twforeman's Shapeoko 3 #0004 Upgrades - Long

twforeman's Shapeoko 3 #0004 Upgrades - Long

Postby twforeman » Tue Jan 19, 2016 11:06 pm

My Shapeoko 3 has been sitting in my shop, pretty much neglected for a while.

Part of it was that I've been busy with other things around the house - prepped and painted a room, had the holidays, etc., and other family things.

The other part of it was that I've been thinking about upgrades for the S3 pretty much since I took it out of the box. I have no quibble with Edward's design, but I'm a tinkerer, like many here, and I can't leave well enough alone.

The first mod was to add limit switches. Which then turned into selling limit switch kits, which ate a bunch of my free time (no complaints though.)

The next mod was adding some stiffness to the Z plate. This has been discussed in several threads, but I came up with my own take on it.

I had some steel shelf mounting brackets laying around. These are U-channels about 1/2" wide with about 1/4" sides, and pretty stiff. So I hacked off a couple of pieces, got some flat head screws and bolted them on to the Z plate. It sure feels a lot stiffer now.

Image

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I also bought some 8020 aluminum corner brackets that I will be adding, but I haven't done that yet because I started my next, larger mod.

See next post.
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Re: twforeman's Shapeoko 3 #0004 Upgrades - Long

Postby twforeman » Tue Jan 19, 2016 11:22 pm

The next mod - that I'm still in the middle of - is building a torsion table base. But I have in-process photos for you. :)

Home Depot will cut sheet goods for you. Which is good, because I can't safely handle a full sheet of 3/4" MDF in my shop. Just not quite enough room. In the summer I can slice it up in the garage with a hand held circular saw, but it's currently -8F here in MN and that won't fly.

So keeping expansion in mind, I had Home Depot slice a sheet of MDF into thirds for me. That comes out to three pieces that are 32" x 49". (The MDF sheets are acutally 49" x 97" at Home Depot.)

This means that I can expand in the Y axis to double the length, which is what I'm hoping to do in the future.

I wanted three pieces because I'm going to make the top double thickness for two reasons:
  • It will be stiffer
  • It will allow me to route 1/2" deep channels in it for the Orange Aluminum T-Slot without worrying about weakening it.

I had a bunch of scrap 3/4" MDF for the sides and ribs, so I ripped a bunch to 4" on my table saw and cut them all to length.

The next step was gluing up the front which I made double thickness for the same reasons as the top.

Image

After the glue dried I setup the dado stack in my saw and ripped the groove in the front.

I also tried ripping all the grooves into a single thickness sheet for the top, but that did not work out so well for me. The sheet was difficult to handle and warped so the grooves were not a consistent depth. So I scrapped that idea and I will use my router to make the grooves after I glue the top sheet to the torsion box.

The next step was to make pocket screw holes in all the ribs. I got this idea from someone else on the forum (I'll have to look them up later to give them credit) and it worked out pretty well.

Image

I have to go for a while, but I'll post more photos later this evening.
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Re: twforeman's Shapeoko 3 #0004 Upgrades - Long

Postby twforeman » Wed Jan 20, 2016 2:55 am

Okay, back to post more photos.

After drilling all the pocket screw holes I decided that since this base will be heavy (more than a whole sheet of 3/4" MDF + the Shapeoko 3,) it might be nice to have some handles but I didn't want anything to stick out the sides. So I programmed up a quick oval and used my Shapeoko 1+ to mill them into the sides. Then I used my router table to run a 1/4" radius around the inside and outside.

Image

Next was adding a way to bolt the Shapeoko 3 to the table. I thought about putting inserts in from the top but decided that T-Nuts from the bottom would be stronger, so I measured out the hole locations for the front and rear brackets and counter sunk some T-Nuts into the top. I also assumed (there's that word) that the expansion rails would be exactly twice as long as the stock ones and put some T-Nuts in where that would put the rear bracket. If it turns out that's not the case I'll come up with something else at that time (probably inserts from the top.)

Image

After that it was time for a quick dry fit where I discovered that the ribs were about 1/16" too long in both directions. So I trimmed them a little.

Image

Continued...
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Re: twforeman's Shapeoko 3 #0004 Upgrades - Long

Postby twforeman » Wed Jan 20, 2016 3:02 am

Since my table saw is not quite as flat as I'd like it to be (it's on the list for replacement in the near future) I decided that it would be a good idea to make some assembly supports.

I grabbed a 2x4 and cut it in half. Then I used my jointer to straighten one face and edge and then my planer to make the two edges parallel and the two halves the same height.

Image

I drilled some 1" holes into the ends for clamps and then shimmed and clamped them to my table saw. It actually only took one shim, but that is because the warp in the table runs primarily perpendicular to the supports.

Image

Once I had a flat and level assembly area I started assembling. I glued and clamped the front onto the top and drove in the pocket screws.

Image

Continued...
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Re: twforeman's Shapeoko 3 #0004 Upgrades - Long

Postby twforeman » Wed Jan 20, 2016 3:10 am

By the end of yesterday I had one section of the table ribs done. It is going together pretty well with one caveat: When you put in the pocket hole screws it wants to pull the board sideways. So the first long rib slid over a little bit and sticks out past the edge of the table. Ah well, it won't effect the function in any way. The other internal ribs either don't matter so much or the screws just pulled it tighter, so that's okay.

Here is where I left off yesterday.

Image

I didn't get a chance to work on it today, but tomorrow evening I imagine I'll finish up the ribs. I might get the bottom on if I have enough time.

I have another mod that I completed already but I don't seem to have taken any photos yet. I'll document that up after the torsion table is done.
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Re: twforeman's Shapeoko 3 #0004 Upgrades - Long

Postby jbc » Wed Jan 20, 2016 6:22 am

Looks Pro!
Cant wait to see it completed.
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Re: twforeman's Shapeoko 3 #0004 Upgrades - Long

Postby twforeman » Thu Jan 21, 2016 2:38 am

I finished up the torsion table tonight. Well all except for the second layer on the top.

I glued and screwed all the rest of the ribs in.

Image

Then I marked the position of the long ribs on the bottom skin so I knew where to put the screws.

Image

Followed up with spreading glue on all the ribs and drilling holes and driving screws.

Done.

Image

Unfortunately, while the table might be stiff and rigid, it's not quite flat. I flipped it over and laid a straightedge across it and it's got a hump in the middle. I guess I should have made a third support rail out of 2x4 to hold the center up.

Oh well, when I glue the top on it I can flatten it out. Not that it will be easy, but I can make it flatter.

That's all for today. I'll have to take some photos of the other mods I've already done and add them to this thread.
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Re: twforeman's Shapeoko 3 #0004 Upgrades - Long

Postby twforeman » Thu Jan 21, 2016 3:26 pm

So I'm thinking about the table this morning trying to decide what to do about the fact that it's not flat. And it's out of flat kind of a lot. I'd have to measure it for real, but it's probably about .030" high in the middle.

So my current perceived options are:

  • Build a small dam around the edges and pour some self-leveling floor sealer on the top. I don't think this would work as well as I'd like, and the sealer comes in 50 lb bags...
  • Build a sled for my router and route the top flat. This is a well-known woodworking hack for flattening boards that are too large for your planer. I've never done it and have a feeling it wouldn't be as easy as it sounds to make it as flat as I'd like...
  • Eat the material cost and try again. It's only about $50 in materials and a couple days of labor, so this is probably the best bet.

Lessons Learned
- or -
What I Will Do For The Next Attempt

  • Make more assembly rails to support the center of the sheet.
  • Glue the two top sheets together before assembling the ribs. This should stiffen up the top.
  • Reconsider using the pocket screws. They were convenient, but they pulled the ribs sideways when I screwed them down. I either need to come up with a different fastening method or a better clamping system to keep them from moving. Still need to think on this one a little.
  • Assemble the table with a little overhang so I can trim the top and bottom flush with the sides using a router after the build. This will make it look much more professional (not that it adds any function.) I need to step up my woodworking game and looks should be important even for work tables, jigs and fixtures.
  • Come up with a better way to locate the t-nuts. I wasn't super happy with the holes I drilled - I need to work on making sure the holes are in the right place. Maybe use the front rail from the S3 as a jig? Also I don't think I got the t-nuts square - I should have pulled them tight with a bolt from the top.

That's my current battle plan. I can make some legs for the table I built and turn it into a work table. Maybe I'll use it for a new out-feed table for my saw.
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Re: twforeman's Shapeoko 3 #0004 Upgrades - Long

Postby FargoPhil » Thu Jan 21, 2016 5:48 pm

How much do you expect the table to move due to humidity changes? .03" is way flatter than I'd expect to achieve by any means, especially from MDF.
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Re: twforeman's Shapeoko 3 #0004 Upgrades - Long

Postby twforeman » Thu Jan 21, 2016 6:20 pm

FargoPhil wrote:How much do you expect the table to move due to humidity changes? .03" is way flatter than I'd expect to achieve by any means, especially from MDF.


I don't know, but I don't expect it to move very much. .030" is a pretty large flatness variation - 1/32 of an inch. I'd like to stay under .010" or less. I don't think there is any reason I can't approach that level of accuracy.

I'll build another one and see. I also don't have a really good straightedge to measure with but once I bolt the Shapeoko to the table I can run a test indicator over the table and see what kind of variation I get.
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