An Open Hardware project in Dixon, IL by Edward Ford
Ayo! If you're looking at this project, you probably think a low cost simple desktop CNC machine is as cool as we do. Sweet. It's always nice to meet like minded people!
The Shapeoko is a CNC machine kit. It is intended to provide basic functionality while being simple to understand, assemble, and operate --- all this at the lowest possible price. The stock configuration forgoes many features that are standard in more expensive machines (but many can be added as upgrades). This imposes limitations that the user has to work around. Despite this, or maybe because of this, many people with no prior experience with CNC, woodworking, or machining have successfully assembled and operated Shapeoko machines. Like most things in life, what you get out of it reflects the effort, preparation and patience you are willing to exert. We strongly suggest that you start by assembling and using the machine in its stock configuration. This makes troubleshooting via e-mail and the forums easier; more importantly, it provides you with valuable experience for implementing any planned upgrades.
Have a look around the DIY CNC scene and you will notice the lack of simple, low cost, straight forward build options. We want to fix that. For the last four years we have been designing, redesigning, and building what we hope to be a CNC machine that anyone can build for the lowest possible price (about $300 in 2012--3 with a bit of patience and luck in sourcing parts and w/o two upgrades (dual-motors and double X-axis) which are now standard, a full kit is $650 (110V) or $695 (220V) as of October 2014). Did I mention that cost even includes the electronics to run the machine? Unlike other projects where you're shelling out $1,000 for just the frame and maybe motors, ShapeOko includes everything you will need to turn your ideas from just a crazy thought into a tangible item.
If nothing else, this project is open. Nobody wants to get locked into some proprietary platform, and nobody wants to spend their money on a machine just to learn they will need to spend another $500 on software to run it. With that in mind, we built the entire process around open source components. From CAD and CAM software to the CNC controller; every step has an open source solution. Did we mention the entire project itself is open source? Every nut, every bolt, every belt, fully documented with part numbers and vendor list. Do with it as you please!
What makes this different? One of the frustrations we had with other designs was the fact that you had to visit a lot of different vendors in order to get all the pieces. We didn't like that. Plus, some projects didn't have a central "released" build, which made it difficult to determine if what you were building was actually what you were expecting to build.
All of that resulted in the following design goals:
- 1 standard design
- lowest possible total cost (originally $300)
- Maximum of 3 vendors
So, how are we doing on the goals?
- 1 standard design - So far, so good. There are documented upgrades, but still a single design.
- lowest possible total cost - while there are less expensive machines, as of this writing the Shapeoko seems to be at the sweet point of price and capability and expandability.
- Maximum of 3 vendors - as of this writing it's possible to purchase a full kit and upgrades from a single vendor, Inventables. See the BOM (bill of materials) and Vendors pages for more information and other options.
How to determine if a Shapeoko is right for you
Please look through the wiki, esp. the Project links and see if the machine is capable of the sort of projects which you wish to make. Check the Materials page to see if it can cut the materials necessary for your projects.
3D Machine Simulation
Forum user Grblguru has created a 3 dimensional software simulation of a Shapeoko (which can be extended to mimic other machines). This will allow one to do an end-to-end simulation of a production workflow, including (virtual) machining operations. In addition, it's a great way to while away time while waiting for a machine to be delivered.
List of Publicly Accessible Machines
The following groups / organizations have Shapeokos and are open to the public (or to guests of members):
- 10BitWorks, San Antonio, TX
- ATX Hackerspace, Austin, TX
- Bozeman Makerspace, Bozeman, MT
- MidSouthMakers, Memphis, TN
- MobileMakerspace, Mobile, AL
- Splatspace, Durham, NC
- Staten Island Makerspace, New York City, New York
This wiki documents the Shapeoko, a low-cost, open source CNC mill designed by Edward Ford, the second version of which was announced on 21 October 2013, a little over two years after the Kickstarter campaign for the previous version. The Shapeoko uses MakerSlide which was developed by Bart Dring for linear motion, an Arduino as its microcontroller, (the Arduino was developed by Hernando Barragan at the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea in Ivrea, Italy) and runs Grbl, a motion controller and an interpreter for G-code (a standard language for Computer Numerical Control (CNC)). Grbl is an open-source project first written by Simen Svale Skogsrud (Norway) in 2009 and, since 2011, has been led and developed by Sonny Jeon Ph.D. (USA).
Much information about the original machine is still present here and has been archived (see ShapeOko 1 Build Instructions in the sidebar) and these pages serve as a catch-all for anything not covered at Project ShapeOko (news and updates and main link repository), the Project Gallery, and docs.shapeoko.com (assembly instructions, with content hosted on github.com) and the user forums.