Carbide 3D blog post for beginning 2017

+2 on able to purchase the Z back plate

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+1, especially on the first suggestion. Having to go back and edit each path to reflect what is really a global change in feed/speed (or with a lot of simple pieces overall depth) is by far my #1 annoyance with Carbide Motion. Right now what I do is make the change to one path, save the file, exit Carbide Motion and then load the c2d file (which is just a big JSON blob) into a text editor and global search/replace the values for the one changed path to every other path, then reload that c2d file in Carbide Motion… But this is still a bit tedious and prone to introduce unforeseen errors if not done very carefully.

I am really quite excited about the possibility of the new Carbide Connect though the blog post didn’t really detail what will be involved. Moving from direct computer control to a system where an embedded controller on the device (using SD flash to hold the file) manages the work drastically increased the success rate I’ve had when using 3D printers and I’m hoping the same is true for the Shapeoko. To be clear, generally things work just fine under direct PC control, but there always seems to be little unforeseen gremlin problems that arise due to things like process scheduling on the PC that just magically go away when the work is being controlled by a dedicated system.

Also +1 on a prior post asking to be able to buy parts individually. I’ve got a bunch of belts and V-Wheel spares I’ve bought from other sources as backups in case of failure of the original parts (not too worried about the big aluminum parts failing), but I’d also love to have a backup controller board on hand.


Just want to make it clear to everyone that if you need any replacement parts, just email support and we’ll get it taken care of one way or another. You should never need to buy parts from China to replace anything (unless you really want to).

The Z plates were out of stock a few weeks ago so I’ve got to check with Edward and see if the new shipment of metal came in yet.


@Rob Grzesek or Carbide ears.what if one wanted all the plates to rebuild what was left after upgrading to xxl,is that somthing you can work with?
also the Z plate your refer in your post is it the new style backing plate for the Z with the tensioner?

I feel like the documentation is where you are the furthest behind/lacking, so I picked that. I would love to see some new accessories and the ability to order spare parts as well though.

Move the quit button away from the pause button in carbide motion

The quit button currently appears right where the pause button is after you click pause, so if you accidentally double click (which is kind of common using laptop trackpads) you totally ruin your project.

PS: Really loving my machine, and these updates/plans sound awesome. :slight_smile:


Second entry after I’ve given this some thought
-copy past tool paths in carbide motion (especially useful if works with groups of tool paths.)
-I also find the tiny hole and 1.5 mm hex wrench tightening thing a bit odd, maybe this could be pointed out more clearly for new users, or optimally, future motors might use a bigger hex wrench.
-I would really love to see a Nomad XL that can work on 12x12 inch material, I find that its pretty easy to find material that comes in 12x12. The Nomad is a super attractive machine, but its size has kept me from seriously considering buying one. I know its supposed to be a desk cnc, but I think that could still be feasible with a 12x12 inch work space.
-carbide create: importing image files at certain dpi (might be harder than I imagine, I can understand keeping it to svg, its just an extra step really)
-carbide create: 3D work, like a CAD program, this one I know is a but absurd, but it would be awesome.
-carbide create: generate those little steps in indicated tool paths, connector pieces to keep the part cut from becoming completely disconnected from stock material that you cut after the fact. (I know they have a name, can’t think of it right now)
-carbide create: drill function
-carbide create: change the default retract height to be less, I found this significantly reduces the time my projects take, but I often forget to change it
-carbide create: savable preferences, like with the retract height
-get rid of that tool path/design for a carbide create plaque that you see when you launch carbide create, its not a big deal, just a slight annoyance, and I don’t even know if it works because the simulation seems to suggest that it does not. On second thought maybe this was part of a tutorial to make a tool path for the text? Anyway, I don’t think it needs to be there every time I launch carbide create.
-For the forum, yup this one, I would love to see a gallery layout that just shows images, maybe you can click them to get more information, but it would be great just to be able to casually browse, optimally placed up at the top of the forum home page, next to ‘latest, new, unread, top’ as a separate place rather than just like any other topic.

My ideal accessories (SO3):
-shop vac attachment
-coolant hose attachment
-coolant collection/filter for that hose thing I just said
-stronger (like wider) belts, and attachments to work with the extra width
-possibly even a lead rod upgrade, to do away with the belts
-I would love if the aluminum table were cheaper (but I understand why that probably wont happen, still plan on buying one)
-a CASE for shapeoko 3, plexiglas doors, holes for wires/vacuum tubes/other with caps for when not in use, ready to be upgraded with full coolant systems
-attachment to said case, coolant basin
-cheap fan attachment like those ones people 3d print
-usb attachment that allows you to move axis es (jog machine) possible attachment to my dream case mentioned above
-clamping system
-clamping system
-decent work holding

Things I agree with seen here:
-More machine accessories
-adding materials to drop down list
-editing all tool paths depth/feed/speed rates after the fact, all at once ---- possibly allowing you to say ‘change all tool paths with a depth of NUMa to NUMb’ or ‘set all to stock thickness’ or other similar commands
-an official store page for replacement parts, so we don’t have to do some email jazz
-with the feeds and speeds thing, like Will said, set feeds and speeds once, for all paths

Wow that’s a lot haha.

For the image import thing, Carbide Create does allow placing pixel images and scaling them so as to create paths: — if you want to create geometry directly from pixel images, no re-drawing, there’s MeshCAM (or F-Engrave is free/opensource).

For 3D in Carbide Create, what I’d like to see is an option to make use of the 3rd dimension by using the rotate plane commands from G-Code and to be able to specify a given geometry to be cut at a slant (still working on a project which needs that).

Tabs — yes, would be nice

There are a couple of project galleries:

and a wiki page where people could add others:

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Things that I see are lacking or would help me and likely others.

  1. Spare parts availability. We do have some information on the Wiki and in a pinch, we could probably all figure out via the Wiki and the forums where to buy a belt or pulley. However, I was looking at the Inventables site last night based upon a post Will put up and was kind of ashamed at how much they have available to just buy. I looked at belts, pulleys, inserts, eccentric nuts etc. and thought man that would be nice to just order what I needed from Carbide.

  2. Excellent Customer Support - I did see Robs not above and that is awesome that we could call and get something if we had a failure and not rely on Chinese deliveries. That is customer service that we have grown to love and the support from you guys is great and we appreciate that. So that would help soften the blow if we had a failure leading to item #1

  3. Recommended Spare Parts List - I am a planner and always put contingencies into place. In that vain, I would like to have a recommended spare parts list with the ability to know I am purchasing the correct parts. This list would include the normal wear parts and projected failures. Similar to what we in the industrial world would call a preventive maintenance kit. It would be awesome if these were put into packages where we would know that after 100 hours of service these parts are prone to failure, 1000 hours these normally fail, etc. Think service manual of your car. We could then by these kits and have them on hand or simply replace them at some interval. Nothing worse than doing a customer project and a vee wheel breaks and you are down for 7 days for a $3.00 part with $15 shipping.

  4. Documentation - better instruction manuals for installation and modifications

  5. Documentation - Troubleshooting guidelines with example photos. For example, loosing steps, this is what it would look like, flattened vee wheel, this is what it would look like etc. For example a recent issue i recently experienced. For months my machine was working great. 3D carves perfect, spot on distances and cuts. Then slowly I noticed my depth of cut was gradually getting a bit out. I recalibrated. Worked for a short time then started drifting. Then started noticing it would cut a profile for awhile fine then not all the way through. Then I started hearing an audible clunk and lost depth in pretty large chunks. I originally thought my belt teeth had gotten damaged so I took off the Z axis and looked at the belt. No problems there. I then turned the Z axis pulley back and forth and it would free spin for a short distance and then start turning the shaft, back the other way same thing, turn for a short distance then turn the shaft. In the end, it was the allen set screw had worked it’s way loose. I removed both of the screws, put loctite on them and tightened them back up and it works great again.

  6. Learning projects - I love Apollo’s projects. More of the beneficial learning projects from people that have done them as examples for others to learn from. The most recent example is this one by Gary Lamon.

How cool is that that not only did he post the work he did but he gave us access to his design so we can try to duplicate it. I expect I will learn a few things from him when I undertake the nerve to try to cut this out and assemble it.

Enough of my rambling. I hope this helps and inspires other to put out their thoughts. Last but certainly not least, thanks to all of the Carbide 3D team. You are an inspiration to us all and without your inspiration we wouldnt be in this wonderful hobby that we participate in at this point.

3 - I’ve posted this list a fair number of times:

  • brushes for the trim router
  • belts
  • a pulley or two
  • set screws (though these can be acquired at any decent hardware store)
  • stepper drivers or a spare controller

5 -

2 - Check the machine (all bolts and set screws tight, V-rails in good condition with no nicks or other damage, belts tight and in good shape, wiring in good condition with continuity and securely fastened, and nothing frayed or broken, everything clear and safe).

6 - Shapeoko CNC Router, Rigid, Accurate, Reliable, and Affordable

Will - I want to make it clear that I wasn’t in any way trying to insinuate that some of those items weren’t available. And I also want to make it clear that without you and your awesome posting processes I would not have found my way through many hurdles. I was just thinking outside the box of what you and many others have contributed that would help make things even better. Ironically I have used both the list you have above to purchase my own spare parts and the recommended checklist many times

Interestingly enough, both set screw were tight and locked in place with the assembly loctite when assembled by Carbide. It was just on the outside of the flat and backed out just a little to allow it to turn on the flat portion of the shaft when torqued by the motor. When trying to tighten it pre-machine run, it didnt move with the allen wrench due to the loctite… It wasnt till I broke the loctite that I could see what was happening. I am a believer in the use of the checklist as it has saved me a couple of times from making expensive mistakes.

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All exciting things for all of us!. I’m super proud to be able to say that I’m very glad I chose Carbide 3D and my Nomad as my way to dive into the CNC world. Carbide 3D and this community of jolly users has been key in me enjoying this learning process every step of the way. I feel that my Nomad is still underutilized and that there is still a lot of room to grow. In my opinion, accessories is my pick for focus on 2017. I know a lot of people use and like Carbide Create but it is really basic compared to something like Fusion 360. I know Fusion might be too much for a lot of people but now that I have tasted the juice, I’m not coming back. New machines would be cool but not something I can justify buying at this point. Buying my Nomad was already a huge investment for me and I’ve gotten to learn that buying the CNC machine was just the tip of the iceberg. Many tools and accessories I had no idea I would be buying. This leads me to my choice.
I’m a firm believer that the learning process has to be filled with rewarding experiences and if so, one tends to be propelled forward by positive emotion and excited to continue learning. In retrospect now I know that one of the most important things to learn early and quickly is zeroing and holding your stock down properly. Also a clean and safe work environment. So I’m voting for accessories. I wish for:

-a low profile self centering vise
-lights on the spindle (and camera!?)
-zeroing probe
-vacuum head
-pendant remote control for x, y and z and stop

All these things could be made but had they been available I probably would have bought them. I’ve made my own vacuum head and are toying around with remote control of x, y and z movement of the spindle to zero. Have to admit that figuring out how to solve these has been fun thinking.


yeah, I completely agree, and from a business perspective I think these accessories would make great sense since they have a semi captive and loyal market. I for one prefer to buy everything from the OEM where possible and think that the zeroing probe would be most useful.

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I’m very keen to see carbide motion go a bit further, probing has now become a big thing for me so we will see what comes there - it would be great if they could make a good probe kit or enable in carbide motion. The carbide connect gizmo could be useful. I’ve just ordered a 5m usb cable…

One thing I would like to see being in the UK is more UK availability. If I could buy accessories/spares without large shipping and import bills I’d likely buy more from Carbide direct - for instance I’m really keen to buy the threaded table, but it’s $564 inc shipping + 20% tax + handling fee = $690 which in UK money is £568.30 which is pretty steep. Obviously there has to be a market for them and they have to make money but a UK/EU distribution hub would be nice and something I’d be willing to help with if they saw a market

Part of the fun of owning a shapeoko is modifying things yourself - I like tinkering with it and modifying what I can. I’m just about to add a camera into the box/housing I’ve made.

I think support has been great and with the forum I’m not lacking any advice or support.

Whilst a ‘new machine’ would be ‘nice’ I don’t know what they could do to improve the S3 that couldn’t be done through upgrades? I’m also more likely to buy upgrades than a whole new machine.

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Longer USB cables are known to exacerbate the disconnect issue — please test before committing to use.

I will have to see - I haven’t received the cable yet but if it doesn’t work or gives me a single DC error I will bin it off.

I would love to see a “high power” 883 (maybe a slightly larger table… a 121203?) that had enough power to be competent at cutting metal with reasonable DOC to get a job done reasonable rapidly.

Was surprised they didn’t mention the active probe accessory for shapeoko in the blog post, is it still coming?


Inventables has been doing this thing called “easel live” doing projects with the community live on you tube,would be nice to have something like this with carbide create and carbide motion

I would like to see a probe kit from carbide3d, they have the right connectors apparently “limit switch kits”.

I just don’t want to relie on my lack of soldering skills at my age and my eyesight and shakes. And it should not cost that much since they are making wires for the limit switches. I’ve emailed sales and support but no answer. Filing a tiny connector and a wonky fit is not what I’m looking for with this awesome machine and the usual terrific support from Carbide3d.

Coming late to the party–sorry 'bout that.

(1) I LOVE my Nomad pro. If only it could be faster (more powerful spindle).

(2) CM–as mentioned above, please move the quit button somewhere other than the location of the pause button–I’ve been bitten by that one and I wasn’t a happy camper.

(3) How about that probe? (Works with Nomad I hope too–being the more precise machine that would make sense.)

(4) CM again–can you show the number of the current line being executed? (I can get close with the job completion percents, but more granularity would help with stopping and restarting, fixing things, and such.)