When should I order?

(Kris Van) #1

Hi all. I’m about ready to pull the trigger on an XXL, but can’t decide if I should build an enclosure first then order, or wait until the unit is assembled then work on the enclosure. Excited to get started but don’t want the cart ahead of the horse. Thanks for your input!


(William Adams) #2

We have the dimensions for the footprint of the machines, and various other dimensions published in various places — my suggestion would be to wait — everyone wants a different amount of clearance above the work area, and it will depend on how you load your stock and so forth.

Big things to do while waiting for the machine:

  • plan out a suitable area to assemble it and use it (these might be different, though that may be different for an XXL, which is quite large)
  • begin drawing up projects
  • plan out workholding and dust collection
  • acquire endmills and figuring out CAM

(Rick Miller) #3

If you have somewhere that you can build it, I would wait. Build it and install whatever dust collection you plan on using. Then you’ll have an idea of what you’ll need for an enclosure. If you need to build something to put it on then just build a table a little larger than the footprint and start with that. I’ve been using mine for a while now without an enclosure and works for me. My dust boot does a good job of collecting almost everything that comes off the cutter including most of the fines. I don’t really feel that I need an enclosure to control dust. It is noisy but I just wear ear protection when it’s running.

(Matt Freivald) #4

I don’t have an enclosure and I’m glad I didn’t build one. My XXL is in a shop area anyway; the noise is manageable. Dust collection is a must, and an enclosure only partially addresses dust collection noise. The XXL has an effectively infinite Y axis by using tiling, and unless you plan ahead an enclosure can block this. It also has a front overhang you can use to mill the edges of stock or do other creative things, and again you can block this with an enclosure if you don’t plan ahead for it. Whether any of that matters your own use case is important: I got mine to explore CNC and have fun, so I’ve gotten some benefit from no-enclosure flexibility.

I can’t say what is right for your particular circumstances, but getting to know her first, before you make or buy her expensive or time consuming accessories, is generally good advice.

(Rick Miller) #5

Regarding the front overhang. I haven’t used that yet and I’m a little stumped on what to do about clamping. Mine is sitting on a mobile workbench and the front is all drawers so there really isn’t any way of clamping to the bench. I looked at clamping to the frame but it’s not quite square to the top of the bed. Seems like I’ll need something that will clamp down to the bed and then hang over the edge and be square to the bed.

(Luke) #6

Thats one sweet workbench…

(Rick Miller) #7

Yes. I was going to make something but then realized I would need to make it mobile and add storage (drawers) and didn’t have that kind of time. These were on sale at Home Depot but still more than I should have spent. It’s heavy too. The size really worked out just right to hold the Shapeoko 3 XL and my monitor and keyboard. I put the Shapeoko on a piece of 3/4 ply so I could move it a bit further to the right. Off to the left you can just see the Raspberry I’m using to run bCNC. Thinking I may end up mounting that on the back of the bench.

The 2.5" dust hose runs off to a 4" splitter. I have a second hose connected that I can use to clean up without having to disconnect from the dust boot. That second hose also helps to keep my dust collector from starving for air. Something that’s on my list is to build something to suspend the dust boot hose above the Shapeoko.

(Matt Freivald) #8

I have some T-track hold downs that slip between the metal frame edge and the wasteboard. They are pricey though and do not fully solve the clamping problem on their own. The stock has to be supported well enough to withstand downward (edge of the stock) milling forces and, as you mention, square to the X axis.

I did a few projects but haven’t iterated to the next refinement of the setup. If I do though I may try to have some way to shim left/right other than slipping in bits of paper or other shim material. You can verify square pretty well by dropping a v-bit at zero Y and max stock X (or somewhere well east of zero X). Or if you have a touch plate you can find zero at both ends, compare Y zero, and shim until you are satisfied that it is close enough.

How much you get into squaring it depends on what you are trying to do. My metal frame and X axis are probably 1mm-ish off parallel through the whole span of the machine.

Update: Link to setup Carving on the edge

(Kris Van) #9

Thanks for the input! One other concern as I’m thinking on this. I live in the midwest, my shop is in the garage. Do I need to be concerned about temp variation? Thanks.

(William Adams) #10

The belts have a pretty wide temperature range — they’re similar to the ones used in cars:


Please just check them before each use per: http://docs.carbide3d.com/general-faq/machine-operating-checklist/

Might want to plan on ordering some spares — we have them in: https://shop.carbide3d.com/collections/tools/products/shapeoko-maintenance-kit — I ordered my 9mm upgrade parts from SDP/SI before that was available though, and have been very pleased w/ them.

(Kris Van) #11

Thanks for all the advice. I’m in, just place my order! New to CNC but excited to start learning.