[Newbie] Just bought a XXL Shapeoko 3...now what?

Hey all,

I just bit the bullet and purchased a XXL Shapeoko 3 and I’m quite excited to get to playing around with it. It comes next Monday. I am new CNCing but have used 2D and 3D software for decades (Illustrator, Photoshop, Maya, RealFlow, AutoCAD, etc). I have been researching CNCing daily for months and feel I have decent expectations. I have purchased some extra endmills

First, I’m posting to introduce myself to the community (one that seems VERY supportive and informative) and also ask a few questions.

What should I expect as a new creator?
What big hurdles should I expect in building the Shapeoko? Creating my first piece?
What kind/size table should I build beforehand?
How long does it take to start creating something with a decent output?
How long does learning new software take? (I’m leaning towards Fusion 360 right now…and been working in it a few times.)
What other projects should I expect to spend time building (dust collection, table truing, table, enclosure, added controls, a board to hold down pieces (what’s that called?))?

Thanks for any and all responses. I hope to one day be able to give back to the community.



Vacuum board, or waste board?
I just wanted to say Welcome. I have to get to work right now, but you won’t regret it!
You want a minimum of 4’ square table, and room all around, to work on it, or add longer pieces than will fit on it all at once.
@WillAdams is wonderful about taking care of us here :slight_smile:


Awesome. I see some have holes with threaded inserts and others have rails. Is there a preference? Are there any tutorials online to build these or does one just wing it?

Thanks for the response!


Above all enjoy it, the Forum is your friend, Tech support is everywhere-and every one helps helps everyone!
The Carbide3D staf is excellent. responsive, and wants you to be successful-all you have to do is give them the opportunity by asking!



You’re in luck, we’ve been working on updating our instructions and our website, and the XXL was the first out the gate. http://docs.carbide3d.com/assembly/shapeoko/xxl/ — we’re still updating the DRIP / onboarding e-mails — start looking at: http://docs.carbide3d.com/ for any broken links.

The biggest hurdle is coming up with designs and then finding the time / material to make them. Another is workholding.

The footprint on the XXL is 45"W x 40 1/2"L x 16"H — any sturdy table that size (maybe a tiny bit smaller — the leveling feet are inset somewhat) or larger (it’s nice to have room for the computer and so forth) would be fine

Since you know how to use Illustrator, you should be up and running pretty much instantly:

  • draw something in Illustrator
  • view it in outline mode — adjust any paths, convert any type to paths, ensure that there is no over-lapping or intersecting geometry, and that all path winding is correct (that last may be optional, but in my experience has been required to fix some files)
  • save as an SVG
  • open the SVG in Carbide Create
  • adjust for material and stock size, assign toolpaths, preview, then save G-code and send it to the machine (this can be direct if both Carbide Create and Carbide Motion are open) Use the feeds and speeds from: http://docs.carbide3d.com/support/supportfiles/S3_feeds_250.jpg to start — then puzzle out other endmills and materials once you have more experience

Learning Fusion 360 or any other 3D modeling software is a totally separate thing (I just dabble in OpenSCAD a bit).

Standard things to do:

The big thing is, it’s a kit, it’s your machine, it’s yours to bring to life and put to work — let us know your specific needs and we’ll do our best to help you figure out what’s right for you and your situation.


Oh yes, Fusion 360: http://docs.carbide3d.com/software-faq/fusion360/