What did you wish you knew about shapeoko 3 before purchasing it? (newbie)

I’m not suggesting what God you ought to worship or what political party you ought to vote for. I’m pointing out a disadvantage of certain product architectures. I don’t know about you, but I change my mind about what to buy and invest my time in based on Internet reviews all the time.

If it doesn’t matter to you, nobody is holding a gun to your head.

I think that if anyone wishes to discuss licensing considerations further, they can do so on some other forum.

We now return our discussion back to things which people wish they’d known before purchasing.

Just to be clear, are you saying that software architectures and licensing terms are off topic for this particular thread (which is fair enough, although it isn’t immediately obvious that it doesn’t pertain to where newbies might or might not want to focus their efforts); or are you saying that it is off topic for the forum in general?

I think that discussion of licensing has run its course for this thread.

If someone can come up with some polite, non-controversial, and interesting way to discuss it in some other thread which seems likely to shed some interesting ideas, that would be fine.


Thats OK, I didn’t consider mikep’s mild sarcasm impolite.

But no possibly controversial subjects allowed on the whole forum. Got it.

FAQ / community guidelines at: http://community.carbide3d.com/faq — that said, the other forum is a bit more free-wheeling maybe: http://www.shapeoko.com/forum/

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Yes I am familiar with the forum guidelines. (That’s partly why the “no controversial ideas” criteria you suggested struck me as odd, since that seems contrary to the guidelines).

If you are suggesting that someone ran afoul of them in this thread, maybe you’d like to point out exactly whom and where. There were no personal attacks unless you are referring to mikep’s sarcastic comment to me; but again I don’t (for my own part) think he ran afoul of the “two guys shooting the bull in the park” criteria. Maybe we hang out in different parks.

Thanks for the “Read Guidelines” badge by the way.

Alrighty then, back to the OP id have to say if i knew about the forum or carbide3d awesome service and dedication to the users weather it be a software or hardware issue they are always on top of it.Way better than 99% of companies out there.Also hands down the community here rocks so so helpful and willing to share their knowledge.I would have made my purchase sooner.Have no regrets at all.

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Also the biggest GOTCHA is how addictive it is :slight_smile:


My apologies, the “non-controversial” moniker was a bit strong — and we’re off-topic here — feel free to start a new thread to discuss the benefits / tradeoffs / aspects of cloud and other software licenses and we’ll see how it works out.

I’m just a bit sensitive to the whole licensing thing 'cause we argue about it at work, and it’s a bit of an issue there, and I guess I miss the original, strongly opensource nature of the Shapeoko project more than I realize.



No sweat on my account.

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Two thumbs up on both points. C3D and the surrounding community are exceptional. And the biggest pitfall I failed to mention upthread is how much of your time the machines will absorb. They are terrifically addictive.


Im waiting on the “how to stop time” tutorial on here.lol have you seen some of the amazing stuff these guys are making? its insane!


One more thing. go ahead and order more bits and adapter collets…for your chosen router. Nothing like that HUAW syndrome(except theWIAAI variety)…to get your enthusiasm curbed-or make a 10 minute project take several days!!
Hurry Up And Wait…
While I Am At It.

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Hi Mark,

I haven’t responded to Matt’s detailed and reasoned response to my response to him. I think what he had to say was insightful, and in no way incite-ful if you get my drift.
I feel that he made some very good points. Also, he made good points about a contributing software makers decision to go semi-cloud (autodesk).

I do appreciate you monitoring this forum and your transparency regarding your own position and the discussions you’ve had with Carbide3D, all valid.
Keep up the good work!

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I wish I had know that neither Carbide Create nor Carbide Motion would run on either of the HP model laptops in our house or on the $180.00 Dell Inspiron I bought. Thankfully the merchant agreed to accept a return. I still had to spend $240 on another HP with an AMD processor to finally get them to work.

The common thread between the two HPs and the Dell was that they all used the Mobile Intel® 4 Series Express Chipset Family.

Maybe a check of your System Information before ordering might save you some headaches, frustration and money. Just my two cents worth. :wink:


I started out with the pre order of the Shapeoko 3 and loved it.I just did the upgrade to the XXL and ran into a snag with the controller board, the limit switches wouldn’t work. But after a couple of emails and a Skype session it was determined bad board. The help I received that quickly impressed me, I do wish the Carbide 3d drawing software was a little more but I’ve been playing with Aspire and with the help of Edward early on I’m liking it. Do yourself a favor and check out Winston Moys videos also do a search for.some hold down options

As much as I’d like for Carbide Create to be the perfect drawing program (I keep arguing for all of Freehand’s features), it seems to be the intent to keep it reasonably straight-forward and simple to use — I’m frankly surprised the Bezier curve tool got added.

That said, there are lots of other options for drawing programs, my suggestions w/ notes:


  • Freehand — if you have a machine which will run it, and can find a license for a reasonably recent version, there’s nothing which can beat it for efficiency, productivity and elegance
  • Serif’s Affinity Designer — hard to beat for the price — I’d probably break down and license it if it would run on my unfortunately 32-bit tablet. EDIT: when I got my Samsung Galaxy Book 12, I bought a license — debating getting Affinity Photo
  • Adobe Illustrator — if you have a license for Creative Cloud, or an old license, and can put up with it, use it
  • CorelDraw — it’s come a long way from the days when it was the app coded by a SCSI hardware manufacturer for their art department


  • Inkscape — even if you’re using some other tool, you’ll want this to open / convert files
  • Cenon — (Mac OS X) nifty CAD tool from the NeXTstep days making the leap to opensource drawing application. Interestingly, they have a commercial CAM module and do their own line of CNC machines?
  • METAPOST/Asymptote/METAGRAF/IPE — if you’re using LaTeX, use a familiar tool

Some additional links at:

If anyone is curious about any other drawing tools, or has some specific question, I’d be glad to address it in another thread.


Really my only complaint about the SO3 (I just have the regular small one): it won’t fit a 2x2’ sheet of MDF from the hardware store. You need to cut about 1-2" off to get it fit. Which pretty much means you’re going to be cutting stock to fit.

As other people have said, work-holding and dust management are the two massive things you will need to do to really start making use of your SO3, I looked at what other people had done ahead of time, and kinda copied/stole where I needed to. I’ve added them into my github library:

The dust-shoe just requires some material to be stapled around the outside. I have almost unlimited quantities of this rubberized nylon material, I made a skirt, and then cut it into strips after attaching it. Then stuffed my vaccum cleaner into the other hole. It helps an amazing amount, it probably knocks 95% of the dust out, there is still about 5% remaining.

The spoilboard I created is just another part that goes on top of the one the machine ships with, I didn’t want to drill a bunch of holes in mine, just enough holes to hold my other board on.

There are threaded inserts you can buy, home depot sells them, they’re kinda terrible, but they do work, however for some god aweful reason they are only available in 20mm length, but the max thickness of MDF you can easily find is like .73" (20mm is ~.78" so they always stick out, so you either have to grind them flat, or layer boards up, really annoying (not C3D’s fault tho).

The big thing, if all this is new to you, is learn how to think of everything as a “toolchain” meaning each process is done by a specific tool, in a specific order, so

Design -> Toolpath -> Controller interface -> routing

Is kinda the basic of the process, and each is a specific skill.


I too like to own the software, however, the times are changing. Developing software is very expensive. Companies cannot meet their initial investment by just selling their software. As you use their product they wish to get paid a little bit. They need constant revenues. Microsoft has office 365, Adobe has gone the same route. While you can purchase and own a license for Solidworks and the product is resident on your computer, your have to pay an annual fee of $1000 to $3000 to receive upgrades and be able to open new files created by other companies. As resident or cloud based software reaches a user base of 100,000, it becomes a very valuable asset to the company and the plug will not be pulled. Software created by companies who do not reach financial success is the software that will go away. If you make a living using software you should expect to pay what is necessary to mitigate the associated risks.

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