From ShapeOko
Jump to: navigation, search


What safety gear do I need to operate a machine? --- At a minimum eye protection and heavy clothing to protect against a broken bit, hearing protection or a sound enclosure, dust collection and if necessary a filter mask or respirator depending on the nature of the material being cut. See the Operating Checklist.

Possibility of fire https://www.cnccookbook.com/survive-first-cnc-router-fire/




What else do I need to operate a machine?

  • a trim router (you can order with a machine, but Carbide 3D only has our Carbide Compact Router, but if you prefer you could get  a Dewalt DWP611 or Makita RT0701)
  • some endmills (one is included with the machine, but they're consumables: https://shop.carbide3d.com/collections/cutters/products/201-25-end-mill-cutter-qty-2 ) If one is starting with just a 1/4" collet:
    • three 2-flute 1/4" straight endmills (such as the #201 endmills from Carbide 3D --- one will be included with the machine, a pack of two will fill one out with: 1 for initial experimentation/roughing, 1 for finishing passes, and 1 spare
    • two 2-flute 1/4" ball end endmills (such as the #202 endmills from Carbide 3D) --- if one wishes to do 3D modeling or cut parts which have rounded profiles along the bottom (often a good idea in woodworking for increased strength)
    • two 90 degree V-bits such as the #301 from Carbide 3D --- if one wishes to do V-carving or cut joints which use this angle
  • If you wish to do small-scale or precision work you may want a 1/8" precision collet (we sell one for the Carbide Compact Router (also works for the Makita): https://shop.carbide3d.com/collections/accessories/products/precision-collets ):
    • five 2-flute 1/8" straight endmills (such as the #102 endmills from Carbide 3D [9]
    • two 2-flute 1/8" ball end endmills (such as the #101 .125" Ball Cutters from Carbide 3D)
    • two smaller straight endmills (say 2 mm or so) (such as the #112 0.0625" endmills from Carbide 3D)
  • Additions:
    • V-carving bits (say 30 and 60 degrees) --- these are excellent if doing text
  • you should already have ​a place to set the machine up (the Shapeoko is more suited for use in a shop environment) --- note that you'll want to have access to the front and back of the machine so that you can feed material in from end and out the other if working with oversized material (you can process an entire 4x8 sheet by cutting it into thirds and feeding it incrementally into an XL or XXL --- an SO3 would require 1/6ths)
  • ​dust collection suited to the material which you are cutting (at least a shop vacuum --- many of our customers rig up dust shoes and formal dust collection) --- you'll want to tie into existing dust collection if you have it --- Carbide 3D doesn't have a dust shoe at this time, but one is in development. Designing and making one has for a long while been a right of passage, but there are a number of commercial designs available
  • ​workholding (some way to hold the material in place --- we have a T-track and clamp kit: https://shop.carbide3d.com/collections/accessories/products/t-track-table but many folks work up their own --- we have a pair of tutorials: http://carbide3d.com/docs/tutorials/shapeoko-clamps/ and https://docs.carbide3d.com/tutorials/project-wasteboard/)

​ ​and of course, material and designs to cut. I recommend that folks start by drawing up a design (follow along in one of our tutorials: https://docs.carbide3d.com/tutorials/#shapeoko-tutorials and watch our videos: http://carbide3d.com/carbidecreate/video/ and read through: http://docs.carbide3d.com/assembly/carbidecreate/userguide/ ) and working up toolpaths all the way through 3D simulation --- if that effort seems workable to you, you should be in a good place to get a machine.


Is it possible to upgrade a ShapeOko 2 to a Shapeoko 3? ---No. The only parts in common are the V-wheels and a few connectors.[1][2] if there were such a kit, using it would result in one essentially having a second machine as a pile of parts.


What commodity code is used to describe this machine for customs? --- “other milling machines, numerically controlled.” USPS has instructed companies selling kits to put “build it yourself kit” as the code descriptor.

Can parts be removed from the kit for a savings in price or weight? --- No. At this time, in order to keep costs (and price) as low as possible, the kits are put together in large quantities. As such, it is not possible to customize the kits.

What is the weight and size of the box for a full kit? --- Full kits for the Shapeoko 3 weigh approximately 55 lbs (~25kg)[3], and the box size is 30 × 18 × 8 inches (762mm x 460mm x 204mm).

What bits are included in a full kit? --- Since the SO3 doesn’t include a spindle, it is not possible to bundle Endmills (that page also has a list of recommended endmills and suggested vendors). One can often find a local vendor for end mills (they're needed by machine shops which are more common than one might think). Carbide 3D has since begun bundling 1/4" endmills (though these may not be helpful in regions where the router comes with a 6mm collet).

Is the machine available in Europe (or anywhere other than the U.S.)? --- The Shapeoko 3 is now available from Sparkfun and its distributors: https://www.sparkfun.com/distributors as well as https://www.fablabfactory.com/collections/milling-machines/products/shapeoko-3 and https://www.robotshop.com/en/carbide3d-shapeoko-3-robust-cnc-router-kit-us.html

What defines a Shapeoko? --- http://www.shapeoko.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=621

What are the differences between a Shapeoko and an eShapeoko? --- http://wiki.amberspyglass.co.uk/index.php?title=EShapeOko_FAQ


Can the ShapeOko cut Material <X>? --- http://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/Materials

Is CAD/CAM program <X> compatible? --- the ShapeOko is usually controlled by an Arduino running Grbl which accepts G-codes (up to 50 or 70 characters per line/command), so any program which can export to G-code or which can create a file (.dxf, .stl, .svg, &c.) which one of the CAM programs here: http://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/CAM will accept, will work.

What is the X and Y resolution on the Shapeoko? --- the resolution for the X- and Y-axis is 40 steps/mm (~1000 steps/inch). This was determined using inputs of 200 steps/rev, 8 micros/step, 20 teeth pulley, and 2mm belt pitch. http://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/Grbl_Configuration

What is a reasonable expectation for accuracy? --- If tuned properly you should be able to get to within ~0.003″ –- 0.005″ (~0.075mm -- 0.127mm) --- better is achievable with careful setup and an upgraded machine. Note that at such small dimensions many factors can affect this number --- temperature, humidity if using the MDF wasteboard (upgrade to an aluminum one), &c. One user was far more pessimistic: https://www.facebook.com/groups/232744457133521/permalink/284699991937967/?comment_id=284735568601076&reply_comment_id=284766828597950 Notes on area and scale: http://community.carbide3d.com/t/calibrating-belt-streth-maxmum-100-101-writes/7840/2

What are the dimensions of an assembled machine? --- The dimensions of an assembled, stock Shapeoko 3 are approximately 28.5″ × 24.25″ × 14.5″

How to make letters to cut out? --- A tutorial from the ShapeOko blog touches on this: http://www.shapeoko.com/archives/988

Can the machine cut 3D parts? --- Yes. http://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/Projects

How long can the machine run? --- http://www.shapeoko.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=4674&p=34701


Upgrading the spindle? --- http://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/Spindle_Options

Upgrading to NEMA 23 motors? (for the ShapeOko 2) --- See http://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/BOM and http://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/ShapeOko_2#Upgrades

Are NEMA 23 motors necessary? (for the ShapeOko 2) --- No. They are helpful if one wants the machine to move faster, or if one needs to mount an exceptionally heavy spindle which requires the additional torque, but most users do not need the additional power (or weight and expense).

Limit / Homing switches? --- http://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/Home_switches and http://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/Limit_Switches

Increasing the work/cutting area (X- and Y-axes)? --- http://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/Scaling_Up

Can the Z-axis be extended? --- Yes. http://www.shapeoko.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=2241


What else should I have on hand? --- Safety gear as noted above. A good quality square, a digital caliper (inexpensive plastic is a suitable improvement over just a ruler), paper and tape, a plan for Workholding, stock to cut (tools to break down stock will make this more affordable), plans for Projects, a vacuum, and possibly Dust Shoe, and tools for post-processing stock (a deburring tool is handy for metals and plastics), and if need be suitable hardware and supplies to finish them. See http://community.carbide3d.com/t/considering-shapeoko-3/3842/2 and http://www.shapeoko.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=5626#p41942 and http://www.shapeoko.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=2325#p17646

How do I reverse an axis? --- This can be done by either re-wiring the machine, or by flipping bits in the Grbl#Invert_Bits Grbl configuration---invert bits. For the Shapeoko 3, the Z-axis can be mechanically reversed by flipping the Z-axis plate over, and the Y-axis by swapping the connectors at the controller.

Placement of eccentric nuts? --- The circular portion of the eccentric nuts goes all the way into the matching hole: MakerSlide Eccentric placement

Do I have to tap the MakerSlide? (for the ShapeOko 2) --- Yes, if the extrusion isn't already tapped. http://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/Makerslide#Tapping The Shapeoko 3 kits have their extrusion already tapped.

Are larger versions of the diagrams available? (for the ShapeOko 2) --- Click on the images to open much more detailed versions.



Power supply


Homing switches

Make sure you've sent the machine configuration: https://docs.carbide3d.com/support/carbideupdater/#carbide-motion-v4

There is a basic page on troubleshooting the homing switches at: https://docs.carbide3d.com/software-faq/home-switch-troubleshooting/ ​ There is also a Carbide 3D Answer video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P7lOLMAcl_0&feature=youtu.be

​Please check that the switches are plugged in correctly, and work properly --- when the machine powers up the homing indicator lights should flicker on/off, then once the controller is booted up you can test the switches by pressing them --- the matching light should light while the switch is pressed (closed), and should go off when the switch is released (open). ​

​Please make sure that the machine can mechanically close the appropriate homing switch on an axis before reaching the limit of travel along that axis --- if it can't, it should be possible to adjust a problematic switch's placement by loosening the hardware in question, pulling it into a better alignment and then tightening it. The machine being out of square can also affect this, squaring up the machine, or more expediently, securing a small block or plate for the homing switches to contact may be necessary.


The basic points of adjustment for a machine are:

It is also important to be sure that the collet is correctly tightened, the endmill fits correctly and doesn't slip, and the router is mounted securely in the mount, and that the mount doesn't shift. Note than endmill pullout can happen gradually, especially when profiling against tall walls.[4]

Also feeds and speeds may be a consideration: https://docs.carbide3d.com/support/#tooling-support and see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9bceJxpqG0 for concepts on this and https://www.precisebits.com/tutorials/calibrating_feeds_n_speeds.htm for a testing technique and see the series #MaterialMonday: https://community.carbide3d.com/t/materialmonday-on-youtube/13092

Beyond that it's usually a matter of ​Calibration and Squaring the Machine c.f., http://docs.carbide3d.com/shapeoko-faq/how-to-calibrate-the-machine-for-belt-stretch/

Drag chain catches on homing switch screw

Usually this can be adjusted by loosening the hardware in question, pulling it into the desired alignment, then tightening it, sometimes slightly bending the drag chain bracket up will help. One option is to only use one screw in the rearmost hole on the bracket and the frontmost on the drag chain. Some folks have found it helpful to put a couple of washers under the drag chain bracket to push it out into a better alignment (the drag chain should slightly hang off the rear of the extrusion), other solutions include sourcing a longer drag chain bracket from the hardware store, or placing a piece of angle on the extrusion to guide the drag chain.

A straight-forward solution is to only use one hole (rearmost on bracket, nearest on drag chain).


Where is the FAQ for using the machine? --- Operation Troubleshooting

What skills do I need to assemble and use the machine? --- The ability to read and follow directions, tighten a bolt (used to be one needed to be able to tap a thread); and the ability to use (or learn to use) vector drawing (such as Inkscape) or CAD software and a CAM program and some utilities.

Should one motor be hotter than the others? (the Z-Axis for the Shapeoko 2, X-axis for the Shapeoko 3) --- Yes. holding requires more energy than spinning a stepper motor and these are not bolted to a large metal part which functions as a heat sink.

error: Unsupported statement --- Problem is likely that you have comma defined as a decimal separator in your localization file which your CAM program is wrongly using in the G-code.[5]

Communication program connects but machine doesn’t move --- Incorrect baud rate. Grbl v0.8 and earlier use 9600, 0.9 uses 115200.[6]

USB disconnection --- http://carbide3d.com/blog/2016/disconnect-problems/ [7] and http://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/Electronics#Recommendations

Machine cuts/moves at wrong size --- http://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/Operation_Troubleshooting#Machine_cuts.2Fmoves_at_wrong_size.2Fscale

What spare parts should be kept on-hand? --- brushes for the trim router, belts, Delrin V wheels, a pulley (the SO3 would want two different bore sizes), set screws and various other fasteners (though these can be acquired at any decent hardware store), stepper drivers or a spare controller (this last is a fairly pricey investment and arguably not needed unless down-time has serious repercussions)


There is a basic page on troubleshooting connection issues at: https://docs.carbide3d.com/software-faq/can-t-connect-to-machine-or-jog/

Things to check:

  • power supply plugged in --- it lights up promptly and stays lit with a steady light?
  • power supply connected to machine and switched on --- machine boots up, controller lights up with power, lights flicker on/off, motors lock?
  • machine connected to computer using USB --- computer registers USB device? red/green/white lights on controller begin to blink signifying USB communication?

Router Feeds and Speeds

The router speed setting should match the feeds and speeds for your selection of endmill and material. Please see:


(there's a row matching dial settings to RPMs at the bottom)

There's an interactive version at: https://public.tableau.com/profile/willadams#!/vizhome/Carbide3DCNCFeedsandSpeeds/Sheet1?publish=yes

See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9bceJxpqG0 for concepts on this and see the series #MaterialMonday: https://community.carbide3d.com/t/materialmonday-on-youtube/13092 for specifics.

You should test feeds and speeds in a piece of scrap using the technique at: https://precisebits.com/tutorials/calibrating_feeds_n_speeds.htm

Another consideration is Climb vs. Conventional Milling and tooling engagement --- where possible avoid slotting and add geometry and cut as a pocket (https://community.carbide3d.com/t/adding-geometry-to-cut-as-a-pocket-with-a-finishing-pass/9993 ).

Extensive discussion at: https://community.carbide3d.com/t/origin-consistency-of-chipload-recommandations/14152

Continuing a cut which is interrupted

Best practice is to break up jobs into manageable chunks: http://docs.carbide3d.com/tutorials/tool-change/

If you must do this:

  • note what line the machine is currently sending
  • pause, then stop the job and shut things down
  • open up the G-Code file in a text editor
  • identify the preamble and copy it --- see G-Code for the details of the codes
  • go to the line # noted above
  • scroll up from there until you find a move down from safety height
  • delete everything from the line above that line to the beginning of the file
  • paste in the preamble at the beginning
  • save under a new name


What parts will need to be lubricated or replaced? --- Machines with metal screws and nuts for motion such as the Nomad may need lubrication, belts will wear and require replacement, V-wheels will wear and require replacement. If using a spindle with brushes (such as a trim router) brushes will need to be replaced --- usually EMI will increase before the router quits working, so disconnects suddenly occurring may indicate a need to replace brushes.

Packaging for Transportation

Fasten the moving parts using foam (pipe insulation or pool noodles) with zip ties to secure everything in place. See how the Nomad is unboxed for one example.[8]


G-Code previews okay, but circles and arcs are stair-stepped? --- Lines are too long. Turn on truncating lines in your Communication / Control program or edit them by hand or use a javascript wrapped up in a zipped up html file. Note that there have been some instances of arcs (measured in inches) failing when trimming to 2 digits, 3 is suggested for Imperial files, 4 for metric as a reasonable compromise.[9][10] 5 may be necessary[11]

Expected command letter --- this can also be caused by the too long lines noted above.

Carbide 3D Software

What software does Carbide 3D bundle with their machines? --- Carbide Create and Carbide Motion Machine Control Software --- these are proprietary programs developed for use with the Shapeoko 3 and Nomad 883. Carbide Create can now be used with any machine, MeshCAM can be run in a Nomad specific mode which will output .egc files which Carbide Motion will decrypt when attached to a Nomad, while Carbide Motion will only run if attached to a machine (when so attached it will allow one to copy the plain text of a .egc file). It is possible to request an activation code to run Carbide Motion on a Stepoko from Sparkfun.[12]

Reverting to Grbl 0.9: http://community.carbide3d.com/t/grbl-1-1-and-carbide-motion-4/4403/21

Invalid G-Code: Error 33

Invalid arc format / calculation. --- Increase precision to 5 decimals.[13][14] May be caused by stacked paths. Another possible cause (esp. if using AutoDesk Fusion 360) is inaccurate conversion from Imperial to metric — convert project to metric, then do CAM in metric, then send a metric G-code file to Grbl. Seems to be an accuracy or calculation problem.[15]

Solved by Carbide Motion 414, a suitable post-processor, and setting min. arc size to 4mm:

Shapeoko 3


SO3 Function Test


Is more information available? --- Click on the grey Section heads in the sidebar (which have a right-pointing disclosure triangle) to access the sub-sections.

How can I upload a file? --- Disclose the Toolbox Section in the sidebar and use the Upload a File link.

Where can I record information about my machine? --- Each registered user gets a user page: User:<username> and one can store additional pages in one's User: hierarchy.