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


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