Can Shapeoko engrave plaques and plates?

I’ve stumbled upon this awesome tool while looking for an upgrade to an old engraving machine. The Shapeoko looks like it might be able to handle the job of what I am needing and offer other possibilities that I was not previously considering. The primary work would be engraving aluminum plates with text. An example of a size would be 3"x2" with possibly a few lines of text (names, events, etc.). I also would need to engrave brass plates for plaques. An example would be 6"x8" with several lines of text and possibly graphics.

Has anyone used the Shapeoko for this type of work? is the resolution adequate for creating legible text? I really like to idea of being able to create these items that I already offer, but also being able to offer a whole new line of merchandise that this tool would enable me to create.


You should have no problem with what you are proposing with the proper bits. Brass and aluminum are soft and should machine very nicely.


Stacy is correct, the shapeoko is perfect for this. The only thing you really need to think about is your work-holding (how do you hold the thin plates down). You also need a method for generating the text in a dxf type format. I would download and play with LibreCAD (free, open-source, etc etc) and see if you can lay out the plaques the way you want, from there it’s just a matter of using an engraving tool (in the router) to cut out your design a few thousandths into the material.

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You can use SVG from a vector editor, or just directly work in Carbide Create — no CAD app or DXF necessary.

This is an effect pedal enclosure I engraved. I’ve done quite a few of them with great results.

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Thanks for the replies and thanks for the effect pedal example; that helps a ton.

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It really surprised me how well the S3XL does at engraving. Here’s a part I made for the restoration of a 1959 Les Paul guitar. The top part is an original truss rod cover from 1959. The bottom part is a replica that I made on the S3. Granted this is plastic, but I would expect that you should be able to do just as well in aluminum with the proper feeds and speeds.


Hi Danelectro,

Can you give some details on your workflow for the truss rod covers? What bits and software did you use? I would like to make amplfier face plates with the same material.