SO3: 3D modelling work?

Hello!..I’m just to buy a shapeoko 3, mainly to engraving wood…I’d like to know if with this cnc router I could be able to engrave 3d models like those selling in eBay…i f so any suggestions or tips on what kind of bits for decent finish. Thank you

My thoughts are yes on this, SO3 should have no problem with these models. As for bits I would recommend a small (3mm) flat bit for roughing and then an even smaller ball or taper ball mill for finishing to get all the details.

No problem cutting those out of suitable woods, at suitable sizes, w/ suitable endmills.

You’ll probably need to do tool changes, so will want limit switches:

and you’ll need an appropriate CAM app to get from a .stl to G-code — MeshCAM is probably the best option there, and you should get G-Wizard from the CNC Cookbook folks to calculate feeds and speeds:

Look at the URL! It contains the names of the tools that they used - Vectric Cut3D and Aspire. Aspire is very expensive (US$2K) and is an excellent package… but you don’t need to spend anywhere near that.

MeshCAM is as capable and more capable than Cut3D. MeshCAM handles these types of objects quite well. MeshCAM Art (Pro) has enhanced abilities to work with these types of objects.

Carbide Create is trying to position itself somewhere between Vectric Cut2D and Vectric VCarvePro. It will be able to handle 2.5D jobs quickly and efficiently.

Vectric Asprire is VCarvePro + Cut3D + some 4 axis support. For the objects you’re looking at you should be all set with Carbide3D software.

As far as the machine is concerned, the SO3 can do this easily.


Thank you all of you for so nice tips and info. yes mbellon Aspire es very expensive, so I’ll be looking for the other options here, again, thank you and good luck! :slight_smile:

… Aspire is very expensive, so I’ll be looking for the other options here…

You need look no farther than MeshCAM, or MeshCAM Art/Pro:

MeshCAM is included in the price of the Nomad. It can do much of what Art/Pro does however for the level of detail your looking for you may want to request that the MeshCAM be upgraded to Art/Pro (at a differential cost).

The Nomad has Vectric Cut2D, Cut3D and VCarvePro post processors available (via this forum)… but you’ll be fine with MeshCAM… and that makes support easier as virtually all of the people on the forum use it.

For 2.5D work, Carbide Create is coming along nicely. If that doesn’t do it for you, you can work jobs in MeshCAM (3D), use Vectric Cut2D or VCarvePro.

G-Wizard is awesome for feeds and speeds, GW-Editor for simulating and verifying G code.


@mbellon wrote:

…for the level of detail your looking for you may want to request that the MeshCAM be upgraded to Art/Pro

For machining from STL files or heightmap-converted bitmap files, the “only” functionality (but it is a good one) that Art/Pro provides is the toolpath result simulation. There is no difference in the toolpaths produced from an STL or bitmap image between standard and Art/Pro.

Art/Pro gives the ability to create raised shapes from paint-by-number style bitmaps. I.e. all areas of a given solid color can be raised/indented/domed etc. to create bas-relief type of shapes. Rob has provided more explanation in his MeshCAM FAQ.