Xcarve Controller with New Carve Upgrade-Z axis Issues

Issue with Z- Axis using CNC4Newbie GRBL Settings. Anyone have this issue? Axis is very slow moving and once I start carving it wants to either dive into the wood or hover above it

What is your $102 setting?


That is where they suggest to start. Not sure why it would just dive then cut air.

If $102 is correct and z is set properly , I’m leaning towards a loose wire In the z stepper circuit somewhere…

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Question. When I have this value set for the Z axis, it makes like a grinding noise. If I increase the value, it sounds much smoother yet the distance is off.

What value?

Once the upgraded parts were installed, the $102=188 and change. I can only assume by reading the other posts, this should read between 49.9 and 59. Would this be correct?

@ScottBourrell used the cnc4 newbies z axes. If that is the upgrade you used yes if it is the upgrade from Inventables you should check and see what they recomend for there’s. Also welcome to the forums.

It is the new upgrade from inventables and thank you for the welcome.

I am not familiar with the settings for there new z axes . They should have sent something with the upgrade.

Lol…nope. all I got were the parts. As I bought the machine 2nd hand (2015 modle) it was already built, so I had to try and figure out how to even put it together.

But you have upgraded the z axes or does it have the stock z axes?

No it is the new upgrade. Once I had it all installed, there is a significant wobble in the carriage. After all the money I spent on upgrading, worked out cheaper if I had bought new.

I did however just find out that not only do I need to change the value of 102, but I also need to change the value of 132.

Yes the $132 can make it run smoother. I have the cnc4newbies and i had to speed mine up to get it to run smoother. I am sure somewhere on the forums there is someone who posted the z setting for the upgrade. I will see if i can find them.

Oh thank you so much for your help

I am not sure this is right but i copied it for you. it is at the bottom the last step.
X-Carve Instructions
/ Upgrade Kit / Z-Axis Upgrade Kit

Z-Axis Upgrade Kit

Z Axis Kit
SKU Name Quantity
30870-01 Stiffener Panel 8
30873-01 Stiffener Hardware Subassembly 1
30844-01 Upgrade Risers 4
30874-01 Riser Upgrade Hardware Subassembly 1
30677-04 Z Axis Assembly 1
30872-01 Dust Shoe Knobs 2
30749-01 Z-Probe Relocation Bracket 1
30756-01 Z-Probe Relocation Bracket Kit 1
30871-01 Z-Upgrade Hardware Kit 1

Riser Installation

Tools Needed

3 mm allen key, 4 mm allen key, 8 mm wrench.

  1. Material is required to support the gantry. 5 layers of ¾” thick material were used here, but books, boxes, etc. will also work well. The material should be placed on either side of the carriage, as shown below.

  1. If you are using the Inventables Dust Collection System, remove the dust hose boom and set it aside.

  1. Remove the stock front and back plates. Be sure to put the belt clip lock nuts in a safe place - we will be reusing them.

  1. Raise the gantry approximately 2” by adding additional support under the gantry. A total of 8 layers of ¾” material works well.

  1. Install the upgraded risers using the included hardware. Each riser will need two M5 x 14 socket head screws, two M5 x 10 mm screws, and two tee nuts.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Some older machine will have makerslides with 5.89 mm slots instead of the standard 6 mm. If your machine has the undersized slots, you will have to install the stiffeners prior to the risers. Before installing the risers, check to ensure that the tee nuts can be pushed into the makerslide slots. If they can only be slid into the slot from the front, rather than pushed in, please skip ahead to the stiffener section of the instructions.

It is easiest to start the tee nuts on their screws, and then slide them into the extrusion. Be sure to reinstall the belt clip tensioner lock nuts that you set aside earlier.

  1. If you are using the Inventables Dust Collection system, install the pole support bracket as shown with two m5 x 14 mm socket head screws:

  1. Now is a good time to ensure that your Y axis rails are properly aligned to your wasteboard. If you hold a square against the rails, there should be approximately ⅛” overhang on each side.To slide the rails left or right, loosen the bottom 2 screws on all 4 risers. Align and tighten.

Stiffener Installation:

  1. Peel the protective film from both sides of the stiffener panels

  1. Prefit the hardware on the panels as shown. The hardware should be loose at this point.

  2. Fit the panels in place using the drop in tee nuts. Make sure that all 6 nuts are in place before tightening each panel. Install 4 panels on each side.

Z Axis installation:

  1. Unplug the Z axis stepper motor and homing switch

  1. Remove the router from the router mount - it can sit behind the gantry for now

  1. Remove the stock Z axis assembly by loosening the 4 screws at the back of the Z.

  1. Transfer the homing switch from the stock Z to the Upgraded Z. You will reuse the homing switch mounting hardware.

  1. Remove the 2 bolts that attach the stock delrin nut to the spindle mount on the stock Z axis. This will allow you to remove the router mount by sliding it downward.

  1. Remove the Z wheels and hardware from the router mount

  1. Bolt the router mount to the new Z Axis using (4) M5 x 16 socket head screws and (4) M5 flat washers from the Z axis hardware kit

  1. If you are using the Inventables Dust Collection system, remove the dust shoe arms from the stock Z axis. Remove the green screws and replace with the black knobs from the kit. Install the dust shoe arms on the new Z axis.

  1. The upgrade kit includes a Z probe relocation kit. If you already have one installed or if you do not have a Z probe, you can skip this step. Otherwise, install the Z probe relocation kit using the included hardware.

  1. Install the Z axis on the gantry. You can reuse the (4) screws that mounted the stock Z, or use the replacements included in the kit.For short bits or thin work, mount the Z a little below the bottom of the X-Carriage. For longer bits or thick workpieces, mount the bottom of the Z flush with the bottom of the X-Carriage. Tighten the (4) screws from the back to secure the Z.

  1. Install the router in the router mount and tighten the 3 clamping screws.

  1. For the Z axis stepper and homing switch wires, you will need all the extra wire to be on the Z axis end of the drag chains. Work carefully to work the slack through the drag chains to get as much wire as possible available. You may need to adjust the drag chains slightly to get enough slack.

Adjusting drag chain to get more wire slack:

  1. Move the X-Carriage to its furthest right position

  2. Loosen the 2 screws that hold the lower end of the X axis drag chain to the 2020 drag chain support extrusion

  3. Pull the end of the drag chain to the left, as shown:

  1. Tighten the 2 screws on the drag chain end

14.Plug in the Z axis homing switch and stepper motor

  1. Apply the included Inventables sticker to the top of the Z axis

Computer Setup

The upgraded belts and stepper motors require a change to the steps/mm and the direction of the z-axis stepper motor in the GRBL firmware. We will be making these changes through the Machine Inspector. Once the X-Carve is connected, you can power on the X-Controller and connect to your computer.

Z Axis Upgrade Kit Computer Setup from Inventables on Vimeo.

Open up an existing project or a new project in Easel.

In Easel, click the “Carve” button and unlock without homing. Once the X-Carve is unlocked, click on Machine > Advanced > Machine Inspector. Scroll down to the console and to type the following commands one at a time.

To change the z-axis steps/mm, type:


Press enter.

Then type:


Press enter.

You will need to invert the z-axis travel direction by adjusting $3 based on this chart.

If your current settings show $3=3, the chart that shows X and Y already inverted (marked as “Y”) and Z is “N”. Since we only want to alter the Z axis we want to select the option that keeps X and Y inverted but also inverts Z. On the chart the value of 7 shows all three inverted (marked as “Y”).

Now, return to Easel and enter $3=7.

Once you have entered the new settings, you can see if your changes took affect by entering the $$ command. This will list all of your firmware settings again. Scroll through to ensure that the new values are displayed.

If you’re having trouble your new upgrades, you can reach our Customer Success team through email help@inventables.com or by phone at 312-775-7009.

Sorry i thought i just copied the last part but somehow got it all.

@ScottBourrell considering all settings are correct and you are still having problems cutting air when staring the carve consider this. Your z axis may be to high. When you carve if the z axis hits the bottom of the plate. I had that happen to mine. I just lower the back plate down just a little more and problem solved