XYZ Switches?

Wondering if possible to wire in individual toggle switches between xyz motors and the Arduino/gShield Motion Controller so you can move rails manually without generating back feed power that’s bad for electronics. Would be great to move things out of the way or position things without having to open up some program to jog things around. Which of the red, white, green or black wires would you use to cut back feed power to panels? Thinking 12 volt SPST toggle or rocker switches?

Oh, ok. Yeah, that would require two poles per motor. You could use three DPST switches. One for each motor.

You would need to interrupt each phase in the motors, one of the black/green wires and one of the blue/red(white/red) wires for each motor.

Think I understand what your saying. Since each motor runs in 2 directions, I need to interrupt one wire for each motion. Are the red & white one direction, and the black & green the other? Which color wires would you use? Any difference? Is there not say like a common ground for the entire G-shield I could switch and kill all motors?

I push our Shapeoko’s X&Y axis’s around all the time without damaging the gshield, but it has nema 17 steppers. I just don’t do it fast.

This would switch all four stepper wires at one time. I use one to switch between running the Z axis stepper motor and a MA3 shaft encoder stepper motor at the same time or just run the encoder by itself.

Thanks Angus, I understand. I’ll see what I can come up with.

Switching stepper motor wiring is a good way to blow out some driver boards if switched with power on. Not a good practice IMO.


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Yeah, I hear that. Was just trying to cut power to (from) motors, not switch.
Would also be great if X-Carve had it’s own panel to jog XYZ without having to open some sort of software. Maybe just hold down button and it will smooth move till you let go.

You only need to open one wire of each pair.

With external circuitry you could set up a system for moving the spindle around with a joy stick, or switches, or pick your favorite input device. Obviously, doing so would cause you to lose sync with the grbl system, but if that’s not a problem then what you want can be done.

The drum switch will cut power and re-power the steppers. It just depends how you wire it to your stepper motors & g-shield. I switch ours without powering down the g-shield quite often without issues to adjust my Z axis for laser engraving height, then switch back to the encoder for laser modulation. I never turn the power off when switching.

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You’re just lucky. As you can tell it isn’t a problem every time, but this is bad habit as your luck may change.

Nope. It has noting to do with luck. it breaks and makes all 4 connections at the same time.

The stepper drivers that I use have a warning in red that says DO NOT DISCONNECT STEPPER MOTORS WITH DRIVERS POWERED.
Good control software will let you jog any axis to what ever spot on your machine you want. Generally you can set it for continuous jog where if you hold down an arrow key the axis will move at the jog feed rate till you let up on the key. Or you can have it in step mode where each press of the arrow key will move the axis a fixed amount say 1.000" or .1" or .01" or .001" depending on how you have it set and you can change it when you need a different step size.

Generally it is not good CNC machining practice to move an axis by hand once the machine has been homed or referenced. By hand I mean pushing on an axis and causing it to move not under machine control.


Sigh, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink.

The X-Carve is a very good machine for a person just starting out in CNC machining. It is low cost enough that if a person makes a mistake and lets the magic smoke out of his electronics it does not cost a whole lot to replace.
It is also not hard to upgrade the electronics once the beginner learns the ins and outs of CNC machining.
There are far better electronics and software available that will run these machines with much better results.

Inventables is also working hard to improve the machine so it is more reliable and easier for the beginner to get started in CNC machining.


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I understand you two may not have allot of CNC experience and don’t like to take any chances trying something different because you read somewhere it may be bad to do so.

Well, you are correct on one point, I do not have very much experience with CNC, but I do have 35 years experience with electronics. Maybe that doesn’t count for much.

Anyway, your method seems to be working for you, so hope you enjoy your machine.

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Quite the contrary I’ve been running machines for close to 30 years and CNC machines for close to 10 years so I do know about what I am saying here on the forum.
I would hate to see some one let the magic smoke out by doing something that is not recommended by well known CNC equipment manufactures.

As Larry says Your method seems to be working for you, so hope you enjoy your machine.


Thanks guys. It sure helps when you can think and work outside of the box.