Community challenge #8, 2019-2020 edition

Hi @BartK

Very impressive…I can only imagine the countless hours that went into this, it’s just beautiful and a testimony to why the Shapeoko rocks! (and you do too)

So it kills me to have to mention this, but I suppose you cannot/do not want to share the associated design files, which was one of the rules of the challenge :confused:

Is there part of it that you could share so that people could benefit from e.g. your toolpath strategy, feeds and speeds, etc? in the spirit of validating the entry.

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Thanks @Julien

I honestly missed the part where we have to upload the project and the tool paths, although that makes sense. The only part of the project that I can create separate file for and upload so others can see my technique would be those clamps.
Screen Shot 2020-05-27 at 12.33.15

They’re slightly oversized to fit onto a carbon fibre tube and allow for adjusting the angle at which license plate sits behind the wheel. I can make a separate Fusion360 file for it. If that’s not enough then ‘ohhhh well, happens’ lol


I’ve been known to bend the rules before (and I’ve been called a pushover for doing it, ha!), so as far as I am concerned, if you do make the effort to share a sample file and tell us about your approach/tips to cut shiny parts, it will be valid. Since the entries will be submitted to vote anyway, people who think otherwise will be free to not vote for you :slight_smile:


Cool, I’ll make a post about my workflow and will post the file as well.

Hi, everybody,
I made a decoration for my house. (a frame)

I put it in two times… I looked for a shape that I really liked, in the shape of waves, but a little too pronounced for what I wanted to do.

So I made a frame with a simpler shape, but that I could fix “a soft wood” on it. that the cladding be constrained in both directions of the wood. In French we say gauche…

Then I had the idea to introduce a led ribbon inside. to make it more fun, and more trendy :wink:

the frame is in 3mm medium, “soft wood” in walnut. I made all the drawings on rhino, and made the machining on CC.

plancher tordu.c2d (772.3 KB)
ossature1.c2d (204.6 KB)
ossature2.c2d (203.6 KB)
recto.c2d (112.7 KB)
verso.c2d (115.2 KB)


Very cool !
I am most definitely stealing this idea for making flexible wood surfaces:


Thanks for your entry Vivien.


fait attention de ne pas faire une forme trop cintré… le bois a une limite… :slight_smile:

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et tu peux te servir de ton laser.

Here’s the file that includes setups and tool paths for the clamp that’s a part of the project that I posted above.
clamp (361.3 KB)

Unfortunately, I couldn’t include the remaining components, however the technique used in this sample was used to create all the other parts as well. It’s mostly combination of very simple contour passes and adaptive clearing for the pockets. All the parts that I’m designing are meant to be simple and easily machinable without the use of jigs. Which streamlines the process during prototyping stages.

For instance, the bottom of the clamp is actually flat, instead of being rounded, so that I can quickly put it in a vise and not mess around with soft jaws or indicators to make sure that it’s perpendicular to the z axis.
Screen Shot 2020-05-27 at 21.49.55

There’re two setups for the second side OP, that’s because first one is zeroed on the bottom of the part to surface the remaining stock left after first OP. The other setup is zeroed in the middle of the circle and at the top of the part. I’m using ‘center of the circle’ macro for this operation. Hope that explains why I made two setups named back 1 and back 2. This step could be avoided if I simply made a jig, but like I said this is simpler and quicker for me.


Not exactly the submission I was hoping to do, wanted something more “artsy” but just hadn’t had the time. So, I figure from seeing @BartK’s post, it encouraged me to just post what I have been doing, as it is 2D plates, that assembly in to a “3D” part. I have already shared the design files of my SO3 linear rail adapter plates but never really went into the CAM and workflow I go through. This is also the first time designing and using fixture plates (not just vises and drilling holes into my HDPE spoil board) to help develop faster and repeatable setup time (Typing this now, I am wondering if there is going to be a “fixturing” contest in the future from @Julien :laughing:)

Originally, I wanted to be able to machine two pieces of stock for the 4 (Y Axis) or 3 (X Axis) assembly parts, however I miscalculated how large of a fixture plate I would need and had to improvise a little. So I decided to move forward and just have the fixture plate multi purposed and machine the first set of parts, then re-setup with new stock to mill the second set.

There was at least three setups I needed to do, the first setup was the stock in its rough cut form (5.5" x 9") using fixture pins and side clamps to get access to the top for boring tolerance and threaded holes along with other features (dado joint and motor through-hole).

Second setup required getting access the sides to clear the stock down to shape. Using the existing features of the part, I created M4 thread holes that align with them on the fixture, so once features were cut they expose the mounting points to my next setup.

Third setup is to support chamfering the parts on either side, I used index pins to locate the part in its final form while still using the M4 threads to clamp the parts down, removing the pins before starting the g-code op.

When it came to tolerances, I really don’t have them defined, as for one, I’m not a professional (I don’t know the best method to define them), and in a way it’s in the hands of the SO3 rail lengths and how precise the linear rails are mounted; let alone there is slop designed into the system. However I try to do my best to get as close as possible (<0.005") in the critical areas. To do so, I use gauge blocks and Fusion 360’s “Stock to Leave” to dial in the dado joint. I end up surfacing the Y plates (being typical 6061) to increase flatness and parallelism (indicating on the dado) using a fly cutter on my benchtop mini mill (hope that’s not disqualifying :P). ATP-5 stock would help alleviate this process (though I believe it’s flatness spec is 0.015" at this thickness). I then surface the joining plate until they fit into their paired counter part.

All said and (almost) done, it was quiet the journey filled with frustration, pain and eventually love and happiness :laughing:

The Y fixture and CAM was my first attempt and just is a mess with weird setups from in-progress fixes, etc. The X fixture is a better example too look at and base off :slight_smile:

Linear Rail Carriage Plates
Y Fixture
Y Extrusion Plate CAM
Y Carriage Plate CAM
X Fixture
X Motor Spacer CAM


Curvy Entry Table
(all done on Shapeoko. If my wife and I could make this…so can you!)


So another honey-do item on my list was an entry-way table to sit under our mail dropbox. This was our first venture into making a piece of furniture (so don’t shoot me professionals… :slight_smile:) The table was to be about 30 inches tall and about 12x20 inches for the table top. After a bunch of googling for some inspiration, we came up with the below model:
I found some big box store 2x12 lumber that would work for the legs. The legs were to be 29 inches tall and I thought making them 1.25 inches thick would be safe (to take out about 1/8” of warp on either side of the lumber). I planed down the 4 rough (and warped) pieces of pine:

The next step was to cut out the legs. I (software) free-handed the contours of the legs and tried to make them a little fancy. I placed a notch in the middle of the legs to fit the middle supports into. I also designed the tops of the legs to part of the joint to connect to the tabletop (with about 30 thou of clearance for each dimension of the joint…probably could have used more like 50 thou and still have been snug):

Next, was to cutout the tabletop. I had some (super cheap) rough bandsawn lumber that I figured I could use:

I just used the ‘poko to plane down (who needs a planer anyways…) and get rid of the bandsaw ridges, and then I had a nice clean tabletop!

I then cutout the holes for the legs to fit into (0.5” deep). We happened to have some epoxy, so I also cut a small groove in the top for a little epoxy accent (0.1” deep):
image image

I then cutout the braces for the legs. Pretty simple there, no issues. We then stained the legs and filled the tabletop groove with epoxy. Next, I held my breath and assembled the legs into the tabletop and placed the braces into the grooves on the legs, and voila!

Finally, we glued everything together and then stained the tabletop and the cross braces. We had to slightly wipe the epoxy rectangle to clear the stain/poly mix that we were using (probably a better way to go about that). The epoxy actually did a decent job of rejecting the stain, so that helped. I thought it’d be fun to show the before and after shot of the wood we used:

Before (boring raw lumber):

After (fun and practical table! we liked how orange/copper epoxy inlay turned out, nice and subtle):

Let me know if you have questions or suggestions for improvement!



Except for some clamps and knobs for the Shapeoko XL I purchased 3 months ago this is the most complex project I have made.

I posted some pictures of the parts on this forum and Julien encouraged me to submit the project to this contest. So here it is.

I had downloaded this free plan for a scrollsaw last year and never got around to making it as any deviations from the lines would have meant a lot of sanding on all those curves. The plans laid on my bench occasionally beckoning me but they gathered dust until I thought I might be able to use the Shapeoko to do the job and in the process become more comfortable with some of the features of Carbide Create.

First challenge was how to convert the drawings from pdf to svg format. This was done using an on-line conversion program.

I finally understood the Boolean operations when I needed to remove some unnecessary lines.

Not a major snafu but I did learn the importance of using the same units of measure throughout. The original plans were in metric while I was working in imperial.

I learned that using those small pieces of scrap is good for my cheapsake self but not necessarily the most efficient way to cut things out. I had to pause the job and move some clamps out of the way as I was afraid the Sweepy brushes might cause enough interference to stop the motors. This is also why there are several design files included with this submission.

I am still trying to get the depth of cut set so I just skim the wasteboard. Note to self - measure each workpiece thickness even if they are from the same larger piece.

I have made many toys in my woodshop over the years and given them away so this little project from my Shapeoko will find its way to Santa’s sack as well. Just as templates in my woodshop let me make toys so will these Carbide Create files serve the same purpose.

I have included photos of the finished product, the 11 parts that make up the project as well as the pdf plans for the scrollsaw and the required design files.


Helicopter Parts -1c.c2d (446.1 KB)

Helicopter Rotor-1c.c2d (28.2 KB)

Helicopter Outside Frame-1c.c2d (48.5 KB)

Helicopter-Toy.pdf (806.8 KB)


2d objects making a 3d thing really got me in mind on Lego. One of the projects I’ve had on my to do list is a Lego set in wood. Initially I was going to go with one of the mini X-wing sets, but wanted something slightly more simple. Was reminded of the Lego Architecture sets by my daughter, who wanted an Eiffel Tower one, and so she’s getting a very poor replica of the Louvre.
My supply of wood was getting low for this project, had quite a few setbacks (including the columns and the floor parts, and a broken bit). Mostly happy with how things turned out, and I think I’ll revisit the idea here, because it was fun. Though the constraint of being restricted to 2d cuts certain hurt in places (like the roof).
I had a few assumptions going into this project for Lego dimensions. A 1x1 piece would be 9.5mm tall and 7.5 wide. The flatter parts would be 3.25mm tall.
Most of the reference came from this website:
Layout file…c2d (1.2 MB)


With the lights off in the big city, you can really see the stars without the urban light pollution! Haha

A nice strong push at the end of this Community Challenge. Great projects, guys!


Dan you are beyond amazing, those look incredible!


@dakyleman - Kyle,Beautiful job from big box lumber to an heirloom!
If there’s any chance you could post your files, that would be awesome. I’ve got a cousin that still has a mail drop slot and would very much enjoy making something like this for them.


@MikeG Thanks a bunch Mike! Yeah it’ll hopefully stick around in the family for a while! I’m in my mid 20s so I plan to get plenty of mileage out of it before passin’ it on :slight_smile:.

Awesome, I’m happy for the design to be reused! There are definitely some small improvements to make with the design that I used a Dremel to correct/adjust, so keep that in mind (tolerances on fit-up of the legs, the notches for the braces could probably be improved, maybe make the tabletop thicker, etc).

Oops I forgot one of the requirements of the contest… :sweat_smile: I updated my original post and also put the link below for your convenience, let me know if you have any issues! :



Nice project. I made some dry erase boards for the grandkids and was having the paint bleed thru. I ended up using spray varnish before the paint. Then I planed the top. It worked. I’m using reclaimed wood so it sucked up the paint until I varnished it. Hope it works for you.


Thanks for the input. I actually drowned the tiles in linseed oil and let them dry for two weeks before applying the paint. When sanding the top after the paint dried, I think I rubbed the sanding/paint dust into the wood. Probably, I should have plained to top more carefully before the whole process.

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Nils - Shellac is another good option for sealing really porous surfaces and allows recoating in a reasonable time, temperature dependent of course.