Just another enclosure

I recently finished my enclosure and thought I would share. After much research, I based my design on Blake Weber’s enclosure. I really like the dual door/lid combo. I wanted a door that would open and hang down, so that it would be out of the way, since I would be sitting to the left of my machine and would be constantly sliding over to work on it. And I didn’t want to deal with the hydraulics that I thought would be necessary for a single-lid design.

The main reason I made an enclosure was for noise suppression. I used 1/2" MDF for the main structure and lined it with fiberboard/soundboard on the inside. The Shapeoko Pro and enclosure all sit on a yoga mat - none of it is touching my workbench directly. The lack of an enclosure bottom also make it relatively easy for me to remove in case I need access to the back or sides.

I recorded some aluminum cutting using the Decibel X app on my iPhone - first with the door open then the door closed, both from the same location (~1 ft away).

Interesting things to note:

  • You can see the periodic cutting of my adaptive toolpath
  • There are quite a few harmonics
  • My enclosure seems to do a good job suppressing higher frequencies. However, the low frequency (@ 275 Hz) does not get attenuated much.
  • That solid yellow line is my dust collector

I have Carbide Motion running off a Rasbperry Pi 3 B w/ the official 7" touchscreen display, and it’s amazing! I have a USB stick plugged into my router for network storage, so my RPi has instant access to the gcode files I save to the network from my Macbook Pro.

I have a power meter to keep track of my total power draw, since I have tripped my 15A breaker a few times already. The dust collector on the highest setting, and my air compressor both draw a lot of current.

Next steps:

  • Add some air intake holes. I don’t think there is enough air going in for the dust collector.
  • Find a material that does well to suppress that low 275Hz frequency.
  • Make a joystick + button jogger
  • Figure out a chip shield/rail guard solution for cutting aluminum without my dust collector
  • Find a way to install the RPi to the side of my enclosure, perhaps on an articulating arm (since I currently need to move it out of the way whenever I open the lid).
  • Find a way to wire my coolant pump directly to my VFD so that I don’t need a separate switch to turn on my pump. No reason to have it on when my VFD is not on.


I have been using those for the sides and back of the machine:


which turned out to be quite effective for containing aluminium chips, and that week-end hack ended up being my permanent solution


I installed additional chipguards for the Y rails (but ended up removing them)


Yep, I just plugged my cooler and VFD into the same outlet, using a 2-outlet extender. My reason was not only to turn off the pump when the VFD is off, but mostly to ensure that I could not turn on the VFD and forget to turn on the cooler…which would be a good way to kill my water-cooled spindle.


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