Couple Questions From A Newb

Found lots of good information here and that’s appreciated. To give you an idea of my experience level; I have no clue what I’m doing. A friend has an XXL and loves it. Some of his first work were two horse stall signs for my wife. He’s made clocks, signs etc. He’s sold so many custom works in the past few months; I think he’s already paid for the machine.

Anyway; couple things:

I have a 12x20 building that is not heated or cooled. I live in the south east US. I plan on using this as my shop. Are the fluctuating temps going to cause a problem with this machine?

I thought of putting in a spare bedroom but The noise would be a bit much.

I have the Shapeoko starter bit set I’ll be getting if I decide to get this XXL this weekend. Will this have all I need to do basic signs etc?

My wife and I have been watching hundreds of YouTube videos and spent the past week researching. I have the Carbide Create program downloaded and I am starting to learn it’s ins and out. I am very worried I won’t be able to get a hang of this and waste a substantial amount of time and money. Looking for some reassurance that this is not as intimidating as it seems.


there’s a learning curve… but if you start with the basics it’s not too bad :wink:

if you’re going to make signs out of plastic (or do plastic or polycarbonate or similar in general)… research an “O-flute” bit.

as for the building, the forum seems to show that in some locations (based on humidity) you need to really take care of grounding properly (including your vacuum hose!)


What is the benefit of an o-flute?

the biggest problem with “plastic like” materials is melting of the chips… (if you’re not careful you get a big gueball of stuff around your endmill)

an O-flute is optimized for getting the chips away as quickly as possible and also generally is a single flute which means less friction for a given rpm.


I hadn’t realised what the O-flute bits were, got some single flute for plastics but looks like an O-flute is worth investigating.

Article with some pictures by Onsrud.

1 Like

I used to cut out the design I made below.
This was try 3; the first 2 tries ended up in one big melted gue before I even got to the outer cut and I had to throw away some nice endmills that now were encased in a hard bal of plastic


Your “generally” comment made me realize that there are 2-flute O-flutes. Interesting.


Well, ordered the XXL on Saturday! Thanks for replies


My usual shameless plug: you may be interested in some reading material, waiting for the machine to arrive.

Welcome to the club and enjoy the ride!
Assembly is a great time to get to know the machine (and possibly get frustrated, overcome frustration, and feel good in the end!)


I think you’ll be pleased with it.

It’s worth watching a few YT videos of how and where people set theirs up.

Julien’s e-book is absolutely worth a read and a bookmark.

Winston Moy has some good videos on basic setup and squaring the machine.

I spent a while making up a torsion box table for mine to live on but anything you have that you can get flat and level works. Mine is a bit ugly but functional (now that there’s more angle bracing on the legs). It doesn’t have a lid over it but I use a dust hood on the spindle. I took the time (as suggested in the manual) to use a polyurethane lacquer on the supplied MDF parts and on the torsion box to keep the damp and mould away, from your description I’d suggest it’s worth considering for you too.

You’ll want some MDF for a “supplementary wasteboard” on top of the basic Shapeoko bed, this is the sacrificial layer that you mill flat, screw into, accidentally cut through the workpiece into etc.

You might also want to grab some T track and a T track clamping kit of suitable bolts etc.


This topic was automatically closed 30 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.