User:Carl Fisher

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Watch this space. Build log under development.

Phase 1 - Planning and Purchasing


  • Build a ShapeOko CNC (Duh!)
  • Upgrade to NEMA 23 for all axis
  • Modify to use driveshaft instead of dual Y-Axis steppers. This frees up the 4th axis for the rotary modification without having to slave the Y-Axis to a single driver.
  • Build Rotary A-Axis for milling and engraving round goodies
  • Conquer the world!

Software Considerations

The decision to add the 4th axis in the near future complicates the software choices and all but eliminates free options.


CAD packages are availble all over. 2D is pretty straight foward with Inkscape or any other vector image package. I've been playing around with Sketchup for 3D since I'm familiar with it, but also looking at packages such as FreeCAD for model creation. There are a few others in the 3D printer world that I'm looking at as well.

Update 3/13/14: I pulled the trigger on ViaCAD Pro. After running across a 50% off coupon, it brought the pro price down to only $124 which was a deal I couldn't pass up. I think I'll probably pair this with DeskProto to get a solution to meet 80% of what I need. Then I can just use some free open source apps for the rest such as F-Engrave, Image2GCode, etc...


For the CAM side of things, I'm currently torn between DeskProto Mutli-Axis edition which has built in support for A-Axis tool path creation and a combination of CamBam and CNCWrapper to wrap 2D tool paths around a fixed diameter. What remains to be seen is if I can take a drawing with elevation changes and wrap it to get true 4th axis milling or if I'm limited to the equivelant of indexing.

There doesn't seem to be a once size fits all CAM solution for what I want and I'll just have to come up with the best compromise for now and add on later.

CutViewer is another nice to have, but after emailing with their team, they currently don't support A-Axis rendering so it would only be beneficial to flat stock work.

Machine Controller

As for talking to the CNC, LinuxCNC is first up to bat. If for some reason I don't like it, then I'll look to Mach3, but why pay for another software package if I don't have to right?


The shopping list below is everything I have purchased to date. If something additional is needed along the way, it will be updated in this table. I will try to group everything by upgrade options to get an idea of the cost for each upgrade.

Mechanical and Miscellaneous
Item Qty Description Part No Price Purchased From
Base Mechanical Kit 1 Inventables Mechanical Kit 30206-01 $299.00 Inventables
Spindle Mount 1 DeWalt DW660 rotary tool spindle mounts $15.00 ShapeOko
Spindle 1 DEWALT DW660 Cut-Out 5 Amp 30,000 RPM Rotary Tool with 1/8-Inch and 1/4-Inch Collets B000051WQX $56.99 Amazon
Belts 6 GT2 Belting - Open Ended per foot 26053-01 1.99 ea. Inventables
Limit Switches 6 Limit switches for home and end feedback 30343-01 $2.50 ea. Inventables
Emergency Stop 1 Self-locking Type Emergency Stop Red Mushroom Push Switch B0052RONHW $6.69 Amazon
NEMA 23 Upgrades
Item Qty Description Part No Price Purchased From
NEMA 23 Z-Axis Kit 1 Shapeoko 2 - NEMA 23 Z-Axis Kit with ACME Upgrade $95.00 ShapeOko
NEMA 23 Electronics 1 4-Axis 260 oz-in SideStep CNC Stepper Motor Driver Kit (4 stepper motors, PBX-2 parallel breakout board, 4 drivers, 24v 6.5A power supply) $399.95 Probotix
Pulleys 2 Aluminum GT2 Pully 1/4" shaft x 20 teeth 26054-03 $6.71 ea. Inventables
Mounting Spacers 2 10pk of 1/4" aluminum stand off spacers for NEMA 23 motor mounting. Need 4 per motor. 25312-13 $2.61 ea. Inventables
Mounting Screws 2 10pk M5x.8 20mm button head cap screws for NEMA 23 motor mounting. Need 4 per motor. 25286-15 $2.35 ea. Inventables
Flat Washers 1 100pk 5.3x10 Flat Washers for M5 hardware. Why 100pk? See The_Rules_of_ShapeOko Rule #1 25287-02 $10.00 Inventables
Mouting Nuts 1 100pk M5 hex nuts for NEMA 23 motor mounts. Need 4 per motor. Why 100pk? Because any nut dropped while using immediately goes into an as yet undiscovered dimension along side all left socks never to be seen again. 25284-02 $10.00 Inventables
Y-Axis Driveshaft Conversion
Item Qty Description Part No Price Purchased From
Driveshaft 1 1/4"x36" aluminum rod B00CAOBMDI $7.81 Amazon
Pulley 1 Aluminum GT2 Pully 1/4" shaft x 20 teeth 26054-03 $6.71 Inventables
Shaft Coupler 1 M6.35xM6.35 shaft coupler to connect driveshaft to NEMA 23 Y-Axis stepper B00DCAIU3Y $6.22 Amazon
Bearings 1 10pk 1/4" x 1/2" x 3/16" flanged bearing. B00GGQ6VIC $11.89 Amazon


My order from Inventables showed up today in rather less than stellar condition as is typical for UPS. UPS pretty much destroyed one side of the box so the first order of business was to open it up and do a full inventory to make sure nothing "fell off the back of the truck".

Thankfully the great crew over at Inventables puts all of the smaller goody bags into a much larger bag that is tucked in the middle of the box. Things are looking up.

Thumbs up! All parts present and accounted for. This order also included all of the extra goodies for mounting up the NEMA 23 motors. Oops, an extra MXL pulley was thrown in the bag though. I'll have to send that on back so their inventory isn't messed up.

Phase 2 - Building and Modification

The base machine was built using the Build Instructions with a few exceptions.

Z Axis

By far the most time consuming piece of the build to this point has been the Z axis. As of this update, there are no formal instructions in place for how to use the ACME lead screw upgrade. After a few back and forth conversations with Improbable Construct and WillAdams in the forum and a very helpful set of pictures from Improbable Construct I was able to get everything together properly.

Completed ACME lead screw installation
Lower ACME bearing plate mounted

ACME Lead Screw

The ACME Upgrade Kit Includes:

  • 1 x 3/8" (bad ass) acme screw with machined ends
  • 2 x Z-Axis Shim Plates (modified to fit flanged bearings)
  • 1 x Flanged Bearing
  • 4 x M5 x 16mm Socket Head Cap Screw
  • 4 x M5 Flat Washer (black!)
  • 1 x 8mm Shim Washer
  • 1 x 3/8" acme lead nut (single start)
  • 3 x M3 x 8mm Socket Head Cap Screw (not pictured)
  • 3 x M3 Flat Washer (not pictured)
ACME Lead Screw Assembly Instructions
  1. Install the included flanged bearing into the lower rounded front bearing plate. Be sure to press the bearing evenly on all sides.
  2. Place 1 M5 flat washer on each of 2 included M5x16 SHCS
  3. Attach the bottom plate with the flange of the bearing facing up to the makerslide by placing one of the included shims plates between plate and the makerslide. Screw the assembly together using the two M5x16 SHCS from step 2
  4. Install the lead screw with the delrin nut attached into the lower bearing
  5. Install the original SO2 flanged bearing into one of the original Z axis top plates
  6. Place 1 M5 flat washer on each of 2 included M5x16 SHCS
  7. Slide the top plate and bearing over the top of the ACME screw with the flange of the bearing facing down
  8. Attach the top plate to the makerslide by placing the second of the included shim plates between the plate and the makerslide. Screw the assembly together using the two M5x16 SHCS from step 6

Check for play in the lead screw. If there is sufficient vertical play, remove one of the plates and install the included 8mm ship washer onto the lead screw and reassemble. This should be sufficient to remove any vertical play.

Now you will want to tune the lead screw so it spins easily. Slightly loosen the 4 screws on the bearing plates and shift the plates slightly until you are able to freely turn the screw. Tighten one screw at a time and verify that the lead screw still spins easily. Continue until all 4 screws are tight and the lead screw still turns freely.

NEMA 23 Mount

NEMA 23 Mounting

The NEMA 23 Kit Includes:

  • 1 x NEMA 23 Motor Mount Plate
  • 2 x M5 x 12mm Socket Head Cap Screws
  • 4 x M5 Aluminum Spacers
  • 4 x M5 x 50mm Socket Head Cap Screws
  • 1 x Z-Axis Shim
  • 1 x 8mm x 6.35mm Flexible Coupler
  • 2 x M5 Flat Washers
  • 4 x M5 Hex Nuts

Along with the ACME lead upgrade I needed to mount a NEMA 23 stepper motor. This required 2 additional changes to what is outlined above.

  • Use the bearing plate from the NEMA 23 upgrade kit in place of the original SO2 top bearing plate as noted above. There will be 4 mounting holes, 1 at each corner, instead of the 3 on the original plate that was designed for the NEMA 17 mounting pattern
  • The ACME lead screw will need to be trimmed by 10 mm at the top to accommodate the difference in mounting height and length of the stepper motor shaft.
NEMA 23 Assembly Instructions
  1. Insert the flexible coupler onto the stepper motor shaft. You will not be able to install the coupler once you mount the motor to the plate
  2. Place 1 M5 washer on each of the included M5x50 SHCS
  3. Place 1 of the screws through one of the bearing plate corner mounting holes
  4. Slide one of the M5 aluminum spacers over the end of the screw
  5. Insert one of the stepper motor mounting holes over the screw and add an M5 hex nut to hold it in place. Do not tighten completely at this point
  6. Repeat the previous step until all 4 motor mounts are installed
  7. Tighten all 4 mounting screws to complete the stepper motor installation
  8. Install the bearing plate and motor assembly as outlined in the ACME installation instructions above
  9. Slide the flexible coupler down over the lead screw and tighten the grub screw on both the motor shaft and lead screw. Tighten the clamp screws on the coupler to complete the installation

Phase 3 - Testing

This space reserved

Phase 4 - Upgrading

This space reserved