New buyer of X-carve with no experience

Hi, I’m new here and interested in buying my first Cnc. Inventable X carve name is keep popping up and users seemed to be happy. However, I’m getting cold feet when I think about assembly and lot of pieces. I know it’s a good idea to assemble yourself and know your machines inside/out.

Questions I have…

  1. is there an option for assembly or is it hard for a rookie like me?
  2. list of things I must purchase when ordering x-carve and things I can wait; Such as, vacuum kit, touch sensor, etc?
  3. Anyone near Schaumburg IL using x-carve and don’t mind advising or show a few things?

I would appreciate if any of you can answer any of the above, it will make things bid easy for me. Thanks

The instructions are very well done. I upgraded from a Shapeoko2 and really it was like starting from scratch with all the new parts. Actually it was easier because you don’t have to tap any holes anymore in the extrusion. I ended up ordering all the accessories piecemeal which cost me more because I paid shipping for each item each time I ordered it. The X controller, dust collection system, and a zero probe are very helpful, as are home switches. I made my own wasteboard and sideboard and had router bits here from my other cnc routers.

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Thank you Martin very helpful information.
I heard you need a huge floor space to assemble this. Is that correct?

I did it in my crowded garage. 1000mm x 1000mm probably could be assembled in a 6’ x 6’ area if you are thin. :-). Imagine working with a 4 x8 sheet of plywood. It’s not that big.

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If you’ve ever put together Ikea/Walmart furniture, you can do an X-Carve. :slight_smile: The instructions are online for anyone to view:

I built a 4’ x 5’ bench for my machine (1000 mm), and for the most part was able to keep assembly on top of it. Some of the sub-assemblies did occur in other areas, and there was some strategic rotating of the machine which involved pulling about half of it over the edge of the bench in order to pivot.

I also feel that putting the thing together yourself will help you troubleshoot any mechanical issues you encounter when you actually start to use it.

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Thank you Martin. What about the accessories. Should I be buying touch sensor and dust collector. It will be set up in the garage and have kids running around. I’m not sure Its we’ll desinged or is that something I can create using traditional shop vac.

That’s the good way to put it. Yes, I have put together bunch of IKEA furniture, and I didn’t have issue other than missing some of the components. Where I ask myself did I put together wrong or the vendor shorted
me on some the parts. I hope we don’t have that kind of suitation.

If you go with the xCarve kit
Read the assembly instructions. Then read it again.
Read about Easle or vCarve

None of it is difficult. After assembly you learn the steps to carve and finish items.

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Put the bags in numerical order so its easier to find when assembling. Build the waste board first and you can work on top of it from there

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It gets a bit old holding a shop vac for an hour. You should consider all the accessories that make each task a bit easier. Other than a bit set which may include bits that you don’t need for your tasks, I can’t think of anything that they initially recommend that doesn’t get used each time. I have no stake in this either, but I’ve been cncing for about 15 years. This is my first dust shoe and it is a nice feature. I didn’t buy the clamp set and kind of with I did. I made my own table surface so I ended up making clamps for it and found that I need to do something a bit different.

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I was like you when I started. The CNC world was completely foreign to me. The instructions are easy to follow. I have had mine for close to two years now and love it. I have many videos that may help you get started. Unfortunately I do not have the assembly video because I was not doing videos at that time. I hope you will chose to get one. You’ll enjoy it.

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Thank you phililip. I will check out your YouTube channel & videos. I’m getting all the good vibe, so much closer to owning one.

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Agree. I was thinking the same about the vacuum. Definitely buying dust collector kit.

Great tip. Thanks

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Hi Sam,
I am new too. It’s my second week into carving with the X-Carve. In other words I am still climbing that steep learning curve. First off, my son and I built the work table. Once the machine parts came in everything was built on it. I had some old 2x4s and a sheet of MDF that we used to build a speaker box. As it turned out the more or less L-shape of that sheet was perfect for fitting the entire machine setup, and it put the computer off to the left side. I admit, we got lucky it all fit. We built the table before anything but the controller had arrived. :wink: If you set up in a garage like us, I recommend casters. The two in the front swivel, the back ones are static. We added a platform for our planer because we use a lot of re-claimed wood for our projects and it had to go somewhere as it’s too freaking heavy to carry all the time.

We also purchased a cheap $100 refurbed Windows 10 computer to run the machine off of. I got a decent computer in my office that I currently try V-Carve on. The one in the garage does not have the juice to do any designs, but that wasn’t the intend anyhow. We also ran a CAT5 into the garage to have internet access, and well, access to Easel.

We also got a shop vac for like $60. The dust collection is a must for me since we work in the garage. Get the 10 bit starter kit to get your feet wet, and we also got the homing kit and Z-Probe.

The setup was not hard. Follow the instructions and you’ll be fine for the most part. Things can get confusing, so yes, lay out the bags in order. You want to be careful with any of the hex screws. They are small and get worn out easily. I do not know the quality of the tool set you can add, but if you do not have the correct tools, I would get that too. Pay particular attention to the orientation of parts in the pictures. I missed a couple and had to un-assemble.

l am happy and excided about my purchase. This is well worth the money, parts are high quality and the software (Easel) is easy to learn. Plenty of tutorials out there too, and great people here in the forum. And btw, my machine ran correctly from the time I initially fired it up. That ought to speak for the package as a whole. Only time something went wrong is due to user error.

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Stefan thank you very much for the detail information. Lots of great tips. I’m myself an IT guy internet connect and software is no biggie. I have a couple laptop laying around and for sure building a table first. Also, definitely buying all the accessories, dust collector, homing kit, bit set, etc. yes the community is great and so helpful.

I feel much better after reading all the feedbacks. I can’t wait to order it. Thanks

I highly recommend watching the New Britt videos in addition to the online written instructions. I watched the whole video series. The first few are available here on inventables, the rest I found in a playlist on his YouTube channel. Then sat down with the instructions to start assembly. In the end I played through the videos and followed along with what he was doing, only occasionally referring to the manual.

When you get it together you will need to ensure it is square. Here is a video on how to do it

I don’t have an x-carve myself. I have a ShapeOKO 3 XXL. They do have fewer non assembled parts than the x-carve. A stiffer gantry and individual y-axis drives on the control card. From what I can see both are highly modifiable as I’ve done many on mine. I would look at the side by side comparisons of the two on YouTube. I personally watched hours of materials on line joined the forums and visited the company web pages before deciding on the ShapeOKO. You should too.