Advice On What To Buy

I am planning on buying a 4’x4’ Shapeoko 5 Pro in the next few weeks. My son and I are planning on making a business with this. I want to buy and have on hand everything I need to make the machine as efficient as possible. So far, I have on my purchase list;

5 Pro CNC
VFD spindle kit
End mill starter pack
Bitzero V2
Get a grip workholding kit
Mcfly surfacing cutter

Is there anything any of you would change or add to my purchase list?

You will want a good set of wrenches. The ones that come with the machine are ok, but not intended for long term use. You will also want a caliper to accurately measure your stock.


Note that the BitZero usually only makes sense for folks who are doing metalwork, working w/ plastic in precise blocks, or working with S4S wood — if you’re using rough-cut lumber it may not be useful for your needs.

I’m becoming won over by:

so if you are working with thin stock and projects suited to it, may want to consider that option.

And I really like the convenience of:

when doing work w/ various thickness stock or varied or challenging setups.

Do you have other tools? What sort of business are you going to be doing?

Frequent recommendations:

  • a track saw — if you need to break down sheet goods (though arguably, not as important these days w/ a 4x4 which can swallow an entire sheet width and tile cut
  • a hand saw — if buying lumber w/o a truck, makes it possible to break down lumber in the store parking lot to fit in a smaller vehicle
  • calipers — if doing precise metalwork, micrometers
  • downcut endmills such as our #251 .25" Downcut Flat Cutter (Qty 2) - Carbide 3D
  • If you wish to do small-scale or precision work a 1/8" downcut endmill and maybe a 30 degree V endmill (see the Amana packs at: Cutters - Carbide 3D )
  • pendant option of some sort
  • good quality square for assembly or positioning parts
  • tools to post-process stock (files, deburring tools, &c.)

If you’ll let us know the background you are coming from, and the specifics of what sort of work you wish to do and how you wish to approach it we can better advise.

One addition/further consideration — 8mm collet and matching tooling — jury is still out on that, but if doing larger-scale work, that my pay dividends.


Note that that dates back to the SO3 days — for an SO5 Pro get:


Good suggestions I can add to my arsenal.
I should have given a little more background in my original post. I have a 34’x48’ shop with one side set up for mechanic work & the other side is a wood shop. Each side is VERY well equipped with many specialty tools on both sides. We had an attached 16’x40’ portable building for wood finishing when we were building cabinets, but have since sold it to another shop.
I have worked as a professional welder, heavy equipment operator, farmer, truck driver (over 4 million miles) and have had other wood based businesses. My son and I were successfully building and installing high end cabinets until we both got tired of it and went back to truck driving 3 years ago.
We are planning on focusing on carving wood with the CNC to start, mainly because we have a LOT of lumber and plywood left from the cabinet business, but want to be able to work with any material we can find a market for.
The super hold glue looks really good and I can see how the Crush-It nuts & bolts would be a good addition. I was intending to get a 30* v-bit but forgot to mention that.

On the clamping tools, I have watched some videos, but still am not up to speed on the subject. I believe you are saying to get the Crush It set INSTEAD of the Get A Grip set. Would it be a good idea to get more Essential clamps Shapeoko Essential Clamps - Carbide 3D along with the nuts and bolts set?

I am completely in the dark as to what a “pendant” is and does. Could you explain more or point me to a video?

Correct. Get Crush-It set instead of Get-a-grip (there’s nothing wrong with the latter, but it was designed for the MDF baseplate of an SO3).

Yes, I consider “Essential” clamps a consumable (says the guy who gets them for free 'cause he works for the company).

A pendant is basically a remote control — it’s esp. handy on the large machines when one is trying to dial in the position of the machine relative to the stock or a BitZero — it allows one to input commands via the hand-held unit while looking closely at the setup in question without the necessity of using the computer itself for input.

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I think you have the basics covered. You need a set or two of digital calipers. Precise measurements of thickness is very important.

You did not say what you will be making. If you are going to be doing cabinet building you will need some compression bits. Not sure what the biggest bit a C3D VFD can take but you want something that can cut through plywood.

The starter packs are on the surface a good deal because each bit in the set is slightly less expensive than if you bought each one individually. However if you do not use all the bits in the starter pack it is a waste of money and the ones you actually use are more expensive per tool.

In the future buy what you need as you need it. That keeps your costs down. That does not mean you dont have spare bits because the bits are consumable and wear out and get broken. For what to stock only time will tell you what you need. As you estimate and quote jobs you can plan on having what bits are going to be needed in stock before the job starts. I think you will find you will have some go to bits you use all the time and a few more you use some and others you may never use. Only actually running jobs will tell you what you need. Buying bits you never use is wasted money sitting around collecting dust. As with all business’s watch the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves. On the other hand you have to spend money to make money like buying the SO5. But dont go crazy and buy a lot of stuff you may never need.


We used calipers regularly in cabinet building. We aren’t going to build cabinets again, but there are approximately 90 cabinet shops employing 350 - 400 workers in a 20 mile radius of us and most of them buy their doors and drawer fronts from the 6 different door shops in the area. I know a lot of these shop owners and believe one market would be specialty doors that the door shops aren’t set up to build.
There are several other markets we are going to pursue as well. My son and I work at the same place (separate trucks) and leave home on Monday and get home on Friday. We will start learning the cnc and building sample pieces for the various markets on weekends. If we get enough interest, my son will start running the shop full time.
Our jobs pay very well, so if things don’t pan out like we are hoping, we’ll have a fun new toy.

Sounds like your shop likely already has some proper dust extraction, have you chosen a dust boot for the CNC to connect it up?

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It sounds like you are going to be working with wood, so here’s my 2 cents. The Carbide 3D End mill starter pack is a good collection of general bits for a variety of materials. However my opinion after reading your post would be to redirect that money towards bits specifically for wood working (down-cut vs up-cut bits).

Disregard my advice if you are planning to also work with metal.

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A spare set of collets 1/4” and 1/8” with collet nuts could be useful Incase something gets damaged or misplaced.


Personally I have the Sweepy Pro and I cannot imagine going back to the Sweepy. Only downside is you have to be careful not to run it into the BitSetter on tool changes.

I would also highly recommend an enclosure. Even with dust collection dust goes everywhere. I have also had broken endmills get embedded in the wall of my enclosure before which is terrifying. Lastly your hearing will thank you.

Speaking of breaking endmills, I would also say that when you are starting out you should buy cheap endmills off ebay / amazon. Nothing worse than spending 50+ dollars on a nice Amana endmill only to immediately break it due to a dumb mistake.


I’ll 2nd the tape/glue method, i’m using it more and more, it always holds and never causes any issues. I’ve crashed into or cut through clamps more times than i care to admit :slight_smile:

Starter pack is fine, but i’d figure out what you want to cut and then buy those bits. I use Amana alot, but i do like whiteside bits, they perform very well for the cost. I have some Harvey ones too, which are pretty expensive, so that sucked when i trashed one.

I’m selling my VFD, just as an option if you want to save a little money. If you were looking at the Carbide VFD. I’m upgrading to a 220v one, only reason i’m selling it. PM me for any details if you are interested.

Also figure out your dust collection, since you were building cabinets, i’m guessing you have a good sized DC. I run a 4" hose to my CNC, which the sweepy only supports 2.5" so you will have to go aftermarket to support a 4". Otherwise a dedicated system with 2.5" works as well.


Well, if you want my honest opinion, I would hold off on the S5 until they get all these issues resolved. Otherwise you’ll just be pissed off because you can’t use it for months and aren’t really getting help fixing the problems. If you want a list of issues I’ve had, I’d be happy to share. Ordered mine the last week of November and still can’t use it. Figured out the issues (supposedly) on 29JAN and still don’t have anything being shipped to me to repair it. This has been a much worse experience than in 2018 with my S3.

It is unfortunate that you are having issues and I genuinely hope they get resolved soon.

That said I have had almost the opposite experience with the S5 Pro we purchased. We bought it during the last week of November. It arrived on the 3rd of January which was a bit of a wait, but that happens when buying on Black Friday. Had it up and running by the end of the next day. There have been a few minor issues, but they all appear to be from UPS not being kind to the two very heavy boxes during the holiday shipping rush. There was a crack in a wiring connector that made it difficult to insert into the connector on the control board and there was another crack in a plastic cover. Carbide3D shipped us out a new wiring harness and a replacement cover the same day I reported the problem which arrived three days later.

It sucks that you got a dud and that it took a while to figure out what was wrong, but to lump “all these issues” together makes it sound like everyone is getting a completely broken machine on delivery and that is not true. I am actually willing to bet the majority of people are getting a working machine. You do not hear about it though because people generally do not hop on the forums and report their successful purchase.

If you need any help with your machine beyond what you are getting from Carbide3D I highly encourage you to use these forums (this being your first post since 2018?). There is also an unofficial discord server. There is a great community that I have found very helpful over the years.


How much are you willing to bet that you’re not just one of the lucky ones that didn’t get a dud?

Feel free to have a look at this thread to see all the issues a lot of people are encountering… mine are the same. My issues are not correctable via reading a thread, or UPS. It’s poor manufacturing on the controller board. I’m not much of a poster, but these issues and the lack of support I’ve received from C3D has kind of forced me to be vocal in hopes that this $4,500 paper weight gets fixed. Thanks for the advice, though.

I suggest to get a few cheap bits to start with. Unfortunately you will break some. The SpeTool bits from Amazon are good quality at a reasonable price. As for “premium” bits I like the AmanaTool bits.

This group is awesome, do not hesitate to ask any question you may have regarding your new toy :slight_smile:

Good luck with your business.

I wondered on those, i keep thinking about ordering one or two, but just keep buying Amana bits.

I have had good luck with SpeTool bits. I also use a bunch of cheap Kyocera bits from Ebay. I have ADHD brain and run endmills into things a lot. I’m not mad about breaking a cheap 3 dollar endmill. 37 dollar Amana endmills are another story.

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Yup, i snapped off a $60 amana bit the other day