Just starting up questions

Hello, complete newbie here in the UK just starting out.

I have decided to develop my hobby from a freehand router making small wooden signs to using a CNC in the process. This is due to health issues, having back pain problems and not able to sit for long periods with a router in my hands, so looking at a way to keep myself and my hobby going. I have already got a number of 2D designs that I route into wood so looking to develop these into 3D.

I have purchased a second hand Shapeoko 3 Sparkfun Edition machine. I saw it working before I purchased and it’s been well cared for over the years, so happy it is a good starting point.

I have a few questions to ask:

I am looking to buy a laptop to use with the machine and for all of my design work etc, what specification would you suggest I look for, RAM, SSD operating system etc.

As for programs I will be looking to obtain Carbon Create, but what else should I be considering or looking out for?

I have already noted that building a cabinet to house the machine and to look into dust collection is a good idea, so that will be my first project to get myself set up and organised, what else should I be considering at this very early stage of starting out with the machine?

The Sparkfun Stepoko is almost literally, the red-headed stepchild of the family.

It no longer works w/ Carbide Motion (unless one rewires the machine to replace the controller) so you’ll need to use an opensource communication/control program (unless the person who sold the machine shared their CM install archive and their “Sparkfun Activation Code”)

See the program list at:

You’ll need to either use Carbide Create v6:

or get a Pro license so as to generate G-code (or, as noted above, you could source connectors and re-wire your machine to use a new CM controller — let us know at support@carbide3d.com)

Any computer which meets the system requirements should be fine — a fanless (sealed) Windows tablet is a popular choice.

If you’re not familiar w/ CAD/CAM concepts see:


Brilliant, thank you. This gives me lots to look into and to start getting my head around.

This topic was automatically closed 30 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.