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Edward suggested:

2.) A single page (maybe duplex) of project Shapeoko. Would be great if one side was information about the project and the other side was information about the machine itself (technical specs, etc)




information about the project

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.

Design goals:

  • 1 standard design
  • lowest possible total cost
  • Maximum of 3 vendors

information about the machine itself (technical specs, etc)

Shapeoko: A low-cost, open source CNC mill designed by Edward Ford --- version two was announced on 21 October 2013,[1] a little over two years after the Kickstarter campaign for the previous version.[2]

MakerSlide: An aluminum extrusion developed by Bart Dring[3] is used for structure and linear motion.

Arduino: A microcontroller, (developed by Hernando Barragan at the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea in Ivrea, Italy)

Grbl: Motion control software and interpreter for G-code (a standard language for Computer Numerical Control (CNC)). Written by Simen Svale Skogsrud (Norway) in 2009 and, since 2011, has been led and developed by Sonny Jeon Ph.D. (USA).

What can it do?

The default configuration is as an X-, Y-, Z-, 3-axis machine configured with an inexpensive rotary tool (Dremel clone) for a spindle --- machines have been upgraded to accommodate compact routers up to 1 1/4 horsepower, and CNC spindles up to 1500 Watts. Other options include:

  • 3D printing extruders
  • lasercutters for engraving and cutting thin materials
  • drag knives

How accurate/precise can it be?

In the X- and Y-axes the default configuration has 40 steps per mm (1,016 steps per inch), along the Z-axis 320 steps per mm (8,128 steps per inch) --- this translates to an actual, repeatable positioning accuracy of 0.003″ –- 0.005″ (~0.075mm -- 0.127mm) --- 0.001″ (0.025mm) is achievable with careful setup and an upgraded machine.

How large is it? What's the largest thing it can cut?

The dimensions of an assembled, stock Shapeoko 2 are approximately 20″ × 24.5″ × 17.25″

The work area is about 12″ × 12″ × 2.5″ (300mm × 300mm × 60mm) --- the machine can be easily scaled up, with machines as large as 1200mm × 1200mm documented on the project wiki.

What can it cut?

The stock machine can cut any material which one can reasonably expect to cut with a rotary tool using repeated, light passes. Materials which have been cut thus far include plastics (ABS, Acrylic, Delrin, HDPE, UHMW), wood (including tropical hardwoods such as Bubinga and Ipê), and non-ferrous metals and alloys such as aluminum and brass.

What can it make?

Anything which one can envision and design and create toolpaths for. Completed projects thus far include:

  • engagement ring box
  • skateboard decks
  • signs
  • toys and games
  • furniture --- baby cradle, box joint end table
  • garden gate
  • fishing rod handle w/ inlay


What do I need to know? What skills do I need?

The ability to read and follow directions, tighten a bolt and tap a thread; and the ability to use (or learn to use) basic software for the machine.

What software does it need?

Designs must be created so as to be able to be converted into toolpaths for the machine to follow. There are programs which will accept and convert standard graphics formats, so any pixel or vector graphics editor can be used for simple 2.5D designs. For 3D designs, any CAD (computer aided design) program which is compatible with a CAM (computer aided manufacturing) program which can output G-code suitable for Grbl (or one's selected G-code interpreter) can be used.

Once toolpaths are generated they are sent to the machine using a specialized utility program such as Universal G-code Sender.

Open and Free

The Shapeoko is an Open Source Hardware[4] design and all information about the project is freely available, either at the main site: http://www.shapeoko.com or on GitHub. A free and open forum is hosted at the main site: http://www.shapeoko.com/forum/index.php --- please join us!