Brand new to Shapeoko and have a question or two

Hello all,

I am totally new to CNC and just ordered a PRO XXL.

I have a couple questions (lets start with the easy ones :grinning: ):
The machine needs something rest on besides the floor. I could use some suggestions. I was thinking of building a table for it from 2x4s and plywood.

What is the minimum size this should be?
How high should the machine be?

The realization of just how large it is hit me a few moments ago.

Now the harder ones:

What are some good end mills to start with? I bought the Amana starter kit (60 deg V bit, and 1/8" and 1/4", both are downcut). I’ll have to 1/4" that comes with the machine. I think I need a 90 deg V bit too.

Initially I’ll be working with wood that is at most 1" thick, except for one application that could be 2". I won’t be doing much with aluminum initially, but I might try working with plastics for some things.

I am really looking forward to diving in. I’ve been playing with Carbon create and reading a lot to trying to get ahead of the learning curve.

Welcome to the Family.
Have you gone over to yet? There’s a ton of information you can access immediately and for free. Might answer some questions and give you some ideas heading forward. Printed info, manuals, guides and video training. You’ll sign in with your ID from here at the Forum.

We also have a video covering some possible tables for your machine: Carbide 3D - Table Talk - Where to put your CNC - YouTube
This is not a definitive guide, but could be worth a watch.


I will let others answer the size question. The height is your preference. Do you want to stand or sit while operating the machine. I am older and got a nice office chair to sit in and my bench for the Shapeoko is about 30 Inches off the floor with a 6 inch torsion box added later. So my table height is 36 inches off the floor. This is a comfortable height for me to change bits and watch the Shapeoko as it runs. Some people like to stand so that would require a higher table.

My table is 4 4x4 inch posts with 2x6 Apron attached via Kreg pocket screws. Then a double sheet of 3/4" plywood and then later I added a torsion box. You need a solid table for the machine to sit on. I also have casters on the bottom to make it moveable so I can move it to clean and do maintenance. I would recommend casters that lock in both directions. The cheap casters only lock the wheel and not the ability for it to spin. In the center of the top I would recommend a cross brace to support the weight of the machine and keep the top from sagging. Under my table I have a drawer on the side that is quite large to accommodate the spare parts and miscellaneous. In the front I have a drawer on the right side to hold clamps and other stops for part holding. On the left I have a middle tool box with two drawers. The top drawer holds my calipers and wrenches. The second drawer holds my bits.

On top in front of the machine I have a magnetic switch with an emergency stop button in case of emergencies. The magnetic switch has two plugs. One is female that I plug in a power strip that powers the Shapeoko and the Router. The other plug is male to plug into the wall voltage. My dust collection is for the whole shop and I have a remote to turn it on and off. Some people incorporate the dust collection in with the power strip. Just add up all your amperage so you dont overload the circuit. If you have the ability to add a new circuit you may want a 20 AMP 120v circuit. If you later want a spindle they come in both 120 VAC and 220VAC and you may need to plan for that as well on its own circuit.

I have a TV tray I use to put my laptop on that sits to the left of the machine to attach the usb cable for the Shapeoko and when the Shapeoko is not in use a place to use to read magazines or prop my feet up on.

I have a Shapeoko 3 XXL so the Pro is bigger and may take more than one sheet of plywood to make the top. If you are a wood worker you could joint and plane 2x4s and glue them up to make a solid top. If you are not set up for all that work just a plywood top cut and glued together would work.

I would suggest that your table is about 6-8 inches in front of the machine to put things like pencils rulers and a tray for your bits to fall into when you loosen the router. Many times the bits fall out of the router and if they hit the floor will likely be ruined.

C3D offers many sets of router bits called starter packs. I would not recommend you buy them. The reason you may never use some of the bits and it would be a waste of money. You definitely need the #201 1/4 inch or some 2 flute up and down cut 1/4 inch bits. You may want a 1/8 inch bit, 90 degree vee bit, 60 degree vee bit and a 1 inch fly bit to flatten your spoil board. The Whiteside 6210 fly bit is a very good one and C3D sells the McFly bit for flattening. Start off slow with the bits and see what you are going to need before spending a lot of money on bits you may never use. Then as needed you could add more bits as needed.


There are a ton of posts about enclosures and tables

My suggestion is to search the forum for conversations about it. The Pro XXL was released around November 2020, so any posts in the past 12 months about table sizes have for the most part been focused on the Pro. Note over the past 3 months the conversations have started to talk about the HDM table and enclosure.

Here are some I quickly pulled, but there are so much more…

The best approach is to reply back here with your proposal- table size, table height, material to make your table top, dust collection and dust separator method, enclosure (if you are planning on having one) - with that the community will tweak your plan based on the experience we all have


Thank you. This is very helpful. It looks like I am going to be building a table initially. I’ll share the ideas when I get the details worked out. I am pretty constrained on space especially front to back. A few minutes with a tape measure confirmed that I probably should have gone with the XL. It will fit, but I won’t have a lot of options for places to sit things in front of the machine.

Will you have space to either side? The machine is almost square, and if you can come up w/ a few inches across from the wall, and have the ability to move things to either side, you could put the side of the machine against the wall and pass things through when you need to work w/ longer stock.

I’ll have room side to side. Although the table might be about 48" I can have space around the machine.

My table is 49” front to back because that’s what MDF comes in. The width is 52” and while doable, I wish in retrospect it was 56”

48” is completely fine if you don’t have an enclosure. But when you have the enclosure you need a little bit more front to back because the sweepy that is attached to the router sticks out.

if 48” is as far back as you can go and you need an enclosure it will work, you will just need to make some clever design choices with the enclosure (eg. remove able back panel to get to the back of the machine for maintenance, etc)

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It seems like I should consider going wider. I can look at just getting a full sheet of plywood cutting to 56" or so. I am not ready to build an enclosure. It’s more than I have time to take on now.

Thank you

@KevBarn14 Kevin…just want to say I love your videos. Thanks for the great work.

Now…I’m trying to figure out how to get my XXL on an Actuarial table…

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The Pro Plexi Enclosure has a footprint of 1138mm (44,8 inch depth) x 1350mm (53, 15 inch wide). I am generally very happy with the design and recently added a customised vacuums hose adapter. I have realised that another centimeter or inch of free space in both direction (DxW) would have helped me a lot. As well as having a lot of space upwards for a hanging vaccume hose. I found a workaround to get 12mm more space in the backend :slight_smile:

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