Assembled and made my first cut on S5P. Some getting started tips I learned

I just got my Shapeoko 5 Pro. It’s my first CNC machine, so I know NOTHING about them, but I’m a software engineer, hardware engineer, and 3d printer, so it was pretty straight forward. Even so, I got stuck a few times and wanted to share the places I got stuck and some tips to get from delivery to your first cut. In roughly the order you’ll need them:

  1. Don’t assemble using the YouTube video. Use the PDF installation instructions. There are steps (including step 1) that aren’t included in the YouTube video. It’s a little misleading because the YouTube video is so good and it LOOKS comprehensive. But it’s not.

  2. The rear bars don’t go on the last set of holes. They go in the second to last set.

  3. After you finish with a bag and it still has bolts in it, keep it handy: You’ll need those later but the later instructions won’t tell you to go back to the old bag. It makes it sound like the bolts you need are in the related bags, but sometimes you need to get them from an old bag.

  4. If you’re installing the VFD, on the step where you install the cables in the cable drags, you need to keep in mind the spindle is the empty plug. It’s not the big box.

  5. There’s a bag in there called “Extra Hardware” in case you’re missing a bolt or two.

  6. The cable drag attachment on the gantry uses different bolts than the others. Those are found in the “base assembly” bag.

That’s it for assembly. Pretty easy. Now, on to the software.

  1. You’ll need to install a bit before you fire up Carbide Motion. On the VFD, you need to remove the collet nut. Then push the “mushroom end” of the collet into the collet nut. It needs to “click” into the collet nut. THEN you install the bit into the collet so the tail end is close to the top end of the collet, but not quite there. Then you install the collet nut onto the spindle.

  2. Put the emergency stop somewhere you can easily reach it while you watch the machine. If it does anything unexpected, smash that button. It will stop and you can think about what it was doing and how to fix it.

  3. The first thing to do in Carbide Motion is to:
    a) Initialize the Router
    b) Go to settings and choose the right router, size, and enable the bitsetter (which had a VERY small checkbox on my laptop)
    c) Jog the spindle down to about 1/4" above the bitsetter.
    d) Reset Zero and Zero all values.
    e) Configure the bit setter
    f) Initialize the router again and it should go to the northeast, then down next to the bitsetter, then wait for you to confirm the tool is installed, then check the bit on the bitsetter. Then the machine is ready to go!

  4. There no instructions for the VFD. I’ve no idea what the buttons do. Except the big silver one. That needs to be pushed so there’s a red light around it. That enables the spindle so it will spin. If you push it again, the spindle will turn off.

  5. When you load your first file from Carbide Create into Carbide Motion, you need to initialize the machine again, then YOU NEED TO ZERO THE MACHINE to the same location as the Zero in Carbide Create. Usually, the Zero in Carbide Create is at the bottom left of the stock. That means you need to jog the spindle down to the bottom left of your stock on the platform, jog the spindle down until it’s almost touching the stock, then Reset Zero in Carbide Motion. Then Zero all values. This “synchronizes” your router’s zero with the zero that was in Carbide Create.

  6. You need to secure your workpiece. Seriously.

I think that’s it. Hope that helps someone. If others have tips from their first setup, please add them!


Very nice set of directions. The only thing I might add is in regards to #2 in the software section. Definitely have the E-Stop in a convenient place, but not where it might get accidentally bumped. I had to move mine that was located near the bitsetter and my computer. But if I wasn’t careful I would bump it while changing bits.