How do I not destroy my aluminum wasteboard?

Hi bought a new used mint Shapeoko with an original aluminum waste board.

Excuse my newb question but how do I not waste my aluminum wasteboard when I need to cut .005 below the material?

Please share with me a suggestion on how to protect the aluminum . Do I mount a 1/4” wood waste board on top of the aluminum waste board?

Many many thank you in advance!



The Aluminum is not meant to be a wasteboard. Most people with the Aluminum base board use it for stiffening their Shapeoko for metal work and they attach fixtures and the project to the metal base plate and usually do not machine through it. If you do primarily metal work the metal base plate is quite functional and even for woodworking it is handy. You will need to place a sacrificial waste board on top of your metal base plate for woodworking. Depending on your project you could just make it big enough and space holes to match your metal base plate so you can secure it with bolts. You could just cover it up completely with a wasteboard if you do all wood work. Attached is a procedure I wrote up for wasteboard considerations. Use the parts you need and create a custom sized wasteboard to a complete wasteboard to sit on top of your metal base board. I have an MDF wasteboard that has 2 inch spacing. I have made a lot of jigs to hold specialized material so I could machine round objects and other special requirements. Enjoy.

spoilboard_considerations.pdf (1.3 MB)


Bless you @gdon_2003 I appreciate your help tremendously.

Thank you


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Just to add, people use all kinds of materials as wasteboards atop of their base board. I know the metal chip makers tend to have an aluminum base with an aluminum waste board. HDPE and MDF are pretty popular materials for general purpose cutting too.

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Yes, put a piece of alu. or acrylic or wood underneath as a sacrificial layer — I’ve been using acrylic since I haven’t scuffed mine yet.

Might want to consider giving up a couple of the holes and bolting a 1/8" alu. sheet as a spoilboard in place and then surfacing that — we can’t all be as prosaic as @RichCournoyer and just directly surface the wonderful black anodized surface (I certainly couldn’t bring myself to).

Just to add to the discussion, I have been using an aluminium baseboard with a HDPE wasteboard (~0.5") on top of that, and that is likely to remain my setup of choice for the foreseeable future, it’s very convenient (HDPE: stability across all humidity/temperature conditions + easy to resurface + works well with tape & glue)

I picked up a piece of 1/4" (6mm) thick aluminum, and put five C’Sink holes for some 6mm Flat Head screws. Look closely to the photo and you should see them.

I also faced the aluminum sheet (min-amount) with a 1/4" Flat End Mill to get a flat surface. Which is WHY I put the plate on top of that beautiful black table…because it was NOT FLAT. My OEM Table had a 0.015 (0.4mm) crater in the middle.

FYI: I faced it X+/-, And then Y+/- then -45º and then +45º (final cut only, once I removed the crater in the middle).

PS I do NOT Mill INTO this plate. Now that it is REALLY FLAT (Within +/-0.0005) I set my Z FROM my aluminum plate… so it NEVER mills INTO the plate.

PS2: PLEASE place an old sock over the Air Intake on your router. Trust me, you do NOT want the router to ingest aluminum chips.

PS3 HOWEVER if you feel you NEED to cut 0.005" INTO the plate, just put a MDF Wasteboard on your machine rather than what I did (above).


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