Shapeoko 4 on the horizon?

(Todd Malenke) #1

Well I’m fairly new to this forum and without Shapeoko. For that reason I’ve been more of a lurker.

I’ve been looking at various CNC routers for quite awhile now and am leaning toward the Shapeoko vs other brands. BUT, from what I’m seeing is that many people aren’t satisfied with the V-rollers, belts, Z-axis, and router.

My question is:
Are there plans to offer a Shapeoko 4 or 3+ or SuperDuper version sometime soon? It would include Water Cooled Spindle, Linear Rails, Heavy Duty Z axis ( possibly more z-travel ), integrated homing/end-of travel proxes, helical rack drive ( x,y ), optional Tool Changer, etc…

As I’m getting to ready to write a check, I would hate to purchase the 3xxl only to find out that in 2 months later the SuperDuper version is ready to be released. I would rather have an OEM kit with components that are designed and integrated into one package.



(Neil Ferreri) #2

I don’t know that you’ll get an answer to that, but I can tell you that, if your wish list for the “SuperDuper” version is met, your check will be written with a much bigger number on it.
They have stated recently, however, that they are committed to hardware.

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(Todd Malenke) #3

I’m assuming that the amount would be significantly more… I’m just thinking that it would be nice to have options for a heavier duty machine.

As I’ve noted, I like the Shapeoko and will probably be purchasing in about 6 months or so.

Take Care

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(Neil Ferreri) #4

Sorry, I know my answer wasn’t helpful in any way. If it makes you feel better about your choice, I just drove a 1.25" endmill at 5000mm/min into a poorly placed 1-2-3 block. :grimacing: There were sparks, but the SO3XL (with HDZ) didn’t skip a beat. No lost steps. Went back to facing my piece of cedar without issue.
Made me decide to call it a night, though. (also kinda want to cut some steel now)


(Mad Hatter) #5

Since I only cut wood and I am afraid of doing that exact thing, I printed eight 1-2-3 blocks out of white PLA. I have 6 or so steel ones as well, but the ones near the tool path will be PLA.


(Neil Ferreri) #6

My blocks had no reason to be where they were, and they were nowhere near the toolpath. I just didn’t double check that what I typed with my tiny wireless keyboard was what I wanted.
Good reminder not to become complacent.

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(Vince) #7

Carbide 3d recently took over production and sales of a software supported ballscrew Z with linear rails and 2x travel. There are mutiple watercooled spindles that are direct bolt ons without mods.

The touch probe are pretty good and there are other g code senders that have more complicated probing macros available.


(Dan Nelson) #8

Oh, it’ll cut steel just fine, even when you’re not trying. Ran my XXL with totally stock drive system, belts, wheels, Z axis, C3D 1/4” flat end mill and all through one of my steel dowel pins that I use for positioning. Turns out same thing happens when you hit a 6061 aluminum clamp while cutting walnut, It’s just like a honey badger, it didn’t care that it wasn’t cutting walnut anymore, it doesn’t give a …!



(Graham Gerhardt) #9

I wouldn’t wait for the next big thing. Just buy an S3 now. The units are upgradeable (how much depends on how serious you are). Plus you can spread your upgrade purchases over a longer period of time making it easier on your wallet.

The S03 is fantastic value - adding everything that you mentioned would double, triple or quadruple the price. Fine perhaps if you are a business, less so for the average joe.

So my advice - jump in, and then figure out what upgrades (if any) you need once you’ve tackled a few projects.


(Vince) #10

Did someone say steel…

1D adaptive testing on 1018 cold rolled tonight


(Julien Heyman) #11

Hi Todd,

One thing you might want to take into consideration, is that there is a horde of people with stock shapeokos that happily cut things on their machine but do not post here (because they are too busy cutting, and/or that they have no reason to post).

There is also the effect of upgrade lust, pushing many to upgrade just because it’s fun/rewarding, not because they actually need it (I’m guilty as charged myself)

The Z-axis is admittedly a possible weakness point, yet with proper belt tensioning and plungerates it will get the job done. I used the stock Z-axis for nearly two years with no real issues, until the aforementioned upgrade lust kicked in.

The V-wheels you can upgrade for heavy duty ones, cheap enough. But unless you are pushing the machine really hard, I doubt you would need to.

The router is very capable, it’s just LOUD, which may or may not be a problem depending on your operating environment.

Belts, check out what Vince can do with a machine that still has them, you’ll be convinced that they are not a problem, at all.

If you’re new to CNC, then getting a stock Shapeoko and later upgrading it incrementally or moving on to a SuperDuper all-rails CNC, sounds like a sensible thing to do. You can afford mistakes on a Shapeoko, it is VERY hard to damage it such that repairs are costly (high five to cheap belts and V-wheels)


(Luke (Carbide 3D)) #12

I will try to add some insight here.

Here at Carbide 3d we are continuously looking at ways to improve and build on the Shapeoko, I can’t count the amount of tiny revisions the Shapeoko has seen over the years. At the same time we want it to to be affordable.

Whilst many folk will see linear rails and ball screws being the ‘ultimate’ CNC - thats not always the case, linear rails are expensive, harder maintain and not for the average user. For most people it’s total overkill. If we were to roll out a full ball screw linear slide shapeoko it would not be a shapeoko, nor would it retail at under $2000.

The machine you describe in XXL size would cost well over 10k, and even then likely be a budget Chinese import with FOB shipping and little to no support. Whilst I’m ambitious, I don’t think we can make that happen for the price of an XL…

The shapeoko even without mods is able to cut aluminium, wood, stones, plastics when setup and dialed in. We have recently added the HDZ to the store for those people who want to push their machines further and harder and/or add a water cooled spindle (something I personally like). With that said the majority of our users use their machines totally stock.

I hope that helps or offers some kind of re-assurance that the Shapeoko is the right machine for you.



(Todd Malenke) #13

Wow… What a great bunch of responses. Way to make a guy feel welcome guys… Thanks.

As I’ve noted in my first note, I believe that the Shapeoko is the machine for me and is what I’m planning to purchase.

From the responses I’m hearing, just beginning with the stock XXL unit ( probably with the HDZ ) is the way I’ll be starting. I tend to overthink things. I’m of a mind that if I’m purchasing a tool, I never buy the cheapest as I believe you get what you pay for… I’d rather spend a bit more and get something that will last when I push it.

Thanks again everyone.
Todd ( Future Shapeoko Owner )


(mikep) #14

What you might be seeing as “aren’t satisfied” is really a bunch of tinkerers. I don’t think anyone here has truly found the stock machine “wanting” - it’s just upgradable, and some of us like to do such things. I think about the only person here who has really, truly, without question, needed something beefier might be Vince, and he’s built quite a business around it (but we like him anyway!).

What you should have found while out looking at other brands:

  1. They pretty much all use the same belts - often narrower
  2. The pretty much all use the same v-wheels
  3. Some use a leadscrew Z, some use a belt Z
  4. Almost all use simple switches, a few use proximity switches.
  5. Nobody else has a structure so stiff, and that’s a big deal (if you found one in this price class, I’d love to know)

I don’t think very many here actually change anything in the structure of the machine, pretty universally (except for vince…because he’s totally over the top) using a pretty stock structure of extrusions and frames. It’s got great bones.

Of all the machines in its price class, Shapeoko 3 seems to be just about optimal. You want bigger, you end up in 4x8 flatbed type machines that are intended for more industrial use (for a lot more money). You want fancier spindles (ignoring the upgrades to water cooled ones that cost significantly more than the $100 router), you pretty much end up in low end machining centers (for a lot more money, and they don’t have as large a work envelope). I thought I would find “short” Z travel a problem…but it’s honestly never been an issue like I thought it would be for me.

If this is your first machine, and it sounds like it, it’s a fantastic machine to learn the whole process on before dropping a lot more money for the next step up. Make no mistake, there is a learning curve, and it’s a little steep. The Nomad is a somewhat different machine - it’s more precise, it’s easier to set up, but it doesn’t have the power, and it doesn’t have the work envelope that the shapeoko does - it has a different mission.

If carbide were to come out with an all ballscrew machine…I’d be tempted. but it would probably cost quite a bit more. Not because I need to though :slight_smile:


(Michael Hoffman) #15

The thing that sold me on the shapeoko was an independent YouTube video someone made comparing it to the xcarve, and the biggest difference I saw personally was the cut speed on the shapeoko looked to be a lot faster. Doing primarily a lot of large 3d cutting, that made my decision. Have been very happy with the purchase.


(Arjan van de Ven) #16

having been through a large learning exercise (got my 3XL around Christmas) and very recently upgraded to HDZ…

I would suggest waiting at least a month or two before going to a HDZ. You will have mistakes and accidents etc in the beginning, and the normal Z axis has a very simple failure mode that, yes, is the weakest point but that is a GOOD thing. THe belt will come off, you open it, fix it and are back in business.

the HDZ is MUCH stronger, so the weakest point in the machine is then something else that then gives… beause something HAS to give in the end. As you get more experience you’ll have far fewer issues (I’m down to much less, ah hem) and then you’ll also be more likely to appreciate the HDZ


(Luc) #17

Like most of use here, I agree that the Shapeoko is a better machine than others in the same price category and has service to back it up but… I saw the same video you are referring here and you should know that while it completed the task faster, it could have been for many other reasons like the progammable feed and speed settings and the size of the task that may have been somewhat different and this was not shown in the comparison. All this being said, I still think that the overall rigidity of the Shapeoko makes it possible to push the machine faster than the competition.


(William Adams (Carbide 3D)) #18

We have an official page on the Shapeoko vs. X-Carve comparison here:

As @MrBeaver noted, we’re in this for the long haul, and we’ve tried to make the Shapeoko 3 the best machine for a new user it can possibly be at its pricepoint (for that latter, see: ) — we’ve made a lot of improvements since the SO3 was initially launched:

  • Z-axis spindle carriage plate with bends
  • 9mm belts
  • M5 belt anchors with PEM nuts
  • added PEM nuts in strategic locations to reduce parts count and simplify (speed) assembly
  • homing switch kit made standard and switched to all metric parts to standardize tools needed
  • electronics enclosure upgraded to first a single piece of folded sheet metal, then to the new two-part housing:

I don’t know that better can be done at the current price point — physics are against us.

The big thing is that we’re in this for the long haul — if there is a big announcement, we’ll carefully balance the “Osborne Effect” against the need for folks to have the information which they need to comfortably make what is for many folks, a really big purchase.

If you have any specific concerns, it would be best to send them in to and we’ll do our best to get you an official corporate response — @MrBeaver’s might qualify at that, but I’m just the low-level wonk who occasionally answers support e-mails and every so often finds time to work on documentation.


(Pete) #19

“would suggest waiting at least a month or two before going to a HDZ“. Wise words. I got my XL and ordered a CNC4Newbie Z and a few other upgrades at the same time, trying to build the machine in its upgraded config from new. Being unfamiliar with the machine, I got bogged down in trying to reconcile all the incompatible aftermarket parts with only a handful of photos to go by and a dremel tool, and I spent a year walking past it in pieces knowing it’d become a much bigger project than I had time to figure out. A better bet is to just follow the instructions, build it in a weekend, use it, learn it, then start tinkering and troubleshooting each upgrade at a time.


(Stuart) #20

There was a moment, about a year in to owning my shapeoko3, where I rapid fed it through hardwood and an aluminium clamp, and it cut cleanly the whole way. This is where I realised that these machines are really quite rigid. People write off V-wheels and belts, but the reality is that this is not an industrial machine, and ballscrews and rails are simply not required for what the majority of people use them for.

You see a lot of videos of people running at incredibly slow feedrates, this is generally because they’re learning, once you start to push the machine, you realise it can run very fast through timber, not to the level of an industrial machine, but significantly more than the X-carve or cheaper chinese 6090 machines in the same pricerange. Plenty of guys on here have proven that it’s more than capable in metals too.

If you’re new to CNC you will get frustrated during the learning process (I certainly did!), but you will never regret picking the shapeoko3 over the other options available.