itself. Look for the jumpers labelled MS1 and MS0 – there are three sets, one for each axis. Next to the one for the Z axis, you’ll find the jumper settings (no jumper for 8x, jumper on MS1 for 2x).

I scrapped the GRBL stuff as it was just flaky and I’m running individual CW230 drivers with a breakout board from

But I’ll double check my microstepping settings on the drivers to see what I have them set at. I was thinking had them all set the same but could be wrong.


It happens all the time… I start counting the dip switches from the wrong end or for get which way is on or off. I keep mine at 1/8th and 3 amps, but just had a 2nd Gecko delivered yesterday. So I will throw that in this weekend.