Hardware Controller

I’m new to the Shapeoko world.

Are the new (SO4/Pro) machines capable of being controlled by standard gcode software? If so, are the GCODE commands well documented? Is Bitsetter and bitrunner compatible/mapped via commands somehow? Does the board have the option for serial control?

I do hope to run with something other than a laptop. Right now my MPCNC runs from a BigTreeTech TFT35 LCD, via a memory stick or SD card, and sends gcode over a serial connection. Kind of nice.

Hi @greg5,

(to the best of my knowledge, to this day) all Shapeokos run a vanilla GRBL 1.1 firmware, with only configuration parameters customized to fit the machine dimensions/setup.

So any software that can talk to a GRBL controller over a USB serial link should work.

The BitSetter works by leveraving GRBL’s probe commands (G38.x), and the BitRunner works by just picking up the value of the PWM signal that the controller board generates depending on the programmed RPM in the G-code (which again is a standard GRBL feature, nothing specific to the Shapeoko implementation)

Folks are using a variety of G-code senders with their Shapeokos, some of them can be run on e.g. a Raspberry Pi.

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We have a list of supported G-Codes at:


Note that some of them are emulated by Carbide Motion — we do have a version for the Raspberry Pi in testing:

which can give one something like to a headless setup — some folks control the machines using VNC from a phone or tablet while others go w/ a touch screen setup.

Wow that thread is long but looks VERY promising :slight_smile:

I assume M3/M5 will control BitRunner? Also, there is no feed rate override (M220 in Marlin)?


Not that I know of, as far as I know Carbide Motion implements it by dynamically modifying the Gcode commands on the fly.

grbl supports feed override, but its via special commands to grbl, not gcode.


Is the firmware grbl based or custom?

The only customizations are in a couple of include files (available too)


FWIW cncjs is pretty decent. You can install it on a Raspberry Pi or something and then control your machine from a phone, tablet, laptop or whatever you please. If you want a touch screen for the machine, just buy a cheap Android tablet and open the cncjs page on it.

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Yeah I’ve seen it - does the Shapeoko just expose a serial port when plugged in via USB then?

Yes, the Carbide Motion board is basically an Arduino, complete with USB to serial converter.

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Oh wow, so if it’s just running GRBL then this basically means that whole ecosystem is open as options to controlling it then! :slight_smile:

Yes, list of options at:


EDIT: Note that the wiki has gone off-line, see the list which the Grbl folks maintain:

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That’s some great reading!

Now to wait for the SO Pro to get back in stock :slight_smile:

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