Sunday, January 8, 2017

Shapeoko 2 Upgrades using XCarve parts

This post is actually a little out of order- I actually did this before rebuilding the Z-axis.

After doing some initial aluminum cutting and also running into some size limitations with the stock Shapeoko2, I decided I need to upgrade the machine to make it both a) larger and b) stiffer.

Inventable's X-Carve has a number of parts that are bolt-on upgrades that are compatible with the Shapeoko 2. The first I purchased was the improved DC Spindle mount. This provided a much-improved interface between the DC spindle and the Z-axis slide- both improved rigidity and alignment. It's machined from a single aluminum extrusion and black anodized.
Spindle Carriage
DC Spindle Mount
The second upgrade I purchased was the X-Carriage Extrusion. This was definitely a huge upgrade over the stock Shapeoko2 X-Carriage. The stock x-carriage is an assembly of plates bolted together with a ton of spacers and washers- it works, but the improved part is one massive extrusion. It should prove to be much stiffer in actual use.
X Carriage Extrusion
X-Carriage Extrusion

Installation of the upgrades was pretty straightforward. The entire Shapeoko2 X axis needs to be disassembled. The wheels and stepper motor can be attached to the X-Carriage. Then, the X-carriage extrusion is slid over the X-axis Makerslide extrusions. 
X-Carriage assembly in process.
Once the X-axis is re-assembled, the Z-axis with the new, improved DC Spindle mount can be bolted on and everything aligned.

I also took the opportunity to expand the stock build surface using new makerslide and some 8020 extrusions I purchased from an industrial salvage place.
Installing electrics on a board attached to the bottom of the frame

New, Super Beefy 8020 Frame, laid out but not yet squared
Just about ready to bolt together
Squared up and bolted together.

I used the stock 500mm x 500mm wasteboard, then added a new wasteboard I cut from 1/2" MDF. I did buy a set of 5mm threaded inserts to add hold downs to the new section.

New wasteboard cut from 1/2" MDF and hole locations marked
Holes cut and M5 threaded inserts added
New Wasteboard & Y axis makerslide braces in place
Assembled and ready for first part- a new faceplate from 1/8" MDF:

Cutting faceplate for E-stop and spindle RPM control
Faceplate cut & spray painted silver
Finished, assembled and ready to go


  1. Jeez, so technical! It always amazes me when people are able to figure this stuff out on their own. It is truly an astonishment. How long did it take you to finish this project? I hope you post more pics from other projects as I always get a kick out of reading them. Take care and good luck to you!

    Brandi Bradley @ Rotax Metals

    1. Following other people's projects always helps for me. I always have a project or two in process, but it's tough to find time to even partially document them online.