X-Carve versus ShapeOko 3


Should I buy an X-Carve or a ShapeOko 3 ? ShapeOko 3 looks more robust with a lot of improvements compared to ShapeOko 2…

Thank you!

I have been studying both in detail and watching the forums. I chose the X Carve for many reasons.

  1. Besides thicker rails there is nothing to substantiate claims that the Shapoko 3 is more robust than an X Carve with the same router. There’s no solid proof via video or test runs, just the inventors claims.
  2. The process of creating kits for the Shapeoko 3 has been very unstable, missing shipping deadlines and even lacking sufficient assembly instructions with confusing parts. Only a handful of machines have gone out and no one sounds like they are enjoying thier machine just yet, because it is a totally new design, there will be many bugs and conflicts to work out.
    3 The X-Carve is completely configurable to any size and set up desired, where the Shapeoko only comes in one fairly small size with a long wait for upgrades, since they are struggling just to get the base unit out.
    4 The X Carve will ship on time, the machine is well documented and many videos show it’s fully capable, plus video and written assembly instructions are already available.
  3. The X-Carve is both forwards and backwards compatible, meaning many add ons and extras are already available.
  4. Inventables Easel Software is designed to work with X Carve, and may be compatible with SHapeoko but no one knows for sure.
  5. SERVICE- I personally had a poor experience with follow up and transparency with Carbide3D and the SHapeoko, where as with Inventables and X Carve I have had a fantastic experience with the staff and the CEO Zach, which matters a lot when your new and learning.
  6. The rigidity issues with the Shapeoko2 were addressed and parts simplified with the X Carve’s Creation.
  7. Staffing- Inventables has a solid performing team of organized associated ready to assist, invent, modify and just plain have fun interacting with Makers. They are transparent, great communicators and always trying to improve. Carbide 3D appears to be Ed Ford and maybe a couple guys, (He even told me himself he is grossly understaffed). When investing $1000+ bucks I need a better team than Carbide 3D provides.

10 Theres many more factors that led to my decision like the look, the custom build page, The cool wasteboard, the integrated and combines spindle and stepper motor on one power supply etc. I am sure both machines will work fine, but my money is on X Carve and the Inventables team.


Nice write-up Don, some great points there.

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+1 to don. I Build mdf speaker cabinets and the small workspace of the 3 was a major factor for me. Plus did anyone see them cutting mdf on Twitter the xcarve cuts mdf like a hot knife through butter. Well done inventables.

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For me it is the openness of the controls and software. Carbide 3D is going the way of proprietary hardware and software where as the X-Carve uses open hardware/software combination.
I also have to agree that Inventables offers top notch customer service! Worth more than the cost of the product. :slight_smile:


seems like from the forums the guys getting the first batch of SO3 are having issues with assembly. not really unexpected since its a new machine but the X carve is pretty worked out as far as issues go. plus you are stuck with the base size SO3 until carbide3d decides to release upgrades which doesnt sound like its going to happen soon

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Your so right, sounds like even the forum moderators are still trying the assembly of Shapeoko3. Can you imagine the free- for - all mess they will have when a few hundred machines are out? No one even answers messages timely now at Carbide 3D. I respect Ed Ford and his hard work, however the end game for Carbide 3D as a company has come up short. So glad I kept my money with inventables.

Links for the issues w/ assembly for the Shapeoko 3? (only issues I’ve seen are one person not familiar w/ eccentric wheels, and another person who failed to read the instructions to the end and had to swap motors around)

The first long Shapeoko 3 XY extrusions have been received and a tentative schedule has been put forth in a forum post on the Shapeoko forums (and noted on the Shapeoko wiki on the SO3 page).

Well that’s good to hear Will for the Shapeoko 3 Customers. I hope it’s more timely than the orders still waiting from batch one that was due to ship end of March. Do you have any videos, or will you soon (of the Shapeoko 3 in action from a customers build)? I would love to see some. Just a thought you might pass on, a video tutorial assembly like Inventables has would go a long way to helping new CNC customers and old alike. Cheers!

Has anyone checked out the like 3 shapeoko 3 videos online? That thing seems crazy loud. They did officially announce 1000mm extrusions for it however, they aren’t yet you can’t order it as a kit and all the belts and things have to be bought as separate kits so it seems. Not that I care I already bought m. Xcarve and if for no other reason than inventables has better customer service I’m,glad.

I don’t even watch videos. There are apparently some new ones though — a quick search shows videos by Improbable Construct and Timothy Foreman: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=shapeoko+3 — I’m sure more will follow, esp. once Winston has time to assemble his machine.

Thus far, the initial version of the instructions (or earlier, just the exploded drawings) has worked fine for assembly of the SO3 — the lower parts count helps that, and it being DFA (designed for assembly). FWIW, I actively mislike assembly videos since they’re difficult to edit / correct and I’ve had at least one instance of having to troubleshoot an incorrectly assembled machine 'cause the person used an assembly video rather than the official instructions.

Thanks for the link, looks good. I have to go now, my X Carve is coming EARLY and I need to get ready!


The 1000mm X Carve can handle the weight of a DeWalt DWP611 with no problems?

@Aaron We run the DeWalt 611 on our 1000mm shop machine. We use it virtually every day and is runs great. It flies through materials, but it is very loud.

We use collets from Precise Bits for the smaller bits…

Edit: We have a new mount coming for is soon.

I’m going crazy trying to decide what I should get. What are the wait times look like?

@Aaron We don’t like to make early promises on things like this. This will be the first production run of these parts. Things can always go wrong and we could reject the entire first lot. We are about 2-3 weeks away from getting those parts.

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Aaron you can’t go wrong they are both great machines. But if Service, ease of proven operation and assembly, and easy access to upgrades now and in the future matter, the X Carve currently has these, and it is shipping earlier than the long wait for Shapeoko3, so you would likely get your machine sooner with X Carve. Hope that helps. Read posts above theres a more detailed comparison.


Footnote - The Inventables team has been excellent communicating and they don’t want to make promises they cannot deliver on, but from what I have seen even if they encounter a delay, they have a solid team of individuals committed to getting anything resolved quicker and more transparently. I am just a customer but have been studying hard like you.


+1 to don. Also watch any of the inventables videos on like Twitter they have used their shop machine SO much the black coating is all coming off ha ha. At least they don’t have a shapeoko 3 running in their shop. I bet carbide 3d secretly buys an xcarve though. :wink: that’s how,they make,all the parts for their machine lol

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Winston Moy uploaded his build video of the shapeoko 3