New guy with a few questions

Hey guys,

I’m in the process of preparing to purchase a XXL, I’m looking for any insight on things i’m might need to get ready (any things you wish you knew when you started)

The machine will be going in my basement so I plan on building an enclosure, I will be getting a dust boot hopefully sooner then later. I toyed with the idea of making 1 but for the price I’ll buy a Suckit!.
I have a couple shop vac’s and a Cyclone already.

I should mention that I have 3 years experience running a 5’x10’ cnc so this world is not new to me I’m more concerned about this specific machine and it’s in’s and out’s.

I was planning on using ArtCam for my art prep which I haven’t used in a few years and looks to be discontinued as of a few weeks ago. I’m hoping the Carbide Motion software will be compatible.

Anyway Any installation tips or heads up would be helpful. I hope to be ordering my machine before X-mas.



Sounds great!

I know some folks have used ArtCAM w/ the machines — you just have to pick a suitable post-processor — Carbide 3D or Shapeoko or Grbl or LinuxCNC or Mach3 (in that order) will be fine.

You can preview files before sending them using Camotics or GrblGru or some other tool.

Big things are:

  • be patient about the assembly — start w/ a level base, precision has to start somewhere
  • plan out things and start with small, simple projects and build on your successes and learn from mistakes and failures

My suggestion is go straight to spindle rather then a router. I’m using a 2.2KW spindle and VFD. The difference is night and day. Better HP and torque. If you go water cooled it way more quieter. And you have true speed control. I need to add that if you do go to a spindle you will need to make spring adjustments to your Z-axis or upgrade to a ball/screw drive like the Beaver HDZ. So it comes with a price tag but the spindle should last much longer than a router and give you way more capabilities.

Welcome! Being a new user as well i have a few things to add :

  1. Order your suckit dust boot NOW, they take a few weeks to ship and you won’t want to cut without it.

  2. Start planning/ building your enclosure now as well. Some great plans and ideas on here. I built mine based off of Tony’s build, but with extra layers & insulation for extra sound deadening. look at my post history to see what myself and others have put together. (If doing an enclosure you need the cabinet to be about 6" longer front to back than the shapeoko, to account for the dust boot which mounts to the front of your spindle). The enclosure takes a while to build.

  3. Plan on having to calibrate/fine tune your machine after you set it up. Numerous posts on belt tension, tightening eccentric nuts, and squaring your machine. Initially this seemed overwhelming to me but it is very easy, and essential.

  4. After your machine is dialed in your first project will be to make a supplementary wasteboard. You don’t want to ruin the one that comes with the machine. Good plans on the forums. I used threaded t nuts for workholding- a very good choice. Lookup “stufftokeepyouentertained” on YouTube, he puts together a nice video on how he did his. Order 200 1/4" t nuts on amazon now so you have them ready to go and don’t pay a premium at HD. Another good choice seems to be t tracks but I personally have no experience with these.

  5. When you’re wasteboard is assembled, and you’re sure your machine is calibrated with proper tightening of eccentrics and the rest of your bolts, resurface your new wasteboard taking 1/32" to 1/16" off to ensure you have a flat surface for your machine. Let me take a second to note that in the instructions, it has you leave some bolts loose, and never mentions tightening them. Make sure you tighten these!

  6. After your wasteboard is completed, your next project will be to make clamps for workholding. The same guy on YouTube has a separate video for how he did his- they are working well for me.

  7. Your machine comes with 1 1/4" upcut endmill. Purchase other bits now so you have them ready when needed. (I also got a 1" spoilboard resurfacing bit from whiteside on amazon which worked well).

  8. If noise is a concern, consider an enclosure for your shopvac. My shopvac runs around 85dB and enclosed runs around 65. Add a router speed controller (amazon, $35) and you can run most projects at about half power on your shopvac. Great investment for me so far.

  9. Add LED lighting to your enclosure, brightens it up nicely.

  10. Consider a wifi camera for inside your enclosure to keep an eye on things in case you have to step away for a minute.

Good luck


To expand on @mhoffman8727’s excellent post, I will note that rather than a shop vac you may want to consider a dedicated, ideally HEPA-rated dust extractor — some of them are quite quiet — I’ve been very pleased w/ my Festool CT Midi and Oneida Ultimate Dust Deputy.

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A dust collector is definately the way to go. If you do aggressive work you can quickly overwhelm a shop vac. The dust collector is usually much quieter and has more capacity. I use a Jet with a filter shaker.

Thanks HDRyder,

But I’m trying to keep a limited budget on this. I have the option later down the road once I have the space permitting to get a larger machine, So I’d like to keep this at home version at a lower cost.
I know the benefits you speak of with the true spindle but for a small “Hobby” machine like this I’m thinking the $ is better well saved for later since I do have other plans.


  1. I understand the dust involved, thanks.

  2. I personally would much prefer to get the machine here and see it for myself before I start any enclosure.
    Most enclosures I’ve seen all have alot in common but every user has a different situation and seem to have different adaptations for they’re certain needs. I’d like to build it, although that might not happen…

  3. A point I’ve seen listed, I don’t look forward to this but I see that it’s necessary.

  4. I’m used to having a 1/2" MDF waste board with the vacuum hold down I had before, I did have to screw some pieces down but I’ve never used hold down brackets/arm. I understand the process and I’ve seen the video you’ve mentioned and I love the idea and will definitely be making one.

  5. Don’t hit loose bolts or don’t leave things unadjusted before you plain your waste board.

  6. saw that video too… Thanks

  7. I’m used to main using Single flute upcut Endmills, along with craving endmills like bull nosed and V-bit.
    For wood I mainly used woodbit’s (dual straight cutting edges) but I see alot of guys using bit’s I’d say were for cutting acrylics or hard plastics. Anyway it’ll be fun to learn what the machine can do, I’m used to a different machine so It’ll be a learning curve.

  8. Shopvac is abit noisey for sure, Honetly I didn’t think about that. I do have a small dust collector which would be quiter but takes up alot more room. Thanks for the idea.

  9. Seen the video got the notes…lol

  10. Great idea, but If I have to step away I won’t have time to check a phone for a video feed…lol
    (if I can find them pictures I’ll send you the ones where I left a machine cutting a 3D map on 1" MDF and the dust collection quite)

WillAdams and HDRyder

I do see the points of the ShopVac. I had great luch before with a large shop vac and my Cyclone… BUT the noise was not a concern. Now it will be the loudest part and air flow will be a concern. I do have a smaller dust collector but it’s not really something I considered using. Something to think about I guess.

Thanks Guys.


I am in the same situation described above by Bill. I’m about to purchase an XXL for use at home, because I am used to ShopBots of all sizes, I am concerned with noise and power. I only have 110 power which I understand won’t support a 2.2 KW spindle. Right now I plan to build an enclosure, in lieu of a water cooled spindle, which is way more complexity than I want to tackle. My question; is there a spindle that is fairly simple, quiet and strong enough to cut 3/4 " -1" hardwood and bamboo ply nicely , which runs on 110 V ? I perused the WIKI but it’s confusing and the information links don’t all work. I had planned to get a quiet shop vac such as a Fein or Nilfisk, does anyone have experience using these with a Dust boot? My space is limited ( 60 -80 sq ft out of 112 sq ft.) in an outdoor work shop shed . Thanks in advance for any advance on these subjects.

The DeWalt and Makita both should make those cuts well, with suitable feeds and speeds and depth per pass (working on a project in bamboo on my XL now) — the notable spindle option for 110 is the Kress 800 FME, which is rated at 100 watts more than the Makita:

Reputed to be loud though, the Makita is quite quiet until the endmill hits the material.

I believe you can run a 2.2kw spindle on 110. I have a 2.2kw 220 water cooled spindle. I was worried about the setup of the cooling also. But it was easy to do. Way quieter then air cooled routers. More powerful and way less run out then a router. The difference is night and day. Plus you can optimize spindle speed with a VFD. I started out with a DeWalt and quickly moved up to a VFD. Even if you can’t do 2.2kw (3hp), you could 1.5kw (2hp) which is still quite a bit more then a router and keep the advantages of a spindle.


Thanks Gary, that is an awesome set up you have. Can you mention an brand and or a source for the 1.5 kw Spindle.

I have a 2.2Kw I bought on about $320 for the spindle and VFD. Chinese with 4 bearings that were advertised as Japanese bearings. I don’t think the one I bought from (Taishi sold by Selene Allure) showed a 1.5 at the time. Best bet is to look at the star rating and comments.

I purchased the Dewalt to start off( $170 on Amazon). I figured baby steps to start. After goingto starting up my shopvac in the room I intend to using it I’m now considering the Fein Dust collector but it’s $520 on amazon so I think i might try a speed control of the shopvac 1st.
I’m also thinking about setting up a small air compressor another noisy piece, The wife is going to love me, Thinking about adding some insulation to the ceiling.

Aren’t the Feins actually shopvacs?

I’m not trying to be pedantic, just trying to understand if they have some special feature that makes them better than other shopvacs.

The Fein is a vacuum. But it’s quieter then most shop vacs. For that money though you can get a decent dust collector with higher air volumn.


Depending on the size of the compressor you want, you can get some really quiet ones. Being Canadian, I bought a King Canada Ultra Quiet, which is a knockoff of the California Air Ultra Quiet. Let me tell you, it lives up to the name. Compared to my 5.5HP 20 Gallon unit in the garage, it’s like it’s not even running. When I have it on, and am running my Makita router on the CNC, I can’t even hear it.

I use a Fein Turbo 1 and it’s pretty quiet. I use a dust deputy on a 5 gallon bucket to collect the majority of the chips and it works great. The Fein is also really small and fits on a shelf under my XXL. I think I paid $299 for the Fein about a year and a half ago. Has plenty of “suck” for my setup using a Suckit dust boot. I also have a full size dust collector for my shop, it’s a completely different animal, high volume, lower velocity with a 5” inlet, great for my planer, tablesaw, and other big chip producers. I don’t know how it would work with a small hose on the XXL, but I’ve never tried.


I bought a 1.5kw air cooled spindle and VFD quite cheaply on eBay - it cuts hardwoods, aluminium etc without issue. I went from a Makita and the spindle is quieter and lets me control it with gcode.

I have a dust deputy with 5 gallon drum with a festool ct midi, which has built in speed control so I can dial it up and down as required. The festool is very quiet, but still louder than the spindle, except when cutting aluminium.

If you’re doing mdf, exotic hardwoods and ply I’d suggest getting a vac that can accommodate a HEPA filter, to keep the air in your shop clean, the dust deputy knocks out 99% of the material, so the filters last forever


Hi Dan;
I am just purchasing the XXL this week and already ordered the Dust boot from Vancouver. Can you advise on the hose sizes and types to connect this all up ? , I think a dust deputy is wise for the larger chips… did you buy this,if so , from where?
Also considering the Nilfisk which is actually quieter than the FEIN ( I am building a plywood enclosure for the XXL, similar to ones described on this Forum, and need to arrange the hose management and exit path.

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Another good choice I think

Hitachi EC28M Ultra Quiet (59 DB) Oil-Free Portable 1 gallon Air Compressor

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