5' x 10' CNC Router

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Woodworking Shop

Hive13 Equipment
List of All Documented Equipment
Owner/Loaner: Hive13
Hive13 Asset Tag: HV0080
Make/Model: Joe's CNC Evo (google)
Arrival Date: 1/2014
Does it work?: Yes
Certification Needed?: Yes
Contact: CNC Warden (John Sikorski)
Floorplan: Woodshop

Future Revisions

  • v1.1 - Build Computer cart with storage for collets, tools and parts. Include space for keyboard and mouse pad.
  • v1.2 - Move Controls to a metal enclosure mounted on the CNC frame.

Software Links

The CNC Router Process Flow.

  • CAD files will be in any of these formats *.crv, *.dxf, *.dwg, *.eps, *.ai,*.pdf, *.svg

We now have a licensed copy of Vcarve Pro Makerspace edition for creating toolpaths, and GWizard for calculating the best feedrates and spindle speeds for your bit. The CNC computer has this software and I think the CAD machine has Vcarve also.


You'll need to be certified to operate the CNC machine. This will include a checkout of taking your project and converting it into GCode, copying it to the workstation, safety, dust collection, and tips/tricks.

The CNC machine isn't a toy, and it's something that can be dangerous if operated incorrectly. We should also take a very hard-line stance with working on/near/around the machine. It's a tremendous asset for the space when used correctly, and its benefits, when used properly, will outweigh any negative use or damage.

If you would like to become certified please contact John Sikorski.

The CNC class is at CNC Router Class.


We're using MA860H stepper drivers, a generic 5 axis breakout board, with an ethernet smoothstepper.

MA860H stepper

purchased from http://www.omc-stepperonline.com/

File:MA860H stepper driver manual.pdf


Generic 5 axis breakout board

purchased from http://www.omc-stepperonline.com/

New 5axis breakout board interfaces.fw r2 c1.png

Ethernet Smoothstepper

website: http://www.warp9td.com/

Manual https://www.dropbox.com/s/y0z5gkkogjkw9oo/ESS%20User%27s%20Manual%20Rev%200.1.pdf?dl=0



VFD manual

VFD wiring diagram:


Axis to XLR Connectors

Pin 1 Pin 2 Pin 3 Pin 4 Pin 5
Motor to Male XLR Yellow Blue Green Red
Cabling (Female XLR) White Black Green Red
KStep B- B+ A- A+

Spindle/Stepper Tape Colors

Tape Color Destination
White X
Purple Y
Orange Y1 (A)
Brown Z
Green Spindle

Spindle Wiring

Wire Color Connection
White U
Black V
Red W
Green Motor Ground

Hall Sensor Wiring

Wire Color Function Sensor
Black DC Ground Black
Red +12 V.D.C. Red
White Sensor Out Blue
Green N.C. n.a.

as of 2023 now using hall effect sensor Littlefuse 55100-3H-02-A-ND

Board Pinout

Port Function
P10 E-Stop
P11 X & Z limits
P12 Y1 (A) limit
P13 Y limit
P15 Tool Zero

V Carve Markerspace License ID

Please contact the current CTO or the person teaching the certification class for the license key.

Quick Check list


  • Be sure your Rapid Z Gaps and Home Z are above the top of your material.
  • Use the Mach2/3 Arcs (inch) (*.txt) postprocessor.
  • Mark your X,Y Datum corner & Z Zero (on the top or bottom of your material).
  • Use the Raptor nailgun and polymer nails to mount your material to the spoilboard.
  • Don't need to mark your safe nail/screw locations if usung the nailgun, feel free to chew right through the polymer nail. :)

Use your eye and ear protection.

Power up: PC;

white wall switch for router power: press RUN when “0000.0” blinks on the control box display.

Check that all 3 limit sensors are lit.

Boot Mach3; select the most recent Profile; click OK

Zero X & Y axes for gantry

Click Reset to show steady green border. Click REF ALL HOME.

The gantry will move to X, Y = 0,0.

(N.B.: clicking on Reset will either lock the gantry, if the border of the Reset “button” on the screen is alternating red & green (“Click Reset to rd/grn.”), or unlock it, if the border is steady green (“Click Reset to grn.”)

Click Reset to rd/grn. Click Reset to grn. Click Zero X and Zero Y to set both values to 0.

Raise the Z axis 2” (Page Up). Move the spindle +6” on X and on Y axes (Cursor keys).

Installing FIrst End Mill/Initial Setup

Click Reset to rd/grn.

Install collet: finger tighten collet nut.

Install first mill: Loosen nut; Press mill into collet (flutes clear of collet); Finger tighten.

Try to keep the end of the mill inside/above the dust collection fringe. Otherwise you will spray chips all over the machine and there will be a lot to cleanup.

Hold the wrenches as close to the nut as possible & tighten the collet nut < 1/4 turn.

Put the wrenches back on the hooks, don’t leave them on the spoil board!

Do Not Overtighten - this will destroy the threads and render the $600 $pindle u$ele$$!

Zero the Z Axis

  1. Connect Z Zero probe. Click Reset to grn
  2. Click Auto Tool Zero; Remove probe after mill touches probe and retreats to Z = 1.5”
  3. Place your material on the spoil board; secure it square to the machine rails (use the Raptor nailgun and polymer nails).
  4. Move mill to your material X,Y Datum corner; Click Zero X. Click Zero Y.

Performing a Cut

  1. (->)Click Reset to rd/grn.
  2. Change mill if necessary. Click Reset to grn
  3. Use Page Up to put mill 2” higher than your material thickness.
  4. Move the mill for zeroing the in the Z axis (over spoil board or over material).
  5. Connect the Z Zero probe.
  6. If Z zero set to base of material, place probe on spoil board. If set to top of material, place Z probe on material.
  7. Click Auto Tool Zero.
  8. Remove probe after mill touches probe and retreats to Z = 1.5”
  9. Turn Dust Collector On
  10. Place dust collector collar.
  11. Open the dust collector gate.
  12. Close the other gates in the wood shop.
  13. Turn Dust collector on!

(optional) To test a toolpath with an “air cut”

  1. set a block of scrap greater in thickness than your material on top of your material.
  2. Zero mill to top of block.
  3. Set block aside and run toolpath.
  4. Re-zero the mill to your toolpath Z Zero.

Running the Toolpath/GCode

  1. Click Load GCode in Mach3
  2. Check GCode for toolpath name, installed mill, Speed and Feed.
  3. Click Rewind.
  4. (->>)Click Cycle Start
  5. Be sure the mill is spinning!
  6. Be ready to click Stop or Reset, or pull the Emergency Stop cable!*
  7. When tool path is completed, move the mill away from the material.
  8. Click Close GCode.
  9. Go to (->) above for next toolpath.

*If you have to Stop the machine before the tool path is complete

  1. Raise the mill above your material
  2. Correct the problem
  3. Reset the E stop cable (only the blue button near the computer stand).
  4. Click Rewind . Go to (->>) above.

When project is complete

  1. Chop the tabs (mallet & chisel),
  2. Strike the material on the side to shear off the polymer nails
  3. Remove your project and remove your material.
  4. Remove all hold-downs. If you use the Raptor nailgun an polymer nails, check that none of the remaining nail bodies are proud of the spoilboard (sand down or pull out as needed).
  5. Clean up chips on the table and the floor!
  6. Return the collet to the tray.
  7. Power down the router and the dust collector.
  8. Quit Mach3. (alt f, shift x)
  9. Shut off the air compressor (in the metal room).


Endmills are consumable and you will wear them out. Some faster than others. A few reccomended manufactures of endmills are YG-1, Niagara, Morse, Sandvik, Kyocera, Melin, Micro100, Freud

  • Carbide Mills should be used on Metals, and can be used on Wood as well.
  • High Speed Steel (HSS) can be used on Wood.


Computer can't communicate with stepper board

  1. Problem: when Mach3 opens, an error message states that it cannot wake-up the stepper board. It then prompts for the IP address of the hardware.
    1. Hit "Cancel" and quit Mach3
    2. Turn of white wall power switch and wait 10 seconds
    3. Make sure ethernet cable is connected from the computer to the smooth stepper board.
    4. Turn white power switch back on
    5. From Desktop launch "Mach3 loader" -- there may be other shortcuts for mach3, but those are usually problematic. Using "mach3 loader" from desktop icon is best (as of 4/6/2017)
    6. If error message persists, repeat 1-3, then restart computer, and then repeat 4 & 5.
    7. Choose "Tim's" preset. This should be most reliable (as of 4/6/2017) If the above does not work, you can try rebooting the ethernet smooth stepper board only by gently pulling the power wires down out of the board (grip the connector, not the wires). Wait at least 10 seconds, and plug back in. Do not power cycle while Mach3 is running.


  1. The CNC router is reliable, but should be periodically checked for loose fasteners and wear.
  2. On 9/4/18 all three pinion gears were replaced as the original gear bearings had worn, which allowed the larger gears to wear against the mounting plates.
  3. Clean and Lube the V-rollers and the axis rails with light oil every 3 months. Check the pinion gears and racks for wear.
  4. The V-Carriage rollers are hardened steel. The X and Y axis rails are mild steel angle iron. The rollers wear on the rails by design. The rollers adjust to assure a good fit with the rails with a cam adjustment on each roller. Be careful as the V-rollers wear the rails into a sharp edge and generate steel splinters at the side. Clean the rails and rollers with a cloth and WD-40. Slide a the flat of a chisel along the rail to remove metal splinters. A file is too aggressive. Be careful not to gouge. Adjust any loose V-rollers to roll snugly against the rails; Loosen the large nut on the axle of the V-roller. Gently snug the socket head set screw to drive the V-roller tight against the rail. You do not need more than one fingers torque on the allen wrench to snug the roller and take up any wear slack. Significant pre-load on the roller will only accelerate wear.

Rewire 1/15/2019

In order to reduce EMI on the CNC we rewired the machine.

  1. To shorten wire runs we moved the cable tray and wire runs from the aisle side to opposite side.
  2. Add a central ground buss bar and created Star grounding. A separate ground to the chassis and gantry / Z carriage and Motor was run.
  3. Removed the Terminal board from the end of the chassis to reduce breaks in shields and grounds.
  4. Ran wires through gantry extrusion.
  5. Rewire all signal and motor power lines with shielded/grounded wire. Separate signal from motor wiring on panel by at least 10cm.

Then we had another random eStop. After poking around we found Plugin Controls have a General Configuration panel. We increased eStop Noise Filtering inputs to 20000 * 1.43 microseconds. This seems to have cured the eStops.

Enabled E-stops

Apparently the E-stops had been disabled in the config of VCarve. The Emergency inputs were shifted from Port 1 to Port 2 (effectively disabling them). The circuit was tested and the correct settings were entered. Please don't leave the E-stops disabled if you disabled them for some troubleshooting reason! Non-functioning E-stops are worse than not having any E-stops.

Working settings for VCarve ports