Looking for some controller help

Hello fellow termites!

just got the notification that my Shapeoko has shipped and I am beyond excited! Unfortunately I am also in way over my head lol. I have already watched a few assembly videos and feel rather confident I will have little to no issues with that part.

The part that has me scared is the software and how I get it from my PC (I will start with Carbide Create, but have interest in VCarve thanks to this forum. I would like to leave my PC in the house and send the files over my network to a device running Carbide motion. I would also like to either have a touch screen or a Xbox type controller to help me find “0”

Truth be told I am not even sure I am understanding what I just wrote correctly, but if I am I would like to know the best way to accomplish such a task and was looking for some help.

I have been searching YouTube for keywords such as Shapeoko Tablet, Shapeoko Raspberry ect. but haven’t found a recent video that kind of walks me me through it.

I feel my time is better spent coming here asking for help vs. random Googling ect. I hope you all don’t mind helping a technology deprived farm boy.

The PC running Carbide Create (or Vectric Vcarve or other CAM software) will output a G-Code file (.nc is one typical extension) — this will contain all the movement information relative to where the origin has been set to cut out the part/design.

You will need a second computer connected to your machine which will run Carbide Motion or some other communication/control program — transfer the G-Code file to that and send it.

Please see:


Some folks use an inexpensive Raspberry Pi:


I know it’s not that sophisticated, but I just email myself files.
I usually use a really cheap tablet to control the SO3, so email ends up being simple and reliable.
I have a network accessible storage drive, but that little tablet is pretty inconsistent with connecting to that.

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Which tablet are you using, Neil?

I wanna say it’s an RCA cambio. I found one at Walmart for $59 a few years ago. It was Win8, but that was when you could update to 10 for free. To be honest, I’m surprised it still works. It stays in the garage where temperature swings and spiders are wild. Been really reliable, though.

Edit: Maybe it was Windows 10. I know I had to reimage it almost right out of the box for some reason.

I remember driving to a few Walmarts before I found one that had any in stock. The keyboard was junk, so I just use a cheap BT one

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My ‘design’ PC is a Mac in my house, which uses Microsoft Remote Desktop to connect to my Surface Pro running my CNC machine in my shed, over a wired network (including a pair of PowerLine adapters). I’m lucky enough to have a NAS (network attached storage) device, so anything I produce on my design machine is saved to the NAS, which I pick up from the Surface Pro when running the programme.

This works really well for me, but I wouldn’t leave my machine running without me there - you never know what could happen. Just saying.

Also, I use one of these to jog my machine, and it works on Windows and macOS.

I have been using a similar work flow for over 4 years. I have a higher end PC in the house I design on, and I use either a RCA Cambio (but they look like they’re basically discontinued) or a Fusion 5 Windows tablet in the shop. I used to just load the files on a thumb drive to take out to the shop like a caveman, but recently I make use of Google Drive to transfer files. I have a shortcut on my PC and one on the tablet in the shop. Makes it easier.

A cheap Windows tablet has enough grunt to send gcode, and the cheapest Fusion 5 is $220. You just have to take it out of “S Mode” and it works great. I have a Rii Bluetooth mini keypad to use with the tablet and it makes jogging easy with the Carbide Motion hotkeys. Both the tablet and Rii mini keypad were bought off of Amazon. I’ve tried dozens of combos like a XBox controller, but the mini keypads just plain work awesome without having to run any additional programs and the buttons control the jogging intuitively.

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