Shapeoko HDM questions (and answers)

The announcement thread was automatically closed so I decided to open up one here for questions related to the HDM.

Are there plans to develop an automatic tool changer for the HDM? This would be incredibly useful and help push the HDM over other products in the same price bracket.

Is the Instagram link at:

the sort of thing you’re looking for?

Thanks @WillAdams! That looks very exciting. Does the controller that ships with the HDM have the capacity to control an ATC if added in the future?

The picture appears to be a ATC spindle mocked into the mount. The HDM ships with a GRBL controller, assumedly Atmega328 running GRBL V1.1, this makes sense with respect to the machine ecosystem. I didn’t see any expanded details on it, so I am only guessing. Its called a “Warthog” controller. My guess would be no.

There is an ESP32 GRBL port, this is ATC capable ect.

You could just scrap the controller that comes with it, and invest in any number of systems to replace it. Its a fairly pricey endeavor, controller, tool holders, spindle or adapter, air system ect

Thank you @Lowbrowroyalty. Totally understand that it could be modified to work, but for the price point and the turn-key approach it’s being marketed with (and compared to other products in that price bracket), I’m interested in an OEM-backed, ready-to-go solution.

You will most likely need a different controller to run an ATC. The Vfd can run the spindle rotation portion but I don’t know if the current control board has the proper input and outputs available to control the Atc mechanics and external air solenoid valve. Perhaps such inputs can be added in the future. It will depend on how well the HDM market grows and whether or not the demand is great enough to warrant the development funding.

I’ve been looking for a suitable ATC and the pickings are kinda slim. The s30 with ceramic bearings looks nice but it weighs 26 lbs and the others are all international out side of the US. So if you have issues any returns will cost serious bank.

If ATC and turn key operation is important to you, I think you will have to look elsewhere. StepCraft seems to be the most accessible light duty CNC with full ATC. UCCNC controller.


Appreciate the insight. The StepCraft M-series is the other main product I’m weighing up right now. I love how engaged the Shapeoko community is and how openly communicative the Carbide team is. The HDM also appears to have overall superior components to it, too. I’m trying to evaluate what the long-term ownership might look like; StepCraft has a range of accessories/upgrades (ATC, 4th axis etc) that make it look attractive for expanding capability over time, but if I can get confidence about the HDM I’d rather go that route.

1 Like

@AdventureTim Have you reached out and talked to anyone at Stepcraft? I did and they were very helpful with answering all of my questions. I’ll likely be replacing my Shapeoko 3 with one of their M.700’s in the near future.

1 Like

I won’t deny, I’d love to offer a HDM with full tool changer out the box. That said to do so needs allot of work. Off the top of my head:

A full enclosure (I’d be surprised if Stepcraft can sell a ATC without it)
A different/modified controller
Some kind of air source I.e compressor
Most ATC spindle come in at around $1400 from China with no local support. A US vendor would be more with good support and life.

With all that it won’t be a cheap option.

1 Like

In the woodworking industry CNC routers are sold with wine rack style tool changers and no enclosure all the time. I don’t personally like that way of doing it because it leads to tool pickup and release problems. Dust settles on tool holders and therefore makes its way into the spindle taper and drawbar. Even if the machine has a tool air blast on pickup it still happens. Enclosed umbrella style are much better in my opinion but wine rack is very common because of how much cheaper it is to implement. Neither are cheap to begin with though.

1 Like

While not automatic, AMB/Mafell’s quick change spindles are a nice option — I have been very pleased w/ my Mafell FM 1000 WS.

1 Like

I’m not sure about that, @Luke. Stepcraft offer an enclosure but it’s not a requirement for the ATC.

The ATC is controlled from within the UCCNC software, with programmable macros controlling the tool selection workflow. It also remembers which one is already installed, so it can be put back before the next one is selected.

Yes it does need an compressed air supply, which can easily be provided by one of these, which isn’t expensive and can be used for other things, including a directional air jet at the cutter.

The Stepcraft ATC comes in at about €800, depending on the machine, but it’s German not Chinese, and can support up to 10 tools. Stepcraft support is pretty good, too.

It’s not a cheap option, but no high quality machinery would be cheap - and because the Stepcraft is modular, it will work pretty much out of the box.

Just saying.


My comments relate to what we would do.

Yeh we see this all the time - my point was not that they exist but there is a bunch of regulation around ATC units being sold and even the thickness of material they need to be behind. Health and safety etc. Haas don’t just put enclosures on their machines because it makes them look pretty and I would not sell the HDM with a ATC unless it had a full enclosure on it. If you’ve seen a tool holder pull out and fly across a room it’s understandable.

I’ve built a number of machines with UCCNC as the control software and many with the developers boards. It’s a good bit of kit. Stepcraft use their own screen-set on the top which makes it a bit more user-friendly which is a good thing because UCCNC is not a plug and play solution - It’s allot more complicated than GRBL and programming is a whole different kettle of fish.

I have one in parts on my desk - a good option for light wood workers but not what I would put on a HDM.

The HDM would need to be the q series atc which starts at $4k before you add the compressor, tool holders, rack ets.

Overall my point is we could do it, but to do it right would be expensive. I’m gonna close this one down now.


This topic was automatically closed 30 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.