HDM, worth the wait?

So I wanted the Shapeoko HDM, but at the time Carbide doesn’t ship the HDM internationally, so I’m wondering is it worth waiting for the HDM or should I buy the PRO, especially when there are no due date for when they will start shipping the HDM internationally? I don’t need a big shapeoko, so the standard PRO will be big enough. What upgrade can i buy for the PRO to get it up to the HDM-level?

I’ve also been looking at the Nomad 3, but I guess that’s more like a toy when I want to mill aluminium?


Probably the most in-depth comparison/discussion would be:

The biggest upgrades to help the Pro in cutting aluminum would be the HDZ:

and the VFD Spindle Kit:

The Nomad 3 isn’t a toy — it’s a serious tool, and folks have made some serious parts w/ it:

That said, it’s more of a desktop in an office space machine than the workbench in your shop/garage Shapeoko line.

What sort of parts do you envision making? What size? Out of which aluminum alloy? How rapidly do you need to turn them out and what surface finish do you need?


Hello Will Adams
Thanks for your reply!

Yes I’ve seen the the VFD spindle kit, but if i understand it correctly I can’t really get it working without a step down converter, as I live in Norway and we mainly use 220V mains?

My first part would be a lifting handle, the stem part is 125 mm long OD 38 mm, here I’m thinking of slitting a pipe down the middle with a slitting saw, it would be ALU 6061.

Ah, good point about the 110 — hadn’t considered that.

There are lots of other spindle options — I use a 220V European spindle (via a 110–220V step-up transformer myself):

The parts seem fine and easy to make, whether on a Pro or HDM, and you could probably just start by using a Makita RT0700 which is pretty affordable.

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Thanks, I’ll look into the spindle you posted.

What about the parts shown and the Nomad 3?

If they would fit on a Nomad 3, I’m sure it could make them as well.

So I read thru the post you linked to regarding the Mafell FM 1000 PV-WS, but have a couple of questions:

  • do you find the spindle powerful enough
  • can you control the spindle speed with tha Shapeoko PRO or do you manually have to adjust the speed between tool changes
  • will the tool length be set if you have one bit reducer for every bit you have(8-3 mm, 8-4 mm and so on), or do you have to do a touch off every time you change tool
  • how do you find the noise level


I don’t push it very hard — mostly I use the default feeds and speeds in Carbide Create, since I’m usually doing test cuts for tech support

No speed control, only on/off using a BitRunner — I try to set up all my jobs so that the same speed is used for all tools.

The BitSetter is able to adjust for tool length offset.

Noise is acceptable to me, a different pitch than the Carbide Compact Router, and mostly drowned out by the dust collection (I use a Festool CT Midi, usually on high).

Thanks, so I’ve have difficult decision to make: HDM, PRO or Nomad 3, but it will be fun, maybe all three, haha.


The Nomad is a small machine. Depending on what you are going to be cutting the pro and/or hdm would be more versatile. It also depends on your shop space. The Nomad is quite compact but its limitations again depend on what you are going to cut. With the pro and hdm you can cut more diverse projects with wood, plastic and metals. After you get a cnc the possibilitys are enormous.

If you are really intent on the HDM, there is a shipping option to Norway. I did seriously consider this when the HDM came out.

You can always buy a spindle and VFD for 240V, if you don’t like a stepdown transformer. G penny spindles and HuanYang VFD is a popular choice.


Thanks, but I already asked Carbide if they would accept that shipping, and the answer was no.

Hello again
Is there an schematic drawing dxf, dwg or pdf of the Shapeoko PRO and Nomad 3 to be downloaded somewhere?

So I think I have landed on ordering the Shapeoko PRO with the HDZ addon and one of these tree routers since I’m on 230 volt main:

Also I’ve been thinking, does the X-axis need strengthening(maybe an extruded aluminium L-channel bolted to the back of the extruded X channel box/member), when one update to the HDZ, I guess both the HDZ and the heavier router add weight to the axis and also add more pushing power, hence also bore bending forces i the Y-direction?

One more question, does one benefit from bolting down the machine to an heavy flat objekt, say an 150 mm granite surface table(Granitplan 1000x750x150 mm DIN 876 Grad 0 med 14 mm T-spor) or a flat welding table like the Siegmund Workstation weighing in at approx 160 kg: Workstation inkl plasmanitrert bord og verktøysett A - Tilbud - PR Maskin AS

The Mafell FM 1000 WS does not integrate — you have to have a BitRunner to make it work for on/off sans speed control (and suitable adapters, and if in a 110V locale, a step-up transformer) — that said, I run it on my SO3 XL w/ HDZ and it’s been fine (but I don’t push it that hard)

There’s a PV-WS model from Mafell which does support the signal for control of speed as well as on/off

Both of the AMB links seem to be DI units, both of which should do the speed control in addition to on/off using the signal — one is 1050 watts, while the other is 1400 — not sure if the Pro can make use of the additional power or no (but it’s weird that the more powerful unit weighs less to ship?).

Since the Sorotec folks are selling all those, they should be able to advise on which to choose and why. One thing to consider is the Mafell uses proprietary collets (had to have a 1/4" made up by a wonderfully talented machinist here), while the AMB wants ER-16 (but you’re advised due to length considerations to buy the AMB ones).

Anything which you bolt the machine to should be as flat or flatter than the assembled machine — that said, I just have my Pro on a sheet of foam — it dampens/absorbs vibrations and deadens the noise somewhat.

So I see that Carbide now have every parts that I need to order for a complete Shapeoko Pro setup, it totals to $6000 with shipping and the 25% tax one have to pay when importing to Norway.

I see that the VDF spindle with a step down converter amount to $900, so I start to wonder how much better will it be on the pro, compered to Sorotec Online-Shop - AMB FME-U that cost $535 or the 1400W version that cost $50 more? Here you also get the quick release system.

Maybe noise would be the selling point for the VDF spindle?

Any thoughts on this?


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Please check w/ sales — I’d be faintly surprised if the VFD Spindle Kit wouldn’t run on (Euro) 220V.

As noted above, I have a similar spindle w/ a quick change feature (which since it’s European, I do need a 110V–220V step-up transformer) which I’ve been very pleased w/ (but I don’t push it hard, just run at the CC defaults).

The VFD Spindle should have the following advantages:

  • quieter
  • plug-and-play

I suspect it has better bearings as well — there’s been at least one YouTube video which mentions that the quick-change units don’t have great bearings and that that can lead to chatter.

No I already asked sales, must use a step down converter of at least 1200W continues. I’m not sure what you mean with plug and play, isn’t the AMB plug and play?

Yes like I said the noise will be a good selling point.

I just wonder if the Shapeoko Pro is stiff enough to benefit from the VDF and 1400W AMB.
Also I see that the RPM range is smaller on the VDF, but I don’t know if one would use the lower RPM down to 3500 on the Shapeoko?

I’ve also sent an email to Sorotec, so hopefully they will answer me too

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Okay, I am surprised.

The VFD Spindle Kit was very carefully selected to be a good fit and value on our machines, and it seems esp. suited to the rigidity of the Pro — folks have reported much improved surface finishes w/ it on a Pro.

The VFD Spindle is plug-and-play in the sense that it just plugs in to the BitRunner connector — the other options would require a bit of wiring, or the use of a BitRunner which limits to on/off.

Aha, understand, so it’s probably worth the investment.

What about the lower RPM, are there no need of a lower RPM than 8000?