Nomad and SO3: Custom Enclosures (the enclosure zoo)

I love your extrusion design, @sliso!

Does anyone know if this design can be used with the Shapeoko 3 XXL? Or would the extrusions bend at that length?

This happens whether the hose is mounted to the router or mounted stationary. The SO3 z gantry isn’t very stiff so it does deflect a little due to hose pressure. So far it hasn’t casued any noticiable issues but if I needed to hold tight tolerances I would run the hose along the cable track to eliminate most of the forces it exerts otherwise.

Sorry about the late response Nick (been out of town for a while), i guess the answer is that, all base systems will deflect somewhat, and the real question is what are you willing to accept (remembering that the SO3 is more of a bench top hobbyist machine than a commercial machine). Should you prefer the 80/20 extrusion system and can accept the additional weight penalty over the supplied bed, I would recommend something a little beefier such as 3.00" X 3.00" or 3.00” X 6.00” T-Slotted Profile, or even contacting and getting them to design and pre-cut the product (if you don’t mind the additional cost).

All my projects are in aluminum and as such, i need a reasonably rigid bed. For larger jobs, I manage the deflection by temporarily bracing the underside of the extrusions to distribute the load, and adjust the cut settings to achieve repeatability and tolerance requirements.

Hope that this helps.

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This is amazing, very fine engineering, how long did this take you to complete?


Very cool. Looks good.

Currently working on my XXL enclosure! Got a filtered extractor fan fitted and the electronics box mounted outside.
What else is a must have in a shapeoko enclosure that I should include?
(doors are still a work in progress!)


Here is my enclosure to add to the “Enclosure Zoo”.

I started in early June 2020 with a stack of MDF and 2x4 lumber. I was rather nervous about this build, I’m over 50 and this is the first time I have ever owned/used a circular saw. I felt I had a good design and plan, but knew I had very little experience so this was all going to be about my execution.

I worked on it a little each weekday night, and most of day on weekends. It was a really good COVID lockdown distraction. Roughly a month later I was not “done”, but I was far enough along that I had a solid and stable place to start constructing my Shapeoko XL.

After another month of nights/weekends, the Shapeoko was functional. It’s first series of jobs was to create the tools and parts needed to tune the machine, wasteboard, etc. Eventually leading to its first real-world task which was to mill the upper doors and lexan windows.

Four months have passed since I started, and this past weekend I got to the point where I am “almost done”. I want to make a plug for the opening I left in the back of the enclosure that is intended for when I need to extend the Y axis (aka “tiling”). I’m thinking foam, but still thinking about how I want it to look and work. I’ve really enjoyed this build, it’s been a great COVID distraction.

So I present to you, the (close enough to call it) finished enclosure. It’s not the best Shapeoko enclosure, but it’s mine and I am really proud of how it turned out.


WOW that looks good!

Definitely puts my hacked-together-bench to shame!

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I was just thinking that as well.

No new posts here in a while… I just dropped close to a grand at McMaster Carr (best company besides C3D) on T-track though, so I’ll be posting some pics soon (hopefully).

Laid it out in Blender which helped ordering stock. Wow hardware and fittings for T-track is pricey. Just ordered the corner fixtures to get started. Be milling the rest…

That’s 6’ me standing in front. After reading through some other plans I decided to extend the front to accommodate the dust boot when the head is front and center. Also didn’t see any drawback to having as much clearance as possible above so making it 3’ tall. This seems like I can adapt the design and modify it later if I need to.

They all look great. Can’t show my first stab at an enclosure but my bruised head can best describe why I’m on version 3 and too damn old to fix it. Heck I’d include a picture just don’t how to add one. Oops found how!

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I’m thinking of lowering the ceiling to 31” from the bottom of the feet on the XxL with HDM Z carriage. I have 36” stock but I think that’s too much. The only real advantage I see to it being taller is more room for heat dissipation and less strain on the vacuum. The disadvantage I see is having a door hinged at the top and swinging up with gas springs will be cumbersome to open.

What kind of clearance is ideal?

There is no good answer since everyone has different needs, but after building a few enclosures over the years I have settled on 39", and every single time I lean into the enclosure to adjust something I’m very happy I did. Also gave me some vertical space to install a large overhead LED lighting panel. I was also concerned about swinging a giant front door 39" tall, so I went with this solution:

The front door has hinges both on top and in the middle, so it folds up (and locks in the upward position using simple blocks on the left and right

So…if I were you I would definitely keep/use all of the 36 inches, somewhere down the line you will likely be happy you did. And rebuilding an enclosure “just” to make it a bit taller is no fun at all, believe me :slight_smile:


You could always CNC tracks in the sides and have a roller shutter :wink:

I agree that having space inside the enclosure to work on the machine and not headbutt the enclosure every time you reach in is rather less irritating.


Thank you! That’s the answer I was looking for. My biggest dimensional concern now (which there’s nothing I can do about) is my width is 48.75”. No way to avoid an extra full sheet.

I like the idea of smaller doors within the main lift too…

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Little more progress this week. It’s doing well to build it around working projects. The t-track framing is pretty awesome to build with.

Is the skull on the drill press from people that trespass in your man cave?


I think designing t_track attachments will be fun. Here is the gas spring bracket I’ll be milling.

I learned cnc on the original Nomad (Kickstarter!) and Meshcam, but had no idea what I was doing and just did a lot of guessing lol. Once I started using CC I started really learning, and realizing how little I knew. Now, I’ll go back to Meshcam for this with a little better idea of what I’m doing.

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Here is what’s approaching finished for now. Still need a door for the back pass through and a bracket to suspend the vacuum hose from.
The access panel turned out great. The cutout fit nicely in a 3D printed bezel that sandwiches the plexi panel. Designed a new cm cover and printed it.
The gas springs are perfect at 40lbs each. Milled the brackets out of 1” stock.