New to Shapeoko 3 XL- looking for tips/tricks

Hello All-

First off I just want to say how excited i am to join the cnc community… i am patiently waiting my arrival of my new Shapeoko 3 XL. Let’s just say i am completely new to all things CNC. Would love for you all to spam me with all your tips/tricks of what you have learned etc.

  1. Does anyone have any diy plans of enclosures? specifically for the XL?
  2. What are some things you wish you would’ve known when you first got started?
  3. Favorite go to end mill (mostly will be using for wood signs etc)
  4. What are things worth splurging over vs not?
  5. Please share anything else you would like :slight_smile:

Thank you!!

Welcome to the community! I’m only about a year in but I’m happy to share some of my insight!

  • I built a cabinet for my XL, no enclosure, but got the Suckit Boot. You will want some sort of dust collection otherwise you will have chips everywhere.
  • I recently got a precision collet was impressed with the improvement it made on flat surfaces as well as avoiding tearout
  • I made a 3/4in waste board with threaded inserts that mounts on top of the provided waste board - happy with the decision and it works well.
  • I started using primarily double sided tape to hold work-pieces, but recently became a convert to clamps. Tape is nice if you are cutting out parts entirely as you can avoid tabs, but I also found removing tabs to be a lot easier than I thought.
  • I bought Vectric VCarve Desktop. Its pricey but is really advanced and user friendly. Carbide Create has come a long way with features so for sure try that first, but if you find your self looking for more, know that is out there. For Example, Vectric makes things like V-Carve Inlays super easy, or V-Carvings with a max bottom depth.
  • The 30 Deg V-Bit has become my favorite for detailed graphics - especially for resin pours since it gives good steep walls.
  • I splurged on the touch probe (and just today bought the BitSetter. I use the probe about 30% of the time. I find sometimes with my supplementary waste-board and higher stock + the thickness of the probe, some longer bits don’t fit. It’s a luxury, but I have found the paper trick (lowering the bit until paper can not slide between bit and stock) works really well. Excited for the BitSetter as I do a lot of V-Carving with an area clearance tool (usually a 1/8 or 1/4 endmill).
  • Speeds and feeds are for sure a trial an error thing. All the calculators go a bit over my head, but I usually keep my Dewalt router somewhere between a 2 and a 3 and make minor adjustments for wood and bit diameter.
  • Instagram is my friend for inspiration and learning. I don’t hesitate to DM people and ask how did you do that or what bit did you use etc. Most people are willing to share. Feel free to follow me @bashopworks and ask me anything!

Welcome, I also built my own cabinet/enclosure but I have to finish it someday, I have too many projects on the go.

I suggest that you download and read the Shapeoko E-book prepared by @julien to learn from what users here have learned. It will answer most of your questions and some more. You can get it from this thread: Shapeoko e-book [V2 released]


Awesome thank you so much for sharing! I just gave you a follow from both my pages. I just recently got engaged and your Aubrey name sign is definitely something I looking to make for my wedding and gifts etc. I’m definitely looking forward to more inspiration from your shop page. Thanks!

Most definitely get a precision collet for the 1/8” bits. Enclosure only if you have to, it is hard to get to all 4 sides with one and you do need to… good dust removal no matter.


favorite end mills:

  • Consider downcut mills for 0.25" and 0.125"… It helps greatly in the tearout/work after the cut

for finer work I like 2mm downcut endmills (less than $20 on amazon for a set of 5); 2mm seems a sweet spot between strength (less breaks / higher speeds) and detail, below 2mm the bits get very fragile.

on top I’d add a 60 degree V bit and a 1" surfacing bit.


Do you have any issues with noise without an enclosure? This is good to know… I thought of it as a must so maybe that is something I could create once I have a good feel for the machine. What dust removal system do you use?

I have a test with my enclosure open / closed.

Was running a ridgid shop vac in its own enclosure until it died on me (lifetime warranty got a free one) now I use an acme hepa rated dust collector. Getting a hepa rated vac is a must have.


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