Shapeoko 3 CNC Overview

The Shapeoko 3 CNC by Carbide 3D is a great machine, and one that truly stands out among anything and everything in its price class. That being said, there are a few modifications that can be done to greatly improve the machine.

*Disclaimer: This machine is owned by my good friend Andrew and just so happens to reside in my basement so I occasionally drool over it and we discus things that could be improved about the machine. This page is a result of those discussions between us and may end up being a good documentation/overview location if we decided to develop these upgrades into kits. 

Upgrades

  • Hall-effcct End-stops (superior to limit switches)
  • Vacuum nozzle attachment
  • Z axis rigidity improvements (Updated from Shapeoko)
  • LED lighting kit

Hall-effect End-stops

This is an upgrade that I would consider an absolute must and one that I find bizarre that it doesn't come from Carbide with some form of end-stops (even if its cheap crappy limit switches). Without end-stops it is impossible to know the absolute location of the machine. This means that two sided, multi-pass, or using a different cutting tool on a finishing pass is impossible (yes you can try to line it up in the same spot every time you start the machine, but this is a pretty ghetto way of doing it and won't yield good repeatable results)

Limit switches work pretty well, but since they rely on mechanical contact you must home at a much slower speed (to avoid hard impacts), they will eventually wear out, and they can be thrown off or become non-functional with material build-up.

Hall-effect sensors work by sensing magnetic fields and don't need any mechanical contact to sense an absolute position. Our thought was that if you are going to go through the effort of putting end-stops on your machine you might as well go with the far superior option and do it right from the beginning.

(Upgrade designed by Andrew)

These sensors have been in use for 50+ machining hours now and have proven to be rock solid reliable. The full kit is now available for pre-order on the Products page.

Vacuum Nozzle Attachment:

Few things are more annoying than sitting next to the machine with a shop-vac for hours as the CNC throws out material you have to manually vacuum up. 

A lot of the current vacuum attachments out there for the Shapeoko 3 are a skirt/dust shoe design that blocks visibility while machining, shaft lock for tool changes, and generally just gets in the way of everything.

The thought with this design is to create a simple sleek upgrade that would remove cutting material while not interfering with machining visibility, vertical plunging, or shaft lock for tool changes. Another design goal was easy installation as this only requires tightening two bolts and doesn't require any machine disassembly to install.  

This vacuum kit is now available to purchase on the Products page at an early adopter sale price.