I am brand new to cnc. I want to become a hobbyist in the winter months as I do not work during the winter and need something to occupy my time. Over the last week or two, I have been researching a lot. I am torn between the Shapeoko xxl or the x carve.
Now this is not meant to be a versus post as I have searched both site forums and read a lot. I am leaning towards the SO3, which is why I am simply posting here to ask a couple of questions regarding more of the cnc as a whole than machine specific.
I guess my main question is how do you guys hold projects in place with the SO3 right out of the box. I see the x carve comes with a complete clamp kit. Again, I am absolutely brand new to this and I may ask some dumb questions. I apologize in advance.
In addition to Will’s answer there is also a section on workholding in the Shapeoko ebook, which should give you an overview of typical workholding options.
One thing that is not immediately obvious, is that top clamping options tend to get in the way of the cutting, while side clamping provides clearance of the whole top surface of the material. See those C3D side clamps for example
Thank you for the quick reply. I have visited and read the article linked on more than one occasion. I like it.
I have also visited and looked at both of those tutorials. Through all my random reading and research, I have come across More than one person that has had skepticism on drilling into the original wasteboard. Is there anything I truly should be concerned about by doing that? If that’s the route I choose to go.
My preference is that one minimize drilling into the MDF baseplate — instead use a 3 layer system:
bottom: original MDF baseplate (sealed with spar urethane or lacquer) with some holes and threaded inserts installed from underneath for adding threaded inserts to secure
middle: a threaded insert board larger than the working area by the reach of a clamp which has holes in that border area which match up with the threaded insert holes in the bottom layer to secure it, a grid of holes in the working area field for threaded inserts installed for workholding, and additional holes with threaded inserts to secure
top: a spoilboard the size of the supported working area plus the diameter of the endmill used for surfacing along X, and endmill radius along Y, (with a matching radius at the back corner) which has holes in it to match the threaded insert board for workholding purposes (these may be drilled at need) and holes to secure it to the threaded insert middle layer
I’m putting in an order for:
and once those arrive will finish up my tutorial — the balance of it should be obvious though — unfortunately, the order is supposed to take up to 6 weeks. I’ll probably not be able to wait that long and will just get some steel screws locally.
@Ckaminski - As you can see the support and enthusiasm on this forum is second-to-none and that continues after purchase with Carbide3D. I know both machines have improvements since I bought my XXL, but the rapid response you’ll find with this group once you have the machine in your shop will be priceless. Pretty obvious which way I’m pushing, eh
Lol. I’m not looking to be pushed any certain way. And I wasn’t trying to create a versus thread. I posted on this forum because I am leaning this way more than the other. I am quite eager to push the buy button will be holding off a couple of weeks.
three 2-flute 1/4" straight endmills (such as the #201 endmills from Carbide 3D — one will be included with the machine, a pack of two will fill one out with: 1 for initial experimentation/roughing, 1 for finishing passes, and 1 spare
two 2-flute 1/4" ball end endmills (such as the #202 endmills from Carbide 3D) — if one wishes to do 3D modeling or cut parts which have rounded profiles along the bottom (often a good idea in woodworking for increased strength)
two 90 degree V-bits such as the #301 from Carbide 3D — if one wishes to do V-carving or cut joints which use this angle
I had planned on grabbing the two different sign making bit kits and starter pack bit kit. But I was referring to as other tools. As in calipers, other drills, etc.
I will probably start off pretty basic just making signs and letters. And then get more advanced as I get into it more. I am a complete beginner but always jump in deep with two feet once I make a decision.
Read the e-book, it’s a great intro (whichever machine you end up with)
Workholding, clamps etc. have as many variations as there are people using them, don’t assume any particular kit will work for you or your jobs, you’ll start with some stuff, decide what you like about it and add / change as you wish
Don’t buy too much extra for your first step, get the machine, a dust extractor and E-Stop and a few basic cutters, then make some things with it to find out what you like doing and how you want to do it
Buy the extra stuff as you need it, once you have more of an idea of what you need and how you want to work
The original question seemed to be which machine to buy. 2 years ago the question would have been a toss up. Both are belt driven, similar size etc…
However today the Shapeoko is way ahead with BitSetter, BitZero and BitRunner the Shapeoko has pulled out ahead. The ability for the automation on the Shapeoko has left xcarve in the dust. Both have a Pro version machine but the Shapeoko is still ahead.
I was pretty set on leaning towards the SO3. Wasn’t trying to make it that kind of thread. My main question was “work holding” now that I know that term. The x carve kit has a clamp kit and was just trying to find out what the options where with the SO3. And now that I have posted here. The support is great. So I’m pretty sure I’m convinced on this buy.