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Posted by & filed under Kickstarter, Open Hardware, Project, Shapeoko, Upgrades.

While everyone is celebrating the impending arrival of the newest member of the Shapeoko Family (the big 3), we can’t forget the thriving community members who are still doing awesome things with the Shapeoko 2. One such individual is Nick Williams who is heading up the LaserInk Project, a laser head upgrade for the SO2 and CNC software package. LaserInk is currently in its initial funding stage on Kickstarter. Read more »

Shapeoko 3

Posted by & filed under design, Open Hardware, Shapeoko.

New Machine

Shapeoko 3 is now official! We’re taking pre-orders and plan to ship by the end of February. See the home page for a thorough rundown of all the improvements Shapeoko 3 has to offer.

If you know you’re in for one, click here to pre-order!

 

Improvements

The most obvious improvement in the new machine is the rail system. We designed not one, but two completely custom extrusions made specifically for Shapeoko. The new, larger, rail is about 85mm tall and 55mm wide. It has an awesomely thick 5mm wall!

The z-axis extrusion was designed to bring everything as close to the X rail as possible. Decreasing the potential lever arm effect of the spindle being further away from the rail.

Our base frame is made from 5 pieces of pre-machined 20×20 extrusion. No brackets or t-nuts required. Everything bolts directly together.

While the machine doesn’t ship with a spindle, we are included an aluminum mount for a Dewalt DW611 trim router. It’s a great spindle, with electronic speed control, that you can pickup just about anywhere for around $100. Trust us when we say “it’s a beast!”.

Belt tensioning is done through a new design that only requires you tighten a screw to tension the belt. While we’re talking about belts – the new machine uses the tried and true GT2 (2mm pitch) belting in it’s open ended format for the X and Y axis. And a closed loop belt for the z-axis.

Shapeoko 3 ships with powerful nema17 motors, but if you want to add even more power, all 3 axis will accept NEMA23 form factor, without modification.

Right now everything is on order to build our first batch. The extrusions had a very long lead time, but should be arriving soon for us to build up our final prototype before production. once we get the prototype put together, we’ll shoot some videos, take some pictures, and release those for everyone to drool over see.

 

Even More News!

It’s been a really exciting past couple of months here at Shapeoko HQ! In addition to launching Shapeoko 3 today, I am pleased to announce that Shapeoko, LLC is now part of Carbide3D. A few weeks ago we made it official, now I’m part of their company, and Shapeoko is officially a Carbide3D product.

The team over at Carbide3D has an incredible machine in their Nomad 883, and a really great group of people behind it. Once you’ve seen their machine, it’s clear that they know what they’re doing when it comes to designing, manufacturing, and writing software for a turn-key CNC machine.

Joining up with Carbide3D will bring lots of experience in software development, large scale manufacturing, and a host of other skills that are going to help make Shapeoko even better.

Needless to say, I’m really pumped about what we have planned for 2015!

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Posted by & filed under Community, Project.

The ultimate way to convince your significant other to let you buy a CNC.

When people come across something interesting, they usually file it away in the back of their minds after an arbitrary period of admiration. It’s why people spend hours on Reddit, or why Pinterest inspires digital hoarding. We are a society of spectators, observers. But not all people are content with content consumption, these divergent individuals are Makers and they choose to craft their own satisfaction. Joe Ternus is one such person.

Fueled by ambition and using a Shapeoko 2, Joe created his own take on reddit user curtisabrina’s original over-engineered marriage proposal:

Although technically less intricate than the original, it is still a fantastic example of what’s possible when you give a creative person a CNC. Even better, (including tools) Joe’s version cost an order of magnitude less than the original to make.

I recently had the chance to interview Joe about this project and his thought process. I hope some of you will find his story interesting and perhaps be inspired to take a shot at a project you’d been putting off for one reason or another. Read more »

Posted by & filed under design, Milling, Project, Upgrades.

Next to accessorizing your Shapeoko with things like side shields or stepper motor upgrades, an enclosure can be one of the most useful additions you can bestow on your CNC. Not only can you cut down on noise and dust, but with the right setup you can even turn your desktop CNC into a portable milling station.

One of the most persistent challenges I’ve encountered in milling (other than uncooperative materials like Polyurethane) is keeping my workspace clean. Dust and swarf always seem to find a way to escape the suction of my vacuum and reach every corner of the room I’m in. I’ve been doing a lot of research into other peoples Shapeoko setups in an effort to improve my machining experience, and there seem to be two common solutions:

1) Use a dust shoe
2) Use an enclosure

Since I like seeing exactly what my end mill is doing, a dust shoe wasn’t an option for me. Instead I set my sights on building a cheap but sturdy enclosure out of wood. Soundproofing wasn’t a primary objective, but I could incorporate acoustic tiles in a future upgrade if I wanted.

Here’s a rough breakdown of what I bought for this project:
1/2″ plywood, 2×4′ – $10
1/4″ (5mm) plywood, 4×4′ – $10
3/32″ Optix Acrylic sheets, asst. – $30
Wood screws, asst. – $8
LED strip & 12V adapter – $15

Plexiglass is one of the biggest cost drivers for this project, so if you are willing to sacrifice visibility you can replace one or two walls of your enclosure with plywood. Not only would you save money, but you would improve the acoustics as well. As for assembly, I would recommend getting a pocket screw jig instead of the cheap but slow method I used.

Your mileage may vary, but already I think building my enclosure was time well spent.

Posted by & filed under Milling, Project, Software.

Two useful CNC techniques to know when you’re first starting out and looking for projects are image vectorization and tool changing. Being able to create toolpaths from jpegs and performing multi-step milling operations will open up a lot of project possibilities. Here’s the results of my own experimentation with these techniques.

Some other thoughts: Inkscape may not be the most user-friendly tool to use, but if you focus on learning a few features at a time (like image tracing) you’ll find the program progressively less daunting. At least that’s how I felt about it. Also, buying a variety of carbide bits on ebay is a great way to experiment on the cheap.