Someone set me straight

I will note that the principles underlying Carbide Create and Vectric Vcarve are the same, and that much of what one learns of Carbide Create will apply to Vectric.

1 Like

Very true. I (like many others) have first used Carbide Create for about a year, then transitioned to VCarve desktop and it was a very natural and easy transition. Carbide Create is an excellent warm-up step, since it is so simple (and limited, in a good newbie-friendly way) that it makes for a great sandbox to learn the subtleties of CNC without drowning.

Beautiful Segmented work!
Ive been looking for ways to combine the two hobbies, cnc and turning, and here are a few ways I have been exploring, perhaps they will open up new builds for you:


Xcaper; what a great blend of CNC and wood turning. That is what I ultimately would like to do after I have confidence on my machine and software. Thanks for showing me it can be done!
I could not post this until now as I was cut off after 18 replies yesterday on my first day in the forum for a newbie. I want to thank everyone for all the great input on my first day in this community forum. Lots of great wisdom. I have a lot to ponder!
Thanks again!!

Gregg - I have been turning for a few years now as well although I unfortuntely still work full time so I don’t get the time to hone my skills as much as I would like. Like others I too have looked for a way to use both my XXL and turning and came up with a walnut and maple segmented bowl with a bottom inlay. Frank Howarth on Youtube has also adding some content of how both skills can be combined. I actually have an idea to use the cnc on a bowl once turned but haven’t tried it yet. I would recommend the Shapeoko 100%!!

1 Like

Your exact concerns are what put me off getting a Shapeoko for a fair while - but I ended up getting one and i’m glad I did. Some key points;

  • As someone else said, people come here to troubleshoot so it does appear that the machines have a lot of issues - but that is skewed and it’s the nature of a forum where people can ask questions. They don’t ask questions when everything runs smoothly, they ask when they have an issue.

  • That said - it’s a machine that requires upkeep and maintenance and things will go wrong. I’ve found Carbide 3D to have great support and you will find the solution to your issue here, through them or another forum member.

  • The machine is capable as is, out of the box. This forums has some extremely capable people that push the unit to the limits and have the technical skills to upgrade it - but it’s not necessary. You don’t “need” more Z axis depth or a water cooled spindle or ballscrews.

My machine is a stock XXL with a Makita router. I haven’t levelled my work surface yet, the machine it slightly out of square, the belts could use a re-tension and I haven’t upgraded my Z axis. But I can still make things, and it does a great job - I’ve attached a pic of a sign I made before christmas. Get one, you won’t be disappointed.


Impressive. That is what I’m talking about! perfect!

Key points are noted! Darn nice sign for a slightly out of square, loose belts and a regular 'ol Z axis machine. I’m convinced! Like I have been saying; As with any tool, most of the work is all in the design and setup. The machine will do what ever it is told. Most mistakes are operator error. Thanks for your input!


As a new user, I can honestly say most of the issues have just been my learning curve (0 CNC experience). While I don’t have anything to compare it to, the machine has been great so far, and the learning curve has been fairly quick.

1 Like

Good to hear!! Thanks for your input! Almost time to jump!

I have had the SO3 (regular size) for a couple years now and its worth the money. I just saw your worrisome post and wanted to comment to you. I haven’t followed the complaints so not sure what they are. That being said, you do have to take your time and understand what’s going on and what’s important to assemble and maintain this machine. No different than any CNC machine that cost in the hundreds of thousands. You have to understand or learn the CNC 3 dimensional world of starting points and generally what is going on with the gcode. Carbide design/gcode creating software isn’t bad for most easy or general stuff. It really is a deal since you do get everything to start except your choice of router or spindle, You get a complete machine and software. Its easier to think of this CNC stuff as a hobby if you can because there is a learning curve to designing, running, holding down parts. Again, no different than if you started with a more expensive machine. All the same issues and the same learning curve on all of them. The company has been very good also. it looks like your going for the larger machine and I would have done that if I had the room. That’s a good move because as you use this you want to make larger and larger things. I wouldn’t be afraid of this machine. Eventually you will probably want to get another software to design in 3D or more complicated things. That’s what also nice is that the machine will run other gcode output. I have another software that outputs “.nc” gcode and SO3 runs it fine. One thing to warn you about, and I have found this on my other 3 axis machines is that voltage has to be smooth, consistent or the program/machine can lock up. I have all my machines on a there own circuit that is as isolated as possible. Don’t know if anyone else has mentioned this, but its a simple fix that can drive you crazy if you don’t think of it. Good Luck.


It sounds to me like you are forgetting the “you” here. Looking at the beauty in your wood work, and thinking of what it took to get to that level, you had a path to get there, learning the tools, the skills, and fumbling around to find a better way to get something done as your experience led you. The Shapeoko is the same kind of tool, except it is made to be a stable staple in your workshop that you can improve as your experience brings you more challenges. It is more involved (and a little more intimidating) than a manual tool, but as pointed out earlier, it does what you ask of it even when you are unsure what you are asking it to do…As with all tools it can be infuriating when what you have in your mind is not what is being cut and because of the complexity of the tool you can’t readily see why. Here is one of the different things about every other tool you own and the shapeoko, you have 33 replies to set you straight before you have even bought one, look though some of the threads and see how many it takes to sort out an actual problem. The support from Carbide3D is the best I have ever experienced-bar none! Carbide3d actually want you to be successful! They don’t look at a sale a an exchange of money for stuff, they look at it as a transformation of a potential buyer to a successful user-in as much as the user will communicate and actually work on learning. The community of owners/users wants to learn and teach as well-as many communities do we attend to the questions and seriously celebrate the progress.
I look at your wood work and think that would take me forever to do and come out looking like a kids summer camp project-or a copy of something from the TV show “Nailed It” it may sided by side it may be identifiable as a copy, but standing on its own, not so much…at first, then as I got wins under my belt, things would start looking better and coming along faster…I doubt I would get to where you are, but given what you have shown us of your work you could be seriously successful with a Shapeoko, and be loosing time in the entranced zone of what else can I do! With Carbide3d you have a company providing you with a well-designed and upgrade-able tool, and outstanding support, you also have a community demonstrating their enjoyment of what the company has provided for the price paid. What are you still waiting for…an engraved, epoxy filled wooden invitation! You can already see what the Shapeoko will add to your capabilities, how soon would you like that added into your shop?

1 Like

As I’ve noted in other threads:

The great thing about CNC is that given a correct file, and proper setup, so long as nothing goes wrong, the machine will cut a project perfectly.

The corollary to this is:

The awful thing about CNC is that projects will only come out correctly if the file is created perfectly, set up on the machine in complete synch with the file, and nothing goes wrong.


I don’t think anybody addressed this topic, so I’ll try to help you out…

When you see stuff about 2.5D, what people mean is “roughly” 3D. In most of the forums about hobby CNC, “2.5D” and “3D” are interchangeable. For example, this is a “3D” fish puzzle I carved on my Shapeoko

Generally speaking, 2D carving is cutting away material such that all the surfaces, are perpendicular to the router axis, just at different heights. Your signs are 2D machining. 2.5D means using a ball mill and the machine moves in the X & Y directions, synchronizing the movement of the router in the Z direction to give you a smooth shape, like with the fish above. True 3D would involve turning the material so that different faces are presented to the endmill. The Shapeoko can’t do that as it is (although people have done it by doing one side, turning the material 90 degrees, doing the second side, turning again, etc. Check out this post by @RichCournoyer. The man is a freaking wizard) Doing it automatically would involve doing some work with different controller boards, etc. This link may explain 2D/2.5D/3D better than I can

Carbide Create and Vectric V-Carve will only do 2D designs. You can do some fancy 2D designs though with various endmills; v-bits will give you sloped edges, ball mills will give you rounded edges on pocket bottoms, roundover bits will give you rounded edges on outside edges.

Fusion360 and Vectric Aspire will do 2.5D. Aspire is what I used for the fish above.

Fusion360 will also do 3D, if you have a machine capable of doing that, what they call a 4-axis and 5-axis machines. The Shapeoko is a 3 axis machine.

As for “is it ready to go right out of the box?”. No. However, I got mine a year ago, put it together after following all the helpful assembly docs and after reading everything on this forum that I could find about tips and tricks, and it worked the first time. Most of the issue people have is from skipping a step during assembly, not understanding how things work in general, or trying to run before they learn to walk. It’s like with the turnings you do… you did not start off turning those gorgeous objects right off the bat, one would assume. If you’re like me, I spent forever just setting up the lathe, then a half an hour making sure the block was perfectly centered in spindles before I even turned it on. The first time I put chisel to wood, I was scared as heck and had no idea what would happen. I didn’t jam a gouge into a spinning block of wood and hope for the best.


Not that it really matters, but I’ve always thought of 2D as pencil to paper (or laser cutter)…no change in depth, just X & Y. Two dimensions.
With 2.5D, you’re adding a third dimension, but not simultaneously. A basic 3D printer works this way. Move in XY to create a layer, stop XY motion, lift Z, repeat. Simple CNC router work is also 2.5D. Plunge, cut a path, plunge some more.
True 3D is just the act of moving all 3 axes simultaneously. Your 3D fish is actually 3D. Many of us carve in 3D.

Anyway, semantics.


I’ve officially have been set straight. I took a chance and the best thing I’ve done was to enter this community site. There is such a vast amount of information, ideas and opinions on the internet. I was pleasantly surprised for all the comments, compliments and encouragement at this community site. I’m a newbie researching this niche in woodworking(don’t even have unit yet) but you all welcomed me with no attitude and gave me such great insight. I’m truly grateful.
In all of my research, it was a natural progression to where I found the Shapeoko machine. I found early in my research and decided that the Shapeoko was the best built machine at that price point. Perfect for the home hobbyist. It didn’t take long to notice early on the amount of info, dedication and support the Shapeoko people provide. I won’ be needing a “engraved, epoxy filled wooden invitation!” I will be ordering within the next 2 weeks. Thanks again everyone!


Thanks. I have been set straight. Won’t be needing that invitation. Should be ordering within next 2 weeks.

1 Like

Gregg, I can tell you from experience that the support this company doles out is tremendous. Example, on Christmas day Will Adams was helping me with issues (my fault not C3D’s). Reading these forums is a good thing, stop and consider all of the machines out there in this open source community and all of the questions posted about problems or concerns that to me it’s a lot more assuring to have it narrowed down to this community. I am new to this cnc thing and when I am able to spend a little more time on it then what is allotted me now then it will be nice to have some help readily available for a specific machine. Just know that if you order one of there machines that the kit is all figured out as where when you build one (which I was seriously considering) you have to figure out all of the different options out there and who know who is giving advise, they my be using a machine with totally different parts and revamped and changed so many times that it may not answer or help solve your issue. This is the main reason that I went with Carbide 3D and the shapeoko. It’s great that you are doing the research and hope that you find the right machine for your needs. Good luck sir.

1 Like

As a fellow Noob to the community, I think that you made the right choice in doing your research. It also eases my mind that a thread this long (41 responses) with responses from 14 different actual users (not counting @WillAdams) are uniform in the praise of both the product and the company’s support. That is very rare. Good Job, C3D!!!


This topic was automatically closed 30 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.