Interested in the XXL

Hi everyone,

I’m an avid woodworker with a 20x20 garage shop. I’m fairly space constrained, but I’ve decided the XXL would be my best bang for the buck. As many here, my biggest concern is where to put this thing, hah. I’ve been searching through these forums and others, looking at peoples setups. A lot of the torsion boxes and enclosures I see on here are massive. Like, no way I could dedicate that much to space to it. I’ve seen mention of people using pulley systems to hoist it up on the ceiling when not in use, but I haven’t been able to find any pictures or builds on how people have done it. Also, I have a lot of HDPE (1/2" and 3/4") 4x4 sheets that I’m considering using as a top skin of a torsion box, since HDPE taps and threads pretty well. Plus, its flat as can be. I would imagine sound might be an issue though. I’ll have to really think it through.

So I’m mostly interested in the pulley system, but not opposed to building a hinged wall mount that would collapse it down against the wall as well. Though that seems to put pressure on the machine in areas that might cause misalignment or damage.

I’m itching to pull the trigger and order this thing, but the more rational side of me says I should have the space ready and whatever I’m mounting it to built beforehand.

BTW, should I get the BitRunner and both the BitSetter and the BitZero? Seems like most people have them, and they make life easier.

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If you have a quiet vacuum setup the noise isn’t that bad with decent hearing protection and suitable feeds and speeds.

A pulley system which lowers the machine onto a centrally located table is a good idea and easy to implement — having access to all sides of the machine is a plus, and front/back allow one to do tiling which facilitates larger projects. I also have a joinery idea which will make use of that.

The various accessories make things easier and more accurate if one is doing work which is suited to using them, but they’re all optional — if you want a BitRunner you should get it now though, since it was a one-off.

Thanks, William. I snagged a BitRunner just in case. I saw they were limited run. Better safe than sorry. I’ll be ordering everything soon enough.

I have a storage company coming out to give an estimate on their motorized ceiling lifts. Could work well. Pricey though.

My other idea is to build this into an outfeed table off my table saw. I’d hinge the outfeed top and enclose the XXL under that. I could add retractable wheels to roll out when necessary. Only issue is it would be about 18-20” off the ground Probably would be annoying to bend down all the time.

Like you mentioned, having access to all 4 sides would be best. That’s why I like the ceiling idea best.

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I cant help you too much with interesting storage options, mine is taking up a lot of valuable floor space in a race car trailer. But I will submit - With the trailer blocked up off of the wheels with leveling jacks, the machine introduces noticeable motion to the structure of the trailer. The magnitude is dependent upon the type of operation. i.e Simple profile cut - very little. Adaptive clearing - potentially a lot. So, it might be interesting to watch it largely supported by strings. Lowering it down onto a solid multipurpose assembly table or outfeed would be a decent compromise. Seems reasonable enough.

Relating to the accessories, I think it really comes down to personal needs/wants.
For me:

  • I don’t have a Bitrunner. So far, I am okay flicking a switch. All my other tools have switches of some kind or another. But its cool. One of my vacuum’s has Bluetooth… and while that is ridiculous, I love it.

  • Recently ordered a Bitsetter. Sold some junk that I’ve been tripping over on the shop floor, had some PayPal dollars to burn. For what I do, it is less than necessary. I prefer to post my operations individually, and typically zero from the fixture/waste board. But, if you wanted to use Carbide Create’s advanced v-carve feature, without hand editing the g-code, you’d need it. I would imagine it fits well into a lot of peoples work flows.

  • I have a Bit Zero. I use it because I have it, but I also don’t use it. For the most part, I set zero’s with eye, feel, and sometimes an indicator. My material comes with paper backing(ready made gauge), and being cast, has inconsistent z dimension.

Looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

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If you decide to suspend it you need the Shapeoko to sit on a torsion box. The Shapeoko needs a stable platform to sit on. The height is dependent on your age and style of working. I am older and have a table that is 48x48 inches on wheels that the top of the table is 29 inches off the floor. This is a comfortable height for me to sit in an office chair and operate the machine. Occasionally I have to get out of the chair but I can change tools and do almost every thing from the chair. If you are younger you may not mind standing with a bench height.

FYI you have to baby sit the machine. You cannot start a job and walk away. Technically you could but you would be courting disaster. You can certainly work on other things in the shop but dont get too far away. Thats why I have a comfortable chair and a desk accross from the Shapeoko so I can baby sit and read or work on something else when running the Shapeoko.


I put mine under my outfeed table, similar to this article -

I don’t mind the height, I have a rolling stool that’s reasonably low and I don’t have to spend too much time hunched over the machine during normal use. I really like how the machine completely hides away for non-CNC projects


Hmm, that’s interesting that you need to baby sit it, Guy. That’s good to know. How do you deal with the sound? I’m going to have to really consider the enclosure route. What cfm is needed to pull dust or chips? If my Festool CT26 can handle it, that’s fairly quiet. My actual dust collector (ClearVue 1800) is not. With hearing protection it’s ok for 5, maybe 10 minutes, but that’s about as long as I’d care to sit in the same room with it.

Thanks for all the info so far! Lots to consider.


I have a full woodworking shop with a 1100CFM dust collector. Many people use shop vacs with the Onieda Dust deputy. Shop vacs are not designed to run constantly which can happen on long runs of 12 hours or more. If you want good dust collection Fesstool and others make HEPA vacs but are pricy. If you get a full blown dust collector I would recommend you get one with cyclonic action built right in.

The Shapeoko makes dust and it should be extracted. It would not take a large CFM but if you do other woodworking it is a worthwile investment in your health.

You seemed surprised that you need to baby sit the machine. Fires can start when parts come loose and you have a 16000-24000 RPM spinning bit. There are youtube videos about just such events.

Now that does not mean that you will start a fire but it is possible. So have a fire extinguisher in the shop for general safety. No body said this hobby was inexpensive.

In case yu are not aware the cost of CNC machineing can be broken down as follows:

  1. The first third of your budget goes to a CNC Router
  2. The second third of your budget goes to tooling, sanding and finishing.
  3. The third part of your budget goes to software. Carbide Create and Carbide Motion are free and are a good starting point. Eventually if you go to vetric or other commercial software it can run from $500.00-3,000.00 dollars.
  4. There is a significant learning curve and that requires time.

If you think you can set the Shapeoko down in the shop and start cutting you will learn that it is not that simple. I am not discouraging you but it is a significant amount of time to be proficient. Additionally it is a significant amount of money to invest.


This forum is full of users that are learning something new every day. Probably most of us were initially surprised by how much time it takes to get the job done, but we persevere.

Perhaps you can go out and find a local woodworking shop to visit, Corey. You won’t find many where it is quiet. :smiley:

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I use mine with my Festool CT Midi and it works well.

While I concur with the principles behind @gdon_2003’s financial calculations I will note that one can do this on a shoestring — I did at first — just takes some patience:

  • started w/ a used machine off eBay
  • paid cash for tooling and was very careful of it, used metal files and deburring tools to minimize post-processing expence
  • used only free/opensource software — this is still on-going
  • for the learning curve, started documenting stuff on the wiki: which helped

20x20 sounds like a garage shop. I have my shop in my garage, 20x24. It was covered in Woodshop News last November. I have a dedicated space for the Shapeoko XXL, which you can see in those pictures.

I’d be happy to discuss CNC Selection and Shop organization, as I"m sure we’re facing a lot of the same challenges. For example, I recently replaced my garage door (I didn’t want to lose it for resale and zoning purposes) to a side-mount opener in order to take back ceiling space.

I don’t like the idea of the lift, frankly…seems like a lot of overkill and risk of torquing what needs to be a stable setup. Maybe you’d be better off building an outbuilding to house your lumber and a couple of ceiling mounted lumber storage units to buy back the much needed floor space.

Lastly, I just purchased the BitSetter and LOVE it. It’s a true time saver AND it’s far more accurate than re-zeroing each tool. I also have, but don’t use, the BitZero. t can be difficult with certain bits or bits with any pitch on them at all - so you need to check the connection each time anyway, and then I found that it returned uneven results - I would reprobe without moving anything and get different zeroes. It was therefore no more accurate or quick than the paper method. I’ve not purchased the BitRunner, as others have said, I have a panel of switches that are the power center and it works fine. I’m about to put a kill switch on the whole shooting match for safety…and then that’s it.


I find myself sitting and watching it just because I like watching it, it’s not really a hardship and much of the time you’re watching to see if the changes you made to how you CAM based on what you learned last time have worked.

If I have a part that I’m cutting multiples of, once I’ve seen the whole job run clean on the first (or a cheaper piece of stock for test) part I generally turn on the dust extraction, stick the ear protection on and do some other work in the workshop whilst listening for any bad sounds and periodically checking that everything looks OK. I have not walked away and left the machine running but it doesn’t stop me planing, sanding, doing something else at the same time.

I have a nasty shop vac with some fairly cheap 50mm PU hose to a dust hood on my spindle via a $50 cyclone settler from Amazon, it’s the noisiest part of the setup but it does a decent job of getting the chips and dust off the workpiece.

I like Mike’s outfeed table (not just because it’s nicely made) but be careful of clearance height above the unit if you want to attach extraction or if you want room to upgrade the spindle etc. That said, it’s a good compact solution and if you move the machine you have a nice big shelf still. That sort of table also lends itself really well to being boxed in as an enclosure.

Anything that is flat, level and reasonably rigid will do, the machine only sits on four little adjustable feet as stock anyway, just be careful that the support doesn’t flex or let the machine move around or it’ll be hard to keep things square and level.

I really didn’t like the constant whine of the router cooling fans so I got a water cooled spindle. I find that I really don’t mind the cutting sounds, they’re quite variable, It’s the constant drone sounds that irritate me. Lots of folks have had success making their router less whiny with fairly simple hood enclosures over their machines.

The points about learning curve are solid, but like learning to use any new tool, you develop skills with it and get better and that is rewarding in itself.


I took a shelving unit from a big box store and split it in two to creat a 4x4 table. The XXL sits on top, I have tools stored underneath on the shelf’s. The computer is on a small workbench to the left.

For the dust collection I use my Delta dust collector, it’s not to loud. The machine itself isn’t that loud compared to a router table.


This is exactly what I had in mind for the outfeed table, Mike. Thanks for the link.

Guy, thank you for the candid response! Fire is always a concern, so that totally makes sense. I wouldn’t leave the machine running and go out to dinner or anything, hah. And yes, I have a fire extinguisher in the shop! I have a few Festool vacs, and I could dedicate one to the XXL. My DC is 1500 CFM rated, so seems that’s overkill for this, hah. Maybe if it added some down draft, that would keep the tiny, dangerous particles at bay a bit more, but if I enclose it, then I think that would do the same job. The Festool vacs do a great job with dust collection, especially with my Festool tools. I’ll still add a 6" port to the outfeed table, if I go that route.

I’ll admit, my foray into CNC is in it infancy. Apologies if I sound naive, hah. You see so many content creators using CNC, but you never see the process exactly. I realize it’s not an easy to use tool, and the learning curve is high. I work in 3D software (Maya) for a living, so I’m very accustomed to 3D and 2D design. It’s just learning the new software that will take a bit of time. I grabbed the free pro license of CC and have been poking around, while watching Winston Moy’s videos. I’m not expecting to put this together and be off to the races. I understand the time investment.

As for sound deadening, I have a 1 year old, that’s right above my garage shop. My shop time is mostly after she falls asleep. I can run most power tools, but my dust collector, since it’s wall mounted, produces a bit more noise. So noise is a large concern, not only for my hearing, but for my daughter’s well-being and night time sleep. I always wear hearing protection, but as others have mentioned, its the drone of the sound that gets annoying, but this seems like a lesser concern now that I’m sure my Festool Vac will suffice.

Gary, that’s awesome! I envy your wood storage, hah! Here’s a (bad) picture of my garage shop.

I’ve since sold off the Woodpeckers router table and went with the inline Sawstop RT. Saves a ton of room, and lets me gang the MFT table with the bandsaw and table saw. Shop layout is one of those things that keep evolving.

Thanks, Liam! I’ll have a look at the water cooled spindles and see if its something that I might add in the future.

Tex, I don’t have to go far! It’s right inside my garage :smiley:



I have a very small shop as well, so I built a hinged wall mounted torsion box. I have had no problems when raising or lowering it or with any squareness. I do tie the X-Axis to the front of the bed before raising so that the X-Axis does not move raised nor does it have pressure on it.
I also have a pull-out laptop tray in the front right and side.
I love the XXL, you should pull the trigger.



Lee, that looks like a great solution. How does it look folded up? I bought some extra materials today for a torsion box and cabinet. I think the outfeed table route makes the most sense for me. I’ll build it exactly like I built my miter station. It’ll do triple duty. Keeps the CNC always usable, but out of the way. An outfeed table for my table saw (I’ll have to sell my Sawstop outfeed table), and an assembly table. Sounds win-win to me.

Now, to figure out exactly what I need it to be. Once I get it close to built, I’ll smash that order button!

There are a lot of great suggestions here. Nice shop Corey! I think for someone with a long track record of woodworking and 3D design, your progress with a CNC router will be quicker than most.

Another angle I thought should be presented is that of the XL. I think the XXL is a great value and makes it easier to do larger projects; and certainly if you’re doing large projects all the time, have the space, and have the funds then by all means get the XXL. While the XL is half the working space, unlike with the standard sized SO3, you can complete XXL sized projects on the XL by tiling (@WillAdams mentioned tiling in his post) which is basically indexing your work piece and segmenting toolpaths. People even tile on the XXL - check out @cme82883’s awesome submission in Community Challenge #9.

I’m not trying to walk you off the ledge of an XXL - simply thought that this option was worthy of mentioning. The money “saved” could be spent on cutters, work-holding, accessories, and materials.

Happy making!


@LEER007 Hey Lee…that looks like a great solution! I like the way you cantilevered the fulcrum to allow it sit flush against the wall. How much room does it save you when it’s raised? Looks like it gives back about 2x3 feet of space? Also, is there enough room to accommodate an HDZ or ZPlus, should you decide to go that route? I’d imagine the clearance for the top of the router would be impacted by one of those.

I bought my XXL during the second half of last year, and love it (more and more, as I learn how to use it more accurately and efficiently). I was originally thinking of storage alternatives to free up shop space (including lifting it to the ceiling), but hadn’t thought of the “Murphy Bed” approach…Very clever!

For me though, and as a consideration for Corey (@ [Vustadumas]) it started to become obvious that I was going to use the CNC for every project, whether making integral parts or just burning my logo into a rail - or bottom of a piece, so dedicating a permanent 4x4 space made sense. I just found ways to move the other junk that was there to homes in other parts of the shop. Besides, I also found that I needed additional storage for the bits, dust collection, laser, clamps, and fixtures - and found that under the table was the most convenient…so…permanent it is!

This was my set up before the laser and the cabinets for storage underneath and the bitsetter (this is a passion that goes on and on):

  • Gary
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I have two pictures here that might help. When I fold the table I make sure the X-Axis is all the way forward as it give you the most clearance when folded. Also I have a shelf that is in the way up on the wall so mine does not go 100% vertical. On the wall bracket the circled point is where I have a pin that I insert to keep the table folded. Notice the square area, that 2x4 is flat rather than horizontal. The table back when down hits that board and that is what keep it flat when down. The extra support in my previous picture was to make my son feel better as he thought there was too much pressure on that back piece, but it is only there for safety.


I have an XXL and love it, however I have not made any projects that take advantage of the full 32x32 footprint. Most of my projects have been boxes and v carving on box lids. I like having the XXL but I think an xL would work just as well for me. My table is 48x48 that the XXL sits on and takes up a lot of room in my shop. Everything in my shop is on wheels. My Powermatic 66 is on wheels but only get moved about one a year to clean under it. Everything else is on wheels and I generally bunch them all up on one spot and pull out what I need to the center of the shop or outside under my covered patio. Even if you have a permanent spot for a piece of equipment the flexibility of rearranging or cleaning makes the wheels a good option.