So frustrated thinking about selling

Arguably, the test pieces of advancing complexity would be:


the problem is, our customers want to make wildly disparate things and have wildly varying levels of experience and expectation — we are trying to balance having enough documentation to help folks along, but not so much that folks ignore it as too much to read.

Preparing custom tutorials at need is the best balance we’ve found.


I guess you also have to consider, CNC is not for everyone. Just because someone see’s the projects completed by others and wants to do similar things, a person clicks the “Purchase” button. No practical mechanical experience, maybe not even a “Hands on” background, just the desire to create items.

I have seen issues posted here that make me wonder why some people even have a CNC.
Some have absolutely no real expectation. Just type in a few variables and hit enter and the machine goes to work…that’s not how this works. Actually, I kind of fall into the category of a person who does not want to design things, just purchase the licenses to reproduce items and click Run. But even in that realm, one does have to be able to correctly measure, design, position, secure, and choose end mills and materials.

The Shapeoko is priced low enough that most anyone who wants to try can afford to do so. The thing is, “Experience” and practical skills are not available as “add-on” packages.


When asked about this, my suggestion has always been that folks should:

  • work up a design
  • draw up the design in a suitable tool
  • import the design into a suitable CAM tool
  • select a material to cut it out of
  • research the tooling and feeds and speeds necessary to make the cut
  • assign toolpaths
  • preview

folks who are successful with that, and who find it a workable way to work up a design usually enjoy having a machine.

That said, it would be nice to be able to use a customizer to make files.

For a while there was:

as noted at:

unfortunately, the .c2d file format has changed and the tool seems to no longer work.

I wrote up a bit about such designs at:

and put up a couple of examples on Cutrocket:


and if anyone has difficulty working up a box of a particular size for a particular thickness of stock, please let us know and we’ll do our best to work things up.

Hmm, I’m not so sure about that! I may be old, but I still think of myself as NewTo This!

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There is much more to it then thet my guy. You don’t just turn it on and it cuts

@jepho your list is a great start and a lot of the videos and resources are out there but they could be compiled into a list like you have. Here is a start that I quickly put together of resources I used over the last few months as I got started. The assembly video was obviously changed to the Shapeoko 4 assembly.

Assembly of the Shapeoko 4

Yes, Will, it is because of this set of unknown variables that a formal introduction to truing the assembly is required. This is setup 101 and every user needs to know it.

Tramming your Shapeoko

Squaring, tramming, and calibration

Nick M was AMAZING at helping me out on a Skype session…but the things he had me do (looking back) were so basic (depth settings, speeds, zeroing techniques)

After setup 101, there needs to be simple profiling exercises along with DOC, WOC, spindle speed, cutter selection, feed speed,

Shapeoko Feeds and Speeds Chart

Again, if someone knows of a video summarizing this it would be awesome

origin and depth settings. This would allow the new user to draw and cut shapes of specific sizes. Square, rectangle, circle, triangle, diamond, oval.

Shapeoko First cut basics

This is a great resource but is probably too long for someone just starting out. If someone created a video to cover some of this that would be a great addition.

Tutorial Projects

The vexed issue of feeds and speeds could be handled by requesting that everyone use the provided #201 cutter to run the lessons. Just following the tool library recommendations will ensure that people achieve the expected results.

This is kind of handled by the resources above.

Work holding via painter’s tape and CA glue is easily sufficient for a start in CNC. What would a lesson be likely to look like? I envisage one for each shape to be cut in profile.

is another great video by @wmoy

This is a quick summary of lessons and could definitely be improved. I like the idea of putting together a basic course for getting started with a combination of existing videos as well as some new ones that maybe @wmoy could create. I learned so much watching his videos during my wait for my Shapeoko to arrive. When I have some more time during an evening I may try and put together a course and lesson plans for each topic. I would definitely need help with it though since I am just getting started and really don’t know what I don’t know yet.


I own one and use others, I’m simplifying a bit but I stand by my overall point that a laser cutter is a drastically simpler machine than a CNC router/mill.


With every new endeavor/skill, there is the problem of terminology.

Anyone who is confused should research that and learn the specifics of language used in the field which they are learning.

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I don’t see that any of the terminology used was obscure.

Yes, folks buying and using the machines should be selected for to be that group of folks who can read and understand the owner’s manual for the trim router and the machine and abide by and adhere to all safety guidelines as well as the checklist:

We will gladly work with anyone who wishes to learn to use the machine, providing them with any information or clarification which they ask for either here, or at, and will afford folks the chance to do their own customized didactic sequence.

Hey Will…Are you saying that there is nothing more that the company should do as far as education, documentation, etc.? What you guys have now is what you feel is all that needs to be done?

I am saying that anyone who needs any sort of assistance should write in to and we will do our best to assist.

Based on what we see there, additional content will be made as is deemed appropriate by the folks who decide that sort of thing.


I think that Carbide3D goes above an beyond what most tool manufacturers provide when it comes to education. It is honestly the main reason I selected the Shapeoko as my tool of choice. When I saw the 1 year warranty with the 30 days warranty covering my own mistakes I figured there was no one else offering anything even close. The option to email support, call or do video support as well was very enticing. Pair all of that with and sites as well as @WillAdams being so active on Reddit as well as this forum. Also the various Youtube videos from multiple providers but mostly @wmoy you can’t get much better support. I have seen multiple instances of staff providing step by step tutorials in this community along with fixed Carbide Create files for people.

Yes it would be nice to have a place where all the things that I needed to search for in one place but the support available from Carbide3D is phenomenal. I think it also is difficult as Will Adams said since everyone is at a different starting place and has very different needs. I think that anyone starting out has to be willing to ask some questions and search a little too. Most people starting out seem to get the help they need from this forum or support if they are willing to ask the question and provide the details needed to answer it.


I appreciate everything everyone has done to try and help but I’m done and I’m leaving this group. I’m tired of being talked down to because I’m no expert CNC operator so good luck to you all.


What are we looking for here, guys?
I teach middle school (12-14 year old). I teach them to ask specific questions to receive the answers they want.
As long as I’ve had my SO3 (2015), I’ve never seen a specific question go unanswered.

Yes. They will not show you how to design a part from scratch and generate toolpaths.

@DennisG Do you have a question?


Not anymore thank you fro the help

Dennis I have been following the thread. Do you have a Woodcraft near you? I know the Woodcraft that I go to had a weekend class on CNC from designing a project to cutting your project. Not a Shapeoko but would be the same workflow and process.

Do you have a maker space near you? Most spaces have classes or guys that would be willing to help you. If I was near you I’d try to walk you thru it.

CNC is more complex than a laser even though they are both considered CNC. Don’t give up, once you get the workflow down it will get easier.

I jumped in feet first, bought some MDF and just started cutting things, if it didn’t work I sat and assessed what happened and tried again. Then I got the hang of it.

I had one project that was so simple but bit me 3 times before I got it right. Bit broke, a letter broke, forgot to set z. It was just a bad day. It’s a hobby so I take my time and do it when I can.


@DennisG I don’t want you to go either…and I think that your input is SO valuable because it surfaces a major point.

Internet research is both wonderful and problematic. On the upside, everything you can want is out there, with good instruction and accurate info. The trouble is, there are also a bunch of awful videos, incorrect information, and flat-out bad practices — and the onus of filtering those falls on the viewer. Plus, if you really have little knowledge of the CAD and modeling, even knowing what to look for becomes problematic. Additionally, training requires a curriculum. You build on prior knowledge. There is no such organization in the videos.

I’m also not conflating training with support. Carbide’s support is TOP NOTCH. If you ask a question, you get a good answer - and they go above and beyond to do it. But that’s not training…and proper training might just reduce the number of questions!

Training (course curriculum and documentation) is a professional skill. Not every software developer or engineer is capable of it - and, unfortunately, many underplay its importance believing that those who can do, can teach…and that’s just not true. It’s an investment that requires an appreciation for the value of training your clients. Professional software companies (like Adobe, Microsoft, Intuit, even Apple) make those investments for a reason. Hardware companies tend not to do it as well…however, even most hardware products come with pretty good user manuals that cover more than installation and set up - focusing on general usage. Even my table saw comes with a user’s guide that covers usage (and safety, and usage trouble shooting). Why not my CNC?

If you could learn simply by watching videos, there would be no professional golf instructors! Count the number of videos there are on correcting your slice or hitting “ball-first”. There’s a reason you go to a professional for real training. Another example from my prior life: There are also a bunch of really bad software coders out there, who don’t know what’s in their code because they cut the snippets from stuff they found online (that works) without learning or understanding what’s really behind it.

This discussion is important…or it’s not. It really depends on who the demographic for the product is. If the demographic is for folks who want to tinker, experiment, research, and trial and error to learn - then full stop, we’re done. But if the goal is grow a usage base of CNC enthusiasts from people who are interested in getting precision router control to make components for larger projects as part of a production process, or to make and sell crafts at a reasonable price, then there is some work to do.

I was just poking around and found the Vectric user guide and think it’s an excellent example of a well-written doc that describes every parameter on every screen, walks through examples that build on the skills learned in previous chapters, and points the reader to approved, supported online resources - including video tutorials and help files. From what I can see, you really don’t need to go anywhere else to get up and running (those who use their products can confirm or deny that).

I’m not saying that Carbide needs the same level of documentation, after all, CC is free. But clearly, Vectric recognizes the value of embracing the demographic of inexperienced users and helping them to utilize their product the way it is best used.

I too am really sorry to see @DennisG go, but I can understand his frustration.

Ive asked a lot of questions on here and, generally I can get an answer that allows me to move on - but sometimes I really wonder if I’m speaking the same language.

The use of jargon can demonstrate arrogance and is far from helpful - because those who ask ‘newbie’ (a term which, in itself, is patronising) questions are, almost by definition, very new or new to the hobby and will unlikely understand that kind of language.

Also, we are not in a student/teacher environment - most of us being quite grown up with those years far behind us. When I started this hobby, even with a distant engineering background, I had no real idea what I was letting myself in for. In fact, my original plan was just to knock up a few signs, but researching the different machines and the capabilities of them made me realise what a great opportunity this could be to ‘make stuff’ and learn along the way - so I ditched the idea of spending £150 on a ‘toy’ CNC machine and decided on a ‘grown-up’ machine from Shapeoko - and the learning curve just keeps on going upwards.

I don’t really care if I embarrass myself asking stupid questions on this forum - I’ve done it enough times - because I think this is where those questions should be asked. Sometimes I wonder what people think before they reply (or not) to a thread, but providing clear, concise and jargon-free explanations, or even just pointing out places where relevant information can be found, is really helpful. Being arrogant, flippant or patronising is not, and I’d ask those of you who want to do it like that, not to bother.


Carbide Create is still in development:

so is a moving target in terms of documentation. That said,

should be pretty much up-to-date, and suggestions and corrections there would be welcome (send me a PM).

and we specifically disclaim offering on-site training:

There have only been a couple of occasions when folks have found the custom step-by-step tutorials unworkable — one person described the sort of adjustments necessary for preparing clip-art so as to make it ready to cut ( Converting line art for drawing ) “garbage”, in another instance, a tutorial was immediately invalidated by an updated feature in Carbide Create.

The best way which we have at this time for folks to get assistance w/ Carbide Create when they find the online video tutorials don’t suit their needs is to contact us at and we will work up a custom tutorial which meets their needs, i.e.,

If anyone needs to do anything in Carbide Create which isn’t covered in the documentation which they can’t find in the above, write in to us at and we’ll do our best to assist — if this requires creating a custom tutorial, we will. A lot of terminology is explained in the above posts, and we will of course do our best to help people understand any phrasing or concepts which they do not understand.