Shapeoko XL - first steps on ABS/HDPE

Hi Everyone,
My name is Eve, I’m from Israel, and i’ve got my new Shapeoko XL.
I’m new in CNC world, previously i worked with Gravograph and Interlab Robotics (Meistegram) software.
I need the Shapeoko for ABS/HDPE engraving for making a signs on 2.5 mm plate.

I’m looking for someone who works in that industry who can advise me about which software or end mills are good for that, based on your own experience.

Thanks !!!



Hi Eve,

I think it would be helpful if you could post here a picture of an example sign that you would like to make, then people here will be able to give you better advice.

If you are just starting with the Shapeoko, you should start with Carbide Create software (you probably already downloaded it as it is the natural companion software for the Shapeoko?), it probably has all the basic capabilities you need to get started and experiment with cutting ABS/HDPE sheets.

Most of the time you will want to carve features following a given design/shape/logo, and then cut the outline of the part. For this, the best to cut plastics are “O-flute” (single flute) endmills, and using appropriate router speed and feedrate in the software to get a nice clean cut. Depending on the dimensions of your signs and how intricate the design is, you will need larger or smaller endmills. For sure you will need at least a 1/4" and a 1/8" one, these are by far the most common ones.

Check out those threads for examples of plastic signs:

People also use drag bits for engrave the surface of transparent plastics, like this:


To expand on @Julien’s excellent answer, I will note that we have a standing offer — if you get stuck on a file or project, send it in to us at and we will do our best to help you work through it — many of the tutorials which are available are the result of such requests.

For the design aspect, you may find the following links of interest:

— obsolete with CC’s new corner options, but a useful tutorial on Boolean operations or doing this to imported or drawn objects

— very basic tutorial on drawing with the curve tool — also see:


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