Tips for a Newbie?

Shapeoko 4 arrives Tuesday. Excited to get it setup!! Will be our first CNC. Glad there is a forum with details to many questions. Any setup tips or first use pointers would be awesome!

CNC is just an alternate method of expressing a design. Learn CAD and you will be able to take full advantage of the power of your new tool!

First, find a suitable flat surface — some folks find more than one helps — things you need to account for:

  • the machine itself
  • tools and parts which you will be working with
  • assembly instructions or a tablet or laptop

View the assembly videos:


Write in to and get a draft copy of the XXL instructions.

Once the machine is up and running the considerations become:

  • computer
  • measurement tools
  • workholding and associated tooling
  • where to place collets and tooling and associated tools
  • where to lay out and prep stock and if need be cut to size
  • where to lay out cut parts and post-process them

Other considerations:

  • safety — eye and hearing protection? does the material you’re cutting warrant a filter mask or respirator?
  • dust collection — if at all possible, a system w/ a 2.5" hose (much quieter and less likely to clog)

Start w/ inexpensive stock and don’t commit to anything expensive until feeling confident in the machine and your workflow.

If you have any further questions, ask here or at

Some things are self explanatory. Others you can figure out on your own. Then after that is where the Carbise3D Community comes in.

We are all here to help each other.

Enjoy your new toy!

Thx for the tips! Working on shop layout that includes dust collection, separate internet, work space, etc. Will definitely get the copy of the xxl instructions. Pretty mechanical so I am thinking it shouldn’t be too tough to build. Been spending a lot of time reviewing software and process to get images or designs to svg and ready for gcode. I have for sons that are up to speed with all the software so hoping for a short learning curve :joy:

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start… not TOO complicated…
and get some cheap bits to start with… mistakes will happen and snapping a $5 bit doesn’t feel as bad as a $40 one.

also read the ebook and go through the tutorial section here to see if there’s ideas you like… they’re mostly entry level capable


Will, I’m going to jump on this thread with a couple of questions. I’ve been watching videos and researching machines for about a year now. I’m a newbie as well. I’ve already purchased Pro XXL and delivered. I’m building table for the CNC now. My first question is, this CNC will be in the garage and my home computer is in the residence…is a separate or additional computer needed for the CNC in garage? is there a tutorial video for this portion of set up? thanks for any assistance.

You need to have a computer to connect to the machine and control it. If you’re using our software (Carbide Motion) it needs to either be a Windows or Mac OS X computer which meets our system requirements:

or, a Raspberry Pi 4:

That latter will afford the option to run headless and to control the machine wirelessly using a tablet or phone (for values of screen sizes where the touch input will work).

Basically you just plug things up and configure per:

and then run “Hello World”:

I don’t know that anyone has covered that aspect w/ a video — it’s so simple — but of course if you have difficulties or a problem, let us know at and we’ll do our best to assist.

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Welcome to the community Kelly.
I too have my main computer in the house and my SPXXL in the garage.
I have a separate laptop ( Some use a Tablet.) to actually operate the SPXXL with a thumb drive holding my Gcode files. This is nice for when I need to make changes and only have to take the Thumb Drive in the house to my other computer.

It is a pretty straight forward setup. Easy operation. Carbide Motion is not a large learning curve. Only have to get use to the processes.

Have fun with your new toy.

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