I think I'm going to throw in the towel

I’m thinking I’m going to get rid of the CNC and buy some tools i know how to use. It’s an expensive decoration sitting out in the garage. I spend more time being stressed over trying to wrap my head around the software, figure out what the different types of files are, etc.

Hey Kelly-

Go to our contact page and schedule a video training with Nick. He’ll likely get you up and running.

Or post your questions and files here and let the community try to help out.

I bet you’re not far from turning out some really good work on it.


I’m old and retired with lots of time for trying to puzzle through the software. Agree that it takes some effort to master it. I have a 2D engraver and was thinking about moving up into the 3D world but can’t justify the cost of a new machine. When you have success, it’s quite satisfying, but if you are serious about giving up, how much do you want for your “decoration”?

I set mine up just a couple of months ago. Much of what I’ve made with it could easily be deemed “trinkets.” But I do see some light and need to remember why I bought the thing in the first place. that said, it is up to you in the end.

One discouraging thing I’ve noticed is that the bulk of posts on this forum are way over the top for anything I can conceive of with a hobby CNC machine. Discussions/arguments on the elements and structure of Gcode mean nothing to me. Extremely vague discussions about feeds & speeds lead me to believe that no-one wants to say anything definite on the topic out of fear of someone breaking a bit. And the new Carbide Create V7 is up to version -11 after just a week with many posts arguing back and forth over minute details I do not care to understand.

I went with Shapeoko in part because the Carbide Create software was straightforward to learn and use. Other machines required additional cost for software, etc. This forum seemed a great place for information – but the discussions in just the past couple of months have gone well past the sign making and basic operations I intend on using the machine for. I have read through as many threads as I can on a daily basis and can see how easy it is to get lost.

There is very little discussion about how much time it takes to make a 12x12 inch sign, how long one might expect a 1/4-inch end mill will last if cutting only wood, or what some of the more common early mistakes are and how to look out/correct for them.

I’m in for the long haul, Kelly, but I see your point. Best to you…

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Hi Kelly, you don’t mention any particular problem or what it is that you are trying to achieve.
My advice is to try and learn one function at a time, if it is “V” carving for example, write the text in the design, cut it and see if it comes out as expected. If it is not deep enough or the depth varies across the cut then there are reasons which can be explained here, stock not flat, base board not square to cutter, too fine a text etc. Once you have the hang of v-carve learn a new function. Leave inlays and 3D operations etc. for much further down the road.
Best of luck.


I guess the forum is mostly reactionary. People put forward problems, and they are discussed and hopefully solved.

If nobody asks how much time it takes to make a 12x12 sign, it’s unlikely someone will take time out to spontaneously post that information.


As folks have noted — we can only discuss what is asked or brought up — it’s a lot easier to gloss over things which are not of interest, than it is to fill in lacunae which no one will speak to.

If there’s a specific sort of content you want here which you are not finding, post an example or a query.

For feeds and speeds, I will admit that I just use the defaults in Carbide Create — it’s what I tell folks to start w/ in my rôle as support, and they work fine for my needs (it’s okay if a part takes a while to cut once set up — I use that time to check the support queue).

How long an endmill will last varies based on materials cut and feeds and speeds and how careful one is. One memorable post on this:

Usually early mistakes are machine setup or not reading the documentation — things which should be addressed by:



which are usually done on the support queue.

On occasion, I’ve posted solutions here from support tickets — is that something which we should do more of?

And sometimes folks come here from support when their problem isn’t clear in e-mail:

I understand. My examples were relevant but spur of the moment. Any given activity forum follows a similar trajectory with more advanced input alongside yet another tiresome (did you even read the previous posts!?!) thread about how you turn the machine on.

There is a balance game afoot and how CC keeps things in as straight a line as [they] do is amazing.

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I’m sure you have seen enough post thus far, and mine is just another to the pile, but rest assured there can be light at the end of the tunnel (and not a train engine light!!)

I blew up more pieces of “finished” work trying to just get down basic vcarving. If I had one fail, I must have had 10 or more do so. Learning about, duh…hold downs and how they are kind of important. Learning about depth of cuts, fonts, speed of spindle/router, etc, etc., etc. I gave up so many times I really can’t even count.

BUT, one thing about this company and as a 76 year old gizzer should know, you will never find both a more helpful support group from BOTH the company and this fourm. This group is amazing and it took me many months to figure that out. BUT, here I am, and yes, I still get caught up in the excitement of what the people build AND disappointed in my own failings to be able to even do some basic things.

Stick with it. The journey will be rocky and winding and filled with potholes and at the same time filled with joy and excitement when something finally clicks and comes together.

You invested the money, now invest the time and you will find a really happy ending.

Good luck and enjoy


One piece of advice re: the releases for version 7: The code is in Beta - which means, “Not yet released”. This implies rapid changes, potentially multiple in a day. It’s designed to allow folks who are willing, to try to uncover the bugs/problems before the code becomes officially released. By trying out the code and providing feedback, you’re helping out Carbide and the eventual production uesrs. However, it’s code in development, still…so that’s why you’re seeing 14 releases in a week. By downloading a Beta version of the code, you’re agreeing to live through churn and issues…in exchange for seeing the latest and greatest - and having some influence in the product.

You don’t have to load the Beta versions - and ,if you’re not comfortable with lots of changes and issues - I wouldn’t until the code is “released” — once that happens, updates are actually pretty few and far between and you will definitely have that level of stability you’re looking for.


Thanks. I appreciate it. I’ve never been much of a technical guy so its just been really frustrating. I agree the customer support and the peoole on this forum have been incredible.

The real value is being able to make really accurate cuts over and over. If you only make one of something you can use hand tools. With practice, you can improve designs and make things more efficient and quickly. Trust me it gets easier, I incorporate the CNC as much as possible when building things. I’ve made over 50 of some things.

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I’m with you on the software! But, start simple and make written notes about what you do on each project, ie, each step.
Start with simple signs. You have to take your time and be patient so you repeat each step in the process the same way every time!
You’ll get it!!

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Thanks. I appreciate that. Trying not to let myself get frustrated. Im mak8ng progress little by little. Cutting some plaques for Euro mounts tonight. Seem to have the speeds and feeds set pretty good. Using a 1/4 upcut and the tops of the cuts are coming out pretty nice.


Looks great! I use the recommended feeds and speeds for every cut. Sometimes I bump up the feed rate 10-30% in motion while cutting letters that are large. Faster material removal when needed.
It appears that you have a good grasp of the basics of create and motion!

Dont give up i struggled with my shapeoko4 xxl also for a few weeks but now im going crazy with all kinds of fun stuff . I had huge success with the folks at carbide to get me on track they are awesome


I jumped in with both feet because outsourcing has become too expensive. I found a good way to work through the frustration was small wins which ultimately build into larger ones. Its been a few months and I went from almost setting the waste board on fire to turning out machined aluminum parts suitable for resale.
Pick something small that’s a stepping stone towards a bigger goal, get help with the folks on the forum. I started slotting circles.


Send me the info on your machine
Maybe I’ll buy it.

I’m going to stick it out a while and see if I can familiar with things.


As you can see, we are here to help.

Good luck