This is a thread for new (and old) folks to (re)introduce themselves, note the sort of work they do or are planning on doing and to get started with the community.
I’ll go first.
Ex-Air Force, military brat, grew up all-over (mostly in the rural south), settling in south-central Pennsylvania, traditionally trained as a graphic designer (started in high school) and have worked on projects ranging from drawing watches for a 3’ high point of presence display through database publishing a 2,200 page register of every food service company in the U.S., through mathematic, scientific, and legal books and textbooks, and small intricate pocket references for medical personnel, using pretty much every graphic design application, including programming TeX and LaTeX and METAPOST (and raw PostScript).
Became interested in CNC when a Bridgeport came up for sale locally for less than scrap metal value, but couldn’t figure out how to fit it in my basement (and the ceiling was too low anyway), and further searching revealed found a project called Shapeoko on Kickstarter:
Bought a used machine off eBay, and began helping out with the documentation on the wiki, downloaded Scribus and worked a bit on helping out with the instructions:
When the Shapeoko 2 was launched I was offered a free machine in exchange for doing the instructions (based on a template and system which @edwardrford had worked up and in coordination with him):
Was gifted a Shapeoko 3 as a thank you, and later an XL upgrade kit, as I worked through transitioning from volunteer through occasional freelance up to part-time off-site remote staff doing tech support.
Wanted a CNC machine to facilitate making various projects — my last major hand-tool project was:
Since getting the machine I’ve made a number of things — the first project on a Shapeoko 3 was:
and I’ve since done a variety of things posted to:
using software which includes Carbide Create, OpenSCAD (usually using the BlockSCAD graphical front-end), Inkscape (though I mostly draw in Macromedia Freehand/MX I’d recommend folks use Inkscape, Cenon, GraviT, or Serif’s Affinity Designer), and am looking into FreeCAD and CADquery.
Engineer here, my major was theoretical physics, and life being what it is my first job was… in software development, which is a different kind of weird. Nowadays I spend too much time in Visio, Excel, and Powerpoint for my own good (yet another kind of fun).
I have more Arduinos and Raspberry Pi than I care to admit (hint: you know you have too many when you need to have an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of which of your projects uses which)
One day in early 2017 I stumbled upon the Carbide3D site, and figured that a CNC was a completely reasonable and not-overkill-at-all purchase to make arduino enclosures, and that I would sell it when that phase went away. Yeah, right. The seed had been planted.
I would probably have lost interest eventually, but this community is an infinite source of inspiration, and my rabbit hole radar is broken, so here I am. I confess to spending much more time playing with the machine than actually making things. Somehow, the machine itself become the hobby. With the help of the community I wrote a small introductory ebook, which hopefully helps new users sail through those first 6 months of CNC chaotic fun.
Electrical engineer by training, software by profession… and hobby. I work for a large semiconductor company in Oregon (US), on the open source side for a long time an lately a bit more on the customer facing side.
Wanted to do something outside my comfortzone so I got a 3XL about a year and a half ago…
lots of learning on the mechanical side of things since then, after a frustrating few months lately I’m mostly quite comfortable with the machine and have been able to make it do what I want…
Im James Mobley, blue collar factory worker, done everything from printing bank checks, blow mold pool filters, cnc metal (mostly lathe and swiss), where i first got the bug to learn and design my own stuff on a cnc, then onto wooden furniture. spent the first 4 years on vintage analog equipment until is suggested we could use a shop-bot that was never put to use the 7 years its been with the company. Idea was accepted, started my hands on experience with a router and vectric software. Been making all kinds of signs and plaques and bookshelves with it, but needed to get my own to try and make some extra $$, hence the reason I’m a proud Shapeoko owner.
I’m Stu, Born in '87.
I grew up in the country on the East Coast of Australia. My first trade was what we call a ‘Fitter and Turner’ (I believe in USA/Canada a Millwright is the same thing) lots of work manual machining on mills and lathes, fixing pumps, compressors and gas turbines in heavy industry.
Then moved into Oil and Gas and now am a Control Room Operator in Australias largest LNG gas plant.
I had Zero experience or knowledge about CNC, but the Shapeoko piqued my interest, I bought the original SO3, then bought the XXL when they released it. I now have a CO2 laser and 3D printer which complement the Shapeoko nicely.
Other hobbies include riding Dirtbikes and Roadbikes, Radio controlled models, kitesurfing and snowboarding.
I have a fiance, two dogs and a 600 acre farm that we’re yet to build on.
I hope to buy a Haas Minimill or Tormach PCNC770 in the next few years, but being a die hard Carbide3D fan, I will always have something with a C3D badge on it!
Hello! Just joined today. Friend of mine at work has the XXL and has been using it for a few months. He’s made some pretty awesome things. Peaked my interest. I’m new to wood working hobby and built my first headboard for my wife a few months back. I currently have the XXL and the bit starter pack in my cart but I’m afraid to make the purchase. That kind of money doesn’t pair well with not being able to use it right.
We have been watching YouTube videos all day long on the program and the machine. Seems to be a solid option for entry level.
I’ll dig around here for a while and see if I can find answers to my questions before I make this purchase. Been excited about it. So, here’s hoping it’s easy enough to learn.
Welcome, and good on you to search, but if you have questions, it might be helpful to make a thread about it.
Thanks! I may. I just don’t want to be “that guy” who makes a repeat thread.
Hi Everyone… I’m Keith but everyone calls me Tink? Born and bread in Staffordshire UK… having started life as a relay tester… for GEC I moved into selling and professional photography… I sold the very first Commercial Digital Camera to DC Thompson… (those of you know The Beano and The Dandy) it cost in £10,000 it was a Nikon/Kodak Hybrid and only had 280,000 pixels…so I was a professional photographer and salesman (type in Keith Tinkler into Google )… doing two jobs for over forty years.
Now I’m retired and playing with wood…Had a small CNC …Ooznest about 5 years ago loved it… but it was tooooo noisey at the time…so bought a Shapeoko XL two months ago and learning everything I can …at my age
I’m Mike Caldwell, Mechanical engineer by training, and heading back to upgrade to a PhD. in Bio Mechanical engineering. I spent most of my undergrad living and sleeping in my universites machine shop, building Mini Baja cars. Lots of manual lathe and mill work.
During grad school I spent a lot of time building prototype fixtures and implants for biomedical applications. After grad school I worked as a professor teaching machine design, structures, materials… you get the idea. I also had the added benefit of full access to two different machine shops and tones of testing labs to feed my hobbies, mostly car related.
A couple years ago I changed jobs and I’m now a lead mechanical engineer for a large defense company. With that came the loss of access to a machine shop…
Enter the SO3. I currently run an SO3 XL, with a bit setter, HDZ and 2.2Kw water cooled spindle. I’m mostly a cncjs user, but I also love CM for quick jobs. When it comes to modeling I’m the least artistic person on here. But I strictly use Fusion 360 for all of my personal projects.I bought my SO3 with the intent of doing Aluminium work, and machining carbon fiber/ moulds for carbon parts. Now days I love to tinker with CNCs, but I will always miss the feeling of a manual mill, and the smell of cutting oil(not coolant, never that) I’m an open book so if anyone needs help let me know and I’ll gladly provide it… if I can!
I’m Adam Fowler, I am a mechanical engineering student at North Dakota State University. In high school I was on FIRST Robotics Team 2169 KING TeC. My time on the robotics team really made me fall in love with design/manufacturing and the business/logistics surrounding it.
After a summer job assembling and servicing drones for Maverick Drone Systems and then starting college, I co-founded a company that specializes in the design and manufacturing of products for the competition robotics industry (practical-parts.com). The Shapeoko has really been at the core of our business from the beginning. It was certainly a challenge adapting a hobby-grade machine for work in a production environment, but it was necessary due to financial constraints and the fact that bringing a Haas into student housing would be a little harder to keep on the down-low. The business has grown and we have an office for the summer, but once school starts up in the fall, it will be back to our on-campus apartment.
This thread came at the perfect time for me, as I am looking to get more involved in the Carbide 3D and CNC community. I would really like to show that starting a manufacturing company with a hobby CNC mill is more feasible than people might imagine.
Vince here, guess I’ll leave the bus part out this time to sound less crazy.
Twenty year metal Fabricator, specialized in the fine arts of forced induction, high and ultra high performance automotive. Mostly self taught and absorbed the rest from those I worked with. Picked up a little manual lathe and mill skills along the way, enough to get by.
I was the head Fabricator and designer at a well known Viper shop when I decided that it was time to learn a new skillset. It was time to elevate and separate the work from the rest so cnc was the next choice. Ive had aluminum parts cnc cut on a router for me before so I decided to buy a Shapeoko in March 2017, the same day I quit. Starting with zero knowledge of any cad/cam, Carbide Create led me down the path to eventually self learning Fusion 360 and designing/machining some very satisfying projects.
Along the way an S3, XL, and Nomad have become a wonderful little family. Some might have been modded a tad bit, but its all in the name of progress. The Carbide3D family has been great to me and never once did I have to worry about the machine not performing (within reason). Its been a wild ride and isn’t going to stop anytime soon.
The first 3D aluminum project I designed and milled was a six part internally divided vertical flow intercooler for a twin turbo Viper gen5. This part was better in every way compared to what I had been making at that previous shop. It started out as over sixty pounds of stock and believe me, failure has been the greatest teacher.
Jeez… I’m Mike. Been hanging around Philadelphia for the past 15 years. I’m a Computer Engineer by degree and a Systems Engineer by trade (and degree ). The “requirements and system development” kind, not the “IT” kind. I find the longer I am in the field, the more I wish I was making physical things (shame I can’t quit and just make stuff on the SO3 all day and still have enough cashflow to live here). Since I’m not terrible around computers / microcontrollers, and general code-y or electric / electronic things, I found myself looking at CNC technologies. Living in a 100-year old rowhome presents some challenges - <6’ basement ceilings, 100amp electrical service with some questionable wiring (“where the hell did they even find this spec of romex?”), and murderously narrow/steep staircases. All that makes my “workshop” a small 8’ x 8’ section of the cellar.
So far, like many others, I’ve made the SO3 the project - XL upgrade kit, HDZ, dust collection + enclosure, etc. Plus dealing with some of the quirks of OSX and the Carbide3D software. Did you know Catalina doesn’t really like to play with AVRdude/arduinoIDE or that Carbide Create really hates mac track pad scrolling / right clicks? Good times.
I’ve made some simple things - Star Wars Aztec calendar, wooden ticket stubs for when I was taking various people to some Philly musicals as gifts, and an edge-lit two-panel acrylic light which I think I posted here… I also just managed to get tiling working acceptably to create a nomad-inspired Prusa i3 MK3s enclosure to do ABS / PETG (something was off about it so the second tile was always 2mm shifted…Probably one of my next projects…).
Anyway, I’m about to venture into real project territory with some aluminum / brass work (see if I can combine Kite’s Circuit Sword with a homegrown metal Gameboy DMG-inspired shell like Boxypixel’s). I’ve enjoyed learning the new skills and plan on trying to grasp fusion 360 again. I mostly forgot everything I learned in that one college course years ago, but it’s a skill I should work on.
Aaron here from Cincinnati OH, furniture driven thru HSchool, worked in cab. shops, musical instrument repair, B.Sc in Industrial design from U. of Cinti. Designed for Baldwin, IBM, worked in Finland 3 yrs - settled in San Fran running a design build exhibit house mostly for trade shows for past 25 yrs. Learned CNC & Vcarve on a Shop Bot at the Tech Shop here, have taught that in local high schools too. As a guitar player for 50 years, I love the idea of keeping cutting tools far from my fingers. CNC , 3-d printing and Lasers have opened up a whole world of product design / production for me. Cross section of my work , not all CNC ( the lighting, plate, deck screen and platters,are) is here https://www.pinterest.com/dimensionalguy/my-work/
I come from a precision machining background, working for my late father at his own shop. CNC wasn’t my thing for a long time - I had my eye on another ball and became pretty skilled and capable in that field, which was very math/programming heavy and something that I found I had natural ability with. My father would always tell me that I should just dive into CNC and embrace it because he recognized where my strengths were. He also would keep pushing me to write our own CAM software that we could undercut the multi-thousand dollar CAM software with, for 500$ a copy. It would offer the common 10% features and functionality that 99% of shops used from the top-dollar software. I thought it would be a cool project someday but it wasn’t something I was interested in doing at the time.
He ended up with a brain tumor in 2012. My mother found him on the floor one morning puking in a bowl in the living room, slurring his words, and he was never the same after that. He lost his shop, had to sell everything, and was basically just a vegetable after that. A few years later he succumbed to the cancer.
I stumbled into CNC on my own after that in pursuit of creating “specular holograms”, which I wrote a program called Holocraft for creating from 3D geometry model files. I went ahead and invested in a tabletop hobby CNC, the Arduino running GRBL, a G-shield, etc… and built one. I then found out that the machine I’d invested about two thousand dollars in was too flimsy to reliably create the groove optics for the holograms I wanted to create and so we opted to just use it to make the sort of things most people used a hobby CNC for: signs and engravings.
I had a workflow going where my wife’s Photoshop designs would either get converted into a 3D model and I’d toolpath off that using whatever I could find, or some other image-to-toolpath freeware. It became very tedious, especially with the amount of custom orders that my wife was allowing to come in. She’d have to re-work her design, fit someone’s name or caption in there and adjust the positions of the various ornamental parts, then I’d have to generate a model, toolpath, simulate, and if anything was off I’d have to go back and tweak her original image myself, regenerate the model, etc…
It was a drag. That’s when I realized that if ever there was a time I’d write CAM software like my dad had always told me I should, it was now. What I’ve been developing these last 3 years is a sort of hybrid between what my dad envisioned and what we actually needed as an Etsy shop business. It’s not for precision machining, it’s for artists who just want a way to get from an image or model to a usable toolpath and/or G-code. My dad’s idea of undercutting the expensive software became outmoded when the likes of Fusion 360 came around, but the idea was sound back then (10-15 years ago). Nowadays the only software to undercut is the Vectric Aspire, V-Carve, ArtCAM, Carveco, etc… which is exactly what I aim to do with my software, PixelCNC. Except that instead of only offering 10% of the functionality that they offer, I have been working hard at enabling users to do many of the valuable things that those programs can do.
It’s still in early-access alpha, feature-incomplete, unpolished, has bugs, and is lacking in documentation, but anybody who isn’t afraid to figure out a new CAM program has seen thus far just how capable it is in the light of the expensive software most regard as the gold-standard for making signs and CNC art. These next few months entail the transition to beta, where major feature additions will no longer be taking place and my focus will be on creating tutorials, video walk-throughs for creating a variety of awesome things that can otherwise only be done with expensive software. I plan to attend local meetups (via meetup.com) to give away free copies and show people how to use it, as well as attend maker fairs to give away keychains and other little knick-knacks made with it to promote it. A buddy of mine responsible for setting up and maintaining much of the local hacker lab that the community college sponsored out here lined me up with a tutoring spot in the lab to teach students how to run the various machines - and show them how to use PixelCNC to create stuff, which is something I’m planning for in the fall season. The bonus is that I’ll also have unfettered access to the lab’s machines, which I can use to my heart’s content
I’ve been working on the problems involved in pursuing developing hobby-level 5-axis CAM software, paired with a custom 5-axis machine that is as affordable as today’s 3-axis hobby CNC machines. This is something I plan to make a serious attempt at after PixelCNC is all wrapped up. I also have been thinking a lot about automating out a lot of the “expertise” that is required for CNC machining/milling/carving, such as cut depths, cut step over, speeds, feeds, roughing, finishing, etc… I want to bring easy-to-use 5-axis fabrication to the masses, something along the lines of a stone-age Star Trek “replicator” that just about anybody can use with little-to-no understanding of how the system actually works, let alone CNC machining itself. We’ll see what the future brings, and what I can bring to it - and I’m so excited to see all the new ideas and technologies everyone else comes up with too along the way. Self-empowerment empowers everyone as a whole.
If you read this far: thanks! <3
It’s been a couple of years since the last one of these threads and as always I am impressed by the array of skill/experience/knowledge brought to the table.
- Electronic engineer doing wireless R&D and product development, device compliance.
- Nomad 883 Pro owner/driver. Occasionally used for prototyping housing/antenna/antenna assemblies (mostly customer confidential so no sharing I am afraid)
- Self confessed HDPE addict.
Kyle in Columbus, Ohio here. I’m at a little over a year into the world of woodworking/CNCing and I’m a MechE grad out of Ohio State back in 2017, so I know I have plenty to learn!
My venture into woodworking was started actually from my interests in 3d printing. I got a Monoprice Mini Delta in Dec of 2017 and started following the groups there. @WillAdams posted on there a few times and I think mentioned that he had a CNC. Having enough understanding of CNC’s from school, my interest was piqued. One thing led to another and I had my eyes set on a Shapeoko. I got engaged to my wife in the fall of 2018, so I conveniently chose that time to purchase a Shapeoko XXL (before we got married, moved in together, combined finances, etc).
My goal for owning a Shapeoko was to build a (temporary for the moment in our rented townhouse) cool workshop around the CNC. Ideally each tool I buy will be a complement to the CNC, not do something that the CNC can already do. Since I don’t (yet) sell anything, I’m not too worried about production speed in my shop, so I like to use the 'Poko whenever possible.
I do 3D modeling and design for for my day job (pressure cylinders), so using Fusion is not bad at all and I marvel at how comparable it is to my work’s SolidWorks Premium (not free) suite. I also LOVE how simple CarbideCreate is and how I can do a lot with it, and is much faster at times than going through the CAD/CAM process in Fusion.
This community is great and continually improving, I’m glad to be a part of it! I’m ready to keep absorbing the wide and vast (VAST!) knowledge base here and the great ideas that y’all come up with.
Hello everyone! My name is Tom, and I’m in Phoenix. I purchased a Shapeoko XXL last summer, but only just assembled it. My background? I’m an amateur woodworker,with delusions of grandeur, who also has zero machining skills or knowledge. So this should be fun But before I switched careers, I was an OG computer nerd(my first PC was an Apple II). My machine has been running about 2 weeks now. I MUST give a huge shout out to Carbide 3D support! Absolutely fantastic support! I’v cut a couple of shapes out of plywood for the Wife, and I’ve tried my hand at V-Carving and inlays (like I said, delusional). The V-carving worked well, the inlays…not so much, not bad for a first effort, but not good either.
I’ve been lurking around for several months now. Some of you are quite talented! Thanks for having me aboard.
Hello everyone, I am a woodworking hobbyist. I simply enjoy making items from wood that I have around the house for the most part. State government is my career during the day therefore, tooling around in the garage after a days work gives me stress free time to create. I purchased the Shapeoko XXL last year with intention of simply making items for myself as we do home updates/renovations, but that soon turned to selling items that I created. Got to love the husband that talks about what I’m doing at his job.
I typically make home decor items like outside door plaques, wall art, etc. At this time I have 12 pending orders for items that have all been cut using the CNC, and all in process of paint or finish applications. Being a grandmother makes this hobby more fun when the grandchildren (ages 7 & 4) want to help with sanding and painting. Maybe something that can become a generational craft.