Question about 3 XXL enclosure

Hello. I’ve had a 3 XXL for nearly 18 months and never had time to set it up. I finally have some time and want to build a stand/enclosure for it. Can someone help with recommended dimensions? I’m looking for feedback so I don’t “learn by mistake” and wish later I’d made it taller, or wider, or whatever. Also, any additional tips on this topic would be greatly appreciated.

Footprint of the XXL + a minimum of 5" margin on the left, right, and back side, and 8" margin on the front (remember the dust shoe will stick out the front when the router is at the travel limit in the front)

Height: as tall as you can make it. My rule is that you should be able to sit cross-legged on the table where your Shapeoko will be, and not bump your head on the enclosure ceiling.

Decide whether you need to make it soundproof or not, it impacts the enclosure design a lot.

You may need an opening in the back to support tiling jobs.

Browse the many enclosure-related threads here for inspiration too.


Sorry, a bit unrelated to Thomas’ question but maybe this would help in your decision as well Thomas.

I just purchased a new machine and was wondering if I would be okay using the CNC on the floor when I first received it? Like Thomas, I would like to build an enclosure, but I would like to start using the machine first to get a better sense of the design I’d like to go with.

I tried searching this forum as well as other forums online but have not seen anyone talking about this.


We recommend against this — it’s awkward, and there’s a potential for injury or damage to the machine when relocating it onto a table — that said, I’ve done it, and I’m telling you do as I say, don’t do as I do (your back will thank you).


That makes sense, thank you for the reply! I will make sure to have a look at everyone’s design builds and get a table/enclosure ready before my order arrives.

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The most expedient thing to do is to get a pair of matching tables or workbenches and bolt them together and if necessary, to put a sheet of MDF or Baltic Birch on them to support the machine. I like to put a sheet of foam underneath to machine to dampen vibrations and deaden noise, but it’s not necessary.


Just curious what the height recommendation is for??? Is it for venting, so you can work inside of it, or something else?

It’s a mix of things:

  • you want to be able to lean into the enclosure, for clean-up/maintenance (or just reaching the back of the work area).
  • margin for add-ons (the most popular of which is certainly a water-cooled spindle, which is taller than a trim router and has water tubes extending upwards
  • margin for top lighting
  • ways to suspend things from the enclosure ceiling with leeway. Typically, a dust hose likes to come “from the top” to reach the four corners of the work area without too much drooping/bending of the hose.

but basically it’s feedback from someone who rebuilt their enclosure four times (d’oh), each time higher than previously.
That said, to each their own, the perfect enclosure is one designed based on one’s specific constraints and habits (which is probably why it takes a few tries to get it right, the only way to know if it’s right is to use it for a while)


Mine is for an xxl with the old belt drive z still. I built it out of 4x4 for the legs and 1x3 for the frame. Size for the enclosure part is 48inx48inx24in. Mainly because I bought pre cut plywood panels because I didn’t have a truck to haul whole sheets of plywood.

For me it works but I’m just on the hobby and occassional use side of the cnc world so did not want to spend a lot of money on an enclosure.

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Thomas, I decided not to do an enclosure. I found a great way to connect a small 5hp vacuum to the machine so my dust is nearly there. I guess I’m in a garage so I don’t worry about it too much. But, if your suction system is awesome you could save money by not doing an enclosure. Thanks.

Thanks Adam. I also need the enclosure for sound reduction. A couple years ago, I was renovating my house and move my office above my shop. I liked it so well that I decided to keep the office there. I’m concerned the noise will become unbearable after a while.

There is a great (long) message thread called the “Enclosure Zoo”. Lots a great ideas, and it’s a good way to see how things fit in various sizes.

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Thomas. Yeah, that could get loud. I found with mine that it’s the vacuum that’s the loudest. With just the router, I cannot really hear it inside the house. My space too is below my bedrooms. If it were me I’d figure out how to make the vacuum more quiet. Hmmm, now you’ve got me thinking on how I can do this for my machine. Finally, sometimes I just run it with the vacuum and then clean up afterwards, depends on my mood I guess. Let me know what you do, would like to see if you build something. Thanks

Something you might want to consider is the ability to mount workpieces vertically on the front of the machine for doing joinery and tenons and other work on vertical pieces.

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