Why is Shapeoko CNC such a popular desktop CNC Machine?

What is a CNC Machine?

CNC Machines, such as the Shapeoko CNC machine, utilize the process of Computerized Numerical Control. CNCs are essentially numerical control systems, equipped with a microcomputer, which can be programmed interactively with a high degree of freedom. CNC machines were conceived in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. In the past, they were used exclusively in industry - but are now available to everyone, and the internet makes it easy to expand your knowledge about them and learn how to use them in great depth in a matter of hours. Many entrepreneurs start their business in a garage or workshop that they already own. This eliminates the need to rent a dedicated workspace until there is a regular influx of order requests . New desktop CNC machines appear on the market every so often. The demand for them is primarily driven by the significant capabilities they offer for small businesses in spite of their compact form. You can learn the basics of CNC machine operation such as Shapeoko CNC even in a few hours. You can start with the basics and then gradually add additional equipment to your CNC Machine.

What factors should you take under consideration while looking for a suitable home CNC Machine?

The main factors we recommend to take into account when choosing a suitable CNC machine are:

  • CNC Machine Weight

  • Work Area

  • Maximum CNC Machine Speed

  • Availability of Spare Parts

  • Power Consumption

If you’re looking for a CNC – you’ve probably come across Shapeoko CNC machines. This article aims to introduce you to the solutions offered by Shapeoko to help you decide which model to choose.

Why should I consider the Shapeoko laser upgrade?

CNC milling can provide a lot of fun with observing how the material disappears and your project is being brought to life. Lasers are quite a new tool on the CNC market, however they are already easily accessible and easy to mount.. As long as Shapeoko laser upgrades are plug-and-play solutions, they are definitely an option worth considering. They provide you with new possibilities for earning money with your CNC machine by adding laser cutting and laser engraving machine functionality to it. Laser on Shapeoko is a must have option. It is not that expensive. Furthermore, it is easier to use than at first thought. It allows you to bring more projects to life than you think in the first place.

What can be cut using Shapeoko CNC

When using a Shapeoko CNC machine, we need to plan ahead what we will do with it, so it is important to put together what Shapeoko allows us to do . By using Shapeoko machines we can work with many materials such as:: Wood, from soft pine, through MDF, to hardwood such as bleached oak; Popular types of plastic, including ABS, polycarbonate, HDPE, PEEK, Delrin and Acrylic; Aluminum and brass, however processing these materials is slower than processing wood and plastic. Photos are from the Shapeoko CNC machine manufacturer's website. Cutting harder metals, like steel or stainless steel, is not recommended for new users as it takes a lot of skill and experience.

The size of the machine matters

There are two Shapeoko machines, each available in three different sizes. Depending on our needs, we can choose the right model, taking into account what we plan to do with the Shapeoko. Shapeoko Standard is designed for those who have less space but want to do precise work such as detailing or Shapeoko laser cutting. The Shapeoko XL will be optimal for all kinds of tasks, given its working dimensions which provide adequate space for tasks using the spindle and the Shapeoko laser upgrade. Shapeoko XXL is especially known for its large working area, which makes it easy to laser engrave large areas.

Shapeoko CNC Machine Dimensions and Software - To make sure everything fits.

As we mentioned, the dimension of the machine is often crucial when choosing one for ourselves We must also pay attention to what is included in the Shapeoko kit and what we need to provide on our own. Shapeoko 4 and Shapeoko Pro ship with:

  • Shapeoko CNC Router

  • All tools required for assembly

  • 12 Teez-Nutz

  • 6 Glass fiber-reinforced nylon clamps

  • Sweepy V2 65mm

  • Qty 1, 1/4" carbide endmill

  • BitSetter (PRO ONLY)

  • Carbide Create 2D CAD/CAM software

  • Carbide Motion

These Shapeoko CNC Machines are shipped for free in the US and Canada.

What we need to provide on our own:

  • PC or Mac computer

  • Shop vacuum

  • Carbide Compact Router or other 65mm trim router.

  • Material to cut

Example of software that can be used:

  • Carbide Create

  • Carbide Create Pro

  • Carbide Motion

  • Carbide Copper

  • Design Elements

Accessories for our Shapeoko.

The machine itself only gets you halfway there, you still need to remember the accessories that are often necessary if you plan specific activities. You can choose the ones that will be most useful to you.

  • BitZero V2 for Shapeoko

  • Shapeoko Endmill Starter Pack

  • Amana AMS-119: CNC 3-PC Starter Pack for Shapeoko

  • Carbide Corner Square

  • Threaded Inserts (Qty 100)

  • Gator Tooth Clamps

  • Tiger Claw Clamps

  • Opt Lasers Shapeoko Laser Upgrade Kit

With Shapeoko you can do:

Photos are from the Shapeoko CNC machine manufacturer's website. This artpiece, featuring a Native American, is made in wood and filled with blue epoxy. The epoxy itself is very popular and widely available. The pumpkin was assembled with several layers of plywood joined together to make a great Halloween decoration. Photos are from the Shapeoko CNC machine manufacturer's website.

I want to add laser cutting and laser engraving machine functionality to my CNC machine - What should I know while choosing a suitable Shapeoko Laser upgrade for cutting and engraving?

Blue semiconductor laser - the common name for a laser diode built on gallium nitride (GaN). The name comes from the color of light that emits the diode. The name is also largely misleading due to the fact that the most typical design of this laser emits light at a wavelength of 405 nm. The human eye sees this light as violet. It is estimated that currently about 60% of used CNC machines can be equipped with cnc laser modules - laser cutting and engraving heads.. We know what we can cut with Shapeoko - what if you want to increase its capabilities? Using a Desktop CNC laser is a step forward that gives you a great opportunity to develop your hobby or raise your own business - the laser head market is growing at a tremendous pace - choose good quality! Opt Lasers’ Shapeoko laser upgrade is designed for industrial, service and hobby applications. Opt Lasers’ laser heads stand out with their small dimensions, long life, sturdy and user-friendly design as well as their resistance to pollution and damage - so everything that is important to maintain the highest quality. You can also use additional accessories to take your Shapeoko laser head experience to the next level:

  • High-Pressure Air Assist Nozzle

  • Magnetic Docking Station

  • XF & uSpot

  • uSpot Lens Upgrade

  • Laser Safety Glasses

  • High-Efficiency Engraving Lens

  • High-Resolution Engraving Lens

Will CNC Laser Upgrade for Shapeoko change your daily work with the machine?

The market shows a trend towards increasing use of CNC lasers in an increasingly wide range of equipment. Many types of compact CNC machines such as X-Carve, Workbee Shapeoko, and Stepcraft have been developed in recent years. Laser heads based on blue laser diodes have a compact size and a low, competitive price and therefore prove to be a popular choice among CNC machine manufacturers, hobbyists and general users.

With CNC laser from Opt Lasers you can do:

Photo from the Opt Lasers Instagram profile. Key tag made from thin plywood cigar box. Photo from the Opt Lasers Instagram profile. Kitchen board - made of cherry wood with an engraved kitchen measuring chart and finished with food safe soybean oil.


When considering a CNC machine from Shapeoko, you need to pay attention to your capabilities when it comes to space and what you intend to do with it. Also consider the accessories that are available for purchase right away - why pay twice for shipping? If you want the highest quality and satisfaction for you and your customers - consider Shapeoko laser heads from Opt Lasers https://optlasers.com/cnc-laser-upgrade-kits/shapeoko-kit. Remember that you can buy additional accessories for the laser head as well. Carbide 3D provides a range of options at a reasonable price. For many people it is also important to have the support that the Shapeoko team places great emphasis on.


PLH3D-6W Series Engraving Laser Head from Opt Lasers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDAWhlXolsI Opt Lasers Shapeoko Laser Installation Video made by PortaKeeper: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xy0BNh9ZB6M Opt Lasers Youtube Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/c/OptLasers/playlists