2x2 mpcnc primo or 2x4 lowrider v2

Hello everyone,

I was looking to get some advice on making a decision between a 2’x2’x3"(work area) MPCNC Primo and a 2’x4’(work area) Lowrider v2. The main material I will be working with is 3/4" MDF and some soft/hard woods for sign making. I would like to use the CNC to cut bartop arcades with the largest piece(side piece) being 22"x16" so I could cut one side on the MPCNC, but two sides on the low rider which will be nice. I have some experience working with the Shapeoko xxl, but I’m still very much a beginner.

Obviously there are pros and cons with both machines, but my main concerns are the following. I already have a 611 and 660 router as well as a 3d printer so those are not a factor.

-Ease of use and repeatability; From reading around the forums the MPCNC is a little easier to use and start jobs.
-Rigidity; With the release of the more rigid primo is 2x2 work area machine pushing it? I’m pretty sure a 2x4 lowrider will be plenty rigid,
-Speeds, Feeds and Performance; I know this is tough to answer with everyones machine being different, but best case scenario which machine will perform better in regards to accuracy and speed if they were both cutting a 22"x16" bartop side on mdf for example.
-Sawdust; Since I will be mainly using MDF that dust is pretty bad for you and gets everywhere so I like the idea of being able to build an enclosure for the MPCNC. I have a 5hp shop vac that I can use for the lowrider so Im hoping that could control like 90% of the dust.
-Maintenance; Is the up keep on either machine easier than the other?

Any tips or experience from owners with both machines with similar sizes will be greatly appreciated. I know Ryan has a 2x4 machine which seems to be plenty capable, so I guess Im more curious about the primo and its capabilities at a 2x2 work area. Thank you all in advance.

My personal opinion is that the primo is…primo. I super love it. Dual endstops for dialing in squareness might be helpful for making your panels, but setting up the lowrider for square isn’t terrible with patience and some shims (tape works well). I set up dual stops on my lr and it was nothing but hassle.
That said, dust collection on the lowrider is pretty good and being able to cut two panels per job is a huge benefit.
2x2 isn’t pushing it for primo, but 2x3 might be, depending on the tube. Either machine will cut mdf like a champ. The primo might be more comfortable with your experience, the lowrider could be more exciting or challenging. No core to print on the lr, if that means anything to you.
I think the only notable difference for maintenance is the extra lead screw on the lowrider.
I can’t say it’s the same for everyone, but I feel more comfortable pushing my mpcnc (burly) than I did my lr, but I’ve seen some lowriders cruising thru plywood with good endmills and good cam.
I guess it’s a close call, but I’d lean towards the lr for the dust solution and capacity. If those really aren’t super high on your list, then I say pick whichever one looks the most interesting. You’re about to start a project that doubles as a tool, so you may as well enjoy the ride!


Hi Tony,

Thanks for the quick reply! I’ve seen a few mpcnc’s with a dust shoe at the bottom, but I’ve also seen people say that is not recommended, is this true?

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It’s always a tradeoff. Some dust shoes work better than others. The hard part is attaching the hose someplace that doesn’t lever the Z axis too much or obstruct your view/access to the endmill.

The only provisions built in right now are some “generic” zip-tie locations on the core. That should go a long way, really, but there isn’t an official dust shoe attachment. Between the hose tugging on the tool and the loss (an inch or two) of work area, it just doesn’t make the cut (pun intended). Again, you’ll have to weight these against your requirements. I suspect for arcade cabinets you wouldn’t even notice the hit to accuracy, and you do have a little extra room to play with.

I had Nick Ellson’s dustshoe on my Burly (look for nellson on thingiverse) but I ended up fiddling with the hose more than I liked. The shoe itself was good, i just had a fat hose.

I don’t know, YMMV, but there are some who wouldn’t go through the trouble and some who wouldn’t run without one. I have a dust collector now (vs a shop vac) so If I were going to worry about it, I’d probably just rig up some sort of cheap enclosure (maybe a cardboard box or something similar, lol) with a hole on one side and the dust collector on the other. I don’t mind coming back after the job to suck up some big stuff if it’s a cheap solution that keeps the fines out of the shop air.


Ahh I see. I guess I should stress dust collection a little more aside from keeping things clean, but another factor is dust/chip clearing as well for performance. Im leaving towards the primo at the moment, but I think Im going to post this over at the lowrider forums as well to get some input as well. Thank you for your detailed responses!

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The low rider has built in dust collection, but it isn’t perfect. Enclosing it it a huge challenge.

There are probably close to 10x more MPCNCs than Low Riders, if questions are any indication. That means more people can help, more problems have been discovered and solved. More oddball parts available. Enclosing it is pretty common.

You’re talking about a difference of 50% work area though. Being able to cut something 32" high is really nice for stuff like flat pack furniture or signs. If you can get by (for at least a while) with the smaller area, the MPCNC will make you happy.

When comparing the two models, why do we not mention that you can tile a project on the machines. Effectively making them “bigger” units. I intentionally built the Primo with “open” sides so that I could move a larger work piece through. I had a 4’x8’ machine prior to my 2’x2’ unit. I must say that probably 75-80% of my jobs were small and I did not need the big machine. Granted not all projects can be tiled, but those smaller machines sure help with shop floorspace.