Need some ideas for an old shapeoko 3

So I had bought an older shapeoko 3 still unopened in the box. It is an early version so it would have needed quite a few upgrades to be up to date. Instead I bought a shapeoko pro xxl. I love this machine but now have this older 3 standard that is just sitting in a box. I don’t really know what the best thing to do with it is. I was thinking about selling it but I also thought it might be interesting to see if anyone on here has some ideas. If you had an older shaoeoko 3 standard size to tinker with what kind of things would you think of trying?

Could add a laser, or a drag knife?
Pen and make a plotter?
Make a ceramic extruder?
Put a hot plate on the base and make pancake drawings?

Really if you get the hdz or zplus you’ll get the proximity switches, and I’m fairly certain you could make the bigger belt upgrades. Heck if you get an upgrade rail kit you’d just need to modify the x axis belt holes. All that and you’ll basically have an up to baseline machine. The board may be an older board but something support could check to see if you actually need an upgrade on.
Out of the box it should still be a pretty great machine and still have resell value.

Edit: I think there was a wiki article (maybe Will knows where it is) that went over alternative uses, like 3d printers or whatever, but I can’t find it.

Edit 2: if you are near Portland, Oregon I know a person looking to get into CNC if you want to sell it.


Make a water table for it… CNC plasma cutter?


The standard size SO3 I have at my mother-in-law’s is going to be used for cutting tropical hardwoods because it’s on a folding/rolling stand:

(need to get a second one for my SO3 at home)

a drag knife is a great idea, but my inclination would be to sell it.

Converting to a 3d printer is covered at: RepStrapOko - ShapeOko — while it works, buying a 3D printer makes a lot more sense.

Bringing the machine up-to-date is a matter of:

  • control board (depending on whether it has an expansion adapter or no)
  • homing switches — included w/ a Z-Plus or HDZ
  • Z-axis (if belt drive)
  • belts (upgrade to 9mm belts using the Maintenance Kit if a launch edition machine w/ 6mm belts)

I have enjoyed upgrading my S3, learned a lot along the way. Here are before and after photos. Is still a work in progress…


What the others said, use it or sell it.
I’d rail it, HDZ it, keep the belt drive and slam an aluminium baseboard on it.
Use it as a metal :metal: only machine.


or give it to a nephew/niece, as a trick to spark interest in technical/scientific matters.


Thank you all for the ideas. Giving it to a niece or nephew made me think of something else. I don’t have any that would be interested but I could check with local high schools to see if they would be interested in having it as a donation.


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