If lift the S3 500mm to feed big objects from underneath, will it be stable enough? how to do so?

i needs lot’s of z-feed as my objects are really high. i don’t want to spend 3,200$ for a 6090 from china, simply because i don’t have the space to host a 1,000 lbs machine.

if i build (alu, or mdf) a platform, where i attach the Shapeoko to it and remove the bed from the Shapeoko, then i can feed my bowls from underneath and cnc them 10mm deep. but - will it be stable enough?
how does such a construction needs to look like?

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Yes, that should be feasible — you just need to build a suitably sturdy table, then bolt the machine to it, flipping the end plates around and omitting the wasteboard and supporting parts.


sounds so easy :slight_smile:

how do i build the table? should it be from a solid piece steel or so?

The table can be built in any fashion so long as it’s suitably rigid and strong enough to support the machine, the stock, and withstand the cutting forces (measured in some tens of pounds) and the vibrations of cutting.

so, if i just weld some solid 1"steel bars together, that’s supposed to be rigid? then bolt down the machine onto those.

I’ve been working in this direction myself for some months. My cart is a 3/4" plywood box, with cabinets and drawers below a top made of nearly 3 inches of laminated MDF. The middle area of the top, corresponding to the cutting area of the 611 router, is a removable section, which is only 1" thick. I’m skipping the whole torsion box / rigidity issue with a beam-mounted caster system that eliminates cabinet twist as I roll the cart around my imperfect garage floor.

My plan is to remove my S3-XL’s stock spoil board and lower supports, and hard-mount the Y-axis rails to the top, straddling the opening, with enough height that I can strap down a huge spoil board over the entire area between the Y-axis rails, and use it as normal, (minus the forward limitations of the front support assy., gaining almost 3 inches of working room), and yet allowing me to remove the big spoil board and utilize the additional 7 inches of depth in the top opening for taller projects. For even taller objects, if necessary, my two drawers are removable. And if that still isn’t room enough, I can remove the drawer supports and evict the vacuum cleaner and chip separator from the lower cabinet and have a full 38 inches of height under the router.
Among the challenges remaining is mounting the pared-down Shapeoko XL to the top of the cart. I’m leaning towards using two T-tracks, running front to back, embedded in the top to hold it down, with identical hardwood spacers at all 4 corners to keep the ends of the Y-axis rails equal height off the top, using thin shim if required to adjust in height. I could have matched sets of different sized spacers for different heights. To assist in keeping the correct spacing between the Y-axis rails, I plan to invert the rear black metal support, (using the fact that the 4 mounting screws are in a square pattern). I’d just need to drill and tap a new hole for the belt tensioning clip. The leg portion would have to face aft to avoid hitting the Y-axis motor plates.

OK. That’s the plan. The reality is the cart and top are complete, except for doors and drawer faces. Today’s goal. Also, I have an idea to rework the drawer mounting assy to make it easier to remove thru the top opening, improve the dust control to keep the drawers cleaner, and to get another inch or two so my vacuum will fit better in the lower cabinet. Also pondering work-holding and dust vacuuming strategies for within the lower compartment. A long way to go. . . .


i think, easier for me would call china and order a 6090 with 550mm feeding height, 100mm zaxis travel and reduce it to 55x55 table.maybe i can find a supplier, spend 2k$, sell my carveking for 700$ and have an easy professional solution :slight_smile:

Sounds like that might work best for you. As a retired person who already owns a Shapeoko XL, my best bet looks to be keep on the current path. Plywood is relatively cheap, and for me, the process and puzzle of how to do this within my budget is the main draw.

Once I finish this, if I ever finish this, I can’t say I’ll ever use it to its max potential, and I’m not looking at this like you do, as a tool to generate revenue. It’s more the fun of figuring it out. I hate crossword puzzles, but give me a broken machine, or one that can be improved or expanded, and I’m in my fun zone.

Retirement is like this. Everyday is a Saturday, but you have less money.


I built a table of 2x2 square box section, that was well braced and extremely rigid, it would be quite easy to align that to the shapeoko frame, bolt it on then build a lower level to mount your waste board to. I would even go so far as to have a box that mounts to vertical beams that then bolts to the main frame, with several bolt holes allowing various height options, with two 1/2" bolts on each side it would be plenty rigid

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Not sure how wide your bowls are but what about using the stock mdf wasteboard and cutting through it, then building a subframe to hold your parts. Hopefully you can leave most of the original bed and that coupled with a properly built subframe should be plenty ridgid enough. Not sure of your desired tolerances though.

Attached the subframe can be as simple as bolting through the mdf with sandwich plates. This is how I attached a 3" drop subframe with 60lb 6" vise on mine.

When in doubt keep it simple! Its usually the best way


One parameter I didn’t mention is that I want to do as little or no permanent damage to my stock Shapeoko as possible, making it possible to restore to a stock configuration. I can go down to HD and pickup some right angle braces if I want to screw them into the Shapeoko Y-axis rails, or cut up the front and rear support rails and use just the ends. But what fun would that be?

Besides, I’m 67, in less than ideal health, and figure my Shapeoko may well out-live me. At which point, my son would probably adopt it, providing it isn’t permanently mounted to a massive cart he has no room for. I have the luxury of a 3 car garage, but they are in a condo with 2 itty bitty garages.

So I’ll have fun figuring this out, but stow all the left-over pieces.

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I’m curious about this project. Are you planning to use the CNC to route out the bowls themselves, or do decorative carving around the edges, or the outsides of the bowls, or . . . ?

that’s basically my idea. right now i have a carveking (look it up) and i thought about grinding a 10" diameter circle in the middle, then weld a frame from steelbars together, mount the CNC on top. then have some height adjustable bed, so i can mount my vase onto it and feed it from underneath towards the endmill.

however, i’m not 100% sure if a 10" diamater will let me expose enough of the bowl. i need to cut 10" diameter MDF tomorrow and then have a try how it could look. do u have a photo of how you did it?

i’m turning segmented bowls. right now i have to cnc the segments pre turning, then fill with epoxy.
it’s unprecise and annoying.

i would preffer to mount the finished vase, engrave 5mm deep logos or whatever around the vase, fill epoxy, sanding and finishing. way more perfect.

maybe i need to buy a cheap object scanner to have the exact curvature of my bowl and create it as a 3d object to generate the correct paths, but i think that’s still easier then glueing segments together to blocks, cnc them and glue the blocks together.


My apologies if I seem a bit slow, but when you say “turning segmented bowls”, does that mean using a lathe at some point, or are you meaning all work is done on a CNC machine? If no lathe, strictly CNC, then, since you can’t undercut from a wider area to a narrower one, do you start with the lip of the bowl facing down, and build up layers toward the bottom of the inverted bowl? Then invert the bowl and hollow out the inside? All sorts of interesting possibilities here. But I’m still pretty new at this. Looks like doing multiple carvings at multiple heights, and possibly having to invert the work piece to carve the inside would present problems with getting the piece level and properly registered to the X - Y axes with each move. Challenging.

You mentioned a 3D object scanner and carving 3D images on the curve of a bowl. WAY out ahead of me on this. I can see the concept but the hardware is beyond me. Now. Just new learning challenges.

In any case, WOW. I’m constantly amazed at what folks are doing with their CNC units. Saw a fellow on YouTube last night making custom T-shirts by strapping Sharpie markers to the front of his Shapeoko router. As with all such videos I learned a lot of cool tricks.

My workload is pretty focused on Cart, Enclosure and Dust control. Bowls and T-shirts will have to wait a bit.


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the bowls and vases are done on the lathe, made out of segmented designs.
currently i need to cnc first some pieces, glue together and then turn them. cost time, precision and cuases headaches. i want to turn the vase, cnc it, fill epoxy, sand off. finished.

china qouted me from 3200$ to 4700$ for 600x500x500mm machines, so i could put my big vases in. i don’thave the money nor the space, so i’ll start measuring today and try to modify my carveking.

Patiently waiting for this to turn to a 4th Axis solution :slight_smile:


i thought i can build this following setup:

i take a steelplate 24"x25" and will cut an 18" center circle.

i will weld the following construction, 24" wide, 24" deep and 27" high. i’m no expert but i thought i can use hollow steel bars, 1"x2" (and for the vertical connectors 2"x2").

my idea is to take the steelplate, bolt it down on all 4 corners with the cnc base and along the sides 2 times more. then also 4 times around the circle. the steel plate should be “one” with the cnc bed.
now i can cut the CNC bed and make the same circle into it with an anglegrinder.
finally i will weld the steelplate to the construction.

next thing i need to make myself a platform that i can lift. maybe i can take a car jack, so i can push things up from the bottom. basically make a platform with anchored hoseclamps so i can fix my workpiece on it. but i can figure that out later.

would my idea work? is it rigid enough?

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Triangles are your friend, trust me. Your current design probably wouldn’t be awesome for side loading but for your application might work ok.

The main issue is going to be aligning your workpiece with the gantry IMO. You have quite a few factors for everything to click into place but with enough work im sure you could get it to happen. With a few simple linear rail assemblies you could setup an easily adjustable platform.

Also as a professional welder my advice it to at least use corner fixtures when tacking to ensure squareness. I’m gonna guess and say you’ll mig it instead of tig, and that’s actually better to mitigate the tolerance stacking.

Build it, if it doesn’t work learn, from your mistakes. Build it again

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well, it will just mount bowls and vases. so the layout is fine and will fit. my question is: the vertical bars. can they be 1x2" or should they be 2x2 or something else? should everything be 2x2 or can we go smaller? do i need the crossbar on the bottom or should i just get another steelplate for the bottom, especially for beeing heavy?

do i need the crossbars on the side? is it helping or just waste?

i will not weld it, i will give it to wifes uncle who does some welding work for me in the past aswell and it was okay. but i have no idea how to judge.