Author Topic: CNC desktop mill  (Read 2843 times)

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Offline mcooley

  • Posts: 234
CNC desktop mill
« on: November 10, 2015, 06:14 PM »
Anyone have any experience with this company and their CNC mill?

I'm a sucker for how simple they make it look, especially, the software they designed for it.


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Offline Richard/RMW

  • Posts: 1819
Re: CNC desktop mill
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2015, 07:58 PM »

My personal experience is limited to buying a early kit on inventables, partly assembling it and then selling it because I decided to go another route. With that said I have a fair bit of second hand experience and information, and much that is relevant to the early machines is changed now.

Edward Ford has been involved since day 1, he used Makerslide extrusions (originally a Bart Dring Kickstarter project) for the original mill (i.e. Shapeoko 1). Later he had some arrangement where he was an employee of inventables and made modifications and improvements to what became the Shapeoko 2. I think last year he parted ways with them and joined up with the Carbide3D guys and did a total redesign for V.3.

Bottom line on all that is the V.3 is totally different than V.1/2, so a lot of what you may read about those machines is not applicable to the V.3. Instead of using Makerslide they now have a custom extrusion that looks much beefier.  They also made their own controller card instead of using an Arduino with a grblshield, although the core firmware program processing the g-code is still grbl. Also the early versions used NEMA 17's and the newer ones are NEMA 23's, more power and torque. Carbide3D also created their own g-code sender in lieu of one of the open source ones, and are working on their own CAD/CAM software.

My personal opinion is that the V.3 is a lot of machine for the money. The inventables version of the machine morphed into the X-Carve (also around $1,000) and Peter P. did a review on it elsewhere on the FOG. The $1,000 X-Carve has a larger working area but I think the Makerslide is being pushed to it's limit (the extrusion is only 20mm by 40mm) while the new Shapeoko extrusions are more substantial. If you are planning on cutting aluminum or harder materials the larger X-Carve could have some issues.

Full disclosure - I recently ordered the Carbide3D Nomad 883 myself, wanting a non-kit machine I could have in my office/work room and run inside the house. I probably won't receive it for a couple months, but just in time to fiddle with it during the depths of winter without tromping out to the shop.

Hope this helps.

As of 10/17 I am out of the Dog business and pursuing other distractions. Thanks for a fun ride!

Offline mcooley

  • Posts: 234
Re: CNC desktop mill
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2015, 08:23 PM »
Yes, and, thanks, for all the info and experience behind the scenes. I have been impressed with both machines from their humble beginnings. But I don't know much about the progress of these mills outside of what I have found online. In theory, I like the open source of the X-Carve etc. For the money they both look substantial. I am hoping we have finally entered the "prosumer" realm with these systems much like what happened to camcorders. Smarter more nimble platforms but still with some "big" industrial features. Anyhow, thanks again and hope to dig up more info on both mills.


Offline Peter Parfitt

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Re: CNC desktop mill
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2015, 03:14 AM »
I Have just read Richard's comprehensive reply above and agree with every point made - some of it was new to me as well.

His assessment of the large X-Carve is right and it is certainly not going to have the rigidity to do hard work, particularly close to the centre where there would be the most flex. I am sure that the smaller X-Carve would be far more suitable for soft metal work.

One wonders what drove Mr Ford to end his relationship with Inventables. Perhaps he now has the better product.


Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 5610
Re: CNC desktop mill
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2015, 09:41 AM »
Anyone have any experience with this company and their CNC mill?

Very interesting, thanks for introducing the product. They sure seem to offer a lot of bang for only 1000 bucks. I like that they designed the system to specifically machine aluminum rather than aluminum being an after thought which is usually the case.

I also noted that the Nomad 883 Pro that they manufacture is backordered by 10-12 weeks, the build of which also appears to be very robust.

And lastly, I signed up for their Crash Course in CNC...let's see where that takes me.

Offline WillAdams

  • Posts: 30
Re: CNC desktop mill
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2018, 01:24 PM »
Probably that link should now point to:

which has received a number of updates, and now allows one to use the generated G-Code with pretty much _any_ CNC machine which accepts G-Code. While Carbide Create is almost embarrassingly simple, it's quite capable, and has some unique features for a free product, notably V carving (previously only available for free in two opensource tools), and texturing (not sure of any free tools which provide that feature).

(ob. discl. I work for the company --- joined here 'cause I finally decided to buy a Dust Extractor CLEANTEC CT MIDI HEPA to use for dust collection --- the cheap shop vac gave me an unbelievable headache after a weekend of not quite continuous use, despite headphones)

Offline Mario Turcot

  • Posts: 807
Re: CNC desktop mill
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2018, 11:47 AM »
I own a SO3 XXL and use Carbide Create, Carbide Motion and Easel. all software are free and extremely easy to learn. Carbide Motion is the software that connect to the CNC board and send commands.

Carbide Motion: Load project (gcode) >> Set starting point >> Run job... simple as that. You can pause or stop the job as you wish.
Carbide Create: Basic design with standard shapes similar to Easel but run on your machine instead of running from a website. I like Easel because I can easily lock object size and position.

It took me 3.5Hrs to build the machine and get into the demo project. Of course I read the instructions ahead  [big grin]