Shapeoko vs, Nomad

Hello Al,
If I could ask a few questions,… I already own a Nomad 883 Pro(a year now) and would love to get to tackle some larger projects

  1. Does the Shapeoko have a measure tool cycle and homing cycle?
    I looked at the Pictures of the various Shapeoko configurations and did not see one of those little metal thingamajigs, that the Nomad uses to measure the tool.and home the machine
  2. How difficult is the build for Shapeoko XL or XXL?
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No it doesn’t have a tool (Z) measurement cycle (yet, that should come when the new Touch Probe is released), but measuring the Z using a piece of paper is VERY easy. Note: Each tool will (normally) require a separate program.

Yes it has a homing cycle

Pretty easy since today’s machines are shipped as sub-assembly.

In my opinion, It’s not as accurate as the Nomad out of the box, With a little adjusting, squaring, and facing of the waste board it be VERY close to the Nomad accuracy, plus it will have a 1.25 hp spindle (which is about 20 TIMES more powerful.

Hope this helps.

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The Shapeoko and Nomad are wonderfully complementary.

1 - The Shapeoko does not have a tool length measurement system — that said, there are plans/documentation for a touch plate: and Carbide 3D has one in development which will return to the top of the priority stack once a surprise project is finished.

2 - The Shapeokos are “Designed for Assembly”, and go together like a Lego kit — there’s a new version of the instructions in the works, and I’m hoping to find time to re-review the current set and work up a bit of commentary at:

The PDF version which Sparkfun uses for their kits is nicely done (for some reason, the most recent version w/ all changes isn’t being distributed), and it should be reassuring, since it provides a detailed look at all the parts, while the current Carbide 3D machines come as in pre-assembled components.

If you have any questions or difficulties with the assembly, we’ll do our best to help.

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I own both a Nomad Pro and a Shapeoko XXL.

I and some other owners use a third party touchplate called Triquetra on the Shapeoko. Carbide Motion doesn’t play especially well with “standard” touchplates, so I typically use UGS for machine control on the XXL. There are a lot of great GRBL machine control options, many of them free.

I am sure the C3D touch plate product will be great when it launches (C3D is a great little company); but the point is that if touchplate functionality is important to you, you don’t have to wait.

My own experience of Nomad vs Shapeoko is that with Nomad, I just started making stuff and basically still do. With Shapeoko XXL it was and still is a process. I didn’t know or need to know the first thing about GRBL when I just owned the Nomad, whereas the Shapeoko more or less required me to learn more about how the sausage is made. I just this week refactored my workholding/wasteboard and my dust collection setup on the XXL. But part of that is the XXL’s capabilities – for example I am setting up to do edge joinery since the spindle overhangs the front of the machine by a few inches, a very cool feature. But another part is putting wasteboard only within the machinable area so it can be surfaced for flatness. And Shapeoko produces a LOT more dust than Nomad. Nomad sits in my office; the XXL is in the workshop in the basement.

If you are like me you will love them both. But they are (or at least were for me) quite different experiences when you are new to CNC.


@RichCournoyer Pretty much has the answers - no tool measuring (yet) and does have homing. Took me about 2 hours to build up my SO (I don’t think the directions are a poor as others apparently do) I’ve got both, an 883 Pro and a SO3 XL - having the background with the Nomad probably helped. It is a little fussy to get set up and “dialed in” to square, flat, and accurate. For me, that’s part of the fun. It does have a little more maintenance to do than the Nomad (tweak, measure, tweak again).


Thank you all that answered

Hey Will,

I just assembled my ShapeOko 3 this weekend and would be willing
to provide feedback / experience from my perspective – an engineer
who spent a good bit of his career building and releasing products. I
am not intending to do any sort of flame of the product or doc set but
do have some observations if you are interested.

For the record, big fan of what you and the team have done.


Please send any such feedback to — I’ve been sending in corrections / suggestions for a long while, but not getting any traction — there’s supposed to be a new set of directions coming out soon.

FWIW, things were slow here at work today, so I am just finishing going through all 3 sets of directions, combining them into a single InDesign document as a parallel text, and am combining the 3 versions into a single unified instruction text which can then be customized to a desired version using InDesign’s Conditional Text feature.

As I’ve noted elsewhere, I didn’t get to do any of the SO3 instructions / formal documentation — I’ve authored a couple of knowledgebase articles, and put some stuff on the wiki, but that’s been it — which I’m really bummed about, 'cause I really enjoyed doing the SO2 documentation:

but no one seems to have any interest in such anymore.

You keep taunting us with this, every time one of two Monty Python skits play in my head…and I keep delaying my plans to see what the “surprise project” is…Sorry for the detour in OP content,

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Don’t mean to taunt. Wish it were done and released, the thing which I want is the probe…

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I meant that in a funny way-with elderberrys-and was thinking of Monty Python the second time you hinted that something was taking the probes place…that tease became a fun trigger…

I am sure as the goodies come out, I will want most if not all of them!

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As an example of a fantastic online ‘live’ assembly instruction ‘manual’ - please see Prusa Research’s Original i3 MK2S Kit Assembly instructions.

These instructions are commented on by users at each step, meaning that before you commit to a ‘step’ you read the instructions and users comments which help to ensure your success.

This RepRap 3D printer is a lot more complicated then the Shapeoko, hence the need for such good instructions.