Age old question: The chicken, the egg or hold out for the bacon?

Newbie to CNC, but have conventional tools (routers, table saw, drill press, jigs, sleds, etc.) and programming experience.

What is the best way to get into a LowRider V3 ?

  • Buy a 3D printer and print parts ? If so, which one ?
  • Build a 3D printer (buying 3D pre-printed parts) and print parts for the V3 ?
  • Buy V3 pre-printed parts and make the rest with conventional tools and templates ?

Also, can the LowRider series be used with existing 3.25HP routers ?

Thanks much.


Welcome to the madness!

The third option you list is not yet available.
The second item is not “publicly” possible until Ryan releases the design.

Go get a 3D printer and get started on the learning curve!



What’s the story with the name G28? That is the gcode for homing. :slight_smile:. It comes up here quite a lot.

If you want a printer or you suspect you’ll want a printer, then get the printer. I imagine Ryan will release the models to print at the same time the parts go up for sale in the shop. You also need a bit of hardware and electronics, which will also be in the shop. So buying all that together is a quick way to go. I don’t think it will be any faster to get a printer than to order the parts from Ryan.


When he’s here, he IS home…


LOL, I used the handle “Ferrous Beuller” on another DIY forum. Took a lot longer for that handle to get recognized.

After reading a lot of the threads, I see there have been a lot of subsequent mods/tweaks so was trying to evaluate the best overall cost and approach for sourcing/making parts and upgrades. I know absolutely zero about 3D printers other than what I have read so don’t know which machines are appropriate and what print “ink” materials are suitable. The last time I worked with casing plastics was in jr. high and learned plastics vary widely in both application and fabrication. We had to pass written tests first before being turned loose so we wouldn’t ruin their equipment by using the wrong materials in the wrong machines (compression, vacuum, injection, …).

Can anyone answer my question about the use of larger 3.25HP routers ? I have a few of them that I could repurpose, but no palm routers at the moment. I assume the hardware would have to support the extra weight.

Thanks much.

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The 3.25HP routers are going to be tough. They’re a LOT larger than the ones we typically use, so it starts to [resent some physical limitations.

That said, the LR3 can probably manage it, but you will need to be able to do your own design work, probably. Maybe some of us will be willing to help… but if you want it, you’ll need to be able to at least print it.

I’ll recommend anyone getting into this as a hobby have some understanding of 3D printing. It does seem that the #1 thing that people with 3D printers print though are upgrades for their 3D printers. And useless objects like Benchies, which they use to prove how effective their 3D printer upgrades are (Or are not.) I rank myself as guilty in this regard as well, though personally, I’ve never printed a Benchy. Ever. I went through a number of 3D printers before I managed to stop trying to upgrade the 3D printer, and just use it to make stuff that I wanted. (Admittedly, it recently has been doing a lot of work printing CNC parts…)

So I guess I’m guilty of developing a 3D printer good enough to make a CNC with, which was good enough to make a better 3D printer, which was good enough to make a better CNC, with which I intend to make another good 3D printer. :rofl: (Though the CNC has made a lot of other stuff for me, as have the 3D printers.)

If you are willing to go with one of the palm routers that there will be purchasable parts for, you might not need the 3D printer at all. While there are similarities in the workflow, they’re separate processes, and do require different design work. Most things that you can make with a CNC router you could also 3D print, provided that your printer is large enough. Many things can be 3D printed though that you cannot do with a CNC router. At least not unless you have more than 3 axes to manipulate, and then the software starts getting crazy expensive.

As soon as you want “off the beaten path” though, you will need a 3D printer.

Choosing a 3D printer:

Something like an Ender 3 Pro is inexpensive, has good functionality and good support, including several good aftermarket upgrades. It will get you to known reasonable results quickly and inexpensively. You can go up to printers that have known excellent results, if you’re willing to spend 3 to 4 times the amount of money on one. I’d say to start with a budget. 3D printers can be had for very low dollars, if you’re willing to put in more work, or are willing to deal with questionable results. (My first 3D printer wasn’t even good enough to print its own parts, let alone any better ones, but I sure learned a lot from making it at least passable.)

Budget some for filament and consumables as well. Expect to go through a spool or so “dialling in” your printer, and figuring out what settings work for you in the environment that your printer will live in. Then expect to blow another spool or so learning how to make models that you can print. Printables or Thingiverse are all well and good, but the whole point (to me) of a 3D printer is being able to take something that existed only in your head yesterday, and holding it in your hands today. But then, to me that’s also the point of a CNC machine.


Thank you very much for the detailed response.

I was just looking at that one and the copious amounts of upgrade options (direct drive, height extension, alternate flatter beds, bed heater insulation, quiet cooling options, board upgrades, larger feed nozzles, etc.) available for it but then realized its bed was smaller than what Ryan indicated in the V3 thread. It is @ 2/3rds the size indicated for the V3 parts.

Have any suggestion for a modest capable 300+x300+ bed printer ?

Thanks much.

Update: Just found extender kits for the Ender 3 Pro.

About the only “out of the box” one that I could name would be a Crealty CR10

It could ve important to note that there is only one pair of parts that you need that size to print and these are flat parts thst can be milled from 12mm plywood or MDF instead, and will be available for sale. It is also possible for someone to cut the parts using a paper template, and a drill and jigsaw. The resulting parts might be less than perfect but should be good enough to let the machine cut its replacements. The rest of the parts can be printed on a 200mm square bed. That is what most of the beta test parts would have been printed on. I also believe that plywood parts for rhese are superior to printed ones.


Thanks for that helpful information.

The expansion kit almost doubles the price of the printer.

Is there any specific type of filament recommended for the CNC parts ? Just saw a YouTube video that went though dozens of materials including mixed product. The good stuff at the end of the video got quite spendy per unit far exceeding the cost of aluminum.

Filament types

UPDATE: Found the Creality Ender 3 Max which has the 300x300 bed and a couple of other upgrades.

Ryan recommends PLA for stiffness and rigidity, or PETg. PLA is usually more rigid, PETg has better high temperature resistance, and nominal break strength, but does so by having increased flex.

PLA is often recommended as easier to get started with. It has very good dimensional accuracy, low shrinkage rates, and low price. It is nominally biodegradeable.

I do most of my printing in PETg personally. PETg is one of the plastics thst you can get that is safe to contact food (not all brands/colours) which matters when Im making stuff like a funnel for mason jars or my fridge ice maker. The temperature tolerance is better for making parts that live inside my car, though I think I need even higher tolerances for the dashboard.

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This may have been stated already but get a 3D printer and make your own parts. They’re easy to learn and operated in the same way the Lowrider will. The LR3 doesn’t exist yet but if the previous builds are any indication the parts will be pretty easy to print on a base machine. The recommended material is PLA which is cheap, widely available, and you can great results right out of the box. And with a 3D printer you can download mods and print them. A free version of Fusion 360 or TinkerCAD will let you design and print you own models. Also you may find you like 3D printing as a hobby. It’s a tinkerer’s paradise!

Since there are so many I3 style printers now it’s hard to recommend a specific one. The Ender 3 Pro would be me my choice because the interface is exactly the same as my LR2 and it has a safer power supply than a base 3. I wouldn’t build a printer if you want a simple one. It’s cheaper and easier to buy something like an Ender than to build something comparable - especially now.

Save a custom build for when you know exactly what you want in a printer as there are a lot of factors and tradeoffs to consider.


Welcome g28!

I’ll add my 2 cents.

Just the fact that you are here looking to build a CNC machine tells me you have a “maker” personality.
If that’s the case, I think you should definitely get a 3D printer. I bought my 3D printer long before I ever knew I could use it to build a CNC machine. I think you will find so many uses for it far beyond being a stepping stone to a CNC machine. My wife uses it as well.
Whether you build one or buy one depends on whether or not you just love to build stuff, and what kind of timeline you have. Both the 3D printer and the CNC involve quite a learning curve. If you build a printer, on top of just learning the basics, there will most likely be quite a period of “dialing it in” that you can mostly avoid by buying a reliable, proven printer. I personally have the Creality CR-10S 300, and have had great results with it. Here is a comparable (size-wise) Creality printer: Creality3D CR-10 3D Printer (Random Color) – Creality 3D
I use basic PLA or PLA + for all my CNC printed parts, and have not had any issues with them.

I recommend you use one of the tested, proven, routers that the lowriders were designed around. I have the DeWalt DWP611 and many LowRider owners use the Makita 700 Series. The trend seems to be moving toward the Makita. If you want to use any other router, especially a heavier one, you are putting up a HUGE barrier to getting a working machine. For sure with the LR3, the ONLY existing tool mounts are for the 2 routers listed above.
To use a different router, you would have to first design a mount for it, then print it, and HOPE that the LowRider can support it properly. I also have a programming background (business applications), but am just starting to dabble in CAD, and it is a whole different world. Lot’s of fun, though!

Best of luck to you on your journey. As you can already see, there are many enthusiastic people on this forum who are happy to help you along the way.

You’re getting a lot of good advice. There is a ton of info out there. Try not to get intimidated. But there is a lot to learn. 3D printing is not as simple as a lot of other tools. CNC also will give you a lot to learn.

If I was trying to get a friend like you started with my own money, I would buy a 3D printer (probably a smaller one, probably an ender 3 pro) and I would still buy the parts from Ryan and use the recommended router. There is so much to learn and having the CNC build while learning a 3D printer will give you so much rewarding stuff to do.

With the docs, the shop, and the recommendations, Ryan tries to make an easy, well marked, beaten trail to get from nothing to success. There is a lot of other area to explore with this machine. That kind of stuff is very interesting, so we talk about it a lot on the forums. But if you’re learning, it is very useful to know that when it isn’t working, it isn’t because you made some XYZ design choice.

Once you have done a few dozen prints and a few dozen CNC jobs, you will know more than we can tell you in a forum post. At that point, you’ll have the tools and experience to go exploring.


My first MPCNC was using all of Ryan’s parts and it was a Breese i got the 3D printer and then things started to happen combining the 2 is amazing you can really create I used it to build a lowrider and even make monie on the side trophies and such for work games and other stuff. But the first working machine is the most critical Ryan also makes it so darn easy all in one box from my living room with all the pieces in one spot WOW

Get a used ender 3 and spend a year swearing and troubleshooting!! Cheap but-oh-so-frustrating apprenticeship. When I finally had the Ender figured out I was hooked on this hobby, so I splurged with a prusa mk3s. The prusa mini is actually a great compromise.

Good luck on your journey!

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That is one of my favorite videos and a really cool channel. Easy to get overwhelmed by all of that but your options with an entry level printer are effectively only going to be PLA and PETG. That’s not a bad thing because, as you saw, there are tons of options in those categories. PLA is one of not the easiest to print filament and you’ll be able to cut your teeth on basic tuning with PETG an awesome material to print with.

Agree. Prusa is better in every way - especially the mk3s. The only problem with the mini might be the build area. While we don’t know the printed part sizes for the LR3 yet, one could assume that they would be designed to be printed on a common 230ishx230ish plate. The Mini print area is 180x180 so it may be better to wait for the LR3 design to be released before investing in a smaller printer.

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Thanks for the helpful info

That is becoming very appearant.

I have been looking at various CNC’s kits/builds for a while and stumbled on this project in the process. I noticed those 2 palm routers to be omnipresent in many of the home CNC builds. During the last 2 years, I noticed the Dewalt 611 was consistently out of stock locally and online. Thought it might have been discontinued until it recently appeared in stock again. It’s short supply over the last couple of years may have something to do with the shift to the Makita palm routers. Both seem to have good marks in the palm router world.

I assumed the gantry strength, stepper motor strength and Z-axis mechanism would have to be up to the task (seen some upgrades to NEMA 23 from 17), but wondered why I usually see palm routers or dedicated spindles when larger routers are already in many garages. I have a Porter Cable router that has the screw-in-type base that is on the Dewalt 611 and thought it might be an option for large wood projects I have in mind (1/2" bits, less flex, more grunt). The cylindrical case lends itself to the conventional pinch sleeve style spindle mounts.

My programming background was in the scientific, industrial and embedded device space so some of it carries over including embedded controller software, digital and analog I/O control points and 2/3D design from the scientific modeling software. I downloaded FreeCAD in Linux and have been exploring it. I have patched/customized Linux kernel builds and modified/fixed drivers so should be able to learn the firmware build tools. Many of the software mods that I have read (like swapping inputs) seem pretty straight forward once the build tools are in place.


I skipped the year troubleshooting and swearing and just bought the Prusa (as a kit) - at the time I had the offer of a free CR10s which I gave to my grandson.

I was able to produce first quality prints in no time at all with very little learning curve - but we haven’t go the Ender working reliably yet! (partly because the fifteen year old in our midst is not terribly systemised and partly because that’s the nature of the machine).

I chose to make building and tweaking the CNC my hobby, and for the printer to be a tool which I could use immediately and reliably. I wouldn’t knock the Creality machines, they are particularly good if you want to tinker, but I am very glad I made the decision I did.

In fact learning to draw and being able to print reliably has taken me in a direction I did not expect to be travelling - to the extent that the LR2 is at the moment a toy in my shed. (that will change!)

The bottom line is, that there is no right or wrong - you are embarking on a journey. If you have an immediate and pressing use for the CNC machine, perhaps investing in a reliable quality printer up front makes sense to free up time to achieve that end. On the the other hand - if it’s for tinkering, take the roughest windiest path you can and enjoy the view from every turn.