2.5D vs 3D contours on the Shapeoko 3

I am a bit confused by the “What on earth does 2.5D mean?” lesson that I just read. I was planning to purchase the Shapeoko 3 XL in a few days, but now I am not sure that it will do what I need. I will be machining wood and I will need the ability to machine contoured surfaces with a ball nose end mill in my parts. I have a couple of high end CAD packages so making the model is a snap. Will I be able to create the CAM and make the cuts on the Shapeoko 3 XL?



Welcome Tom

Sure, take a look at the Gallery section of this board, you’ll see a ton of examples of what you’re looking for.

I carved this table apron, plus 5 others on my XL, as an example for you.


The S3 wont create the CAM (toolpathing), you’ll need an intermediary piece of software to do that. If you’ve already got some high-end CAD packages, you probably have access to CAM packages as well (Fusion 360 is free, if you don’t). Carbide Create is Carbide3D’s CAD/CAM combo and can only do 2.5D toolpath generation.

Once you’ve got a toolpath generated (gcode)the S3 will run it all day long, within the bounds of physicality (can’t machine negative overhangs, for example)

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