Any thoughs on router for the Shapeoko XXL?

I bought the kit that includes the mini compact router. Any thoughts on pros and cons between using this or the Dewalt\Makita options? The only thing I have ever heard regarding these 2 is the Makita may be a little more quiet? Is the mini compact router any better or worse suited for one type of project over another?

You are probably the 10th person asking that same question here, you can do a search and get several threads with pros and cons for each but my recommendation is to get a Makita even if Carbide claims that theirs is a clone, I have heard many people report having to change brushes on almost brand new routers and Dewalt also require brush change after about 100hrs while you seldom hear people change theirs on Makita. In addition to better quality, it has a better speed range than the other two options which is important for many projects. If you want to go cheap, you can get a Harbor Freight compact router that should fit the Shapeoko but I’m not aware of any who have installed one.

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As @luc.onthego mentioned, there are other threads asking essentially the same question, but performance-wise I would sum it up as this, if you consider the Makita as the standard:

  • Carbide Compact Router (CCR) - similar to Makita with slightly faster low speed, comes with an extra set of brushes, a long cord and no router base (since that isn’t used on the S3 anyway), and it’s supported by Carbide3D. If you already have one, I would use it until you figure out what you really want, such as a spindle upgrade.

  • DeWalt - LEDs lighting up the cutting area are nice, but the lowest speed is much higher than the CCR and Makita. I would avoid it for that reason.


Thanks for the replies, So does this mean you can put any spindle in the xxl? All I ever saw were options for the Makita, Dewalt, and the CCR router, but I know there are other spindles out there that are liquid cooled etc. Can I use one of those as long as I have the power requirements for the spindle and it fits in the machine? Thanks again.

The stock mount is for 69mm diameter. The included adapter reduces that to 65mm.


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The spindle/router would require meeting those diameter requirements to fit within the included mount as @WillAdams provided. Also, weight is a contributing factor, the z-axis is counterbalanced with two springs to help the stepper motor move and hold position. Additional weight can cause errors (loss of steps) if not taken into account.

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The short answer about spindles is yes. There are numerous users on this forum who have upgraded to spindles that you can search for. It looks like the biggest advantages to spindles are lower noise (especially the water cooled spindles), wider speed range, ability to control the spindle on/off and speed with gcode, and no motor brushes to wear out.


Since most spindles are much heavier than the router options and they generally have a larger diameter. To accommodate this, you would need to get the beefier HDZ option., it had the ability to get a 90mm mount.

If you’re going third-party then the only thing I have to add is that we had more DeWalt failures when we were selling both. If it was me picking between DeWalt and Makita, I’d pick the Makita.

And we don’t claim to have “a clone” of the Makita. They look alike but they’re not made at the same factory. What we do claim is that we can support it better than any other unit. If you’ve got trouble with a Carbide Router we can take care of it without dealing with a third party, which was a problem with both DeWalt and Makita for us.


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