Shapeoko 3 Dropped Connection

I received my Shapeoko 3 in June of 2015 and couldn’t wait to get it up and running in my shop. The design is solid, much stiffer to the X-Carve and Shapeoko 2. The machine gave me the ability to quickly and accurately cut wood, aluminum, brass, circuit boards, and plastics.

Starting out running simple jobs that didn’t require any tool changes I began to notice that the connection would drop upon turning off the DWP611 router that I was using as a spindle. This would result in a lost zero, and would occasionally drop the spindle a couple inches letting the cutting tool gouge the work. It made running complex jobs requiring tool changes nearly impossible.

I contacted carbide 3d and they recommended adding ferrite beads to all the cables. I ordered a USB cable with ferrite chokes build in from amazon and a bag of 7mm clip on ferrite chokes for the router and any other cables that needed them.

I installed everything, and the problems persisted. I continued by trying just about everything short of buying a big universal power supply.

  • Plugging the router into a separate circuit in my house.
  • Adding chokes to the stepper motor wires.
  • Adding multiple chokes to all wires.
  • Removing the controller board from the machine and moving it behind a piece of sheet metal as a shield.

After these solutions failed, I sent several emails to Carbide3d that all went unanswered.

Finally, I landed on a post in the Shapeoko forums where a user said he had added a shielded three conductor extension cord to his spindle. Unfortunately he didn’t provide any instructions (so hopefully this will help those who are hesitant).

THIS INVOLVES WORKING WITH 120V AC POWER. INCORRECT WIRING CAN KILL YOU! IF YOU’RE NOT SURE EXACTLY WHAT YOU’RE DOING GET SOMEONE WHO DOES TO HELP.

I dug an old PC power cord out of a cabinet and went to work. Before I made anything permanent I mocked everything up. The router uses crimp on spade connectors, and luckily I had a couple from a previous project. I did have to bend the power wire connector on the switch 90 degrees to fit it into the location of the original. Once finished I power cycled the router and…NOTHING. No connection drops!

Mocked Up and Ready to Test
Mocked Up and Ready to Test
Crimp on Connectors tying in Power, Neutral, and Ground.
Crimp on Connectors tying in Power, Neutral, and Ground.

After everything was working, I tidied up the wiring I bit. I had to slit the router casing using a Dremel to allow the ground spade connector to sandwich between the router cap and metal body. Once lined up I used a dab of hot glue on the back of the connector to hold it in place.

Slot in router cap to allow terminal to clamp up on router body.
Slot in router cap to allow terminal to clamp up on router body.

I located the switch back in its original location, routed the wires in a manner that they wouldn’t be pinched, and reinstalled the top cover. Once the cover was installed, I metered continuity between the ground prong and router body to ensure the terminal hadn’t shifted out of place.

Done, ready to re-install the top cover.
Done, ready to re-install the top cover.

I’m still using a ferrite bead on the power cable, and the USB cable with built in chokes. Since the mod (~4 months) I’ve only had one or two dropouts, and at least one was caused by static from my shop-vac hose when vacuuming up Kydex (plastic) chips during a job. Compared to the drops every-other power cycle I consider this a success.