The last few months have been filed with excitement, heartache, excitement, more than a few sleepless nights, excitement, new ideas, fresh starts, revisions, distractions, excitement, and lots of other things that have led us down this twisted path we’re calling “Project ShapeOko”.
About a week ago, a last minute semi-major design change was made that is going to require addition time to get the new parts, along with some revisions to the assembly drawings I’ve created (exploded views).
Instead of using a piece of 400mm x 80mm x 20mm aluminum extrusion for the front and back plates, I changed it to a piece of 10ga steel, the same material the custom side plates are made from. The major reason for this was assembly. Although it wasn’t difficult to assemble with the aluminum extrusion, it was tedious. Each of the 4 mating points required a double 90d angle bracket, and each bracket required 4xM5x8mm bolts, 4 washers, and 4 insertions screws. The total cost of each mating point was roughly $2, plus each extrusion was roughly $8 for a total of $24. The new design consists of a single plate with 4 slotted holes, to make the connection one simply slides a bolt and washer through the slotted holes and into the tapped end of the Y-axis linear rails (makerslide).
Here’s a picture of the old design sitting next to the new design:
The old method required sliding everything into place and then tightening each bolt while keeping on eye on squareness. Again, it wasn’t difficult, but there were a few times that I needed to loosen, adjust, and re-tighten the connections because I had originally bolted them out of square. That whole process probably took 20 minutes. The new process takes about 5 minutes.