V slot bed

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I'm going to try explain the process for bulding a cheap bed for the shapeoko..

The base is a MDF 500x500x30 mm, so probably if you buy some piece with small damage like me (in the bottom plane had a minimum damage), it'll be quite cheaper (the cost of my piece was 5$, aprox. 3€).

The end result should be something like this:

nio's v-groove table with toggle clamps

Tools / Prep

1) I used a router like this:

Black & Decker RP250 10 Amp 2-1/4-Inch Variable Speed Plunge Router

2.) Use a 'v' inverted shape end mill (the official name is "dovetail" (google results))

dovetail router bit

Notes from Phlamingo It's a good idea to route the main channel with a straight bit or a spiral upcut bit first, and then with the dovetail bit. There are at least three reasons for this:

  • First, straight bits are generally cheaper and easier to sharpen than more complex profiles, such as dovetails and keyholes. By hogging out the central channel with a cheaper bit, you can extend the life of your specialty bits.
  • Second, by removing the bulk of the material first, the specialty bit will generally cut cleaner.
  • Third, hogging out the central channel with a straight bit allows you to make the cut in two or three passes, which will put less strain on your router motor. You will be able to feed the router across the material more quickly by taking a smaller bite, and this will reduce the chances of friction burns on the material.

3.) I put a piece of wood to guide the router straight each time I did a cut. With this you will have a table which looks like this

end view of nio's v-groove trable


To make the aluminium "V"-bolts, is quite easy… The V-bolt is on the photo, is a merge, i mean, it was first a T-bolt, and then i cut to adapt it to a V and I did 2 more just like the first:

I had a small aluminium block of 10mm and with a handsaw i did some pieces… and then i did a hole and with a T-handle and tap.

modified t-nut
additional v-nuts
more v-groove nuts
v-groove end view

it's not perfect but works well.

Hold Down Clamps

As you can see the screws are quite long (50mm). In order to press the hold down clam I put a "butterfly nut" above the toggle clamp. Now you use the screw to locate the aluminium piece and the "butterfly nut" to press the hold down clamp.

The hold down clamps I bought on ebay… but you can find it in any place, or use a simple piece of aluminium with a hole.You can adapt it in differents heights so it's quite versatile or you can buy a kit that contains more sizes and pieces. ebay link 1 or more ebay link 2

Finally 4 aluminium angles to hold the shapeoko to bed…

long bolt
hold down toggle clamps
hold down toggle clamps

Other photos

(add your own photos here)

Another set of build instructions

Zapmaker posted a set of build instructions in the forum: V-channel bed - with detailed build instructions

Other Methods of creating slots

You can also purchase a bit from Rocklers Woodworking that will cut the slot and the T slot at the same time. (One concern w/ a T slot is that MDF is weak under the stresses which usage would impose.)

Here is a link to the web page.

Tslot cutter router bit

Also there are items at the bottom of the page that can be used for hold downs with these slots.

Or one can use metal T-track as shown in T-Track Hold Downs.

An ingenious and very affordable technique is to use paint stirring sticks as shown in the Make Tool Review.

Alternative work-holding methods

See the page Workholding for a list of forum links and other techniques.