My first month with the Shapeoko


I documented my first month with the Shapeoko3, and thought it could be interesting to share with my fellow CNC/Shapeoko newbies:

Very happy with my machine so far, a lot of learning happened, and lot more is coming up.



Wow Julien! What a journal of your experiences. It must have taken you all of a month just to put this together. I haven’t read it all but what I have read is interesting and informative.

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Very nice!

Added to the front page of the wiki as:

Another user, Julien Heyman (Julien on the Carbide 3D forums) did an extensive writeup on his purchase and usage of a Shapeoko 3 which cannot be recommended highly enough: A journey with the Shapeoko3 CNC


Your feed rate testing is superb, thank you for that. I tested like that also but not that completely. I will copy your test procedures and collect samples from each cut to measure. I can’t read all the notes in the picture but your test is something every new operator should do on their own anyway. Terrific amount of info and a huge effort, thanks again.


Thanks. Right now I am experimenting with hard woods, and my next step is to automate the generation of test pockets of various depths and feedrates around what G-wizard or CC are telling me to use, so that I can have an experimental way to determine the sweet spot for a given piece of stock and endmill.


That will be a huge resource to new operators, especially those like me who just can not wrap their heads around all the variables in g-wiz. I cut by eye, what chips do I see and how does it sound as it cuts. Your results should not be taken as absolutes but they are a marvelous way to see what rates produce chip wise and will give an excellant starting point for their own rates testing. Even wood from different parts of the same tree can cut differently so all should do their own testing. Your testing proves (illustrates chip load wise) why it is so valuable, thanks again.

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here’s an interesting question, off topic although, your logo on your page has a binary code at the bottom…is that a cryptic??? didn’t find anything with straight binary alphabet…

Nope, it’s just random 0’s and 1’s. But now that you mention it, it would have been a great idea!

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try this one:

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Jude, you know of course there are only 10 kinds of people in the world right? Those who understand binary and those who do not.

Just something to keep in mind;-)



This is a great write up! Thank you for taking the time.



(continuing the off-topic discussion, sorry)
Jude, I’m intrigued now, I tried a few common decoding bases but the 209bit-long value puzzles me. Hints ?

Julien, this is such a great write up, thank you!

I’m very interested in your python script, I’m just starting to teach myself python at the moment, and didn’t realise it could be used liked this… do you have any more info or tips you could share on writing scripts for CC?

thanks again! Can’t wait to see what you make with the shapeoko :slight_smile:

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If you’re interested in programming, we have a page of things at:

I’ve actually worked up a couple of things to cut using METAPOST (and eventually am going to learn how to use METAFONT to finish up a typeface design I’ve been working on for decades now)

I’d also like to work up some sort of programming / charting / spreadsheet technique which would allow us to analyze and display feed and speed information — thoughts and feedback on that would be welcome.

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If you are interested in using Python to generate G-code, the wiki resources that Will referenced will be a much better starting point that the quick & dirty Python script I cooked up for the cutter pack contest. If you specifically want to write scripts to generate CC files, my advice would be to learn to use the Python JSON module, then you’re all set.

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Can you elaborate (forking the thread if needed?) on this idea of analyzing and displaying feeds and speeds programmatically ? I’m trying different things right now for my own needs, both through Python scripting and Excel VBA, and I would be happy to contribute to something useful to the community (though I’m pretty sure that all possible tools in all possible languages have already been developed by someone somewhere!)

Can’t figure out how to do a reply as a new topic — anyway, I think it’d be nice to continue this at:

I’ll post some further thoughts there.

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Hi Julien

Thank you very much for your comprehensive documentation, your thoughts and the well written post.
I am a Nomad user but I read your Shapeoko experiences with interest!

Would you please tell more about the “Migrating to Fusion360” paragraph: …"I watched the 60-minutes worth of introduction videos from Adobe’s web site to get to know the features."
Where to find it?


Hi Michael,

The Fusion360 intro videos are here:


Thank you Julien for the link. Good set of videos there!

I am looking forward to read your next post. The “second month” perhaps? A special project?

Have enjoyable time discovering CNC world!

[Gold Coast, Australia]