Sunday, January 8, 2017

Shapeoko2 X-axis beam upgrade & Dinosaur Bookends

The stock Shapeoko2 used two standard makerslide extrusions, separated by a small air gap, for the X-axis linear rail. This worked OK, but the assembly tended to twist and cause inaccuracy or cutting problems when driving the machine too hard. Some people stiffened their machines by bolting the two extrusions together or otherwise tying the two beams together and approximating a single beam.

Inventables recently released a new "Wide Makerslide" for their X-Carve CNC router. This new extrusion replaces both X-axis makerslides in their X-Carve product, and yields a much stiffer X-axis. This new part is a very easy and fast upgrade for older Shapeoko2 machines. They sell it in 500mm, 750mm, and 1000mm to fit most machines. My machine has the narrow X-axis so I needed the 500mm part.

Stock setup on the left, still assembled. New extrusion on the right.
Pay close attention to stepper motor wiring order when disconnecting Y axis steppers to disassemble unit
Together and ready for testing!
Cutting out parts for Dinosaur Bookend for Christmas present
The first project built with the upgraded Shapeoko2 were a set of these cool dinosaur bookends. They turned out great and were a hit at Christmas. The ~0.5" plywood was sourced from Menards- they had a super sale on Christmas Tree bases- pretty nice quality pseudo baltic birch 2' x 2' squares for $1.90. The bookend bases were cut from Ikea bamboo cutting boards.

Finished bookends

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