I have had this machine for 6 months

I would not buy another one. There are much more expensive one’s out there but look at what comes with them and how solid they are built. I could have bought a much better machine for the same money, I bought the best of the bundle and have replaced most of it. The spindle was a joke! So then I had to buy the DW611 router- Then the mount from Inventables to hold it. They don’t even sell that piece of crap spindle any more! The belts are a joke. You will be working on this thing the whole time you own it. Oh but when they fix something you can send them more money to fix it? I have more money is this thing than a lot of options out there after all the fixes. Just my opinion. I would say thumbs down in the last 6 months!

There are many like it but this one is mine… I suspect there are several other options that may have saved you some time and energy, but I still think it was worth the investment in building it, learning about it and cnc operations, as well as the other intangible benefits of adding a laser and troubleshooting various elements of the machine. Sorry your experience was not what you expected. In my humble opinion I enjoy the product and have gifted a ton of stuff to others already. Some day I will turn it into money as an investment deal, but for now I enjoy the gifting element of it. Good luck!


Love my xcarve. Society as a whole have become lazy and think everything is a Honda that requires no maintenance. Sell it, move on, and enjoy your sense of entitlement.


@DonaldM_Williams I’m very sorry to hear this! I have had nothing but great satisfaction with my Xcarve. Some minor problems, belts, pulley screws, etc. but I have to say the customer service at Inventables is incredible. Have you actually called @Zach_Kaplan or someone at Inventables to discuss this?

My experience with them, as with other companies, is that you catch a whole lot more flies with honey rather than vinegar. Before you finalize selling it, call their help desk and discuss it with them. I’m sure you’ll be surprised at how friendly and helpful they are.

Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help in the forum. I’ve learned a ton from guys like @RobertA_Rieke, and @pike_lake to name a couple. Everyone is here to help for the most part. Ask and be amazed.

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Yes of course there are bigger, stronger, and more powerful machines. But you will spend at least $5,000 for a 25x25 inch machine that is any good. The X-Carve is amazing when you consider what you spent. Plus there is the added benefit of learning how it works, how important tuning is and how to do amazing things with a small hobbyist machine.

I looks at my year with the X-Carve as the equivalent of getting a masters degree in CNC routers. Once you can make the X-Carve perform the way you want you will be able to really make a larger machine sing and dance.

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I don’t want to come off polyannish on this. Prior to getting my X-carve, I had a chance to learn about CNC machines at our local D.C. Techshop. I fell in love with the whole concept. I did have times where I could not use their fancy Shopbot Alpha (4’X8’), Shopbot Buddy (~1m), and Shopbot Desktop machines because of various issues. I did some checks on them and the parts to replace the various pieces weren’t exactly cheap, let alone the original cost of the machines. I couldn’t touch that price point. I looked around and came to X-Carve (then Shapeoko just as they were transitioning) and the Shapeoko 3. Both were a lot closer to my pricepoint and I could afford the replacement parts after I learned how to use them. I still lurk on the Shapeoko 3 site once in a while and I see their users are also coming up with fantastic upgrades to improve their machine. I am in the Navy and certainly am not on the path to be a millionaire so each cost to the X-carve certainly had its impact on the minimal investments that I had started to make. Again- not trying to be a commercial here, but those larger and fancier machines that you could invest more money in do seem to also have more expensive parts to replace the similar items on our X-Carves. I did like the build-it-myself prospect because it gave me a comfortable feeling that I could replace parts if they broke. At first, I didn’t expect to invest in a laser upgrade, create a pen-holder, take the amazing posts from others about stiffening mods, replacement recommended routers, and/or creating my own separate power control box. Heck, at this point I learned a lot about gcode and how valuable a gcode program (i.e. develop a project and a sender) could be to create whatever I wanted to out of wood, acrylic, corian, and all sorts of other substrate materials.

So with that said, I am sorry your experience is not what you expected. When I first ordered my X-Carve and the feedback was that I had to wait for about 2 months while I was on a waiting list for shipping (last year), I would have made you one amazing deal to buy yours from you. In fact, I lurked on all of the websites I could find to buy a used one from someone but invariably I could not find one that stayed on the marked/posts long enough to actually make the purchase. They were selling like hotcakes! So if you are not a satisfied customer, you may find someone else would be willing to buy it from you. Good luck!



I totally love my 500x500mm XC and it is worth every penny I put into it. It is a reliable and sturdy little work horse.

How people end up having so much frustration with their machines is beyond me…

Simply put, because everyone has a slightly different skill set, frustration tolerance, and expectations than everyone else.
Though many try, not everyone has what it takes to build and run one of these machines. i give credit to all who attempt it.
I love my machine and have had very few problems with it and those I have had can mostly be attributed to the loose nut behind the keyboard (ME).
Last night I had an issue with the spindle randomly shutting of during a carve. Thought it was my speed controller so i bypassed it and ran the spindle at full speed. Did it again. Found a 120 v power lead was not tightened down enough when I reconfigured my electronics and had worked loose cutting juice to the spindle power supply. Again, the nut with the screwdriver was to blame.
Back to engraving deck boards.

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I found it very easy to build and I have learned a lot since building it. I am just sick of spending so much time working on it. The belt setup is a big problem so I’m going to address that first. I do have a frustration tolerance problem and don’t need the insults from some stranger who don’t know me. People like you are why I don’t come here often. I will call customer service and see what goes from there because this is not a help at all! Thanks for all of your reply’s.

How so?

After reading this entire thread, I must say that, nobody here has insulted you in any way, and I fail to understand why you took the comments made as such. Most comments were supportive of the builders efforts to construct the X Carve. The comment about “frustration level” was not directed at you, but was a general statement that could apply to anyone.

You didn’t specify what your problems were with the X Carve, only that the “spindle is a joke” and the “belts are a joke”, thereby providing nobody in the forum any information with which they might have been able to help you resolve some of your issues with the X Carve.

Belt issues in particular have been discussed many times in this forum, with several innovative approaches being proposed.

The real issue here is not the forum, or the people responding to you, at least from what I have read. The real issue is your attitude. Perhaps if you were to provide specifics about the issues you are having you would find, as I have found, the the folks here are very knowlegeable and helpful.


I’ll jump in here because I have felt the same as the thread creator just a few months ago. I was so annoyed with the disappointment of the x-carve I was ready to throw it in the trash, and I even made one of these “I’m disappointed in the X-Carve,” posts that we have all seen on the forum.

I now love my x-carve because it is making my life easier and I am making tons of profitable product with it, but that took a learning curve and upgrades and so on like we all know.

The thing is, not everyone (myself included knew that coming in) we didn’t know this was such a hands on product. You see the videos and the photos on the site and you think ok, I build it and then it works. As we all know that’s not exactly it. There is more researching, more testing, more tweaking. In the end it’s worth it, but for us that maybe didn’t “research” it enough, it was hard swallow.

And that’s really what sets the two groups apart are expectations. I thought basically: plug and play. So when I had to fuss with it: big disappointment. If you knew it was a “kit” meaning you have to fiddle with it, then you’re expectations were met.

But the fact is: no machine is perfect. And when I move to a bigger, better, way more expensive machine- I’m going to have a clue what I’m looking at and so make a more informed decision, all thanks to the X-Carve (which in my opinion is extremely cheap and was ridiculously easy to get a return on the investment.)

My two cents.


I can see your point. I spent years making CNC machines out of MDF, using threaded rod instead of belts, roller skate bearings and angle iron instead of makerslide. I made those machines perform very well. So, when x-carve came along, with the belts and makerslide it solved so many problems, so inexpensively, it was like a godsend. I have come a long way since my first, servo-driven golf ball and egg coloring robot to today that I take all of that learning and experience for granted sometimes. The learning continues. Even the differences between what I could do last year with x-carve vs. this year are amazing to contemplate. This thread is good food for thought. Everyone is starting in a different place and has a different appetite and aptitude for experimentation. I hack EVERYTHING and love it. I also have a certain amount of empathy for those who are not mechanically inclined (like Anthony Michael Hall’s character in The Breakfast Club) unless they also have a complete lack of self-awareness. Then they are just annoying. :slight_smile:


I’m definitely of two minds on it, really. It’s a bit fidgety, and I’ve had to spend quite a lot of time goofing around with it to get it to run decently. It still has problems cutting circles that are actually circular, and I fight with flex in the frame and the resultant chatter constantly. I was very annoyed that I had to pay for a separate router and mount after the stock spindle failed at less than ten hours of run time with no recourse from Inventables. Frankly, that pissed me off a bit.

But, that being said, I’d say I have been very well-served by the machine overall. By my most recent calculations, it has paid for itself - including all software and upgrades - about four times over or a bit more. It’s also given me a tremendous amount of insight into the building and operation of CNC equipment, and has opened the door to more and more interesting opportunities. For the price, I don’t think I could have done any better. Yes, I could have sourced my own parts and built my own that is better in most every way… but I don’t think I would have without the kit and excellent build instructions to get me started and build some confidence. Combined with the X-Controller, I think this is really quite a respectable little machine for the money. There are extreme limits to is capability, largely in terms of rigidity, and the precision isn’t awesome. But, for the price, you can add CNC capability to your own shop!

Would I buy it again now? No, I don’t think so, I now have higher demands than the X-Carve will really supply. I’m pushing the limits of its capability too hard, and would be better served by building something on my own. Would I suggest it to a friend as their first CNC, assuming they have moderate mechanical aptitude and some degree of familiarity with computers? Heck yes! As a next step for myself, I’d probably build a larger, stronger frame, and use the X-Controller to drive it.


Engraving deck boards. That sounds interesting. Care to share a pic or two?

I have 14 done out of what is current batch of 20 boards when I get through these I plan on a “group shot” to post up here for all to see.

Or, if you are ever in northern Mn. near the Mississippi headwaters you can stop for lunch at the resurrected restaurant and see them for yourself. :wink:

Btw Tamarack wood kinda sucks to engrave, some of it is stringy, it’s rather warpy, and the slightest of splinters burns and stings almost instantly and doesn’t quit!

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Like in the Grand Rapids, MN area? Surprisingly, I’m less than 90 min away from you.

I’m further west in Park Rapids.

If you are that close you can come for mexican food and walk all over my work!

So yeah, the spindles were a joke. At least, the first run of them was.

But remember, The X-Carves were on a 6-month backorder for a long time, and they’re still on a backorder now. I can’t blame them for wanting to get units out the door quickly. Many of us had odd little glitches in our orders but Inventables bent over backwards to get us up and running. When the Shapeoko design went private and the designer went to Carbide3D, Inventables really had to punt to get something together, and I think they did a great job on the X-Carve. In fact, if you look at the Shapeoko3 and X-Carve side by side (which let’s be honest, they’re the two closest rivals in cost and features) they really both hold their own, especially comparing the 500mm X-Carve against the SO3.

Both systems use belts, and in fact the SO3 uses a belt-driven Z-axis instead of a threaded rod. Both systems are build-it-yourself kits and rely on a robust forum to work out the bugs and kinks and help the user base along.

Sure, you could double your spend and get something similar that’s ready-to-go, and if your frustration threshold is low, perhaps that would be money well spent.

*edit for clarity


the guy is entitled to his opinion. He hasn’t been impolite imo. its okay to agree to disagree, people on forums tend to forget that sometimes.

For some the tinkering is half the fun.
I haven’t made a dime off my machine and still I am happy to have bought it. Although I am getting to a point I would like to start to generate some kind of income out of it so I can start saving for a proper CNC that can cut harder materials faster.

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