I’d been fascinated by CNC machines since 2012, initially to carve PCBs rather than etching them.

I reached out to Zen Toolworks and soon learned the machines could be used to carve wood and soft stone as well, although that was just a possible bonus for me back then. I researched a handful of other machines before finally settling on the Shapeoko 2.

In early 2015, the Shapeoko3 was announced, with Ed Ford leaving Inventables to join Carbide3D, makers of the Nomad. The Shapeoko3 was a huge step forward in desktop CNC kits, with a sturdy frame, beefy motors, and 1hp palm router that could easily cut hard woods and soft metals.

I ordered #1087 the same year and finally had time to build it in March 2016. I’ve made many upgrades to it over the years and countless projects and it remains one of my favorite shop tools.

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