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[Cool Project] Shapeoko DIY CNC Kit: Part 2 Assembly

Jul 30, 2017   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Beginner, Blog, CNC Projects, CNC Router, Cool, DIY CNC, Products, Techniques  //  1 Comment

diy cnc kit router woodworking machine build shapeoko

Here’s the second installment of the CNCCookbook CNC Kit build.  In the first installment (unpacking the CNC Router Kit), I introduced the project, discussed why I picked the Shapeoko over other kits, included some details about how to do a time-lapse video, and gave a time-lapse video of unboxing the Shapeoko XXL we are building.

The Shapeoko CNC Kit is Extremely Well Made

I have pretty much completed the mechanical assembly and wiring is next.

I’ve built a lot of DIY projects and kits over the years.  Everything from building Heathkits with my dad back in their heyday in the 60’s and 70’s to building all sorts of things from scratch.  There’s also a whole bunch of “some assembly required” projects.

You know, the kind where you buy a supposedly finished product and then cuss at it fluently when it won’t go together very well!  Anyone with kids at the very least knows what I’m talking about here.

Let me start this installment by saying that the Shapeoko CNC Kit is a cut above 90% of the projects I’ve ever dealt with.  The attention to details and quality of instructions are just excellent.  Maybe my bar has gotten set too low after countless disappointments, but I am so pleasantly surprised when I get a kit where everything fits together perfectly.

I didn’t have to make any holes larger, there was no straining to force things into place due to bad tolerances, and the instructions were a real pleasure too.  There’s probably one or two places where things could be changed a touch to make them a little more clear, but if you’re paying attention at all, building a Shapeoko of your own will be a fun experience with little frustration.

The kit even came with all the tools you’ll need.  I had run down to my shop and gotten wrenches and T-handles so I’d have them handy before starting, but I didn’t wind up using them.

I knew from having visited Carbide3D and talked to the founders on a number of occasions that these guys are perfectionists and sticklers for details.  I’ve seen and written about the many high-quality projects people make with these CNC machines.  They’re inexpensive, but definitely not just toys.  It’s extremely clear that the machine I have is not their first CNC Router Rodeo.  It’s a Shapeoko 3, which means 3 major revisions and countless smaller revisions.

One of the things I learned when I visited Carbide3D is that they’re very attuned to quality and saving their customers headaches.  They started out building the components in China, and reshored that work here.  I’m a big believer in restoring American manufacturing so I was fascinated to hear that story.

What they told me was that while the price to make the machines went up very slightly, the quality went up enormously plus they gained the ability to make changes faster.  It used to take a minimum of 6 weeks or so for a change to go from the drawing boards to showing up in finished product.  Today they can get a change done within a matter of days.  All that allows incremental refinement to drive ever higher quality levels.

The kit goes together quickly and easily

All told I spent about 4 1/2 hours doing the mechanicals.  I had a very relaxed pace and with help from a friend, I might’ve done it in less.  Suffice it to say it should be a pretty easy weekend project to get your very own DIY CNC Kit put together if you buy the Shapeoko kit.

If you watch the time-lapse video below, you will see a couple of places where I went down the wrong path and had to back up, disassemble, and reassemble correctly.  Those errors didn’t take long to fix and every single one of them happened because I thought I knew what to do and went ahead and did it rather than just sticking strictly to the directions.

What can I say?  Guys don’t ask for directions–especially CNC’ers!  LOL.

None of those errors would’ve occurred if I’d simply stuck to the plan as the Carbide 3D folks had intended.

Without further ado, here is the time-lapse video of me assembling the Shapeoko XXL.  As mentioned, wiring is yet to be done and then the Router will be ready for its first moves.  That’ll be the subject of my next installment, and after that, I’ll be delving into tuning up the machine to maximize its performance.

I’ve already got several cool projects in mind for it too!

Time Lapse CNC Kit Build…


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[Cool Project] Shapeoko DIY CNC Kit: Part 2 Assembly
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1 Comment

  • Very nice, I look forward to the next video in the series.

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