New to CNC, looking for recommendations

Hey all,

I’m about to dive headfirst in to the CNC world and am looking for suggestions on how to reach a minimum viable product with the lowest upfront cost.

First, some background:
Im seasoned in woodworking, 3d printing, CAD, and vector software like Adobe Illustrator. Im also a web developer by trade, so anything technical or otherwise moderately difficult wont send me off the deep end.

My goals:
My immediate goal is to start producing custom designed holiday decorations to start recouping costs asap. This could include cutouts, trays, templates, etc. My long-term goal is have a hobby turned side hustle doing hardwood inlays and epoxy pours. At some point when my skills are advanced enough, I would like to build a guitar.

Whats in my cart:

  • Shapeoko 4 XL
  • Carbide Compact Router
  • Endmill Starter Pack
  • BitSetter
  • Get a Grip Workholding Kit
  • Sweepy 2.0 Dust Boot

My questions:

  1. Do you see any room where I could squeeze costs or swap items to achieve my goals? For example: could I get away without the Endmill Starter Pack, Workholidng Kit, and BitSetter for now and use that to get an XXL instead?
  2. If I were to get an XXL instead, does this unit suffer from any issues like sagging over time rendering the machine overtly difficult to maintain accuracy?
  3. Otherwise, do I seem to be on the right track with what Im looking at to achieve the goals Ive set?

Thanks in advance to anyone who is kind enough to help.

Welcome to the group.

Check this out, it may help.

Why do you want an XXL over an XL?

My recommendations for selecting size:

  • if working on sheet goods, or doing tiling get an XXL
  • if working on boards, get an XL
  • if working on smaller parts, get a standard size

Note that the base machine:

includes:

so you can definitely manage w/o the Get a Grip Workholding Kit.

A bigger question — are you getting the Hybrid T-track? Unless you have a specific plan for workholding which doesn’t involve it, I’d definitely get it.

The sagging which the SO3 XXL suffered was a result of the (thin) MDF baseplate, and is completely addressed by the Hybrid T-track.

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I agree with Will on sizing. I have the Pro and have not utilized the full bed. Only a few times.

It is nice to have and I will get to the point that I use it. But not right now. I may want to upgrade when I get to that point.

Hey @meatballx, please send us an email over at sales@carbide3d.com and we’d be happy to see what we can do for you.

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I highly recommend the Bit Zero.

I would recommend you the bitsetter over the bit zero, trust me. I do detailed carvings and the bitsetter in invaluable, I don’t feel worth it to purchase the bit zero. You should also take a moment to see what kind of bits do you need in order to create the pieces you want to do.

Which one gets depends on what sort of work one is doing and how one approaches it:

  • BitSetter — get this if doing parts which require multiple tools
  • BitZero — get this if one needs to set origin relative to rectangular stock or flat surfaces
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If you have the space, I would not hesitate to get the XXL. The cost difference is not that great. The additional cutting space will allow you to cut multiple small trays, cutouts, etc at one time, in addition to cutting larger single items. If you are producing multiples this will save you significant time by reducing the time spent mounting, clamping, zeroing etc. I have a ‘bitzero thing’ from another manufacturer. It works well but once I started using the paper method to zero tools, I quit using it. I don’t consider it necessary unless I require precise tolerances and that is not often for me with wood.

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I would like to learn how you do multiple units on one cut. Currently using multiple pieces on the bed. Can do multiple cuts on one sheet.

You are doing what I meant; cutting multiples from one sheet but starting the machine once. Not cutting multiples with one cut as in stacking thin material four layers high and through cutting.

I also do multiple pieces. Example: I have made a crude jig of MDF strips mounted to my wasteboard that allows me to clamp three, 48 inch cedar 1x6s and one 36 inch cedar 1x10. I can start the machine and cut three blue bird houses. (This is on an expanded SO3).

Or with two sided cuts, half of the bed is a jig for four side A’s, half is a jig for four side B’s.

  • Start by mounting material and cutting the side A’s.
  • Flip the piece to the jig for side B. Mount new material for four more side A’s. Cut all.
  • Take the completed pieces off. Flip the piece with side A done to the jig for side B. Mount new material for four more side A’s. Cut all. etc.

Another benefit of more space, is I may start one project on a section of the bed and then leave it mounted while I set up or finish another project on another section of the bed. Then come back a week later and complete the first project.

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Great info.
I can visualize that.

Thank you