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Z Axis not functioning (motor works)


I recently ran into this problem and I’m not sure how to solve it. The auto Z axis on our machine has stopped working.

When I send it commands from Ground Control, the motor turns and the screw turns, so I believe the motor is working fine and the screw is attached well and properly. However the router does not move.

I did the anti-z-backlash adjustment with the washer and bushing recently, and tested it after that. All seemed well.

I suspect the tab is popping out of the router body. I colored with a black marker above and below the notch in the router body and it appears the tab moves below the notch without taking the router body with it, when I am giving it Z Lower commands. The spring for the clip/tab assembly is still in place and properly installed, the tab appears to function normally when I remove or install the router after bit changes.

I have also been playing with the clamp tension to try to fix this, both loosening and tightening but neither seems to work.

Any help or suggestions? Is nobody making a replacement tab for these things yet that actually works? Is the secret somehow more spring tension on the tab?

Router part on base appears to be broke

The orange tab is a sacrificial part - it has a ridge that follows the screw threads but can be ‘chewed off’ if there is too much resistance to movement. This resistance could be that the clamp on the router body is too tight, or that the mechanism has reached the end limits at the top or the bottom of travel.

Replacements are readily available - search the web for Ridgid part # 513396001

I’ve bought them from these folks:


Ah thanks. For some reason that site said it couldn’t ship to my address, (United States, Maine) I’m not sure why.

Is there a way to inspect that part to see if it is still good or needs replacement? I was ready to order one anyway just because it was $1.34 and I really want this thing fixed.


Just found a different site to order it from, but still not sure if mine is bad?


That’s a pretty good test, right there. You could disassemble the mechanism and look more closely. I found I could carve enough of a tooth to get by while waiting for the parts to arrive. I suggest ordering two or three, since they’re inexpensive but crucial.


Gotcha thanks. I just saw the 3d printed version thread too, hopefully a buddy can print one on his printer (he’s also co-owner of our Maslow).

Would be REALLY nice to have a metal one of those…


May not be your problem but with the bushing installed you have to be really careful about running the bushing into the top lead screw support. The default safety height in maker cam is .5". I got lucky and .5" ended up being about two thousandths of an inch from hitting the top support. I have been changing the safety height to .2" in maker cam ever since, which is plenty and cuts the process time down a lot. So in theory you could have run it to the end of the lead screw after installing the bushing and damaged your tab.


I see what you’re saying, I don’t think that is the case because I’ve been pretty concious of that and watched it like a hawk most times.

I use Easel but I also change the stepover to .2" (default is .15" for Easel).

UPDATE: I loosened the nut on the clamp a tiny amount and it is now moving, but I can tell the Z-Axis movements are not accurate. Which is fine for now because I was trying to carve something that is going to get filled anyway, but may not be fine down the line when I need accurate depths.


Great in case this may help, here is a post of mods I made to the router housing for smooth motion.

I am also using a graphite dry lubricant.

Sanding the router housing and the grove for the index pin as mentioned in the top link above made a big difference. I am satisfied with my z-axis function now.


Remember, this is a sacrificial part. If this part doesn’t break, what will be the next weakest one? What will it cost to replace that?


True, but are we seeing them break from excessive load or break/wear out from regular use? I We honestly haven’t used ours enough to wear out even a single bit, much less an integral part of the router … If so then I better stock up and this is a bigger problem than I thought. I bet we have 20 total hours of cutting on ours (alert!!! Awesome Gound Control upgrade, a counter for total time and total lines of g code and total projects and total time per bit! My Runkeeper app lets me track how many miles are on each pair of my running shoes)


We’re using the clamp in a way that is different from the manufacturer’s intention. Adjusting the clamp that tiny amount to allow movement without slop is part of making this Ridgid router work with a motorized z axis. In my opinion we’re seeing them break not from excessive load or wear from regular use, but from the learning curve of using the tool. I was the first to bump my nose on this a year and a half ago. I’ve put lots of miles on mt z-axis motor since replacing the piece back then, but I’m careful not to run into the end stops or run with the clamp too tight.