Updates or Physical Changes to Machines

  • Mid 2009—Driver box circuit board now includes a circuit to help protect chips in the event of an electrical anomaly. If the motors all stop, turn the driver box power off for a few seconds and then back on to reset. Also, computers are now assembled in-house at Sherline rather than purchased from supplier.
  • 2008—CD-ROM drive replaced with DVD-ROM drive. Floppy drive eliminated and a USB flash drive included instead to improve ease of transfer of files from computer to computer.
  • Mid 2004—Stepper motors changed from Shinano Kenshi (SKC) to Minibea (NMB). Connector wire harness can now unplug from motor rather than being hardwired in. NMB Motor has the same specs as SKS motor but has better bearings, runs quieter and has less notchy action in manual mode.
  • Late 2004—4017Z Mill Column Backlash Adjuster added to all CNC mills. Retrofittable–Order P/N 4017Z (inch) or 4117Z (metric).
  • Late 2004—4417Z Lathe leadscrew Backlash Adjuster added to all CNC lathes. Retrofittable–Order P/N 4417Z (inch) or 4417ZM (metric).
EMC Software Updates and Fixes

Version 6.xx (Ubuntu, “Lucid” build)

Version 6.xx was introduced about mid-2011. There are no known issues as of 2/1/12. OpenOffice is no longer included in this build (“Lucid”) in order to make room for other functions more necessary for CNC. OpenOffice can still be downloaded at no charge at www.OpenOffice.org. This build includes some additional g-code sub-routines and a more “Windows-like” desktop interface.

Version 5.xx (Ubuntu)

Version 5.xx (Ubuntu) of Linux was introduced in September, 2009. At the same time, EMC was replaced with EMC2, which offers a CNC lathe program in addition to the mill program. See bottom of page in “Downloads” section for new .INI files.

Version 4.xx (Debian)

Version 4.xx (Debian) was introduced in January, 2005. Noted below in order from the most recent to oldest are upgrades and/or fixes that have been added since its introduction:

Debian Version Number

Debian Known Issues and Fixes

4.18 through 4.38

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PROBLEM: The jogging resolutions in Metric, Manual mode are too small. They are 1, 0.1, 0.01, 0.001 and 0.0001 (mm).  This patch will change the resolution to 10, 5, 1, 0.1, and 0.01 (units in mm).  In MANUAL mode when jogging to adjust the start and home position, a resolution of 1mm maximum is too small and 0.0001 has no application, the other settings for the resolution range (0.01-10) are more applicable. (2/1/06)

To set jog resolution in Sherline Metric Mode:

  1. CLICK HERE to download the patch file minm.tar.gz
  2. Extract  and Copy the file to a removable media like a USB flash drive or CD
  3. Insert the media into the appropriate drive on your Linux computer
  4. Single click on the media icon to mount drive
  5. Right click on the file and select Rename
  6. Type the new name (shown in bold): minm.tar.gz and press [Enter]
  7. Run the Terminal Program (in the K menu, single click on the icon that looks like a monitor)
  8. Under sherline@localhost:~$ type the following command (shown in bold): sudo tar –xzf/floppy/minm.tar.gz –C/usr/local/emc and press [Enter] (Note spaces between: sudo and tar, tar and –xzf, gz and –C/usr…)
  9. Wait for a few moments (about 10 seconds)
  10. Close the Terminal Program (select Session > Quit)
  11. Unmount the media drive (right click on FMedia icon > Unmount)
  12. Wait until the green light on the floppy drive goes out, then remove the floppy disk from the drive
  13. 13. Run EMC and the new GUI will be ready and running.

4.18 and earlier

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PROBLEM: CPU usage increases each time a program is run. Eventually, the computer locks up when CPU usage reaches 100%. (A small window shows CPU usage near the bottom right corner of the screen.) While one solution is to reboot the computer each time a lockup occurs, Ray Henry suggests that the backplot program should be turned off when running short programs over and over again. This will reduce CPU usage and should eliminate the problem. (This is fixed in version 4.37 and higher.) An alternate method would be to copy/paste the small program to repeat a number of times as part of a longer program. An M0 command between each program will pause the program so you can load a part and then resume. (12/05)

4.18 through 4.36

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INCONVENIENCE: No “undo” and “redo” commands in Editor. The patch linked below can be added to versions of Sherline’s Linux/EMC 4.18 to 4.36. It will add an Undo/Redo function to the menu which also includes upgraded Copy, Paste, Delete, Cut, Select All, and Replace functions in the program editor. This feature is included as standard in versions 4.37 and higher, but you can add it to your older version by following the instructions below. New type that you are to enter is shown in bold face. Keyboard commands or selections you will make are shown in italics. (11/05)

CLICK HERE to download the patch

To add the new GUI to BDI versions 4.18 through 4.36 follow these instructions:

Click on the link above to download the file MINI.TAR to your computer.
Copy the file to a removable media like a USB flash drive or CD.
Insert the media into the appropriate drive on your Linux computer.
Single click on the media icon on your desktop to mount the drive.
Right click on the file and select Rename.
Type the new file name (shown in bold).


Press [Enter]
Run the Terminal Program. (In the K menu, single click on the icon that looks like a small LCD monitor.)
Under sherline@localhost:~$ type the following command (shown in bold)

sudo tar –xzf/floppy/mini.tar.gz –C/usr/local/emc

Press [Enter]
(Note spaces between: sudo and tar, tar and –xzf, gz and –C/usr…)
Wait for a few moments until the light on the drive goes out.
Close the Terminal Program. (Select Session > Quit)
Unmount the media drive. (Right click on Media icon > Unmount)
When the drive light is no longer lit, remove the media from the drive.

Run EMC and confirm that the new GUI has taken effect. When you select Editor from the EMC menu, you will now find the Undo and Redo commands along with Copy, Paste, Delete, Cut, Select All, and Replace among your menu choices.

Version 4.18

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PROBLEM: In metric mode g-code files cannot be edited or changed: Access permissions need to be properly set in order to be able to modify files. If they are not, the following procedure will set the access permissions so you can make changes as needed:

  1. Log in as “root:”
    (WARNING: Logging in to the root directory should be done with great care. All instructions must be followed exactly and no other changes made. Improper entries can cause the system to cease to function properly and the only solution is to reinstall Linux and EMC.)

    1. Click on the “K” menu icon in the lower left-hand corner of the screen.
    2. Click “Logout.”
    3. “End Sessions Only” should be highlighted. Select “OK.”
    4. Log in to the root directory using the username “root” and password “sherline.”
  2. Access the emc directory by way of the following path:
    1. Click on the “K” menu icon.
    2. Follow this path through the various folders, single clicking each one in turn: Quick Browser > Root Folder > Home > sherline > g-code > file manager. Click “Open.”
  3. Change the access permissions as follows:
    1. Select all files by hitting the [Ctrl] and [A] keys at the same time.
    2. Right click on any file and go to “Properties”
    3. Click on the “Permissions” tab at the top of the “Properties” window.
    4. Change the “Group” and “Other” settings to “Can Read & Write.”
    5. Click “OK.”
  4. Log out of “root” and log back in as “sherline”.
    1. Click on the “K” menu icon
    2. Click on “Logout”
    3. “End Session Only” should be highlighted. Select “OK.”
    4. Log in using username “sherline” and password “sherline.”

Version 4.16 and 4.18

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PROBLEM: Driver power supply does not develop full power when all four stepper motors are connected. (Rare problem.) Symptom: The driver power light is very dim, and the motors will not start. Affects very few (4 or 5 known) machines made prior to April 1, 2005. The solution is to install a new U5 chip and R9 resistor, which will be provided by Sherline. If your machine exhibits this problem, notify Sherline and CLICK HERE to see how it is fixed. You will find a description of the problem and steps to replace the chip and move the resistor to a different location on the circuit board to fix the problem.

Version 4.16 and 4.18

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PROBLEM: System crash using g83 with zero or a negative value. This has been noted, but since g83 (canned drilling cycle for chip breaking) is not one of the recommended g-code functions to be performed on a Sherline machine, a fix is not an immediate priority. A future release will give an error message in this case rather than causing a system crash. For now, the fix is to be aware of this and simply not use the g83 code or at least do not use it with zero or a negative value. (A version posted by Paul Corner and Ray Henry at http://www.cncgear.com/EMC/BDI/ on March 11, 2005 fixes this problem should you choose to download it.)

Version 4.14

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PROBLEM: “Zero All Axes” command causes system to lock up. Issued January 1, 2005 the first Debian version had a bug that would cause a system to lock up if the “Zero All Axes” function was used. This was fixed by version 4.16 and later, which was distributed to all purchasers affected.

Version 2.xx (Redhat)

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Versions 1.0 to 2.18 (Redhat) were issued from introduction until January 1, 2005. Problems were fixed as they were discovered, and the fixes are noted below. Anyone with the older system can upgrade to the newer Debian version by downloading the latest version from the link at CNC Links and Resources. If the large download is too time consuming for the speed of your connection, a new CD containing the latest version can be purchased from Sherline as P/N 8326.

All bugs listed here are fixed with the patch located on the Sherline MOD CD (Version 1.1) which was distributed in June 2004 to all previous purchasers of the Sherline CNC system. Machines sold since that time already include these modifications. If you did not receive the V1.1 Mods disk and are updating your system to fix one of the faults mentioned below, please CLICK HERE to download the ISO image of the disk, then CLICK HERE for complete instructions on the installation procedure. Note that this upgrade will NOT work on any system other than that which came directly from Sherline. If you have a system from a vendor other than Sherline, please consult them for your system specific updates.


Redhat Known Issues and Fixes

A-axis jittering during jog

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DESCRIPTION: This problem occurs when one tries to rotate the rotary table (A-axis) while in the jog mode. While doing this the rotary table will only move at an extremely low speed. This problem was resolved as of 10/03, and is fixed with the new version of the .ini file.

FIX: To fix this problem, download THIS FILE and extract it in the / directory.

NOTE: Be aware that extracting the above file will overwrite several files. Please make a backup of all of your customized files in the /usr/local/emc/ directory

Smooth metric operation under freqmod

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DESCRIPTION: On early machines the metric function was crippled under freqmod, not making the correct moves when instructed.

FIX: This problem is fixed witht he current version of the sherline-mods.tar.gz file. The specific changes that address this problem are in the mill_mm_freq.ini file located in /usr/local/emc/.

Flying axis during homing operation

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DESCRIPTION: Rarely while hitting the homing button (all zero) in jog mode, one or more axes will start to move off in a random direction.

FIX: There is no direct fix for this currently; however, ther is a workaround. It only happens when you use the [all zero] button in EMC. If you are having issues similar to this, try using the [single zero] button in EMC or home each axis one at a time using the [HOME] key on the keyboard. Also, it does not occur if there is no backlash set.

Skipped Steps

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DESCRIPTION: Randomly skipping steps on any axis during heavy engraving or cutting, typically following a rapid change of direction.

FIX: Add the following lines to your .ini file:



You will need to add these values in each [AXIS] definition.

NOTES: To edit the .ini file simply click on the mill_inch_freq.ini or mill_mm_freq.ini icon on your desktop.

Dropping Z-axis

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DESCRIPTION: Backlash on the Z-axis is inconsistent depending on direction. It may be more or less going up or down.

FIX: Sherline has developed a hardware fix for this as P/N 4017Z. This allows backlash to be adjusted down to as little as .001″ on the Z-axis. It is now standard on new CNC and CNC-ready machines. The upgrade kit was sent at no charge to all purchasers of early Sherline CNC systems. It is now available as an option for manual and CNC machines.

NOTES: More information on the 4017Z upgrade can be found at P/N 4017Z.

Cumulative backlash errors in g64

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DESCRIPTION: Backlash is not properly accommodated over time while in g64.

FIX: There is no direct fix for this; however, this error does not occur while in G61 or G61.1 mode. We suggest using these until g64 is fixed.



New .INI files

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The mill ini files for version 5.xx (Ubuntu/EMC2) can be downloaded here:

The lathe ini files for version 5.xx (Ubuntu/EMC2) can be downloaded here:

The mill ini files for version 4.xx (Debian/EMC) can be downloaded here:

(Important note: when you download these files, they will have a .txt extension. You must rename them to an .ini extension; for example, “mill_inch_freq.ini” after downloading for them to work!)

Sherline enhancements to EMC, Version 1.1.

Adds Undo/Redo function to versions 4.18-4.36 (See instructions above in 4.xx section.)