Noob questions before buying

I recently won a gift card to inventables from a local raffle, and I’m a complete beginner to both CNC and the X Carve. I’m more of a traditional woodworker, so I have experience there, but not on a CNC. So I would like to garner some advice on what to get. I’ve been doing some digging on the forums trying to find out some details, but I would like to see if anyone has any additional input. I see mostly using this for wood, maybe making some metal parts here and there for some projects.

Currently what I am looking at is the fully loaded package, minus the waste board (shipping is killer and I have a friend with a full sized CNC that can cut one for me). Any recommendations on accessories or upgrades? So far I have only planned on a solid state relay for turning on the router.

Also, is the X-Controller worth upgrading to? It seems to be a marginal cost, but does it add much for that cost? From what I can tell it offers a bit more in power and neatness than the standard. Can you operate an add on laser with the X Controller?

Any additional advice you can throw my way would be appreciated. I’m excited on what I can do with the X Carve and want to make sure I can get the most out of it!

The X-Controller is really worth it. The reliability and better connectors alone make it worthwhile. But it also allows easy addition of a touch probe and control signal for your spindle relay. Plus your wiring will look much neater.

Also get the Nema 23 motors, the extra power they provide is a huge improvement.

Last of all you need to get the Acme rod for the Z axis. It will really make your Z-axis work much better.

You will also need to order a .25 inch collet for the Dewalt 611. Having .125 and .25 collets allows you to use a much wider range of tools.

You will also need to think about software, the free Easel program is good and getting better every day. But for serious design and the ability to Vcarving, plus the ability to import STL files and carve 2.5D objects you will need to consider additional software. If you are familiar with sold modeling you may be fine with using Fusion 360 (free for hobbiest). But if you have never used solid modeling software before the learning curve can be pretty rough.

I really recommend Vcarve Desktop. It is very intuitive to learn and extremely powerful. Plus there are lots of video tutorials on Youtube and the Vectric site.

You can go ahead and download the demo version of the software to try it out while you wait on your machine to arrive.

It is a bit expensive, $349 for the desktop version, But I think Inventables is offering a discount if you order it with your kit.
Everyone I know that has purchased has been very happy with it.

I think you will be very happy with what the X-Carve adds to your shop.


Thanks Phil for catching that, The Dewalt comes standard with the .25 collet, you need to add on the .125.

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You will probably want to have longer wires than come with the kit. You can get the appropriate wire at Home Depot if you are in the US.

I assume the precision collet is preferred?

I am sure the precision collet is very nice, and has a lower runout. But the regular 1/8 collet is perfectly fine. I really don’t think you would notice the small reduction in runout that the more expensive collet would provide. Use the extra $50 to buy some nice downcut endmills and a 60 deg vbit.