Before I Purchase

I am so close to pulling the trigger on the xxl. Is there any suggestions before moving forward.

Which router to get, bits to get me started, must have accessories. I plan to do 95% wood related cutting and carving. I am completely new to cnc engravers. I have a decent amount of experience with 3d printers. I am aware I have much to learn.

One of the things I want todo is cut out the stars on wooden flags. Also create a bunch of crafts and various wooden items.

I seen somewhere online where it was recommended to buy from matterhackers for cheaper shipping, plus i seen you can combo the dewalt router. Thoughts??

I am looking for any direction or advice moving forward, as I would like to order very soon. Thanks in advance

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My only recommendation, forget the Dewalt or Carbide router, get a Makita, it is more reliable, has better speed range (10K to 30K). The only thing you would be missing is a light that IMO is not really required.


I just purchased mine about a month ago. I waited and waited but have no regrets in purchasing. I bought mine strait from Carbide because they had free shipping, I did get the carbide router with mine and have not had any issues with it. Whatever you get, make sure you get the 1/8 collet as well. It didn’t take long to realize you need more than 1/4 end mill that it comes with.
I purchased tow Vee bits. 1/4 60 degree and 1/4 90 degree. I use the 90 mostly as the 60 will carve deeper than I want. I also purchased 1/4 ball mill. I think I found a set of 1/8 bits
12 of them was around 30.00 on amazon and really like them. It sounds like a lot but think of it like colored pencils. Its hard to draw a master piece with only one pencil. I also purchase a diamond drag bit that has been fun to play with as well.
I will tell you, the online directions are in need of updating. Found that the part where you adjust the concentric nuts was missing. But its easy enough to figure out.
Best advise is to go ahead and pull the trigger, its hard to justify the cost for a hobby but its been a pleasure learning. I have already started selling items I consider practice pieces.


I have a dewalt 611 router with my xxl and it is very satisfactory. But there are good arguments for the Makita because of the speed range. The Makita is shipped with a collar that goes inside the Shapeoko router mount. The collar is the same size as the upgrade spindles you can buy on Amazon. Some claim that they must replace the dewalt 611 brushes quite often but I have not experienced that. I have seen several people commenting on the carbide3d router that it is not as reliable as the Makita. Several have also commented that the carbide3d is a clone of the Makita. So why buy a clone when you can get the original. In the end the router choice is personal because I think all 3 are good routers. But the Makita seems to be slightly ahead of the other 2 choices.

I would not recommend buying any bits as sets. Sets seem like a good deal but if you never use some of the bits it is a waste of money. The 1/4" Upcut is used a lot by me followed by a 1/8" flat cut. The ball nose bits are useful for carving 3d reliefs. In short order the basic router bits and wait on the more exotic or coated bits until you get a little more experience. Order what you need and not what you think you need. Your opinion of what you think you need will change with experience.

If you have deep pockets then order one of everything in the Carbide3d store but you may never use many of them. I would be slow in ordering.

I purchased the Carbide 3d probe and it is quite useful. But you can do the zeroing just as well with your eye and a piece of paper. The probe may be more than you need at first but again your budget may different than others.


All of your advice has been extremely helpful. Im hoping the free shipping on here is fairly quick… it does not specify how it will shipped when shipped free. If I want to American flag stars would the 90 degree v bit be a good choice? I also plan to buy the probe and the t track clamp kit.

I am not a fan of the T-Track. I have the Meyers Woodshop designed supplemental spoil board, fence and cam clamps. I also have the OOPs clamps from Suckit. The tall clamps that work so well with T-Track get in the way and you will eventually hit them, scaring them and breaking bits. I prefer the low profile clamps over the taller clamp systems.

You can look at the Myers Woodshop plans on youtube and you can buy his plans on, get them free from his website or just look at it and make your own design. Personally I like the Myers design and got it free from his blog/webiste.

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As noted above router brand is a personal choice. I’m a fan of Dewalt, but have plenty of Makita tools as well. I’ve had my XXL for 3 years last month and still have same brushes in my Dewalt. I’m not a super user, but I know I’ve got over 100 hours+ out of those brushes(I have a set of spares for when they die). I also have a 25+ year old Makita drill that still worked last I checked, so it’s really a personal choice, don’t think you can go wrong either way. The XXL has been a great machine, don’t think you can go wrong there either. Bits? Depends on what you wanna cut, but my standard arsenal is 1/4” flat, 1/4” ball, 1/8” flat, 1/8” ball, 90 and 60 degree V bits. Get a couple of each except the V bits until you see what you use/break more of. Just my $0.02


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One of things you will also realize very, very quickly is that you cannot really work without a dust collection system, so you should probably order a dust shoe and a cyclone (dust deputy), so that by the time you finish assembling the machine and start cutting test projects, you will have them on hand.


Is there a dust shoe you recommend over the one they sell?

The wiki has a few links on the variety of options for dust shoes, but the most popular choice by far is the Suckit. I have one myself and it’s been great. At first it looked a bit pricey for a set of acrylic pieces, especially for me who had them shipped overseas, but considering the efficiency of the solution, probably worth the price to be up and running quickly. I have never really used any other one though.

Personally I really don’t like the variable Z height models (the ones that attach to the router, hence go up and down with it during the job). Also make sure that whatever model you buy allows you to remove the dust shoe without raising the router/bit (the Suckit has a slot for the bit exactly for that reason), it’s so much more convenient that way.


It’s faster and quieter/less annoying than the Dewalt

It’s been pretty well covered, some things I think are critical are

  • solid bench or enclosure to sit machine on
  • dust deputy, vacuum with a HEPA filter and suckit dustboot(pay the money, get the good one)
  • decent laptop that can live in the workshop

The latest version has steel mounts and polycarbonate arms. The “Height Adjusting Locks” are still pretty cheesy though!

I ordered the xxl, the probe, the suck it pro dust collector and against recommendation went with the dewalt. Simply because I am fan of the brand and alot of YouTube users I enjoy watching use it also. I also picked the 1/8 " precision collet for the router. What I have not decided on is bits, which I need to order today. I have researched them very little due to time. But it appears some cut cleaner than others. I understand the bit is determined greatly by what your doing. What I’m looking for is a starter set of bits, even if I have to buy them by the piece. Thanks for all the support. This forum is very active and helpful!


Welcome to the club, you’ll have tons of fun! (and possibly some frustration, that the community here will alleviate)

Regarding a possible starter set of bits, my opinion is documented here


I wouldn’t buy a bit set because there will be bits you don’t use in it. I just get bits as I need them for specific projects.

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For clean pocket cuts, get a down-cut end mill. That will avoid “fuzzies” on soft woods like pine and poplar and give you nice sharp edges that don’t need much sanding at all.

Rogue Systems sells a set of five carbide 1/8" down-cut bits for about $20 on Ebay (made in USA). These have worked very well for me. Since the chips are pushed downward, you need to be careful that the chips don’t clog up in the cut, but for pocketing that is not usually a problem.


I like Yonico bits because they’re rated for high speeds, have speeds and feed info, have 1/8" cutters with 1/4" shanks, and are available from Amazon smile.. :slightly_smiling_face:


I initially bought the MLCS router. It didn’t last very long. They made good and replaced it. However I put a Makita in my XXL and now use the MLCS for hand work.
Get the Vbits and collect adapters.


Agree - I tried the Carbide and went through 2 before I bought the Makita and have had zero issues. Don’t know much about the dewalt but the makita is near perfect so I have no need to test that against anything. I hear the dewalt is just as good but louder.