Can we get 5' extrusions?

(Anthony) #1

When the SO3 was introduced, there was quite a bit of talk about the extrusions being tested for rigidity out to 5 feet.
As 5’ would allow us to lay a half sheet of plywood/MDO/HDU/Acrylic on the machine and allow enough travel to carve it nearly edge to edge, can it be made possible to purchase the extrusion in a 5’ length? Maybe it is time for an XXXL kit?

Personally, I think this would take what is possible with the machine to the next level and even make it a viable consideration for some professional sign shops.

(Evan Day) #2

I can see why you would want to go bigger, especially for professional work. However, from a business standpoint, does it make sense for Carbide to try to compete at the market level where there are already major leaders? For example on the wood / sign making side of the house there are the machines by ShopBot or For metals, I would think at a bigger size you start competing against even the “budget” (if there is such a thing) models by Tormach, Haas, etc.

I’m just thinking that as much sense as it makes, future versions of the Carbide machines have to be economically viable.

(James Carter) #3

A Nomad with a 16x16 bed would make me all giddy…

(Anthony) #4

Judging from the prices of the XL and XXL upgrade kits, a 48"x48" or 60"x60" Shapeoko 3 would still undercut the currently available machines with the same work area by a considerable margin. …and an XXXL upgrade kit would let someone work up to a larger machine in steps.
48"x48" Shopbot - $16,790
CNCRouterParts 4’x4’ kit - $2,595 (only includes the mechanical parts of the frame and gantry; a working system will run you almost $5k by the time that you add up all of the parts)

(James Carter) #5

Since we are dreaming…

cost is around $80,000 but you can also lease-to-own… I’ve been looking into getting one :slight_smile:

(Anthony) #6

I realize there are larger and more rigid machines out there for big money. I don’t need 200ipm feedrates and 1/2" endmills yet… but would like something that could carve a half sheet of plywood at the SO3’s level of accuracy without needing a bank loan. There is a space to be filled in the market here and Carbide3D has said in the past that their existing extrusion extends out to the lengths that we are talking about while keeping reasonable tolerances. So why not offer it?

(Evan Day) #7

Yeah you are right on pure price, but of course there are more variables to consider when going to those large format machines. I’m assuming they have a higher level of rigidity for that amount of money, but I could be wrong. At the work area size you are talking about, would you need to be concerned about the belt size / stretch on the Shapeoko? Would it be time to move to something like acme screws (obviously much more expensive)?

And your last post about 200 IPM and 1/2" mills is spot on as well. I’m not telling you that your wrong, just trying to see it from multiple angles.


From the very beginning it was determined that the rail was not going to be available individually. The margin of profit for just selling rail is not high enough. You can ask @edwardrford if that is the reason.

I personally think they should pull off a $2,000-$2500 Shapeoko 4 kit that uses ball screws and gets rid of the rubbish z axis belt.

(William Adams) #9

FWIW, on the Z-axis belt, it’d be pretty simple to replace it w/ an Acme screw — we have plans for this for the SO1/2: and I did a sketch for this as an upgrade and worked up a B.O.M. which I have posted to:

(Anthony) #10

I would be fine with the rail only being made available in an upgrade kit as they do with the XL/XXL upgrades…
I just find 33" to be a weird size limit (I do not doubt there was some good reasoning for that length that I am unaware of)… a few inches short of 3 foot square just strikes me as an arbitrarily odd size to stop at…

(Winston) #11

And a beefier spindle.

(Jude Marleau) #12

Look at my post “what is square for SO3” in it I show what the dimensions are for the system. They are all oddball dimensions except for the 16" x 16" working area. That is obviously the target size they designed the machine to work. To end up with a specific size working area it takes more variables then just the length of the rails. Except for a qualified CNC design engineer, none of us probably know all the variables that goes into designing the Shapeoko 3. To get a new size, even just 3 " longer maybe throws all the designing out the window and causes a full redesign. As Richard has pointed out repeatedly, it IS a wonderful design. Yes there are size limitations but we know what they are. Do we really want them to design a system that we no longer can afford??? I’m not telling you what to say, This is my opinion only and I just want to offer some helpful information, I worked many years designing on the space coast and I am familiar with how “minor” changes can affect the design in whole. Door seals on the VAB building at Cape Canaveral (a simple thing) took 6 redesigns because they wanted the hose reel in a different place, each new place caused me to redesign it from scratch. I am looking at this topic from that perspective… I doubt they can simply “scale” the machine’s size by working dimensions alone. I just wanted to give a little insight into the design effort, it is really difficult to design a system that works this good for the investment. Jude

(William Adams) #14

Did you catch this?

(Rob Grzesek) #15

We talk about doing a bigger machine and it’s not the extrusion that are the limiter, it’s that we need more a more substantial structure supporting it. We need a structure that will not add flex and vibrations and that ends up being the thing that’s a problem, both from a cost of materials and a shipping point of view. We understand the engineering, but I’m not sure we can offer it for the same value as the 3, XL, and XXL. I think it will happen at some point but I’m not sure when it’ll be. ( and just to be clear, there are ZERO CAD drawings of it at this point so it’s not happening in the near future).

All that said, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter.

(Craig) #16

Offer rail only kits in 5’ and 6’ lengths with wiring extensions and longer belts as a Shapeoko maker expansion kit, not an entire machine, and sell only to existing Shapeoko owners. Provide basic rail to 80-20 mounting brackets to get people started and let the owners figure out what is best for their situation.

IMO 80/20 would be the most logical erector set solution for a machine base, but there will be creative solutions by the community. Just look at the modifications in just over two years of the machine being available. I have more ideas for upgrades than time and money unfortunately.

(Winston) #17

Wow… that’s crazy. But awesome. I was referring more to the Nomad though. I just don’t have the confidence to use 1/4" endmills in it right now.

(Jude Marleau) #18

Which is where I was going, that solution causes redsigns involving the moteor sizes for tork (yes sp) and belt sizes or screw drives and speed and cooling the friction on the ball screws and so many other things. It’s not just making a bigger machine, it’s designing a whole new animal. I know you guys can do it Rob, but do you want to and do we need it. Creating ways to increase the working limits like using alignment pins to orient over size projects, and cutting a hole in my shop if I need to extend a 12 foot long carved facade, switching out the y axis for a rotational axis under the bed for round (lathe type) work by flipping an a-b box switch wired to the original Y axis connections and to the rotating axis, the y axis travels 406.4 mm’s so reprograming that distance to a circular distance could be done, taller and heavier end rails for higher heights of the z axis, a vacuum table accessory, and lastly (for me) a C3D clone of the other guy’s “silent spindle”…I love the Shapeoko 3 and the versatility of it. Maybe a better base board system (like PVC) instead of mdf, pvc does have it’s quirks. My personal upgrades on my Shapeoko 3 have been engineered by the seat of my pants because of what I have laying around but they have been sound improvements but you guys can do so much better. Thanks for asking, I’ll fly out there to help you (on your tab) if you need me, just ask. Jude
ps, integrating a dust port into the router mount, I’ve found just the vacuum nozzel at the same height as the collet nut catches 95% of the sawdust I’ve generated with no brush bumping and blocking and obstructing my view.

(Thomas McDowell) #19

I’m going for smaller and more rigid for my second machine of my own design (yes, I’m keeping my XL). I have found everything I need on the net, and if I were going to rebuild my XL with 5 foot extrusions, I’d bet that there are suppliers who sell them. In my experience, you may have to go many pages into a search term before you find the item you want. These parts are much more obscure than you might guess.

I’ve come to love the flexibility of aluminum extrusions and plan to make some shop furniture with them. Think tinker toy or erector set.

No, I am not sharing plans or suppliers, except to say “4th Axis.” This is a Shapeoko forum and that would be inappropriate.

(Kirk) #20

On the slower and less precise end there’s the 4x8 Maslow CNC. I have around $650 total in mine including the router and Z axis upgrade. Think a 4x8 polarbot with a router instead of a pen, and in the 25ipm range.

The firmware is still a work in progress but under very active development, and the community is redoing the router sled design. I consider it more of a super panel saw, and still have an X or XXL on the wish list. Maybe when the new shop is done…

(Stuart) #21

I would personally just love a single 5’ extrusion, and work out the rest I go.

I go through cycles of redesigning my XXL in cad to use linear bearings and ball screws, then add a 5’ gantry with misumi extrusion, and more z height… but I would actually Just be stoked with a longer gantry with the C3D extrusion, and weld up my own base to mount it to - this is by far the cheapest option! I have drawn up designs for so many variations!

It’s also quite kickass as standard, I’d just love to have the width to fit a full sheet of plywood…