Do I Need To Surface My Wasteboard

Hey all, do I need to surface my waste board/hybrid bed on my Shapeoko 5 Pro before doing anything? I ran the hello world drawing and it seemed fine.

Or is it that I need to surface material I’m cutting first? Or not even that?

Yes you need to surface your spoilboard. The hybrid beds are likely level but not absolute. So by surfacing the spoilboard you will discover if your router mount of parallel to the spoilboard. You should scribble pencil marks over the entire surface and take off 0.010" off. If you have ridges front to back or side to side that would indicate you need to level the router mount and then surface again. With the pencil marks you can tell if there are any low spots on the spoilboard. You can surface with a small bit but it will take forever. The McFly or a 1" fly bit would be best to surface with. You want to take off the minimum amount of material but make sure all pencil marks are gone.

If you have ridges running from front to back then you need to change the right/left of the router mount. If you have ridges right to left then you need to shim the router mount. After you run a single pass over spoilboard and a quick sanding of the spoilboard removes the ridges then you can likely call it good. However if you have to sand a lot then you need to level the mount called tramming.


Whether or no you surface the MDF filler strips and/or your stock depends on what sort of work you are doing and what precision/accuracy you need.

  • If you are doing a sign and the stock is uniform in thickness and using a reasonably acute V endmill — you should be good to go.

  • If you are doing a sign and the stock is rough cut — surface it before cutting, and you should probably surface both sides.

  • If you are making a box w/ minimal clearance for joinery — tram the MDF.

1 Like

I’m in the same boat - new SO5 and have been considering surfacing the slats.

Hoping somebody with more experience and info can confirm, but if my calculations are correct, it looked like I needed a 1” surfacing bit to reach the back sides on the far end. (In the farthest back Y position, the spindle was about 1/2” from the ends of the slats)


Thanks for the detailed answer, I may give it a go.

Does Carbide3D have detailed instructions for this process? I would think it’s something you include in one of the tutorial video collections.

I don’t believe we have a detailed step-by-step on this yet — I only recently got my SO5 Pro, and concur w/ @RegulatorsMountup that a ~1" tool would be necessary.

That said, for reasons I went ahead and did the gantry shift thing, and my solution to this will be to:

  • determine what cannot be cut at the back w/ a 1/4" endmill
  • cut a corresponding pocket at the front sufficiently deep that I’ll get a fair number of surfacings
  • flip the MDF filler strips 180 degrees
  • surface the remaining surface, all of which will be reachable w/ a smaller endmill
1 Like

My problem now is how do I set that up in the software? Do I just create a 48x48" material at .10 thickness, cut a pocket at 0 to 0.010 depth of cut? I’m still trying to figure out how hello world was setup in the software, I can’t reverse engineer because it’s in GCode, I wish the STL was included.

Jog the machine to the furthest extent at the front-left corner — measure from there to establish where the MDF filler strips extend, then measure to the back-right corner and set up a file to match — some folks do one strip at a time.

OK, but what thickness should I set the material, and what depth of cut and starting at what depth?

Thickness doesn’t really matter cause your aren’t going all the way through. Worst case set it to the diff between the MDF and the aluminum but if the boards are not flat now you will get different measurements at various spots.

I usually do something very small, .01 or .02 for the total DOC and dust rezero and re-run the program if it needs more.

You may need to tram after flattening which would require flattening again so don’t take off any more than you need to.

1 Like

The way I do it is I set the file up as a single pass, so match the depth per pass of the tool I am using, or less.

Then I figure out (or guess) which is the lowest slat, mark it up w/ a pencil and and run the file on it, incrementing down by the depth of cut in the file until all marks are gone, keeping track of how many passes are necessary, then I create a file to cut to that depth and run it on the others.

1 Like

The only thing I’m lacking is how to setup the lines or grid the tool path will take. I don’t see anything like a surfacing option or something in Carveco Maker. I setup the stock size to match one slat. I setup a V-Carve tool path. I also have no idea how to define my VFD Spindle speed. Like I said, I’m really new to all of this. I’ve been an IT guy for 17 years, but feel like some old lady trying to use Linux CLI, lol!

I think I figured it out. I drew a rectangular vector the same size as the stock. Then I found a feature Maker has called “2D Area Clearance” with Raster. It looks like it gets it all…

This topic was automatically closed 30 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.