Nice quality! Gator toothed clamps just arrived

The clamps I ordered have just arrived and if the rest of my new SO3 is made with this level of quality, I will be very happy. It raises a small question about supplementary wasteboard construction. I have searched but could not find an answer to my question (must improve on my search techniques).

I have downloaded the Carbide wasteboard c2d files and I am happy to make a wasteboard based upon them. My question concerns the threaded inserts. If I leave the original baseboard intact, the inserts will become blind holes and I can see a potential issue with chips filling the insert and making it difficult to use a clamp hole by blocking it.

I was considering whether to drill the baseboard as well so that the inserts are effectively through holes and then chips would not tend to block the insert holes. Are there any thoughts about this or have I just engaged in a little overthinking?


Think of the blind holes as a not-so-subtle encouragement to have good dust collection and to vacuum the machine off between uses.



I agree with your thinking - the blind holes will be problematic.

I made a new baseboard by just cutting some MDF exactly matching the original, manually drilling the holes along the edges, then laid it onto of the original (actually with a slightly smaller thin piece of MDF sandwiched between) and screwed it down with edge screws. Then just set the machine off to drill a bazillion holes to accept the threaded inserts.

Actually, to make things more complicated I shifted the board around, first side to side then front to back so I could drill holes outside the normal work envelope.

After installing all the inserts, I just screwed the original baseboard with my new one. My only complaint is that the threaded inserts I sourced (likely from Aliexpress) are a bit on the cheap and nasty side - so some have been dethreaded through over use.

I’m thinking of doing the same thing with a 12mm sheet of aluminum - drilling AND threading the holes with my shapeoko, just haven’t gotten around to that project yet.

Thanks for your input Will. I would keep my work area as clean as I can between jobs in any event. I don’t like to work in chaotic conditions. Your post makes me tend towards the view, that my thoughts concerning the inserts are reasonable. I already have the checklist printed, laminated and up on the wall.


Hi Graham. Thank you for taking some time out to answer my question. I guess pretty much all available threaded inserts are going to be produced cheaply. Nevertheless, it was a good point to make and I will keep my eye on the quality issue.

With the method I propose of through drilling the baseboard as well, I will be able to use inserts of say 20mm in length. My supplementary board is going to be 18mm in depth and I think the supplied baseboard is 18mm in depth. This means I can locate the inserts from underneath the baseboard and they will only intrude by 2mm into the supplementary wasteboard. This would leave some 16mm of material above the insert height so resurfacing the supplementary wasteboard would be risk free and could be done 10 or so times before needing to replace it.

I think it would be worth the time spent, just to make wasteboard management easy. I am not sure about the loss of Z height but using this method, it would be just as easy to use a thinner supplementary wasteboard and a shorter threaded insert.

I made a threaded aluminium bed for my SM1 and I tapped about 40 holes all by hand and did not break a tap. I used the standard technique of applying a little cutting fluid (CT90) and then used a taper followed by an intermediate and then a plug tap. The Makita and the Carbide Compact router are similar and I believe both can get as low as 10,000rpm. I think the deWalt can only get down to 16,000rpm. Would either of those speeds be rather high for tapping a soft metal like Aluminium?

Hi Jeffrey,

I looked back at my orders on Aliexpress:

These are the cheap ones - they are made from diecast zinc - and they don’t last:

These ones are a more recent purchase for a different project - made from steel and I would recommend them (I’ll have to order more and redo my board:

And you can get them in a variety of lengths so they can be matched exactly to your requirements.

I also always have a sacrificial piece of MDF (typically 8-10mm thick) that I place onto of my baseboard (I machined holes on 50mm centers so I can clamp thru it). This way if I cut a bit too deep or something goes wonky, my baseboard stays safe.


Hi Graham, my apologies for the radio silence… I have been a little busy of late. On the other hand there are exciting times ahead. Stuff has started to arrive like the JTech Laser module, the Makita router, various router bits and the Carbide clamps. My time during the last 3 days has also been occupied by making a solid bench to hold the Shapeoko. The machine is scheduled to arrive in the UK on the 16th of this month so I guess it will come to me sometime next week.

I also managed to find some really nice high quality M6 threaded inserts on Amazon.

For now, I am reading as much as I can and to that end, the guide written by @Julien is really helpful. I have not used for any purchases. Are they comprehensive and cheap? I don’t mind buying decent stuff at fair prices and next day from Amazon (or even the same day in some cases) is a pretty good service. Thanks for your advice.

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Hi Jeffrey,

No problem - yes you will be getting excited as all the bits and pieces arrive, fun times ahead!

Regarding Aliexpress, you can find some great stuff there - and some worthless crap as well. My advice is just to order small from a variety of vendors (it is a collection of people/companies selling things on a common platform - not just one business) and discover what is available. I can pass on a few “trusted” stores if you want - great for bits etc.

Have fun!

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