Newbie advice please

Hi, i have been researching for the past ten months ways i can improve my woodworking projects and make them stand out from the crowd. I am ready to purchase a cnc router system. I feel confident that the shapeoko system xxl and carbide software will meet my needs .the quality of the cnc and the software support i have been reading helps me make this choice.
Here is what my research influenced me to considering to purchase.
The shapeoko xxl
The dewalt router
The endurance 10 watt laser
Dewalt 1/4-1/8” collett adapter
The suckit dust boot

My question is what items might i be missing or should i reconsider any of these choices.
I realize there will be a long learning curve before i can fully take advantage of this configuration.

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Unless you have a particular affinity for the Dewalt router, I would suggest the Makita as it seems much more reliable and it has a greater speed range.


I’m afraid that we’ve shifted from the DeWalt as an option you can include to DeWalt as 3rd party option one must source oneself. The stock mount is 69mm though and fits the DeWalt, so as long as you can pick one up you’re fine.

Rather than a 1/4"–1/8" adapter I’d recommend a precision collet (or a pair of them):

Other things:

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I agree with Luc on the Makita router. I bought the Dewalt at first and then a year later switched the Makita and wish I would have sooner on the quieter sound alone.

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I’m wishing I went to a water cooled spindle. I really only need 800W or 1.5KW power level but I really want the ER20 collets on the 2.2KW spindle to use 1/2" shank bits. Kind of wish there were a ER20 version of the 1.5KW spindle available.

Maybe but as a beginner, you can learn from your mistake with an less expensive option and you can still make great work without spending a fortune. If the Makita routers have enough power and reliability for @Vince.Fab (albeit he just bought himself a spindle), I’m sure most of us will do fine without spending that kind of money because you would probably need an HDZ to take full advantage of it too which is also an expensive upgrade.


Yeah, the Makita is pretty close to exactly what’s wanted. Wish list:

  • brushless motor which doesn’t need a battery or bodge to connect a power supply
  • grounded 3 prong cord — I think grounding through the dust collection is probably simpler, but worry about it from a safety aspect
  • narrower diameter — unfortunately that reduces the overhang cutting area — it would be nice to have mounting options to address this (folks who don’t need the overhang can use one mount, folks who want it can use one which pushes the unit out as far as is needed)
  • larger collets — note that a 3/8" collet is available from Makita, and 3rd party options go up to 8mm (has anyone found any esp. useful 8mm endmills?) or a standard ER option
  • easily wired in spindle control

and I’d at least like to stick w/ a 110V power source

Just a note, the regular Makita RT700/701 is not brushless, only the battery powered one is brushless and you also need a power adaptor @Griff uses that setup but I think we calculated that the available power was a bit less. Fortunately, from the posts here and on other forums, it seems that the Makita brushes last a lot longer than the Dewalt.

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My $.02:
Too start -
Makita (brushed/corded). The C3D router is a plain wrap Makita as I understand it.
Appropriate collet adapters
Suck it, just don’t install it until you get the hang of running jobs. It’s pretty easy to crash it into fixtures, clamps, workpiece. I ruined my Gen1SuckIt the third time I used it.
I’d suggest holding off on the laser. Learn to use the XXL first.

Have fun, whatever you decide!


A lot of good advice here. I’ll second what @Griff said about the laser, I’d hold off as it just adds another dimension to get your head around while still learning the basic machine. One more thing on the laser, are you planning on cutting or just engraving/marking? Reason I ask is if you’re trying to cut, it’s totally possible (I’ve done a fair bit with my 7 watt), but it’s incredibly slow. It’s very tempting when you look at the crazy prices of CO2 lasers with even 1/2 the bed size as the XXL, that was my thought when I bought mine. For what it’s worth I just ordered a 50 watt CO2 laser to do my cutting and I’ll keep the XXL with diode for marking and engraving larger pieces. Just food for thought.


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I’m big on getting everything set up first, then expanding + upgrading later. This is what I’d go for:

  • Selection of endmills: #201, #102, #302, #202 - you can start with cheap ones, but the Carbide3d ones are good quality and priced well

  • Dust deputy cyclone separator - see here, this will take 95% of the dust particles out before they hit your vacuum - after 2 years i’m still on my first Vac bag

  • Shopvac or similar. I use a festool CT midi and though a little pricey it’s got a HEPA filter, very quiet and powerful.

  • Threaded inserts so you can make Ben Myers Wasteboard and Fence + Clamps

  • Sturdy bench for your router, See this forum post if noise will be an issue for family/neighbours, go for an enclosure

  • I’d just get the Carbide3d router or makita if it were me. cheap and reliable. I bought two makitas and use one as a handheld router, nice and light and powerful enough for most stuff that comes off the machine.

  • Ensure you have some way to cut stock up to make things on the machine. Whether it’s a circular saw, tracksaw or table saw. Make it easy on yourself. This depends a lot on what you’ve already got - sounds like you already have some woodworking tools

My parting words: be prepared to get frustrated while getting your head around the CNC process. it takes some time to get it worked out, but once you start to understand it all and get your process sorted it is insanely rewarding! Also ask here for help, the community is great here


I have both the Dust Deputy andthe Duststopper and IMO, I think the Duststopper works better than the Dust Deputy. It is cheaper, fits on the bucket without modifications, has a lower profile and in fact the dust collection is better. I understand that YMMV but I thought I would chime-in with my experience.


The big advantage for the Oneida Ultimate Dust Deputy is that it’s an all-in-one unit — I had a homemade cyclone bucket paired with an inexpensive shop vac and the nuisance of dealing with the two pieces all the time was a huge motivation in picking up a Festool CT Midi paired w/ the Oneida unit.

I must be doing something wrong, I’ve been using the DeWalt and I think it’s been great. Couple of precision collets, suckit and a 7.5 watt Jtech and I have been having a ball. As far as noise I find my dust collector to be noisier than my router. My .02.


Thanks all for excellent advice.

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