Time capsule Shapeoko 3

(Andy Guss) #1

I just opened my new in the box Shapeoko 3, but I think it is from 2015, or perhaps early 2016. The controller is version 2.2. Aside from that, I don’t know if there is any easy way to figure out the date on this thing. I was originally eager to try to get all of the 2016 upgrades, but perhaps that isn’t necessary. Carbide 3d offered me a couple of options. 1, I could just upgrade items piecemeal and they would do their best to invoice me for the parts I want. 2, bite the bullet and upgrade to XL. Most of the 2016 upgrade parts would be covered in that purchase. 3, Just build and use the system as is. Perhaps the wider belts are no big deal, but the stiffer z plate might be worth it under any circumstances?

2 questions. What is the current controller board version number? What upgrades are most worth paying extra for at this point?

Thanks group,


(Luke) #2

I had a S3 from the early days - if I’m honest I had to change the board (I had v2.0) and the Z plate.

I did fit wider belts but it didn’t make allot of difference, I also swapped out the standard sensors for magnetic ones…

I think V2.2 of the board will be fine.

(William Adams) #3

To run down the differences:

  • control board — the old boards can be sensitive to EMI for some people— most folks only lost the connection at the end of a job when powering off the router, so manageable I believe we’re up to 2.4D, w/ v3 boards (AIUI mostly a cosmetic change) due soon
  • 9mm belts — I did these early on w/ my machine (there was something of a mania for them for a while) — included in the “Maintenance kit” https://shop.carbide3d.com/collections/tools/products/shapeoko-maintenance-kit but I bought mine from SDP/SI: https://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/User:Willadams#B.O.M.
  • stiffer Z-axis plate — some folks experienced chatter when cutting, and a lot of folks reinforced it — I bought a much taller 65mm spindle mount which seems to help. The old plate has a lot more reach, while the new plate allows easier access to stuff.
  • belt anchors — the old ones use a pair of M3 bolts, the new ones use an M5 PEM and a single M5
  • EDIT: new style of belt tensioning, rather than sliding motors around, the Z-axis has a tension bolt on the plate in an insert

I think that’s everything — the original design was quite good, the improvements were incremental, and I think didn’t come up as needed until folks got used to how much better it was than the SO2.

You will want to use the old instructions: http://carbide3d.com/files/so3manual.pdf

Please note that some versions of the instructions have an error on pg. 9 where eccentric nuts are indicated to be placed along the top of the plate — they should actually go on the bottom.

Which upgrades you need to do will depend on what you wish to do with the machine and how you wish to use it.

(Luke) #4

Hi will - do you have any more info or pics on this? I find the anchors a right old pain.

(William Adams) #5

Image of the originals at:

and a side view of the new ones at:

(Luke) #6

I see! very interesting, I had wondered about removing my M3 and tapping a M4 hole on the originals.

Defiantly and easier install.

(Andy Guss) #7

Thanks for those replies and that information.

These were the “updates” I was most interested in:

  1. New controller board with controller enclosure
  2. 3/4 " one piece MDF table “no need for bottom straps”
  3. 9 mm belts for x and y axes
  4. Stiffened z plate
  5. US made v wheels and eccentric nuts
  6. Updated frame with levelling feet.

This came from Winston Moy’s “2016 updates video” here- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8W6eSXUb0Zs and the list on the Shapeoko site- https://shop.carbide3d.com/collections/machines/products/shapeoko3?variant=42721918086

"New for Summer 2016:

Enclosed electronics, no need for a fan
One-piece MDF table, no need for bottom straps
9mm Belts
New, more rigid Z plate
US-Made V wheels and eccentric nuts
Partially assembled- cuts assembly time by 75%!!
Homing switches included
Carbide endmill included (1/4")
Adapter ring to fit Makita RT0701C router "

However, based on the discussion here, none of these seem to be showstoppers for my current kit. Perhaps I can add my own levelling feet, and the wheels and belts are very reasonable. Would I need to drill and tap new holes in order to use the wider belts?



(William Adams) #8

No, the belts are just a drop in replacement — just replace the wider pulleys (x3, one for X, two for Y), then install the belts on the X and Y axes (it’s too tight for a wider belt on the Z, and I don’t think they’re available anyway)

For a one-piece wasteboard, just use the two pieces you have, cut a piece of MDF to the right size, then use transfer punches to drill and countersink holes — if you’re on an SO3 and want to have the most rigid possible machine, consider the aluminum threaded table.

The V-wheels and eccentric nuts being U.S. was mostly a sourcing / Q.A. thing as I understand it — a lot of them were either being set aside as bad during kitting, or being found as bad during assembly / testing — if yours work, you’re fine.

(Andy Guss) #9

Well, I started building it today. Thanks, Will, for the link to the old directions. I’m in the middle of assembling the z-axis components.

I have three issues so far, hopefully all are minor.

  1. I have two small dings/ dents in the far right side of the raised part of the gantry track where the x axis will travel. I figure I can try filling these with a tiny bit of jb weld and then sanding smooth. It will never be perfect, but I am betting I can get it close enough to not make a noticeable bump.

  2. I am not exactly square when is the best time to square everything up, or even what the best method is. I noticed that the gantry reaches a different spot on the right and left sides when pulled completely forward. It makes contact with the right side front, but there is probably 1.5 mm left of travel on the left side. So, somewhere I have something misaligned. Is it the straps and side assemblies, the aluminum, the wasteboard? Assembling these components was pretty haphazard, so I will need to go back and realign and tighten things somehow to try to keep this square.

  3. I seem to be missing a small idler pulley for the z axis. I think it is called the 6 mm bottom z axis idler pulley or something like that. I’ll just need to contact Shapeoko in the morning and see if something can be sent out.

OK, here’s a bonus one. I have the homing switches, but their installation is not covered in the old instructions. Do you think it is better to do a complete build following the old instructions to the letter, or should I hybridize from this point on to try to figure out which steps I should be modifying to add in the homing and limit switch components.



(Luke) #10

Well done on getting this far!

  • I had a ding in my rail. File any protrusion inline with the other angles. Then fill the dent with some JB weld, or bodyshop filler/epoxy resin etc. Wait for it to dry then file it inline with the angles very gently - finish up with some 400 grit or higher.

  • Square it all up at the end so everything is semi rigid then square from the base up.

  • The guys at support will be able to provide a pulley.

  • I’d wait till you have the basics done then look to add the homing switches, but these are easy to install - I believe if you do a search there are some instructions floating online if you need them.



(William Adams) #11
  1. spot on as @MrBeaver noted
  2. See https://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/Calibration_and_Squaring_the_Machine#Squaring_the_Machine — it’s best to get as square as one can as one assembled (this may entail some disassembly) — worst case is squaring up the machine is a frustrating, tail-chasing thing of repeated disassembly and reassembly, but w/ patience, it will get better each time
  3. e-mail support@carbide3d.com after reviewing your entire kit to see if any other parts are needed