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2018 Shapeoko 3 (XL/XXL) CNC Router Kit – Review the Specs

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by Matthew Mensley
Sep 23, 2018

2018 Shapeoko 3 (XL/XXL) CNC Router Kit – Review the Specs

Table of Contents

Rigid, hackable and boasting bags of pedigree, the Shapeoko 3 (XL/XLL) from Carbide 3D is the CNC router kit of choice for many a maker. Read on as we review the specs of this CNC machine.

Arguably the most popular CNC router of the day, the Shapeoko 3 from Carbide 3D has origins waaay back in 2011, when its creator Edward Ford launched Project ShapeOko on Kickstarter.

A sub-$300 open-source CNC machine kit, Project ShapeOko was an affordable entry point into the world of CNC carving, achieving the fantastic feat of simplifying the procurement of parts for an open source project.

With a build comprised of electronics, plus other sundry items such as laser cut plywood sourceable from Shapeways and Ponoko (hence, ShapeOko) and one other provider, Ford’s original machine was a trailblazer.

Fast forward seven years, and much has changed. In 2014 Ford joined forces with CNC machine and CAD/CAM software company Carbide 3D, becoming a partner and VP. Folding the Shapeoko brand into Carbide 3D’s product line as its second CNC machine and gently nudging its open source roughness toward Carbide’s turn-key style offerings, the hackable Shapeoko 3 kit sits as the happy middle ground between the polished production line and DIY mishmashery.

Read on below the jump as we take a look at the features, specifications and where to buy the Shapeoko 3 (XL/XLL).

Shapeoko 3 (XL/XXL) – Review the Specs Features

Image of Shapeoko 3 (XL/XXL) – Review the Specs: Features
The Carbide 3D Shapeoko 3 (Image: Carbide 3D)

The Shapeoko 3 is pitched as being affordable enough for the workshop while packing the power to chew through real work. Given the router’s immense popularity and the specifications on paper, we’re inclined to take Carbide 3D’s word for it.

Starting from $1,099 for the basic kit, excluding the router motor itself, the Shapeoko is available in other configurations that boost the cutting power and area. Should you choose to you can buy the standard kit plus either a DeWalt DWP-611 or Makita RT0701C. That, or use your own.

The brains beneath the Shapeoko 3’s functional aluminum and 10-gauge steel frame is an industrial-grade motion controller, running on the open source GRBL firmware. Widespread CAM software compatibility comes with the machine accepting G-code commands.

Beefy Nema 23 stepper motors (paired to an adequate spindle) allow the Shapeoko 3 to carve its way through woods, plastics, and aluminum with ease. Carbide 3D even reports cases of carbon-fiber, steel and PCBs being cut using the Shapeoko 3, albeit with the caveat of additional preparation and safety measures.

The standard Shapeoko 3 offers a cutting area of 406 x 406 x 76 mm, meaning that 3D designs are a possibility. There are two additional variants that push the cutting boundary further, with the Shapeoko XL extending it to 838 x 406 x 76 mm and the Shapeoko XXL to 838 x 838 x 76 mm. Owners of the Shapeoko 3 can purchase upgrade kits to bump their machine the XL and XXL versions, should they wish.

Formerly a wholly granular kit, as of summer 2016 the Shapeoko 3 began shipping part-assembled. With 75% of the grunt work done already, you can expect a breezy sub-hour build time.

Bundled with Carbide 3D’s design and control software — Carbide Create and Carbide Motion — the standard Shapeoko 3 kit is designed to have all a router-touting user needs to get off the ground and cutting in no time.

Shapeoko 3 (XL/XXL) – Review the Specs Specs

Image of Shapeoko 3 (XL/XXL) – Review the Specs: Specs
The Carbide 3D Shapeoko 3 (Image: Carbide 3D)

Kit style: Partially assembled
Cutting area: 406 x 406 x 76 mm
Machine size: 721 x 605 x 391 mm
Weight: 25 kg
Firmware: GRBL
OS: Mac OS X 10.9+, Windows 7+
Features: Sturdy frame, bundled control/design software, hackable/upgradable, enclosed/protected electronics, single sheet MDF table

Shapeoko 3 (XL/XXL) – Review the Specs Where to Buy

Interested in the Carbide 3D Shapeoko 3? You can pick one up from the retailers listed below.

License: The text of "2018 Shapeoko 3 (XL/XXL) CNC Router Kit – Review the Specs" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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