How to keep lap tops clear of dust when using CNC

Hi All,any clever ideas to keep the lap top/Mac book as free as possible from dust,I am thinking of a seperate enclosure??

Cover with cloth or clear plastic? A separate enclosure would work as well.

Summertime, careful not to trap too much heat :wink:

I have an enclosure on my machine, so it doesn’t get too much dust. I use the soft brush on my shop-vac when I’m cleaning up to hit the laptop.

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A fanless (sealed) tablet makes a lot of sense in this context — I just wish Apple made one which would run Mac OS.

Until then, a Raspberry Pi?

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If using dust collection there is very little dust that escapes. If you are worried about a stray shaving being thrown, and they do, then put up a small barrier on the side of the machine, the side that faces the Shapeoko. The dust that is floating in the air is worse for you than a computer. So effective dust control is essential and it solves a lot of issues.

I have a portable table that sits at about a 45 degree angle to the Shapeoko Table on the left side as you are standing in front of the machine facing it. This position is a little out of the firing line but I still get some stray saw dust shavings thrown my way. I just blow the keyboard off or use a Swiffer duster to clean the keyboard and screen.

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I am going to order the new Mac book air on Friday,my 2009 I Mac is struggling big time but it was robust and could be covered in dust,blow the dust away and away you go.Sometimes there are the odd occasions when I do not have the dust control on.A Tablet would be great.A seperate stand and simple enclosure could be the answer for me with air moving somehow

My Shapeoko is an addition to my wood shop so there is a fair amount of ambient dust in the air. I built a simple cover to keep the CNC machine clean(er) but realized I would also need to protect my old MAC laptop. So a rolling platform was devised.

The lid flips up and there is a drawer as well as storage space underneath. This way I can connect the USB to the computer when needed and separate them when not in use. The lid can stay open when the machine is running so there are no heat concerns.

All of this was made with a scrap piece of cabinet material on hand, except for the new 3" casters. NEVER buy cheap casters. There is always a solution at hand. Good luck with yours.


I drive mine with a Raspberry Pi running gSender. It works just fine. The Raspberry Pi sits in a tupperware container a few feet away from the CNC. I put a fan on the container to help exhaust heat from the Pi, and I’ve not had any heat issues. I use WinSCP to send files from my computer to the Pi for use in gSender.

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I would like to use Raspberry but I am not confident.My best option is the barrier between the lap top and machine.Then enclose either by the mobile cabinet or swing arm platform.At the same time an enclosure for the machine.

I’m on the tablet train too. :slight_smile: I use my desktop in the house to program, upload to a Google folder, then download the file on a desktop in my garage. Being fanless eliminates the dust issue. But another major factor for me is expense. I once dropped and broke a Microsoft Surface that I used to control my SO3. Of course the screen completely shattered. A $220 paperweight is a lot easier to swallow than a $600 one. :smiley:

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Mine is a laptop we bought my daughter for college. It hadn’t been turned on since she graduated in 2018, so I am in the clear. We had to update the software and clean out a lot of old files, but it works great and is very familiar to me. Chapeau Carbide guys for making this part easy.

Keep in mind that the new MacBooks run a different type of processor than they have in the past. This means that they can’t usually run the same software as the older ones. Apple has done some work to make this less of a problem but you may want to ask Carbide 3D support if Create and Motion will work on the new MacBooks.

New Arm CPU laptops (M1 and M2) require that one install Rosetta which will then allow Carbide Create and Motion to run.

Thanks Will,being ignorant where do I find Rosetta,I have not searched yet for it.Should I switch to a Pc now?

I have a macbook air with an M1 chip and everything was pretty automatic, if I remember correctly. I didn’t have to do anything special to be able to download CM - the computer prompted me with whatever I needed to do, just as any other typical computer would - and I’m able to run CM without issue.

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You will be prompted to run Rosetta when you first run an Intel app on an Arm machine.

Thanks Will,there is a few weeks delay in getting my hands on one.

Thanks for the reply,are you running a enclosure to keep the dust out?

The important point is that dust control is the most important thing to consider for you!
I use a boot around the bit with a vacuum hose that runs to a cyclone filter (Lee Valley) and then to a shop vac with a HEPA filter.
You can and will develop allergies to wood dust or the adhesives used in the materials.
With this equipment (reasonably priced for great personal safety) i have never had issues with dust on my laptop.

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I am thinking of switching to a 1st Gen Surface 3 that I have spare but am concerned that the charger I have seems to be a bit under-powered and I am not game to run on battery alone. Did you have any issues running the Surface 3.
I think I need to hunt out a better charger and just use my laptop for Carbide Create in the house.

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