Mach3 Configuration requirements for Shapeoko 3 XXL

(Ed Zacarias) #1

Re: Shapeoko 3 XXL Mach 3 Configuration


I am planning to purchase a Shapeoko 3 XXL CNC Machine but I would like to run it with Mach 3

First Question: Does anybody out there have an organized list of what would be need to be added to the Shapeoko to configure it for Mach 3

Here’s what I have / know so far that would support a configuration change:

  1. G540 4-Axis Digital Step Drive

  2. Motherboard Parallel LPT Printer Port Cable slot bracket 25 Pin socket female Optional depends on your current computer

  3. Upgraded power supply?

Second Question:

What do I ask Carbide 3D to remove from it’s current offering so that I don’t have redundant components.


(Andrew Van Lahr) #2

Why would you do such a thing? You’re saying you want to buy a fully featured CNC router, but want to remove all of the CNC parts to start with.

If you can already write G-code and toolpaths etc with Mach 3, you just need a G-code sender to interact with the SO3.

(Ed Zacarias) #3

Greetings Andrew…

My Application / Problem

  1. I would like to use the Shapeoko CNC Router with a digital probe attached to it to systemically digitize my bas relief art patterns, the goal is to create a digital file which can be rescaled to different sizes … and be out put in variety materials wood metal, plastics etc…
  2. The master pattern could be anywhere from three quarters to one quarter of an inch thick the overall size will vary. I will be producing hundreds of patterns and would like to do this in house

My request to this forum for Assistance:

  1. From what I found out Mach 3 or 4 will support a digitizer so I don’t have to go to a third party to scan my bas relief artwork …
  2. Can somebody in this forum please tell me in point form what hardware and software upgrades I would have to make to the [Carbide 3D Shapeoko XXL to accept a digitizer.

Carbide 3D advised / confirmed to me that a their software could not support a digitizer …


(William Adams) #4

Grbl supports a Probe input, and a touch probe is easily made:

plans and software for constructing one here:

(Ed Zacarias) #5

Hi Will,

You responded to one of my other posts…on April 20th

…shortly after you posted Rob said the following… indicating that a digitizer is not supported and the reasons why… hence my pursuing Mach3 as an alternative…

(William Adams) #6

Just because Carbide Motion doesn’t support this, doesn’t mean the hardware doesn’t support it.

The board has a Probe input, and there are plans for making your own touch probe for digitizing, and a couple of different software options at the link which I provided — please let us know if you try one, and which it is, and how it works out.


(Andrew Van Lahr) #7

Hmm… I think you may be barking up the wrong tree slightly. But that’s only because you asked the wrong question.

If you’re trying to “scan” something, in these circumstances you just want to generate a point with a known X,Y and you need a sensor to create a Z. For the purposes of the Shapeoko, you could easily write a program that would say go to X,Y and then rather than using the probe interface built into GRBL use a distance sensor or some other device that will perform this function to generate a raster-map.

In the truest sense, nothing (except for custom built digitizers) really supports a digitizer, it’s either an add-on tool, or a kludge held together with chewing gum and bailing wire.

I think the big question that sticks out in my mind, is what resolution are you hoping for in your rastermap? 1x1mm resolution? I think this would be easy .1x.1mm? Probably still easy, much more than this, and you’re running into the limits of what most distance sensors could measure as well as the amount of data you can reasonably process.

Over-all, laser scanning is quite amazing with what it’s capable of doing. However, in the short term, this would likely be cheaper than home-brewing a solution.

In this case, I would highly recommend considering carefully what the TCO of your own laser scanner is going to be, knowing the caveats, vs getting the work professionally done.

(Stuart) #8

Hi Ed,

I have struggled a lot with disconnection with my SO3 XXL, I believe due to the age or quality of the circuit wiring in my (rental) house. C3D have been amazing with support but unfortunately we haven’t been able to solve it.

I have picked up the following and just this afternoon made my first cut.

  • Gecko 540
  • Meanwell 48V 7.3A Power supply
  • 3 metre DB25 Male to Male Parallel cable (comms from g540 to PC)
  • DB9 male connectors (to connect SO3 steppers to G540)
  • Emergency stop button
  • 48V 20A NO Relay (to start my 1.5kw VFD using gcode)
    …Plus a few other bits and pieces.

I decided to start with LinuxCNC, as it is used in some of the machines I’d like to upgrade to in future (Tormach PCNC1100-sized Mills)

LinuxCNC is free, and supports almost anything you could throw at it:
3, 4, 5, 6 Axis
Auto Tool changer

just to name a few.

The setup was NOT straightforward. resistors need to be soldered on the stepper outputs to set the correct current for each stepper, the steppers needed to be calibrated, a lot of this is done with code in LinuxCNC config files, whereas Mach3 is a lot more user friendly to set up, with a graphical user interface. However I’m not a computer programmer and I have set the whole thing up in 2 days, and I have learned a lot. There isn’t a huge difference in the performance of the SO3 with the gecko, it runs a little smoother and faster, jogging and zeroing the machine are a lot quicker, otherwise it’s exactly the same! Also if you plan to upgrade, the g540 will run up to 4x NEMA 34s, or output to separate stepper drivers.

Check out LinuxCNC digitizing

let me know if you want a detailed list of the parts, as I have only listed the main parts, I have built the two configuration files for the SO3 XXL and LinuxCNC too if you want them, which was about 80% of the work!

(Ed Zacarias) #9

Hi Stuart.

Thank you for responding,

'll be ordering my S03 XXL by June…

My First short-term goal is to master operating it in the established configuration…

However shortly thereafter I would like to be able to utilize a digitizer… which mach3 software does support …William in a previous post was pointing out that I don’t necessarily need to make the upgrade in order to use a digitizer… which I guess would be feasible with the Linux operating system…

As I stated I plan to be making what I referr to as a master pattern in bas-relief art which I will then need to digitize or scan via a third-party… to support product development I will be making hundreds of Master Patterns over time, hence the necessity of having something that I can set up easily… in house

My second goal within two to the three months after getting unit is to make modifications to accommodate the mach3 software… expressly for accommodating the digitizer… to that end. To answer your question yes…I would most certainly appreciate having a detailed breakdown of your bill of material… along with those LINUX configuration files.

I was going to look at the Linux system at some point down the road as I’ve been running across it a lot in a number of forms… and I figured that given its commonality of use that it would be better… easier going forward if I learned to use it…so as per your suggestion I will check out the Linux CNC digitizing… as an alternate to the Mach 3…sooner rather than later… appreciate the link.

I looked at the PCNC 1100-sized Mills… nice… you must have a plan?

Like you I will also be upgrading to something else larger down the road …I need the S03 XXL for a proof-of-concept exercise thereafter I will continue to use it strictly for product development… in tandem with all this I will also be focusing on converting 2D images 3D STLS files as a complement to the digitizer to support product development.

I want to say thank you very much for your kind offer to assist by way of hardware upgrade information and the LINUX configuration files, my learning curve is steep… your offer will be a great benefit…


Ed Zac

(Stuart) #10

No worries,
The SO3 XXL is the perfect platform, I’ve seen a few upgraded X-carves and homebuilt CNCs around the same pricerange, and the SO3 is by far the best option in my opinion. One thing I have learned doing this G540 upgrade is that the control package the SO3 comes with is just so easy and requires no configuration… perfect for the target audience I reckon.

Your short term goal: is good, get a good idea of how it all works and understand the machine a bit (not sure on your experience level…) CarbideMotion is good - stable and easy to use, once you’re comfortable with that I would suggest trying bCNC as it supports the grbl-based Arduino on the standard SO3, it has a lot of probing options and may even do digitizing. I ran it on mine before the upgrade and it works well - but never used probing on it.

In case there was any question, you won’t be able to talk to the Arduino on the stock SO3 with either LinuxCNC or Mach3, neither of them support grbl-based systems. This means you need a new control board with drivers built in, or a control board and separate drivers. I priced both systems and thought the Gecko G540 was the best option for me. I think with Grbl 1.1 (the latest release) you have the hardware there to do digitizing, but no digitizing software that I can find supports Grbl-based systems… which is a shame.

I’ve had a bit of a look around, and to be honest it does look like the Mach3 Digitizing Wizard is a really easy to use, reliable way to digitize an object. Mach 3 does have a demo which may have this installed, that might be worth chasing up.

I bought all my gear from Homann Designs and they actually sell the same probe that is used with Mach3 in this video Mach 3 Digitizing Probe
I think that is a great way forward, and Homann Designs sent everything I ordered about three hours after I placed the order!

Yeah I’d love to have a Tormach or similar in my shed, I have no real plan to make money with it as yet, I have done a fair bit of manual machining on lathes and mills with work. I really just love playing with CNC, I’ve taught myself to use Solidworks, Fusion360 and Vectric Aspire with the SO3, and have done a heap of projects with it, learning the whole way :slight_smile:

I’m putting together a bit of a list of what I’ve bought with prices, and will draw up some schematics of how everything is wired, as it was not obvious to me from a lot of the supplied information (I can rebuild a Rolls Royce jet engine… yet took hours and hours to work out how to control a VFD spindle with a G540!)

(Ed Zacarias) #11

As always I appreciate your input Stuart…

Your BOM will be a Big…Big… help…

Experience Level… 0 I am being very methodical & doing a lot of research…before I buy S03 XXL.

My creative skill sets include:

  • Experience with 3D sublimation printing where you can print and wrap an image around an object like a polycarbonate cell phone case ,
  • Making silicone and polyurethane molds
  • Model making,
  • Sculpting …

I use both Corel and Sketch Up a lot…

I now want to commercialize some of these skill sets, to do that I need to digitize the bass relief art that I want to make and output to different sizes and in different materials for a variety of applications hence the need for S03 XXL… in some instances I will also use S03 XXL to make new master patterns for casting molds for resin casts… the bottom line here is that I need to digitally re scale my bas relief art and reproduce it in an cost effective manner…in order to provide services and products… Hence …I need to get competent at using this equipment if I want to expand on my creative efforts.

Rob Grzesek mentioned that “Supporting scanning in Carbide Motion would likely be setting us up for a huge support problem unless we were very careful in constraining the problem.”

Yup…Gecko G540 seems to be the system of choice from what I have seen in other forums…Saw the link for Mach 3 Digitizing probe video… that’s basically what I want to do… thanks for finding that… I am also looking at other ways to digitize Bitmap to stl as part of the process…

I am buying the S03 XXL… in June, I would like to upgrade my system in September …that means that I should be buying all the components in August…

What do you plan to make with your set up? from what I gather your going to max it out…

Ed Zac

(Stuart) #12

I’ll start with my BOM - I’ll use the HomannDesigns site for pricing as is it’s where I bought everything from, but a lot of places sell the same gear I’m sure.

Gecko G540 Stepper Drive + 48Vdc 7.3A Power Supply KIT = US$320
this includes The G540, a 7.3A Power Supply, and 4x DB9 (serial cable) connectors for your steppers.
Gecko G540 Stepper Drive + 48Vdc 7.3A Power Supply KIT

2 metre DB25 Male to DB25 Male printer port cable = US$7.70
Connects your G540 to your Computer, which must have a Parallel Port, or the means to install a PCI parallel card
2 metre DB25 Male to DB25 Male printer port cable

GC-02 DB-9 Stepper Breakout Board. (Four-Pack) = US$24
The gecko requires you to solder a resistor on the Stepper motors to set the correct current (SO3 steppers are 2Amps) these breakout boards have a trim pot, which allows you to just set the current without any need for soldering. Definitely worth it.
GC-02 DB-9 Stepper Breakout Board. (Four-Pack)

IEC Chassis Male Power Plug with Switch, Fuse Holder = US$9
Cable to the Power supply, not absolutely required, but makes it tidy and has a fuse in it
IEC Chassis Male Power Plug with Switch, Fuse Holder

2x 48VDC 20A Panel Mount Relay = US$8.50ea
These relays run from an input in the G540 and allow you to start and stop auxiliary equipment - I use one to start my VFD Spindle using Gcode Commands (M3 & M4), this means as soon as I push ‘start’ the motor spins up at the speed you instructed in the Gcode file and will turn itself off at the end. No more manually switching on and off, or manually setting speed of the spindle! - I have no experience with it but I believe the same setup could be done with a Makita/Dewalt router and a superPID.
48V 20A Panel Mount Relay

Aluminium Controller Enclosure = US$57
I didn’t actually purchase this enclosure, I sourced one locally (should have ordered this one), but you will need some form of enclosure for the G540 and power supply, a common project is to make your own with the router from Acrylic
Aluminium Controller Enclosure

Small Latching Emergency Stop Switch = US$17
You could operate without this one, I did during setup, but the 1 time in 1000 when things turn to sh*t and you need to turn the machine off, a big red button is a lot easier to hit then a switch. Also kills the spindle, and wires straight into the G540
Small Latching Emergency Stop Switch

Cabling ~US$25
Up to you, it really depends where you want your control box to sit. I wanted mine close to the machine, so didn’t extend my stepper cables.
I purchased some rolls of 22AWG cabling for extending my Homing switches and wiring from my VFD to my G540

MESA 5i25 IO PCI Card = US$89
This card is similar to the ‘smoothstepper’ for Mach3, but is designed only for LinuxCNC (smoothstepper is for Mach3 Only). The card allows a lot more inputs to and from the Router, has firmware specifically for the G540, and gives you real-time processing on the card itself, rather than from the PC. When running at high feeds on detailed work, with high-resolution signals (i.e lots of data, very high detail relief carvings are a good example) it is possible for the PC to lag and not keep up with the Program. Mach3 has a known history with it.

The card isn’t absolutely required if you have a parallel port on your PC, I didn’t think I’d be able to find a used PC with a Parallel port, so I ordered the 5i25, which has a Parallel Port on it. I ended up finding A computer with the PP and am still waiting for the 5i25 to arrive in the mail, but have been cutting basic jobs without issue on the PC’s PP.

My research says this is worth it, and can be used in future when upgrading, albeit with LinuxCNC only.
MESA 5i25 IO Card

I was running my Shapeoko off a laptop, so I purchased a used desktop computer with the following specs: Intel I7 2.4GHZ, 8GB RAM, 240G SSD, 4GB graphics card for about US$300 including mouse and screen. I will upgrade to a touch screen in time as they appear to work very well with LinuxCNC.

TOTAL WITHOUT 5i25 or PC = $476


I would also recommend getting one of the options from Vectric Ltd. They have varying price points, but I dropped the cash on Aspire, which is their top of the range software, coming in at a hefty US$1995. If you intend to make money on what you are creating, that is a very small price to pay. The software is very easy to use, very powerful, and has amazing support. I have done a few relief carvings on my SO3, and the ones done with Aspire are faster, and have a better finish than anything else I have used. Also a lot easier than other software to just whip up a quick job or do a test. Highly Recommend.

Otherwise Fusion360 is great to use for more ‘mechanical’ type projects, it’s free if you make less than $100,000 a year. It’s more of a traditional 3D-modelling software, and has very powerful CAM functionality which can be used on anything from the SO3 up to Industrial machines. I either design in Solidworks, then import Into Fusion360 to do the CAM/toolpath creation, or do the whole lot in Fusion360

Hope this helps, I’m more than happy to answer any questions, I have used this forum a lot to learn and it’s high time I gave a bit back.


(Ed Zacarias) #13

Stuart …

Honestly…you have saved me a whole lot of time & effort … it would have been quite the undertaking for me to whittle this all down on my own… on the order of weeks all said and done…at the most I was hopping for was a list and a few links, most of all I really appreciate the detail. I know from some of your previous comments that this information was not easy for you to come by… Forums are great but there is a fair amount of sifting, sorting and validating of information that you have to do…

Your support has made my learning curve way less difficult, and likely less problematic this will now enable me to accomplish a few things :

  • Concentrate on learning the basics on my S03 XXL
  • Advance my product development effort which is labor intensive
  • Advance my overall timeline.

So the end result from doing this upgrade will be:

  1. Digitizing and increased functionality via Linux
  2. Gecko G540 Stepper Drive - Improved resolution also runs a little smoother and faster, jogging and zeroing the machine is a lot quicker
  3. Real Time Processing via MESA 5i25 IO PCI Card - No lagging

Did I miss anything ?

I recall in your first post to me that you just got most of this stuff … have you finished putting it all together ?

I checked out the Homann Designs, noticed that they are in Australia …

Over the next few days I am going to spend some time consolidating your comments from this post and reading up on everything that you have sent me… I will then use your notes and pending schematics to implement & manage the upgrade. I am sure that I will have a few more questions once I compile your notes and re review all the links …

Again, thank you for the detail Stuart, I will make the most of it…

Regards, Ed Zac

(Stuart) #14

Glad I can help :slight_smile:

Hehe yeah there was a lot of sifting and sorting through forums, and trying to work out what I actually needed. Going through the process has actually taught me a huge amount and a lot of this stuff is now far more simple to me.

That looks about right for the end result - Though at this stage I am only running through the G540 - the MESA 5i25 only arrived this morning, so I haven’t had a chance to test it as yet. I have not had one issue with lagging with the G540, I have cut probably 10 jobs with the G540, but all are 2.5D jobs which are mostly simple code. I will throw a relief carving through it on the G540 then do the 5i25 upgrade then repeat, and observe the results. There is every chance the 5i25 isn’t required at the feeds the SO3 runs at. however at $89 it’s not a huge cost to make sure things are as smooth as they can be. it also gives you a huge amount more inputs and outputs, if you want to have limit switches or your dust collection running off the controller aswell… a lot of options!

Of course in the middle of my upgrade the Mrs wants to make 3 tea candle holders for mothers day, so I’m holding off the MESA card upgrade until I’ve cut those!

Yeah Homann Designs are in Australia, which is where I am… I’m sure you can find somewhere closer to buy the parts, it was just easy to list them from the place I purchased. 10/10 service from them though, I missed a few connectors on an order I made and he caught it and threw them in for free… can’t as for better than that!

I’ll get working on the schematics, there are some good ones made by the guys at Homann Designs, which are pretty accurate, I’ll just update them so they’re relevant for the SO3 setup.

I’ll also re-write some instructions for installing LinuxCNC and getting it running… that took me the most time probably… as all the instructions were written for someone with a lot of experience with Linux, which most certainly wasn’t me… I had never even seen linux on a screen until this upgrade.

Are you thinking you’ll run with a router for the spindle or a VFD? You can’t beat a router for simplicity and price, but the 1.5kw Huanyang VFD I put on mine was an awesome upgrade, especially now I can run it completely from the computer. It’s also quieter :+1: Cost me about US$250 for the spindle and VFD I believe, and fits straight into the SO3 mounting bracket with the supplied shim.

(Ed Zacarias) #15

Australia… I am in Canada just north of Toronto, my wife wants to go to Australia one day…

You mentioned …That you decided to start with LinuxCNC, because it is used in some of the machines that you wanted to upgrade to in future …well my thinking is similar… I would like to get the SO3 XXL system to closely parallel a larger full functioning CNC router in as far as it’s possible so that I can if the opportunity presents it self make the transition to a more automated larger 4 x 8 CNC table … I am thinking that I will know what to look for if I am more versed in the software and the hardware… I am trying to think a little bit ahead but not to far.

To that end your BOM, Schematics and configuration files for the SO3 XXL and LinuxCNC will facilitate an improved knowledge base while minimizing the head banging associated with a 90 degree learning curve … that and I plan to install that Small Latching Emergency Stop Switch …

At some point after the upgrade I also want to be able to roll my product costs based on a more automated set up as I know that this system will not be suitable for day to day production…in an effort to minimize operator involvement, I am also interested ( if possible) in adding an Auto Tool changer … hence again the necessity for using Linux…

With respect to the Spindle …I know the router is going to be real noisy and it’s going to be in my house …I have a 3/4 acre property just outside a small town that I have been renovating …seems like forever and I don’t have a garage yet originally the garage was built into the house which I turned into living space… I was planning to build a garage separate from the house to put my shop in but have not gotten around to it yet due to other priorities. …so yeah I am thinking about that spindle…it’s a matter of when? as per your suggestion I will look at the 1.5kw Huanyang VFD and try to roll it into my initial budget… I will be revising my budget this weekend so we will see where that ends up…

At the onset of our exchange I noted the comment about the (I can rebuild a Rolls Royce jet engine…) yes I did notice that comment… just wondering …are you commercializing your efforts or is this just a hobby? your interest is obviously more on the machining side of the equation given that you would like to get the Tormach PCNC1100-sized Mill… also wondering How much is it in USD … did not see a price…

This weekend I will be attempting to convert 2D images 3D STLS files, refining my budget and will be spending most of the time reviewing and organizing everything that you sent me to date…


Ed Zac

(Stuart) #16

Canada is beautiful, I lived in B.C for a couple of years, a good friend of mine is from London, ON… not too far away!

Yeah I have big dreams of building my own 4x8 router, and buying a tormach PCNC1100 or a similar chinese-branded mill (the tormachs are made in China…) I think the PCNC starts around US$10,000. however to get one to Australia almost doubles the price… so I am really considering getting something direct from China.

The Shapeoko has always been a hobby for me, but I would like to make a little money out of it if I can. My girlfriend designed her first project in Aspire last week, and she is now keen to start making some money with it! I have mostly made presents for people and parts for the router itself. But I have a lot of designs I have made in Fusion360 and Aspire that are just waiting to get made.

Did you have any luck converting images to stl files? I’m sure there is some good software out there, I haven’t had a good look at that aspect of it yet. I believe there is an option called Artcam that does a good job of it.

I’ll get onto drawing up those wiring schematics, I am at work for the next 2 weeks (remote outback - Oil & Gas) so won’t have much time. I want to do a bit of a write up to put on the forum here for anyone that’s interested, it was a fun exercise - everything except learning how to program linuxCNC! I have it totally dialled in now though, I can turn the SO3 on from my computer, start and stop my spindle as required during the job using the gcode I create - I’m very happy with how LinuxCNC has worked out. I’m teaching myself how to use the Python programming language so I can edit the LinuxCNC interface, and really customise it to be relevant to the Shapeoko :+1:

(Ed Zacarias) #17

Canada and Australia… are both great countries…

Ditto as they say… I would like to work my way up to something larger as well, so this has to pay for it self…

If your girlfriend is interested in Jewelry and wants to produce on a larger scale then consider selling it here, you probably have heard of this place…

Also is a polymer material that I use for sculpting things … gives you a lot of freedom to produce something with texture that you could then use as a master pattern that you could then digitize … or go to foundry with …give the super sculpy a good look as a lot of professionals use it … also check out . for other methods of reproducing things in a variety of mediums…Food for thought…

From what I can see there are lots of ways to generate STL files from high contrast art … but its more of a challenge when it comes to color photos of things especially things that have a lot of reflection… especially something like this helmet…which I converted to a grey scale … there is a lot of noise in the reflective surfaces that makes the conversion process go haywire… I have been trying a lot of freeware there is some great stuff out there… check this website out… you will be blown away by the resources it has to offer

Based on videos that I have seen on YouTube and from what I can gather Artcam would be good for more organic elements as opposed to hard geometry …in this case I also need a lot of depth to achieve a dynamic perspective… in the example below I need about 3/4 of an inch in depth for the size which would be in the 12 to 14 inch range in height and width …

If I can somehow get around this issue and get the master pattern done via the Shapeoko I can then make a mold of it from there I can make a resin cast that will look like metal or for that matter or I could have a wax pattern from the same mold for foundry…

Trying to do this with traditional methods is very time consuming… and painstaking work… which is the way I use to do it…

I wish you every bit of luck in your efforts to commercialize your efforts that’s exactly what I am trying to do…

Looking forward to your write up… I finished my BOM based on everything you relayed to me … No hurry on the schematics as I may push my purchase of the S03 XXL out to July as I am behind on my product development schedule… because of this issue…

I tend to go after the hard stuff first… I think I will try something simpler like a tomato…



(Ed Zacarias) #18


When I started this undertaking …you did me a good turn…you gave me lots of good advice which I appreciated …Thought I would share this with you…

The Shapoko is a great product … I was actually about two days away from buying it I had the money set aside and was ready to pull the trigger … then I ran into the open builds website and this is what I ended up doing… harder to undertake especially for me but more flexibility… I am just starting to assemble My OX Metal CNC build… I really wish I had some of your skill sets…

With the open build website you can build something that is more specific and business based in application… if you have not run across it yet the web site will blow you away… it took me a while to get my head around some of it … it would be a piece of cake for you …it took me two and a half months to research this all out… I bought everything about 3 weeks ago.

Info on both the OX CNC & the OC-Metal CNC Router one is belt driven the other is lead screw…

First Iteration - OC-Metal CNC Router
OX CNC Build – Open Source You can download drawings and a BOM

Second Iteration - OC-Metal CNC Router - This is the one that I am building, but a bit larger.
OX-Metal CNC Build – Open Source You can download drawings and a BOM - This is an excellent build.

These two youtube Videos will give you an overview…

This is where you can buy parts – Open Builds Has global retailers … This one has kits that are heavy duty

Step Craft …I believe that this is a German company I found out that this tool Changer is compatible with my set up….

No need to respond and sorry I must have wore you out… … Good luck Stuart I wanted you to know I very much appreciated your input…

Best Regards


(Stuart) #19

Hi Edward,

Congratulations on moving forward with your decision and your build! You are going to have a lot of fun building the Ox, and will no doubt learn a lot :slight_smile: there are a lot of great ideas on that design, a few I would change but only because I’m set on milling aluminium and want rigidity (I think I would make a lot of the 3D printed parts out of Aluminium) - I think it will serve you well!

The Ox metal looks like a great machine, I’ve been toying with the idea of going to acme thread or ballscrews on my Shapeoko 3, but I can’t decide whether I should upgrade my Shapeoko or just build a whole new machine!

I apologize that I never got to drawing a schematic for the wiring for my shapeoko and G540, A lot of things have happened in the last few months that have taken me away from the hobby, would you still be interested in the drawings? I have been running my gecko G540 with linuxCNC for 6-8 months now and haven’t had a problem with it, it seems very robust.

I’m not sure this is the forum for a build thread but I’d love to see a writeup or video of your build, maybe on the Openbuilds or cnczone forum? I’d also be really interested to see how this goes cutting aluminium a bit more aggressively than the builder did in the videos, the shapeoko cuts alu fairly well but I’d like to see how something with sturdier V-wheels and ACME thread goes.

The tool changer looks great! will it bolt on to your spindle? what type of spindle are you going to run?

Thanks for the update, I’m glad I could help, I can’t take any credit as everything I have learned about this has come from others, I just passed it on!

(Ed Zacarias) #20

Hi Stuart,

Check out this variation of the OX by DAZ THE GAS called “Beef Up The OX”… I added most of these changes to my OX…there is a gentlemen by the name of Chris Laidlaw in California who makes these parts and a number of variations thereof…very helpful as well…

I think I would leave the Shapoko as is …because you will need to get a more robust spindle and Gantry set up to do Aluminum day in and day out …here is the 500 watt spindle from Stepcraft that I will be upgrading to I am buying it because it’s compatible with the tool changer from Stepcraft:

Stepcraft indicated in an excerpt from an e-mail below that the tool changer will work with my system as per my spec below:

"The ATC and our spindle can work with any software. It is just a matter of connecting the wires to the proper places on your CNC. I can get you those specs.

There is a tool change circuit and a PWM for the Spindle.

The spindle/tool changer needs a 43mm mounting hole.

On Jul 24, 2017, at 8:28 PM, ezacarias wrote:

Hi Eric,

Thank you for responding,

I would probably go with the HF500 spindle … One last question if I may …this is the Board & software that I will be running on… is it compatible with this operating system ?

OX Metal System Configuration / Software Below


CNC xPRO V3 Controller Stepper Driver


USB Drivers:
Universal G-Code Sender:
Java (only if you don’t have it installed already)
Grbl commands: https:
Mesh Cam

BTW…No need to apologize about the schematics… no worries…

I refer to my variation of the OX as the OX Metal / DAZ the Gas … I don’t have any 3D printed plastic parts …as used in the OX Metal… .

Hmmm…Not sure about posting as I expect to do a few face plants, I will send you some updates if you want to send me your e-mail address… mine is I could probably use your input from time to time…

My first iteration only has a cheap 300 watt spindle as I expect to blow it up… via the learning curve…I plan to get the Step Craft spindle and tool changer in 2-4 months…after I get the basic build up and running… I expect that integrating the new spindle and tool changer will be a bit of a challenge…

Also the first iteration also has to pay for itself first before I invest more…

To Date for the first iteration I spent about $ 2,400 CDN so far … I have a few items as yet to get like a soldering iron, crimping tools and some miscellaneous hardware …

My OX Metal CNC Router will be:


I spent a good month going through all these builds before I did anything :

It was good to talk to you again…