Assembly step 12

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These are the instructions for the SO1 and are here for historical reasons only.

If you are building an SO2, please see the instructions at

(click the picture to download the PDF file)

Bill of Material

sortable table
Item Qty. Part Num. Title Notes
8 5 SM-H03 M5 Flat Washer
19 5 SM-H07 M5 x 10mm SHCS
21 1 SM-H11 Insertion Nut
22 1 SM-M05 Belt Anchor
34 1 SM-S02 End Plates (see above diagram) (Front/Back Panel)
36 4 ft. SM-M04 MXL Belt
Assembly 8 1 From Assembly step 8
Assembly 11 1 From Assembly step 11

User Submitted Notes

(This is the section to add your own notes pertaining to this sub-assembly) If you run into a problem or find yourself asking a question, please post the solution here to help the next person who has the same problem/question)

At some point you'll also need to mount your machine to a surface, square it up as described below, possibly "tram" the surface (a bit of discussion on this below) and work out some method for workholding.

Belt Anchors

The PDF instructions do not document the belt anchoring. I've seen it done a few different ways, but I guess it's not critical that it's perfect. Use the insertion nuts and belt anchor parts to mount the belt to your X-axis. You may have to cut the supplied 940mm belt from Inventables in half and save the rest for the Y-axis! You will also need to tension them (see Tuning for some discussion of belt tension). There is some discussion on alternate Belt_Anchors methods.

Here is a video of my X-axis moving during a test of the belt and motor:

An image of the belt anchors and dodgy alignment!

Belts 5.JPG

There are also other ways of doing the belt clamps, as documented here. It is also important to note that the belt needs to be tight. If the belts are not tight, then there will be significant slop in the machine. Tighten the belts so that when turning the pulley one step, the machine tracks perfectly.

Steps For Squaring Up the Frame

The following steps are assuming that the front plate is attached to the makerslide, screws still loose.

  1. Slide the gantry back and fourth a couple of times to even out the rails and get everything roughly lined up. It may still feel stiff when sliding, but you can adjust that later.
  2. Slide the gantry to the back plate. Both V-wheels should be touching or at least be the same distance from the back plate. Carefully snug up the four screws on the back plate.
  3. Gently slide the gantry to the front plate. Both V-wheels should be touching or at least be the same distance from the front plate. Carefully snug up the four screws on the front plate.
  4. Slide the gantry back and fourth a couple times to see if anything is askew. Note: It may be tough to move your gantry, almost like it is binding, this is fine as you'll adjust that in the next set of steps.

Steps for Silky Smooth Motion

  1. Loosen the four V-Wheels that are mounted with the eccentric spacers. You should notice some slight play once loosened.
  2. Slide the gantry back and fourth. It should feel like it is gliding freely and smoothly. Remember how this feels as this is what we are striving to reach.
  3. Taking one V-Wheel at a time, adjust the eccentric spacer and fully tighten it. Slide the gantry back and fourth, is it still how it felt from step 2? If yes, then move on to step 4. If no, then repeat this step until you achieve smooth, gliding motion.
  4. Repeat step 3 until all V-Wheels are properly adjusted.

--PLHS54 17:23, 27 June 2012 (CDT)

  • Here's an easy way to get close to where the tension on the V-Wheels should be. Loosen the adjustable wheel all the way. You should be able to easily turn the fixed wheel opposite it. Slowly tighten the adjustable wheel until the fixed wheel won't turn without moving the carriage, and the tension is set.

Installing a Deck

This includes "Tramming" the working area.

Forum discussion on this here and in the old Google Group.

Hand process.

  1. get a 18 inch by 18 inch by 3/4 inch mdf base board. Or use a 24" by 24" by 3/4" board obtained at any home center. (no cutting)
  2. attach the ShapeOko to the board with angles and screws (be sure that the unit is square when attaching it to the board - the hard part, see below)
  3. insert a large surface milling bit that will cut the surface of the board when it touches.
  4. move the z-axis down till it just touches the surface
  5. move the unit around without any power to see if there are high spots on the wood or any low spots. If there are low spots this will be the height to cut to so that we have a uniform flat surface.
  6. power up the cutting unit and manually move it around slowly to flatten the surface. By manually moving the unit we can mill the surface for the full range of the tool.
  7. after leveling the surface we then need to install a smaller cutter that can make grooves in the surface at some standardized distance and cut slots for the 1st step in creating the hold down slots.
  8. after cutting the slot we need to create the bolt access holes so that the bolt can be inserted and removed from the slot. This should be larger than the T portion of the T-slot cutters widith.
  9. replace the groove cutter with the slot cutter and insert the cutter into the hole and slowly move the cutter down the slot to create the area for the flange on the bolt. At the other end remove the slot cutter and go to the next slot.
  10. ta-da we now have an hold down and alignment control area for milling other items.

Please note that larger machines will require a sturdier structure than a single sheet of particle board. There has been a bit of discussion of this in the forums.

In addition, it will be necessary to work up some technique for Workholding.

Next: Assembly step 13