Inventables Releases Improved X-Carve CNC Router

Introduced last year as an improvement on the very popular Shapeoko CNC router, the X-Carve by Inventables has grown to be a very well-respected machine in the community. It’s even better if you throw a DeWalt spindle on there, allowing you to cut almost everything that’s not steel. With a recent upgrade to the X-Carve, it’s even more capable, featuring the best mods and suggestions from the community that has grown up around this machine.

The newest iteration of the X-Carve features higher power drivers, better rigidity, and a heat sink for the spindle. That last item is an interesting bit of kit – routing takes time, and a 1¼HP motor will turn electricity into heat very effectively.

X-CarveIn addition to the 500mm square and 1000mmm square routers previously available, there’s a new, 750mm square machine available. All machines feature a new electronics box for the X-Carve, the X-Controller. This ‘brain box’ is a combined power supply, stepper driver, and motion controller built into a single box. The stepper drivers are able to supply 4A to a motor, is capable of 1/16 microstepping, and has connections for limit switches, spindle control speed, a Z probe, and outputs for vacuums or coolant systems. The underlying controller is based on grbl, making this brain box a very solid foundation for any 3-axis CNC build. The ‘brain box’ format seems to be the way the hobbyist CNC market is going, considering the whispers and rumors concerning Lulzbot selling their Taz6 brainbox independently from a 3D printer.

The new X-Carve is available now, with a fully-loaded 1000mm wide machine coming in at about $1400. That’s comparable to many other machines with the same volume, unlike the Chinese 3040 CNC machines, you don’t need to find an old laptop with a parallel port.

37 thoughts on “Inventables Releases Improved X-Carve CNC Router

  1. things seem to be getting better and better, and cheaper too. Great stuff.

    I wish there were some articles that looked at various machines and answered some practical questions, such as:
    – how fast can you cut through a,b,c material at various depth?
    – what is the maximum XY resolution achieved, and how much is that dependent on spindle speed and XY speed?
    – how long can you cut a,b,c material without having to stop the spindle?

  2. I wish you could get it for a reasonably (comparable to the US) price in Europe. Either going to cost almost double after shipping and VAT if you order direct. Or if you go to a EU reseller, there isn’t much of a savings difference when compared to ordering yourself.

    1. I’m with you. I saw the discussion in the Forum for EU Reseller and that only robosavvy is currently offering the cnc in EU:

      But as you already said: It is not that much cheaper. And I guess it is now the old version in that store.

      I will not spend 450$ on shipping from the US. That is insane. Why they dont develop their Reseller Programm is beyond me. I guess I will buy a german brand.

      1. My experiences with qualifying products for the EU market is that it is an expensive headache and really only worth it if there is a big market to sell into. A machine like this invites even more regulation and liability when compared to selling into US market. It takes a lot of cash (something always in short supply in a small business) to expand into other markets, cash that could be used to better effect domestically.

  3. Looks kinda flimsy for a router gantry, especially in the 1m^2 size, but I suppose the proof is in the pudding. Would anyone who has tried heavy-duty woodwork (say, carving a relief map) with one of these like to report on the results?

    1. I’ve seen quite a few projects along the lines of a relief map on the Inventables forum. There are tons of great projects there for you to check out. The gantry is actually really well made and stiff enough to cut soft metals!

    2. I got one of the 1m^2 ones and honestly I never use it… if your cutting MDF or anything that makes any kind of dust you need to constantly baby sit it or it cakes on the rails then the belts skip a tooth and your whole cut is ruined… I was unable to successfully cut anything with it really and thats with hours of tinkering.

      This however has yet to fail me

      I’m using this with linuxcnc and honestly its fantastic and it even has feed override at run time which is one feature the x-carve did not have, which was terrible because if you hit a knot in the wood you couldnt slow it down to get through and the belts would skip and your cut would be ruined.

      long story short ball screws for CNC’s are a must, now I have a ~1000$ “cnc” sitting :(

        1. It most certainly can. Just like any other CNC. It would be nice if they had an official dust shoe, but you can find a lot of them on the forums that you can cut out on your brand new CNC machine.

  4. I really like the fact that Inventables provides all the details (and sells reasonably-priced hardware) for making your own waste boards for the X-Carve, because that component, which will likely need replacement at some point, is expensive to buy & ship but can be replicated easily.

  5. I have their ShapeOko 2, I got it running but got sidetracked before I actually cut anything, and the project I bought it for didn’t materialize anyways.

    Anyway, I think it’s asking a lot to run that on 6mm wide, 2mm tooth GT belts, and the slide mount plates are flat plates without even a stiffening bend. I’m glad it’s available, but I wonder if people are going to expect too much from it.

  6. if you’re crazy enough to buy the electronics that come with the chinese machines instead of doing it yourself, there’s still no reason to use a parallel port. if you’re using linuxcnc (which is the right answer), you should get one of the mesa fpga cards with a DB25 on it (5i25 or 6i25), and use that to drive the control box. that lets you offload the step generation to hardware, which will do a much better job of it.

  7. You can tell it’s not a paid ad because the inventable’s store server wasn’t ready for all the HaD the traffic and went down. What does pre-sale mean?
    Brown Pinchoff: Where did you get all this information about the recent upgrades? I would like to know more.

      1. Does the punchline come after I ask how clever they are?

        If they’re clever engineers then it’s a compliment? If they only became software coders, doctors or bloggers, then it’s an insult?

        Regardless, we still don’t know where you’re getting your info. I don’t see any mention of these most recent X-Carve upgrades on their website. Was it in an email from Inventables with the suggested talking points or part of the website which went down?

        jayfehr: thank you. Good to know. The timing worked out well for this article, eh?

        1. There was a youtube vid released before this article, and I’m sure Inventables reached out to the media. That doesn’t make it an ad. HaD probably wasn’t paid for it, and could have choose to ignore the press release if they wanted too. I for one am glad when we get notified of big releases.

    1. Pre-sale means they would like to know how much to order so they can have proper stock. Are they going to sell 10 or 1000. They will order the number of pre-order and then 10-20 percent more for inventory

  8. The ignorance around here abounds again! (start flame war!)
    I have a Shapeoko2 with XCarve upgrades and it is a great machine for the price. Accuracy is around 0.001 inches when you set it up correctly. It does need tweaking out of the box and hours of getting to know its limitations. You do need to add a dust shoe and a good dust collection system if you want to mill materials that will create a lot of dust. (Wow, what a concept). Is is a perfect machine? Not for everyone. Will everyone be happy with it? I would not bet on it. I would say that anyone thinking of purchasing one should do their homework, read the forums then make an educated decision.
    One other thing, Inventables has one of the best customer service departments you will every come across. They stand behind their product. When I had problems with my gshield, I had a new one within a week. You will see others in the forum that will say the same about their service.

    1. You claim 0.001″ accuracy. The web site says 0.13mm accuracy. That’s a huge difference –

      Quote: “A properly tuned and calibrated machine should get to a resolution of ~0.075mm to 0.13mm.”

      1. Read the forum and see for yourself what others are getting in accuracy. It also depends on what modifications have been done to increase stiffness and play in the system. Below are some quotes from the forum about the accuracy different people have achieved. Some of these are on the 1000mm machines. Do your homework and see the results people are getting in the real world with their machines.

        Mine is accurate within .005″, and once I get the Y axis stabilized and put on the 611 I will be able to dial it in a bit more. I had to calibrate the steps/mm, and my X/Y are something like 39.8.

        After getting my machine dialed in, I have found that it’s accuracy has exceeded that of the claimed specs by Inventables. Below are a few real world examples of it’s abilities. The accuracy was enough for a watch maker friend of mine to request a favor

        I don’t have the bit or materials, but after I got mine dialed in I was able to get .003″ accuracy in X and Y, and .001″ in Z. I can continually count on .005″ accuracy, and that’s usually just an indication to me that I need to make an adjustment and re-calibrate.

        I’ve had my X-Carve for over a year now, and I’m very happy with it. It’s accurate to within .003″ and can be within .001″ if I work hard at it. It’s not very fast, but it’s usually a lot faster than doing it by hand.

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