Largest Circle on XL

What is the largest circle has anyone cut on a Shapeoko XL?

The specifications for a Shapeoko 3XL is 32" x16". Part of that will off the front and unsupported. I have cut some furniture parts on an XXL that hung off the front of the machine with no problems.

A Shapeoko 4 XL has a cutting area of *33" x 17.5" x 4" and I dont believe you can very much off the front of the machine.

An alternative is tiling. Tiling is cutting part of a project on the spoilboard and then repositioning with part of the project hanging off the front and/or back of the machine. This requires some effort with CC but Vetric Pro has the feature built in. You usually have to make a reference hold with a dowel or other device to precisely position the second and succeeding parts. With tiling you can literally make an infinite length project. As with all things there are limits like the size of your shop and material length.

I dont have Vetric but the tiling subject has been discussed a lot of the forum. Do a search fir “Tiling” and you should find help.

Of course on an XL the width is limited by what will fit between the Y axis rails.

When you send a configuration through CM you can tweak the values and actually get a slightly bigger cutting area. You are limited by the mechanical limits of the Shapeoko. When you send the config CM limits how far you can jog and stops you. If you increase the limits and slowly jog until you hit the mechanical limits you can calculate how much bigger the Y travel can be. You do not want to set exactly on the maximum for a margin of safety but you can set it almost to the limits. Be sure to write down your configuration parameters so if you have to resend the configuration you know what your limits are.

For some time C3D has been limiting the Y travel slightly to accommodate dust collection on the Z axis that extends beyond the width of the Z axis. Dust shoes like Suckit extend beyond the edges of the Z axis and so they limit the jog travel of Y to keep you from crashing into the Y rails. You just have to experiment.

CM stops jogging according to your configuration. However if a gcode tries to send the Shapeoko beyond the mechanical limits the machine will try to move past the mechanical limits.

When you send a configuration to Shapeoko you are mostly setting up CM. The Shapeoko is configured but CM is also configured.

2 Likes

Thank you for your imput it has been very helpful. I use carveco software and really like it cause it is simple and has all the features that I need. I spent the day trying different things to get the max out of a circle and found that setting the router bit on center at 15.875 inches from the back of the machine will give me a 17.25 circle. I wanted 17.5 but I pretty maxed out both ways on the y axis.
Again thank you for your help.
Lance

Are you just cutting a circle?
Couldn’t you cut the circle off the machine and then do any carving with the machine.

I cut circles for a client who makes signs. I have been doing it of line but the sawdust and setting up a jig to do it every time becomes a hassle. Cutting them on the CNC would mean ripping the blanks on the saw and finishing the circle on the CNC. I do a lot of 18" rounds for this client but trying to get down to 17.5. It seems that 17.25 is the largest that the XL will cut without maximizing the X and Y axis. If the client will take a 17.25 it means just put the blank in the machine push the button, no sawdust and done.
Thank you for your input it is greatly appreciated.
Lance

Have you ever noticed how many times that happens? I have a 4" and 6" hole saw, the client needs a 5" hole, etc. You need 17.5 but have a capacity of 17.25. How do they (clients) always seem to know the very limits?
Of course, it is what we do, so there is always a way to make it work.

Thank you for your input on my question. Yes, that happen all the time about clients. My wife is a client and when I design some art to carve, she asked if I could change something. Then I have to use another software to make that change cause the software I was using at first did not do what she wanted.
So yes, that happens all the time, but we always make it happen to satisfy the customer.
Lance

This is not ideal but try using the XL as your jig. Drill an indexing hole in your blank, drill a hole for an indexing pin in your wasteboard, mount blank on indexing pin and rotate your blank by hand. With some finesse I think a larger circle could be cut (on a SO3XL). Maybe not other machines.

This is essentially using the machine as a router table — it’s not something which we endorse or support — please don’t do this on the machine — instead, make a simple jig to do this at your workbench (there are tons of them online, and one was shown this past weekend on This Old House) or or make and use an actual router table.

Full disclosure: I have never actually done what I suggested, please don’t consider it.

Similar to tiling, I have successfully routed 24 inch rounds with indexing pins and had planned to mount 30 inch rounds for routing on an SO3xl. This was before I combined XL and XXL rails to expand (also not endorsed or supported)…I am beginning to feel a bit like an outlaw and will go into hiding now.