If you have Z axis "drifting" up or down issues

I was going to post this in guides and resources, but it looks like I don’t have permission for that. Maybe someone can move it later.

At any rate, a frequent question appearing on the forum involves a drifting Z axis - either up or down. There are a few common reasons for this, and I thought I would consolidate the various troubleshooting steps all in one place.

Simple steps first:

  • check and see that the Z zero position in your model is the same as the Z you are dialing in with the probe.
  • ensure that you are not bottoming out on the end of Z axis travel when you are attempting your deepest cuts.

After that, typically there are a few potential sources of Z axis irregularities:

  • check that the coupler between the Z motor and lead screw is tight
  • check that the bit is tight in the collet (always tighten with the two supplied wrenches, never with the red bit lock button)
  • check that the router is tight in its mount
  • ensure that you are not plunging into the work so quickly that the Z motor is losing steps

From my experience, an up-cut bit might pull itself into the work and a down cut bit might work in the opposite direction (and I have indeed seen this happen in my own work with an improperly tightened up cut bit).

I hope that is helpful to all and happy carving!


Excellent info! Thanks for sharing.

I’m also wondering about lubricating the captured linear bearings. Is this something we should be doing, or are they considered lubricated for life?

Marty from Kingston, ON Canada

@ApexWoodworks This will help, Marty