A monkey gets his hands on a Shapeoko (Regularly Updated)

Man you were doing so good, then I see that Auburn buzzard and spoiled my day. Just joking with ya your works are extra nice. Now be a real man and do an Elephant (Roll Tide). Keep up the fine work.

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Your projects have a quality look to them! You inspire me to make more stuff!!


@Dirtyknuckles, as much as I love the different takes on the elephant logo and look forward to carving one for a customer, I don’t see myself being able to cut one “for fun” and not have my shop burnt down by my wife who is a hardcore UGA fan. Something about that “happy wife, happy life” thing… Thank you for the compliment!

@Jairo, thank you for the compliment! It prompted me to check out your website/insta and I really dig your work! My wife added another item to my honey-do list when I mistakenly showed her the “red hot lips” decoration you sell! :rofl::joy: You think I would have learned to stop showing her all the neat stuff I come across online.


Yeah finish on these is superb


Thank you @Sherpa! Speaking of superb, your Death in the Family (#201) post was one of the best I have ever read! Had me rolling :rofl:

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Monkey, your work is exceptional! I’m a few weeks in my CNC journey, somI have ways to go. If you don’t mind me asking, how do you get the texture in what looks like the Ironman mask and I believe the flag?

You produce really nice work.

Thank you, Ernie! I used the texture toolpath in Carbide Create. See: Carbide 3d tutorials-textures for a quick intro. And here is a great video by Chris Powell that covers it pretty well:
Adding textures with Carbide Create
Only tip I can share: if you are trying to texture around an element of your design and it is important that the texture toolpath doesn’t cut into the edge of said element (like a raised letter), you need to offset the toolpath away from the element by at least half the diameter of your endmill. CC, for some reason unknown to me, likes to run the center of your endmill all the way to the edge of the whatever you have selected for the texture toolpath. Like any monkey, I learned that the hard way…
@MrGNY, thank you for the compliment! It has taken me longer than I like to admit to “dial in” my finishing.

Edit: oh, and @erniediaz123, don’t let Perturabo hear you mistaking the chapter logo of the ninth legion with ironman. I heard he has anger issues…


@Microwave_Monkey oh boy! I already heard it this weekend from my grandkids because I didn’t know what the Infinity Stones looked like from the Avengers. :frowning:


@Microwave_Monkey. I still can get over how clean your pieces come out. In reading the comments in this thread, I noticed you mention using a 1/32 flat cutter to do the pocketing. I would think a 1/4 inch bit would make the pocketing quicker, but I’m assuming you’re using the smaller diameter bit for “cleanliness” and more detail, Is this a correct assumption? Also, I’m still very new to this, so as far as feeds and speeds, I’m thinking moving slower and higher router speeds would give me a cleaner finish?

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@Microwave_Monkey I may have asked this before but cant see it so sorry if i have !! How to you finish your stuff, do you use Spray varnish? brush etc? i would love to know, as this is where i am really weak, and definitely need to improve.


P.s. Love your stuff keep it coming

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@erniediaz123, I do use a larger bit to clear out most of the material and leave the details to the smaller cutters. I described my method earlier HERE

When it comes to learning feeds and speeds and all the other important info for getting up and running, I would HIGHLY suggest checking out our community manager’s (@Julien) awesome e-book:

Shapeoko CNC A to Z


@sherpa, I will get a reply typed out shortly, gotta step out for a few


no rush at all, happy to wait!


Sorry bout that Mr. @Sherpa . I mostly spray my coatings. I have a couple different paint sprayers (a Graco airless for big jobs, a Titan Flexspray which I adore, and an Earlex 5500 for detail work/final clear coat). Really small items get the rattle can treatment or wipe-on. Something like a table or sign intending to be outside I typically use spar polyurethane. Interior stuff, I usually use a clear enamel as they tend to yellow a good bit slower than polyurethane but still give that deep oiled look to the woodgrain, or I use something like Polycrylic. If it is going to be handled every day, it’s another story all together of super thin penetrating coats and high grit sanding to produce an extremely durable, stain resistant surface that doesn’t lose that “soft texture” feel to the wood. (and due to @Griff’s post I am going to try Tru-oil to reduce the time spent on those projects, and I need to try out Rubio Monocoat)

A couple things that have made the biggest difference in my finishing:

Doesn’t matter how you apply it (brush, spray, wipe) but THIN coats are your best friend for so many reasons.

This mostly applies to fast and/or bulk production efficiency/consistency as plenty of folks get by without this:
Having a clean and relatively temperature/humidity controlled space for the project to dry, especially for good results out of a rattle can where you are torn between heavy coating for consistent sheen or light coating to prevent sags and runs. (Or you end up in orange peel city, which takes time and effort to get out of) There are 2-part lacquers and/or way more volatile coatings that will allow you to get good results quickly in almost any temperature, but they are a headache to work with and I leave those to the true professionals. I have a portable air conditioner/heater unit that I converted to a dual hose “window” unit. It keeps my shop at around 70 degrees (Fahrenheit) and 50-55% humidity year round. I run a couple box fans and my overhead air filtration unit with carbon filters to cut down on fumes in the shop while projects dry.

The rest boils down to proper sanding and prep. Pre stain conditioners work wonders on soft wood. And sanding sealer will keep you from running through expensive top coats and paint like your pouring them down the drain.
If there is a particular issue you are having or want more info, feel free to send me a pm. As always, I am happy to help!


@Microwave_Monkey, Scott, I’ll be interested to hear of your experience with this product.
I’m still messing about with what works best and of course, have no idea about durability in my world :blush:.
As you said earlier, thin coats are your friend, I’m using small squares of old t-shirts to apply. Unlike more traditional oil finishes you don’t want to flood the surface and let it sit for awhile. A few strokes of 320 grit starting at the third coat result in a pretty nice finish after 5. Also, dry times vary with the first coat drying in less then an hour (at least here in SoCal).
Anyway, let us know your thoughts when you try it out.

Oh, and thanks for this thread!


Love that woman my friend, I lost mine in June after 39 years of a great marriage. One day you are fat dumb and happy the next your life is dark and lonely. Make her things she may like on that cnc. I never finished but a few of the things she wanted now I’ll spend the rest of my life wishing I had done more.


@Dirtyknuckles, I know you were replying to another user, but…

My heart goes out to you, friend. I cannot imagine the adjustment to the “new normal” after a loss of such magnitude. I hope all the best for you and will take your words to heart!


Be of good cheer my friend I don’t know what the heck they are either. Then again I’ll bet they don’t know what a party phone line is either so I guess were even. You do know what a party phone line is, you know the 2 party and the 4 party and the 6 party? I’m 74 so maybe no one knows but me!!! Scary man scary.


Regularly updated… yeah right… :sweat_smile:

Well this monkey started thinking, and like I have stated before that is a recipe for disaster… “just make a website” my brain was whispering sweetly…“it would be easier to ‘peddle your wares’ that way,” sang the siren’s song… yeeeaaahhhh that took longer than I thought. Kudos to you guys with sleek websites, that stuff isn’t easy.

I have cut some things…just nothing out of the ordinary or remotely groundbreaking. Lots of coasters and riverway signs. I wish I had something cooler to add to my post like linear rails or some neat upgrade as I am chomping at the bit for more “pure cnc” fun. I just cant afford to have my machine down right now and I seem to constantly be behind. I have toyed with the idea of building a Shapeoko clone “from scratch” since I have an extra controller board laying around, but we all know where that will end up (if it ever ended :rofl:) as I share the same desires as the rest of you crazy dudes…

Anyways, on to something slightly more interesting…


I did start receiving some the stuff I ordered to make a nice paint booth with multi-stage filtered air return, so I got that going for me… Here is the intended final stage of the booth, a roughly 12x20 inch carbon filter packed with quite a few pounds of activated charcoal. We shall see how she does, anybody got a good recommendation for a reliable VOC monitor?

and I finally got around to doing some drag engraving testing. Good news, I found out that using a stop collar during the BitSetter cycle and setting rpm to zero in CC allows me to use a spring loaded drag engraving bit without having to shut off my BitSetter (not that its too inconvenient):

And if you haven’t tried some Valchromat or Forescolor MDF, I highly recommend grabbing some and using it for prototyping and anything that you would usually use MDF for. So much better in so many ways. Here is some after pocketing at almost uncomfortable speeds (for me):

and I wanted to give a little shout out to this guy:

Still kicking butt after almost 30 years of continuous use between my father and now myself. They don’t make them (inexpensive, diy-grade tools) like they used to…

As always, more to come! Be safe, and happy chip making everyone!