So frustrated thinking about selling

I’m so frustrated with this machine. Why doesn’t shapeoko have hands on learning in a classroom? I’ve tried and tried the tutorials online still don’t understand. Any Michigan people willing to teach an old man and get me up and running willing to pay if you like.


Please let us know a project or file or task which you are having difficulty with and we will gladly work up a step-by-step tutorial.


Don’t give up! CNC machining has a very steep learning curve but it can be conquered. It took me 6 months of evenings and weekends to feel somewhat comfortable using my Shapeoko 3. It then took another few months for me to be confident in using it. I still learn new stuff through experience all the time while I am using it.

I can’t help you with any hands on stuff but I can answer questions and point you to an excellent E-book that goes over all the fundamentals on these machines:

As for why there aren’t any hands on classes, I can’t speak for Carbide 3D but I have considered holding classes like you suggest but it was prohibitively expensive to setup and run effectively. It would have been way too costly for students if I were to try and make money doing it. I can’t imagine trying to setup a nationwide network of classrooms and teachers while trying to stay out of the negative. The liability for a business involved with having a bunch of inexperienced people around a CNC router is immense and therefore the insurance is very expensive.

Post any specific issues you are having or projects you are trying to do with your questions. There are lots of people here that can help.

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Thank you for the reply I’ve tried the online tutorials and help thru emails it just doesn’t work for me. I have had my xxl for almost 8 months now and I have done the nights and weekends to the point my wife was getting mad because I was neglecting the household chores.i need im a hands on learning type a couple hours of that and im good to go. But at this point I’m ready to throw in the towel and give up.

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I don’t see that you’ve made a support request which has resulted in a custom tutorial.

Please provide an example of a task or project which you are having difficulty with and we will do our best to assist.


I recommend support avenue (they are great!), but also I think the facebook group had a map of people with machines? That might be worth checking out. Let me see if I can dig it up.
Edit: Found it!

Looks like more are in the oven mitt than the other part, so you may be in for a bit of a drive depending.
Also I know online/video learning can be challenging. I tried to do a few virtual classes at my makerspace for the CNC, but invariably had more requests for in person.


Thank you so much for the information.

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I’m still on that steep learning curve, trying to conquer basic skills before moving on to the next set of skills - and this forum, YouTube and reading guidance documents are the way to go - for me, anyway.

If you bought the machine with an idea of what you wanted to do, start there. If you’ve found your original plan has turned out to be complex/complicated, my advice would be to look at YouTube and search for something like this, and follow John’s steps (not his mistakes!) and then transpose these skills to do your own designs.

After that, chose something else (I’m now looking at inlays) and you will soon be able to combine these skills and learn as you go.

Good luck.



I understand your frustration, but it’s incredibly important that you provide us details with what it is that you’re trying to accomplish.

This is a great group of folks that can help you, even if you think you require hands on learning, to accomplish your goals.

What kind of project are you looking to make?

Have you completed any projects yet?

Can you take a piece of wood, clamp it down, and cut out a square? What about a circle?

It’s important for us to figure out how far along you are in your journey.

You say:

I’ve tried and tried the tutorials online still don’t understand

Where do you usually get stuck?

Is it in the design phase with something like Carbide Create? or another drawing program?

Is it in the production phase with something like Carbide Motion, and actually running the machine?


Thoughts from a novice CNC Old Guy.
I purchased my Shapeoko XL March of 2020

I took the more difficult path and jumped in head first (and sank to the bottom). I can now make a few things but it was and continues to be a
frustrating / rewarding journey.

In hindsight I think the following approach would have been beneficial and reduced the stress level a little bit.

Identify what your goals were when you purchased the Shapeoko
Mine was to challenge my old brain cell
i did not give myself a time frame to become competent with this system - I allowed myself to walk away from it and do other things
For me this machine is a hobby

What skills are you bringing to this challenge
Computer - Operating systems - Apple or Windows or is this your first foray into the world of computers
Software - do you have experience with any drawing programs or nothing since stick people in 2nd grade with crayons
Any machining background

CNC in simplistic terms is CAD (drawing), Tool paths (tool selection, Feeds & Speeds), CAM (the actual machining including material prep, clamping, setting X,Y &Z values)

I would suggest breaking these down into component pieces as much as possible
This means not producing a finished product that takes all the above steps to complete

The best advice I found was on a tutorial for another drawing program - Sketchup - in which step ONE was to use the mouse correctly. - Sometimes it is the simple stuff

Learn to use CAD - ie. Carbide Create
Download this free e-book - Shapeoko CNC A to Z - download here
Shapeoko CNC A to Z
Practice drawing each of the shapes then manipulating them with the various tools
IMPORTANT - don’t draw anything in particular - practice doodling
Get familiar with what the icons do and what the colors mean
Learn the difference between an open and a closed vector
Zooming in on your doodling can help clarify what you are doing
Learn the options in the drop down menus and how to navigate them
Learn what the mouse buttons / scroll wheel do and how to use them effectively
Learn keyboard shortcuts - ie. Ctrl A and Ctrl Z are very useful
Learn how to Group and UnGroup

A useful feature that I did not ‘discover’ for months is it makes a difference the direction you draw a selection box around elements
Upper left to lower right or lower right to upper left

Another feature I did not ‘discover’ for months is that when you undo a Boolean operation if you run it again the order of operation is reversed.
This drove me nuts but fortunately there was no noticeable behavioral change

Make a plotter / pen fixture and learn tool paths to draw with a Sharpie
Advantage - no cutter and the associated Feed & Speeds involved
You still need to set X, Y & Z co-ordinates (disable the bitsetter)

Learn to set X, Y & Z values manually - this will add to the appreciation (or lack of) for these accessories and also understand what they are doing


Actually, for Boolean Subtraction that’s an important feature — since the result is dependent on which is the key object, that toggling allows one to immediately re-do the operation with a different result, presumably the desired one if one just undid what was just done.

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I agree that is an important feature for Boolean subtraction - IF you are aware of it. If you are not aware then you make the change which brings it back to what you did the first time. And around and around which did not help my mental state which is a bit fragile to begin with :slight_smile:


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nearly made me laugh out loud when I read that. :face_with_hand_over_mouth:

That part of boolean had me pi$$ed off to no end, and I easily added it to a group of failures (as I saw it at the time)…
Showed it to my wife saying “even this is confusing”… until I realized it does it in a repeating pattern and actually gives double the options for the operation…a benefit actually, and obviously by design.


I am completely on your side. I was finally able to find someone that showed me in person. That was all I needed. And your right they need a hands on classroom I would have gone and saved me 3 months of grief and frustration. Everyone here is nice and tries to help but Im a retired fireman… I kick doors not program for NASA. But Im not giving up. LOL I stepped away for a week or so.LOL
I found my teacher on facebook. Just put it out there on FB. I bet someone is in your town. good luck. Joel.

As soon as I get my machine I will be making videos on assembly and first runs. I would be happy to help with questions and create videos to try and answer your particular problems.
I live in Indiana, We may be able to video chat as well.
Still waiting on the Pro XXL to be available.
You will most likely get other help prior to my getting a machine.


Hah! Me too :+1:

What fun we had, kicking all those doors :rofl:

Bout time another fireman shows up in here!
Seriously. Get on FaceBook or some other social media and find a Shapoko Group that you can go to or come to you and show you in person. It made all the difference to me.
If Shapeoko had a in person class in a different state, Id go and not think twice about it.
I promised myself If I could ever assist a newer user in person, I would. My guy was a life saver. Just getting to make a few small jobs kickstarted my desire to get back on this. Corpus Christi Fire and Rescue here. If you ever need a pep talk or someone to talk you down.LOL shout brother.


I appreciate the info but do you know how to get intouch with them?

You will need a Facebook account and to be accepted to the unofficial group to see that post.

I’m in the shapeoko group on fb.