The Blue Smoke Herder Shield - AKA the New Maslow Shield (TLE5206)

Hi folks! ( I must change something in the body for discourse to allow the post)

I’m experimenting with this and am contributing to this on this thread:

Let’s concentrate on one thread rather than fragmenting?

Thank you

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Gab, thanks for the reply, I accepted vancek’s offer of a free unpopulated board. I like building PCB’s otherwise I’d take you up on your offer. I do need a Z axis motor, where can I find one of those?


Kelly –

I do not have the stock motor, but I was able to buy this motor to go with my upgraded gantry. It may be under-geared if you are using the stock router though. And you will need to adjust your settings to reflect that gear change if you use this motor.

Thanks Chris, that motor looks good and if I can’t find an original I will probably grab it. Do you know or anyone else what the gear ratio of the original motor is? I see that this motor is 131:1 Since this is my first machine, I want to be able, as much as possible, keep it original so I don’t have to figure out too much when it doesn’t work.

Edit: I just realized you are looking for the z motor. This is the main motor. Seeing the 131 reference primed my brain for the main motor.

There was a lot of discussion on this and how to count the gears to determine the ratio. The mfg had it wrong (131, I believe) and that info has been spread around, unfortunately. Only way to know for sure is to buy from the link.

Guess the conclusion was 289.776:1

I should have been more clear, I’m trying to locate an equivalent Z axis motor which leads back to what the original “Z” axis motor’s ratio is. Is it 289.776:1 ? or is that number only for the X and Y motors? I found this motor which looks the same : ratio is: 90:1 which might be too fast and the one Chris recommended: which is 131:1 I just want to find something as close to original to ensure success when I turn this thing on. I appreciate the input that everyone has offered, I almost didn’t post at all when I saw how old the last post was. Glad I did, you’ve been most helpful !


@kelly If I remember correctly, my 131:1 is less gearing than the original so the 90:1 is farther from original. I am not sure what you are looking to spend (or where you are, I am in Texas) but I think I still have my stock somewhere if you want to pay for shipping I can send it to you.

ChrisB, so from what I understand, you ran the stock motor and now are running the 131:1? If so, which would you recommend, why are you now using the 131, how hard to run another ratio motor and will the 131 play well with two stock X and Y motors? If so, I’ll just buy the one from amazon. As far as cost I’m hoping to spend a lot less than buying a kit but in my experience, it sometimes pays to just buy a kit than piece it together. I’m in it about $175 so far including X and Y motors, the chains, Arduino (Already had it) and the Shield board. I would definitely pay you for the motor and shipping unless you say the 131 is better. The cables, brackets and other odd parts I can make.

Kelly –

I am using the 131:1 now so that I can have my Z axis move faster. I have 2 of these Maslow setups that I use, one is fully stock and the other is mostly upgraded. Basically, I have one to test and play with. I went with the 131:1 so that I could move faster since I have a different style of Z axis, I made a Gantry type of setup.

Link to my post about it.

In the pictures you will actually see the stock motor, this worked totally fine with my setup. However, since I have very little friction to move my router I wanted to get a motor with less gearing hence the 131:1. I will say it took me quite some time to get it perfect as far as movement and steps per revolution. My numbers ended up being insanely different than stock since I had a different lead screw and a different motor. I think my final numbers were somewhere in the range of 32 for pitch and 33,500 for steps/revolution. I think I had to do something strange like this because the software wouldn’t allow me to put the steps as high as I would have liked (I think I tried 70,000+ and it balked at me)

I think it depends what type of router you are going to use and what type of Z axis, if you are wanting stock style then I would suggest the stock motor that has more torque. I believe that others have used the 131:1 motor with the stock setup, however, I think that they then started to have problem with the lead screw wearing out etc. (stock has its own set of problems) If you want a modified Z then go with the 131:1 but just know you will have a little more setup on the front end to get things moving the proper distances.

Finally, sorry that this is so far off topic from the original post, oops, maybe this should be somewhere else?

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ChrisB, so from what I understand, you ran the stock motor and now are running
the 131:1? If so, which would you recommend, why are you now using the 131,
how hard to run another ratio motor and will the 131 play well with two stock
X and Y motors?

There is no need to ‘match’ the Z motor with the X/Y motors, or if there is, you
need a much faster Z motor than the stock one.

For most cutting, you have relativly few Z movements, so the speed of the Z axis
isn’t that significant, but if you are doing a lot of Z movement, you will find
that it’s speed makes the whole machine slow down.

Bar picked the Z motor he did because he didn’t expect there to be a lot of Z
movement, and he wanted to be sure that the motor had enough torque. Several
people have shifted to faster motors, but nobody has purchased a bunch of them
and done comparisons to find out what the minimum gearing is while driving the
high-friction rigid setup. If you have a Z with less friction, you should be
able to go even lower.

If you think about it, you want the Z axis to end up with around 0.1mm per
encoder step to give you a very comfortable 0.5mm position accuracy.

with a lead screw of 8 rotations/inch, this means you do one rotation every
3.175 mm, so you need somewhere around 320 pulses/rev.

with a 7 segment encoder * 4 pulses/seg, this is 28 pulses/rev

320 pulses/rev / 28 pulses/rev = ~11.5:1 motor/output ratio

so a motor with a 10:1 to 12:1 gearbox would still give you more than enough
accuracy. The question would be if it would have enough power to move the Z axis
(and if you are not sliding a router in it’s housing, the answer is probably

David Lang


dlang and ChrisB, thanks so much for the detailed explanation. I think I’ll buy the 131:1 motor and also build something I found called the Meticulous Z Axis but am not sure about the linkage setup other than it claims better accuracy, easier calibration. I see other setups using a ring with pulleys so I’m not sure which is better. The ring and pulleys is much simpler. I do like the Z Axis with the motor fixed on the rail setup. I was a toolmaker many years ago and building things is just a way of life. Again thanks for answering my questions and I’ll be back soon with more questions as I build this thing. I just about have the shield built, my Digikey order came in yesterday!

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CrisB, can you elaborate any wiring changes, GC settings to make the 131:1 motor work? I’m getting the exact same issue as the fellow in this thread: Z-motor constantly reversing directions regardless of command input but they never seem to come up with an answer. when I try to run the Z motor it barely moves back and forth and the "test motors… " sequence works fine for X and Y but fails in both directions for Z. The only thing I’ve done so far is reverse wires: 3 and 4 as

seen in this wriing diagram they are backwards for the TLE board.


Kelly – Sorry to hear this. I have taken a picture of how my wires are currently connected.

I use the Smoke Herder Shield currently and before that I used the old style of Maslow shield and all the wires went together the exact same except for Blue on the motor is the orange on the stock Maslow loom. You can also read here about my initial frustrations with my first motor, I tried to solder directly to the back of the motor and I think either I broke something or it was bad from the manufacturer because it was not working properly, I ended up getting a second motor and it worked perfectly and has been for months now. As for the TLE board I have 0 experience with that and unfortunately can only tell you how mine is currently working.

Thanks again, I guess I’ll just have to spend time doing a lot of reading. The board I have came from Vancek who graciously sent it to me. I used the parts list for the Blue smoke shield and got it all from Digikey. Tonight, I connected my Oscilloscope up to the motor wired on a breadboard with 5V to the sensor and exactly 12V to the motor and it shows two pulses 90 degrees apart. I compared that motor to one of my XY chain motors and the pulses look identical other than the Z motor at 12v is running around 3khz and the chain motor runs around 700hz. So maybe the PPR needs to be tweaked somewhere? I haven’t found anywhere to try yet, not sure if it’s in the .ino file or in the menus of GC, I’ll figure it out eventually. If anyone else reading this knows any tricks to help I’d be most grateful.


what you are looking for is the Z encoder steps per revolution.

David Lang

Thanks DLang, I did more reading after my post and found it at the top of the CG settings screen. I, like some others, may have not found it for a while. From Amazon, where I found the motor:

*This is a DC motor with retarder and encoder, Driving voltage is 6V-12V, Gear ratio is 131:1, The motor comes with a Hall-type coding system, Which outputs 16 pulses per loop, Single output 2096 pulses per revolution. for Projects Such as Robot, Custom Servo, Arduino and 3D Printers. Single Output 2096 Pulses Per Revolution: *
Gear Ratio: 131:1
Each Loop Output Pulses: 16
131 * 16=2096
The rear of the motor is equipped with a dual channel Holzer effect encoder, AB dual output, single circuit per cycle pulse 16CPR, double down the road, a total output of 64CPR. Phase difference 90 degrees.

So I would set the Z axis steps per revolution to 2096?

it’s 16 pulses for A and 16 pulses for B, offset from each other, so there are
16 * 4 edges

so it would be 131 * 16 * 4 = 8384 encoder steps per revolution.

David Lang

David, I gave it a try and it works. Somewhat… The Z now passes the tests and spins nicely in both directions and the height counter increments. But, the motor is very jerky when moving it with Gcodes such as using the arrows on the main GC screen or running a program. But when running the Tests Motors routine, it runs smoothly but at full speed. All of this is still on my bench and not connected to any loads. The Z motor after running it a bit got pretty warm. I’ll keep reading unless you know what might be the issue.


Did you get the z axis working?