About to Buy - A Few Questions

Talk about all things CNC
Post Reply
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2020 11:38 pm

About to Buy - A Few Questions

Post by Tango » Sun Jul 26, 2020 6:56 am

I'm reading through a few threads now. Wow! Lots of info to go through! I'm so new to CNC that I know terms, but am still organizing things in my head. (Just been studying it closely for a couple weeks before jumping in - and I've been asking questions in a lot of forums.) Since I'm about 98% sure I want to get a Shapeoko XXL, I figured this would be the next forum to join.

I've been reading some of the threads for new people, like the two here on what to know and what to have on hand:


I have a few questions as I make my plans that address issues that might have changed over time.

1) How useful is a Z-probe? Other places sell them or include them. I would think this is a must-have.
2) At this point, what is not included with the Shapeoko that I'll need to set it up? I've seen that I should keep M3 and M5 nuts and washers. I'll be making my own table so the working surface of the router is the same height as my Worx work table and sawhorses, so it's easy to put a larger piece of wood on the router and tile designs. Other than that, what?
3) I'm going to be starting with wood and, eventually will be doing work on plastic and other materials. To start with, what is a good bit set for wood? I don't want to by a "you'll never need another bit in your life" set, but one that will let me do v-carving, some 3D (like doing raised lines that aren't just rectangular in a cross section, maybe more like a semi-circle). And are there brands for bits that are good and others to avoid?
4) Should I get the maintenance kit right away, or is that something I won't need for a while?
5) How useful are the Bitrunner, BitZero, and BitSetter?
6) I was looking at getting a T-track and clamp kit with the device (or seeing if I can save a few bucks by getting that instead of a wasteboard). Good or bad idea?
7) Thoughts on using a Dewalt 611 router or the Carbide Compact Router instead?

Also, anything you feel I need to know but seem like I don't know is appreciated!

Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2020 11:38 pm

Re: About to Buy - A Few Questions

Post by Tango » Mon Jul 27, 2020 8:41 pm

I see I'm getting views, but no replies.

Did I throw too much into one post? Am I not clear what I'm asking? Or did I write something offensive in this post?

(Or maybe this is the kind of question everyone with experience thinks, "That's easy to answer, I'm sure someone else will get it?"

If I can edit this post to make it easier to get answers, I'll be glad to, but I don't know what to do with it.

Posts: 8608
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2012 6:11 pm
Location: Pennsylvania --- south of the Turnpike, East of US-15

Re: About to Buy - A Few Questions

Post by WillAdams » Wed Jul 29, 2020 9:52 pm

I'm afraid the Carbide 3D forums are a bit more active than here:


To answer your questions:

1 - The BitZero is a must have if you do work using stock it is suited to --- I use it for at least setting Z on pretty much every job which doesn't involve rough cut lumber

2 - Pretty much everything is in the box except:

- eye and hearing protection
- vacuum
- trim router (unless you order one)
- spare endmills (they're a consumable)
- stock for your first project
- vacuum adapter if your vacuum doesn't have a 35mm hose
- dust shoe if not buying from Carbide 3D

See: https://wiki.shapeoko.com/index.php/FAQ ... machine.3F

3 - list at: https://wiki.shapeoko.com/index.php/End ... tarter_set

4 - you shouldn't need it, but it's nice if your machine is short something which is in the Maintenance Kit

5 - they make for a wonderfully synergistic convenience, but one can work without them (but it's hard to go back to not using them once you're accustomed to them)

6 - some folks like T-track, others don't --- I think it's a good easy start to workholding

7 - see: https://wiki.shapeoko.com/index.php/Spi ... Comparison and the following section
Shapeoko 3XL #0006 w/ Carbide Compact Router w/0.125″ and ¼″ Carbide 3D precision collets

Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2020 11:38 pm

Re: About to Buy - A Few Questions

Post by Tango » Thu Jul 30, 2020 5:15 am

Thank you!

One question on this: I'll be using third party software as a G-Code sender. I have an iMac in my study that will eventually be moved to the shop, but I'm not replacing it as my main computer until Apple comes out with models using their new CPUs. Until then, I'll have to use a Linux system in my shop. I know Carbide's own software will work well with the BitZero, but can 3rd party software handle it or use it as a Z probe?

If 3rd party software can't use it at all, there's no point in getting one until I can use Carbide's G-Code sender, but if I can use it even for the Z-Axis with programs like UGS or bCNC, then I can see getting it instead of a Z-probe, since, eventually, I'll be using it for X, Y, and Z when I get the older iMac down to the shop.

Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2020 11:38 pm

Re: About to Buy - A Few Questions

Post by Tango » Thu Jul 30, 2020 5:20 am

Note for those seeing this thread:

@WillAdams replied to the question in my recent post here: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=11759

Post Reply