Shapeoko or X Carve

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jram
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Shapeoko or X Carve

Postby jram » Mon Sep 05, 2016 8:29 pm

I'm wondering if the community has a bit of input regarding the these two machines. I will have 1500.00 to spend and could spend up to 1800.00. I'm currently looking at the Shapeoko 3 new version and the new X carve version.. Or if others have any suggestions beyond these two machines, that would certainly be helpful. I have experience with large CNC routers but I'm looking for something in the aforementioned price range at this time. I will primarily be cutting soft wood and two 2 - 8lb density styrofoam with it. The styrofoam is later coated with fiberglass and epoxy or styrosafe resin.I have looked at the forms for the two machines but was hoping someone on here could offer some insight as this is the forum I use the most and I've seen quite a few folks mention CNC machines in the past.
Machines- Rostock Max v2 with E3D v6, Corsair 750 power supply, PEI bed,injection molded carriages and new arms. Aluminum mount. X carve with x controller. Stratasys Uprint SE

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Re: Shapeoko or X Carve

Postby KAS » Mon Sep 05, 2016 9:07 pm

I'm biased towards the shapeoko 3 as I have one. It will cut anything in your listed requirements plus acrylic/aluminium with the correct speeds/feeds/tooling.
I'm sure that goes for both hobbyist machines. I'm looking to upgrade it to the XXL, so if you think you'd want a bigger machine; I would just purchase the bigger one to begin with.

The new Shapeoko 3 XXL is the larger version with a cutting Area of 33"(X) x 33"(Y) x 3"(Z). Plus it has the homing switches and drag chain that I had to purchase aftermarket.

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Re: Shapeoko or X Carve

Postby Xenocrates » Mon Sep 05, 2016 9:22 pm

Personally I prefer the X-carve of the two mentioned (If all goes well I may be getting one in the next few weeks), because it is easier to extend, as they sell 1.8 meter lengths of extrusion, and it could potentially be further extended if you were willing to play with joining them, while the Shapeko seems to top out at 33 inches in size, and doesn't have much extrusion availability. For light duty stuff like foam and soft woods, the lower frame rigidity of the X-carve shouldn't matter too much, and not having to make two or more cuts to get a sheet I can machine out of 4 foot wide stock is a major plus.

But for heavier things, it would probably take beefing up the frame and spindle of the X-carve, or just the spindle of the S3, as it has a heavier duty frame. I would personally buy the small frame size and then the makerslide/wire/drag chains to take it up to 1.8M's, and then grab a VFD from somewhere, as I like having actual spindle speed controls.

If your budget stretched a bit more, and you wanted some more rigidity and to not have to buy a VFD, as well as more expandability, I would check out something like the Bluechick or Blacktoe from BuildyourCNC.com. They are mostly wood, but it seems like a reasonable set of machines, and they have much better spindles than the X-carve or Shapeko, as well as beefier steppers and drive systems.
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Re: Shapeoko or X Carve

Postby jram » Tue Sep 06, 2016 11:48 am

Thanks for the input! I'm still a bit torn.. I really like what the Shapeoko offers but I'm wondering why it doesn't come with a probe? Having worked on a larger machine, this is the only way I've ever found Z-zero. How do you do this with no probe?
Machines- Rostock Max v2 with E3D v6, Corsair 750 power supply, PEI bed,injection molded carriages and new arms. Aluminum mount. X carve with x controller. Stratasys Uprint SE

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Re: Shapeoko or X Carve

Postby Xenocrates » Tue Sep 06, 2016 12:03 pm

Same way you would set it on a printer. Lower the tool until you get contact with a gauge block of some sort (Paper or leaf gauge for printers, I use either 1-2-3 blocks or .5 in steel gauge blocks), and a little bit of grip. Set the Z-height. I've only had issues with it when someone has done something like push buttons on the MCU while I'm adjusting it. So keep everyone away from the controls while you're in the work envelope, unless you care to have a #4 countersink or something driven through a finger. Works about the same way on everything from printers to Haas machines
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Rostock Max V2, 760W corsair modular PSU, PT100 enabled E3D V6 and volcano, self adjusting carriages, Raymond style enclosure
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Re: Shapeoko or X Carve

Postby KAS » Tue Sep 06, 2016 12:04 pm

jram wrote:Thanks for the input! I'm still a bit torn.. I really like what the Shapeoko offers but I'm wondering why it doesn't come with a probe? Having worked on a larger machine, this is the only way I've ever found Z-zero. How do you do this with no probe?



The controller has the probe connection built in although I'm not sure why it doesn't come with it. The aftermarket switch kit I purchased did come with it. It's only two wires with alligator clips on the end that attach to the endmil and the material or touch plate in my case.

Something like this: Image
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Re: Shapeoko or X Carve

Postby Mac The Knife » Tue Sep 06, 2016 12:04 pm

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Re: Shapeoko or X Carve

Postby Polygonhell » Tue Sep 06, 2016 12:11 pm

I have an XCarve, I'd buy the Shapeoko if I were doing it again, in retrospect I prefer the X-Axis design, the XCarve uses 2 parallel extrusions, which makes it prone to twisting under load. There are a lot of end user hacks to stiffen the axis, but really for the 1000mm version it's just not stiff enough.
You can certainly still get good results on one, I needed something to cut a largish pieces of particle board, and for that it's fine
Adding probe is relatively straight forwards depending on the electronics your using and the software.
I happened to have a Gekko G540 lying around, so I'm using that and Mach3 (Which I already owned), but it should be easy enough with the standard electronics.
If you don;t have one, you do the same ting you do with the printer or a mill for that matter, you move the axis to 0 and push a button. I use one of these on my Mill http://www.ebay.com/itm/Precision-Z-Axsis-Setter-Gage-Gauge-2-0-0005-Grad-/361596686654?hash=item5430d7913e:g:3vIAAOSwbYZXYGfe , But I've done it with a piece of paper or a feeler gauge.

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Re: Shapeoko or X Carve

Postby joe » Tue Sep 06, 2016 12:32 pm

I am in the process of designing / building a CNC router/mill. It will be a 30 X 40 build area to accommodate cupboard doors and panels. I have been concentrating mostly on the design and haven't really looked into control software. Anybody have a favorite? What about the bed/waste board material?
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Re: Shapeoko or X Carve

Postby Mac The Knife » Tue Sep 06, 2016 1:42 pm

joe wrote:I am in the process of designing / building a CNC router/mill. It will be a 30 X 40 build area to accommodate cupboard doors and panels. I have been concentrating mostly on the design and haven't really looked into control software. Anybody have a favorite? What about the bed material?


Like Polygonhell, I use Mach 3. For generating G-code, I have Sheetcam, Meshcam, and V-Carve. Meshcam for 3d work, and for the rest I pretty much use V-Carve.
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Re: Shapeoko or X Carve

Postby KAS » Tue Sep 06, 2016 2:09 pm

It depends on the controller you end up going with. The SparkFun Stepoko & Carbide 3D use GRBL, although I think Mach has a plugin for that.

I use http://chilipeppr.com/grbl for the Shapeoko 3.

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Re: Shapeoko or X Carve

Postby Polygonhell » Tue Sep 06, 2016 4:58 pm

I've used both LinuxCNC and Mach, the only issue with Linux CNC is their poor support for manual tool changes, I always ended up breaking the process into multiple files (1 per tool).
Mach 3 has plenty of warts of it's own. I haven't tried Mach 4 so I don't have an opinion..
I'e also not used one of the Arduino based systems on routers, they should work fine, just ensure your EStop works and you have confidence in it, there is a big difference between a bad move on a router or Mill and one on a printer.

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Re: Shapeoko or X Carve

Postby joe » Tue Sep 06, 2016 6:53 pm

Polygonhell wrote:I've used both LinuxCNC and Mach, the only issue with Linux CNC is their poor support for manual tool changes, I always ended up breaking the process into multiple files (1 per tool).
Mach 3 has plenty of warts of it's own. I haven't tried Mach 4 so I don't have an opinion..
I'e also not used one of the Arduino based systems on routers, they should work fine, just ensure your EStop works and you have confidence in it, there is a big difference between a bad move on a router or Mill and one on a printer.


Yes, I plan on having great respect for the forces involved. I was hoping to use a usb based arduino controller.

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Re: Shapeoko or X Carve

Postby joe » Mon Sep 12, 2016 5:31 pm

Can anyone recommend a good CNC forum for hobbiest ? Not the the huge industrial type.

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Re: Shapeoko or X Carve

Postby Polygonhell » Mon Sep 12, 2016 5:55 pm

CNCZone is the big one, they have forums for hobby level machines as well as the commercial stuff.
It's actually where I first heard about SeeMe who at the time were crowd funding the H1.

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Re: Shapeoko or X Carve

Postby joe » Mon Sep 12, 2016 6:36 pm

Polygonhell wrote:CNCZone is the big one, they have forums for hobby level machines as well as the commercial stuff.
It's actually where I first heard about SeeMe who at the time were crowd funding the H1.



Thanks Polygonhell

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Re: Shapeoko or X Carve

Postby Mac The Knife » Mon Sep 12, 2016 8:33 pm

If you check out Geckodrive's website, they have a ton of information about stepper systems. http://www.geckodrive.com/support.html
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Re: Shapeoko or X Carve

Postby KAS » Wed Sep 28, 2016 11:53 am

Good lord, watch this video. /warning the intro is stupid.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dg467-fPEQ

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Re: Shapeoko or X Carve

Postby mhackney » Wed Sep 28, 2016 12:02 pm

I'm on the zone, got started with CNC 10 years before 3D printing. I've built multiple routers, 3 mills and 2 lathe conversions. You can find me in the Benchtop machine forum (same name).

My advice would be to build your own. You could build a nice machine with more capability than the premades and you will understand how it works when you need to adjust or repair.

Why beat yourself up with an Arduino based controller for a CNC router? They are not safe and not powerful enough to do real work. The Gecko 540 integrated controller/driver with either linuxCNC or Mach are the bees knees for true home CNC.

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Re: Shapeoko or X Carve

Postby Polygonhell » Wed Sep 28, 2016 6:19 pm

mhackney wrote: They are not safe and not powerful enough to do real work.


I used to use this line, but I'm not sure I agree with it anymore.

While less than ideal, as long as the E-Stop is a real physical E-Stop i.e. it can't be ignored because of a programming error, and it's also connected to the spindle, I don't see it as being any less safe than solutions like Mach + SmoothStepper + Gecko.
The only real safety feature your missing that's on the Gecko is a charge pump and it's not really relevant when the uController is the thing driving the steppers.

As to performance, I've seen Mach 3 driving my Mill through an ethernet smoothstepper move less smoothly that I would like to see, and I know a uController would not have the same issues on a cartesian machine at those step rates.

Having said that there are other issues here.
You lose a lot of convenience when you can't run a machine manually, and I use Mach wizards to get some of that back, being able to quickly Face a piece of material, or drill a few holes without having to go use a 3D package is a really nice thing to have.
Usually the Stepper drivers are inferior at best.
Usually you're not running enough voltage through the steppers/drivers to get anywhere near their peak torque.

I personally wouldn't drive a Mill or a Router from an arduino based controller, but I don't think they are inherently unsafe.

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Re: Shapeoko or X Carve

Postby jram » Fri Sep 30, 2016 12:12 am

mhackney wrote:I'm on the zone, got started with CNC 10 years before 3D printing. I've built multiple routers, 3 mills and 2 lathe conversions. You can find me in the Benchtop machine forum (same name).

My advice would be to build your own. You could build a nice machine with more capability than the premades and you will understand how it works when you need to adjust or repair.

Why beat yourself up with an Arduino based controller for a CNC router? They are not safe and not powerful enough to do real work. The Gecko 540 integrated controller/driver with either linuxCNC or Mach are the bees knees for true home CNC.

Hi Mchackney, I'm open to something other than a Shapeoko or X carve. Do you know of any similar kits along with build logs that I could follow along with? The grant I am getting is for 1500.00 but I could probably spend 2000.00 if needed.
Machines- Rostock Max v2 with E3D v6, Corsair 750 power supply, PEI bed,injection molded carriages and new arms. Aluminum mount. X carve with x controller. Stratasys Uprint SE

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Re: Shapeoko or X Carve

Postby mhackney » Fri Sep 30, 2016 2:48 pm

This SMW3D OX Kit is popular at $999.99 with a 13" x 21" table. It does not come with a controller so you can use your Arduino controller or a Gecko G540 or whatever else you want. It also does not come with a spoil board (but you are going to figure that out with one of the premades too). Other than that, you get everything you need to put together a nice router. They have a Bog OX option that gives you a 22" x 30" table for an extra $99 too. And you can get a TinyG controller from them for 1-stop shopping.

You can google build logs and they have their own forum too.

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Re: Shapeoko or X Carve

Postby KAS » Fri Sep 30, 2016 5:15 pm

Id get the SO3 over the Ox. Not to mention it comes standard with nema 23's, 9mm belts, cable chain, etc.. Looks like those are upgrade options on the Ox.

Honestly, any kit you decide on will cut the items you listed above. Really comes down to the amount you're willing to fork out.

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Re: Shapeoko or X Carve

Postby mhackney » Fri Sep 30, 2016 6:03 pm

It is true that any CNC router will cut foam and light materials. I'm hung up on "rigidity" and the SO3 design is not terribly rigid. The Ox is a very rigid machine and can even cut aluminum. But if foam really is the only thing you plan to cut, it might not be worth the effort to build a kit.

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Re: Shapeoko or X Carve

Postby KAS » Fri Sep 30, 2016 7:12 pm

Not that it matters, but the S03's custom extruded rails are larger and thicker than the 80/20 used on the Ox. Larger steppers, Larger belts, steel side supports, blah blah blah. It also cuts aluminium without issue. Although the SO3 cuts steel as-well http://community.carbide3d.com/t/machin ... art/2584/4

Again I'm biased for the SO3 because I have one. :)


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