We all take for granted that a shop has a table saw or a drill press now; there's a basic group of tools that most shops have. We believe that a CNC machine is now a basic tool for a modern shop.
We designed the Shapeoko 3 to be affordable enough for any shop and powerful enough to do real work.
We designed our own custom extrusion to minimize flexing and bending. We hold those extrusions together with heavy steel plates, and we drive it around with custom electronics that we designed only for the Shapeoko. This is not a light-duty machine.
The Shapeoko 3 is shipped as a kit. You can expect to spend about 2 or 3 hours putting it together. This is our third kit and we have incorporated all that we've learned about making powerful machines that are easy to put together. There is no cutting/drilling/tapping required- just bolt the parts together with the included tools.
You'll need to provide a trim router to do the cutting; the Shapeoko 3 kit includes everything else you need to have a running machine. We include a mount for the Dewalt DWP611 trim router, which you can buy online for about $100.
The extrusions that make up the frame and linear rail system are no joke.
We consulted with an honest-to-goodness rocket scientist to make sure they're up to the task.
Connecting those aluminum extrusions together are a number of 10 gauge steel plates.
These are heavy-duty plates that reduce parts count of the machine while being really rigid at the same time.
We based the electronics for the Shapeoko 3 on the electronics we designed for our flagship product, The Nomad. The Shapeoko depends on two motors to move the Y axis so instead of just connecting both motors to a single driver (like most other routers) we added a 4th driver to ensure reliable operation under load.
We use heavy 2oz copper PCB and custom machined heatsinks for proper heat management.
All of this means you'll have a reliable machine.
The Shapeoko 3 uses big NEMA 23 stepper motors for the X and Z axis, and 2 of them for the Y axis.
We don't believe that a NEMA 17 can perform well enough for a CNC router so we made the decision to upgrade completely to NEMA 23 motors.
This means more agressive cuts and better reliability.
The Shapeoko 3 has a theoretical resolution of about .001" ( about .025 mm). In real life you can expect your finished parts to be accurate to about .005" ( about .15 mm). That's the thickness of a sheet of paper, or a human hair.
We designed the Shapeoko in California and Illinois. We extrude our aluminum in Pennsylvania. We cut our steel plates and make our electronics in California. We have a shop in Indiana make other small metal parts. Our boxes come from the US and we pack it up here too.
Wherever we can, we use domestic shops to make our parts.
We could absolutely get everything cheaper in China, but that's not the kind of product we want to make.
We've been working on this machine for a long time. Countless hours of agonizing about each detail in CAD. Watching our electronics through thermal cameras to make sure they're reliable. Heck, even the box guy got tired of coming to our shop to talk about it.
The end result is a machine that we're proud of, a machine that you can do real work with. We'd love to add you to the Shapeoko family.