New to Shapeoko, New to HDM, New to CNC

I thought I’d detail my journey in getting started in all this as it might do someone some good in the same situation.

I’m sure I’ll make a lot of mistakes along the way, but at some point you have to start moving from the drawing board to execution. I decided on the HDM as at least on paper it seems to give me a good range of materials it should handle at least moderately well for a home machine while fitting in the space I currently have available. Speaking of which the space I’ve decided on, at least initially is an existing built in workbench that’s 51" x 36". It has a 2x4 base and is solid as a rock. I think I’m going to replace the top surface with a bottom frame that’s made from steel square tube and some kind of fire resistant surface I haven’t decided on yet. The width of my bench is pretty much set as I have built-in shelves on either side which add a considerable amount of stability and would be more difficult to modify than I care to do. I can expand the 36" depth, so I’ll probably do that. Near as I can tell the machine will need more depth if I want to build an enclosure around it, but there isn’t much info I can find on size requirements for the machine.

I ordered my machine a week or two ago, so the waiting game begins as does the prep work getting ready for the machine. I went with the 220v spindle option which of course means I will need to install a 220v circuit. This isn’t a problem as I needed to run more circuits to that side of my garage anyway. I currently have only one convenience outlet circuit for the entire garage. So if I forget to turn off my air compressor and it kicks on when I’m running the drill press or pretty much anything else, the 15a CB pops. So the air compressor will finally get it’s own circuit, the HDM will get a dedicated 220v circuit for the spindle and dedicated 110v circuit for everything else that goes with the HDM. In total I’m running six circuits which will give me some more convenience outlets as well as two additional 220v circuits. Those two will be for future plans I have for other things.

The wire is mostly run. It’s all enclosed in 1" electrical PVC conduit. This was my first mistake as trying to run 6 circuits (21 wires) of solid copper down 1" conduit was an all day chore. Would have gone much faster and easier with 1 1/2", but I had already ran all of the conduit before I realized my mistake.

After the electrical the next chore will be preparing the work space. I will probably have an entire enclosure when I’m done, but will be doing it a piece at a time. The first parts will be the back wall and the top which will have a 4x8 fluorescent fixture. It will also have a smoke detector. I found one with an interconnection relay which I hope to connect to a solid state relay which will kill the 110v circuit if a fire is detected. I also have a 3 phase magnetic switch box on order which will provide for an emergency stop as well as run protection after a power interruption. This box also disconnects all circuits if it detects a failure on one, so hopefully the smoke detector solid state relay will kill one of the circuits which will then kill both sides of the 220v circuit. This is definitely an off-label use of all of these things so hopefully it will all work. In the off chance it does I’ll post pictures and circuit diagrams of what I’ve done.

If anyone knows of some cheap fire resistant surface material I can use, please let me know. Something with the resiliency and strength of 1/4" plywood will work.

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I hope you sized for derating! Bundling that many conductors in one conduit requires the wires to be derated substantially. 6 circuits is 12 conductors (don’t count ground), and I think that derates the conductor by 50%!


Excellent point which I should have mentioned. In total I have 9 conductors which requires a 70% derating. I’m using 90C THHN @ 12ga solid which allows for 30amps per conductor. Derated at 70% is 21a and all circuits will have a max of 20a CBs. So I think I’m in code compliance, but the reality is I’m not going to be running that much current at any one time. My compressor pulls about 13amps and the HDM spindle pulls about 12 (split between two). Those will be the high draw items and there’s a good chance I will never connect anything to my future circuit runs, but even if I do they will be other tools which won’t run simultaneously with the HDM.

I don’t know that anyone else will go to all the trouble of running this many circuits or installing them inside a conduit, but if you do there’s other considerations.

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They use drywall inside fire resistant safes. In the one’s I’ve seen, each layer of sheetrock you find on the inside equates to about 30 minutes of “fire rating”. And sheetrock is currently about 1/5 the cost of plywood or OSB.

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I’ve been thinking about drywall, but I’ve also been looking at plastic sheets. PVC or polycarbonate has decent fire resistant properties, although not as good as drywall.

I’ve been terribly busy lately, but I finally had a day to finish most of the wiring for my 6 new circuits. The termination at both ends remains, but all the hard part is done. I will have a dedicated 220v circuit for the spindle and a 110v circuit for the HDM and dust collection. I’ll have a dedicated 110v circuit for my compressor with an extra wire should I ever wish to install a 220v model. A dedicated circuit for all my power tools which I generally only run one at a time. A circuit for a few convenience outlets around my workbench, and a spare 220v circuit should I need it in the future.

My suggestion for circuit setup:

  • dedicated circuit for spindle (and vacuum if appropriate)
  • if need be, separate circuit for dust collection
  • dedicated circuit for machine/computer

Will, I’ve seen several references to"dedicated circuit for spindle" and “dedicated circuit for machine / computer” specifically in regards to the HDM. (I believe I’m in the right place…). When my HDM came I had only 1 240v plug, not separate connections for the spindle / vfd and machine (shapeoko electronics?). Has something changed and now there are separate 240 / 120 or 120 / 120 plugs? Or maybe it’s different for 120V spindle versions of the HDM due to amp draw?

I did not realize that the HDM was so wired (or glossed over it when reading through the instructions).

In that case:

  • HDM/spindle
  • vacuum/dust collection
  • computer

I assumed there would be a separate power cable for the 110v electronics box and the spindle cooler, but it sounds like this isn’t the case. In my case I really can use another dedicated 110v circuit as my dust extraction alone pulls 10a and I might want to run a few other things in the same bench. Either it’s difficult to find all the power requirements or I didn’t look in the right place. All I found was the spindle itself pulls 10a at 220v which for a 2.2K spindle is easy enough to figure out.

I have a few things on order to complement the HDM.

First order of business was to get a jointer and a planer for milling dimensional lumber and hardwoods. I’ve used commercial versions of both of these machines, but anything large is just going to take up too much room in my limited space. Needing something which is compact and can be stored on a shelf when not in use.

For the planer I ordered the Dewalt DW735X. This seemed to be a no-brainer as it’s very well reviewed. I’ll have the option of going with a insert helix cutter which I’ll probably do at some point. The down side is it doesn’t have an induction motor and it pulls a considerable amount of current. Not really a problem for me as I’m running several new circuits to that side of my garage and all of my power needs should be addressed.

For the jointer I ordered the WEN JT833H. It’s an 8" model which should be adequate for most of my needs. I would have liked to find one that had cast iron bed and fence and ideally the capability of upgrading to a helix cutter at some point, but I just didn’t find anything that was a good fit. It’s well reviewed, but a common complaint is the aluminum fence needs adjustment quite often and is a bit time consuming to do. I might have to engineer some sort of solution to address this if it becomes an issue. Pretty much all of these 6" and 8" benchtop models seem to be based on the same Taiwanese made design with small differences in features and motors. I suspect all of them are going to have the same problem. If I need to correct stock greater than 8" in width, I can always build a sled for my planer and go up to 13", but for now I’ll make due with the jointer.

I already have a decent Fein dust collection system connected to a cyclone, while this setup is probably perfectly adequate for the HDM I already have numerous things in the shop I’m using it for and I already have to connect them individually while in use. So I decided on ordering a WEN DC3474. I’ll split the outputs into 4" and 2 1/2" hoses with blast gates so I can use it for the HDM, the jointer, and the planer. Hopefully this will be adequate for those needs. The down side to this model is it uses bag filtration which will undoubtedly throw a lot of dust into the air and not provide for any separation of larger particles. At some point I’ll add improvements to address both of those problems, but for now it will remain stationary near my garage door and I can run the bag outside while in use.

My 240V HDM came with a NEMA ̶1̶4̶-̶3̶0̶ ̶ L6-20 plug that powers the VFD and electronics box. There is a separate 110v cord for the chiller. So 2 120v circuits in my shop on different legs, and the 240v line for HDM, I run Vac on one circuit, and tools on other.

*Corrected plug

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OK, that’s odd. Mine came with a L6-20 ??

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You’re correct. Mine is L6-20 also. I just ran out to check.

Thanks for verifying. I’ve already bought the L6-20 receptacle and plan on installing soon to be ready when it gets here.

More work has been going on at Casa de Bubba in preparation for arrival of the HDM. I’ve decided to completely remodel the shop portion of my garage so there’s been a lot of demolition as my old workbench and shelves were made out of lumber and built into the wall. It took me two full days of pulling all the old stuff out. I could have done it a lot quicker, but I’m reclaiming all the old lumber. I’m pretty sure I removed 99.9% of all the old screws and nails, but no worries as I’m sure my power saws will find the rest. :astonished: The renovation will include much more efficient storage, workbenches, and work flow so stay tuned for more on that.

As far as my table for the HDM goes, I’ve decided on using a 44x44 Kreg Universal Workbench. Here’s my ideas on implementation, subject to change. Instead of having a plywood tabletop, I’ll build a support structure out of strut channel. This will leave the area under the machine open. I ordered a 33x37” transmission drain pan to collect the chips and I’ll cover the remaining space with sheet metal. Hopefully this will allow for an efficient method to deal with chip collection which can either go into a trash bag or dust collector with the help of some compressed air and a rat tail brush.

My plan for the enclosure is a frame made out of 12ga strut channel. That stuff is a lot stronger and cheaper than extruded aluminum I see others using and is available locally. The lower half of the enclosure frame on the sides and back will be hinged and lift up for maintenance and cleaning access. The front will have two doors. The height of the whole thing will be taller than me so I can stick my head inside without ducking and I’ll have room for lights and dust collection hose mounts. The sides and rear enclosure frame will be covered in clear vinyl cloth which I can get up to about 1.5mm thick and it’s relatively cheap. The front will get polycarbonate.

At any rate I’m open to suggestions on any of this. My plan is to keep it cheap and flexible so if I need to reconfigure I’ll be able to do so and ideally to keep everything as non-combustible as possible. I also have some plans for the electrical to add magnetic switching, a kill switch, and fault detection, but I’m not sure how that will work if at all.

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