Operating the Shapeoko Manually

I encountered a little problem making a wooden box for X-Mas. After I cut the parts for my project, I realized that the dados I had created were not of consistent depth after the pieces were cut. I wondered how I would fix this.

The pieces were cut out and it was no longer possible to run the original toolpaths. I considered using a router to fix that but being not at the edge but close, I did not have proper support and it would be difficult to create a perfectly straight line even with a guide. I was thinking of using the router table but the sides of the pieces were not running parallel to the dado.

I said to myself that if I could place the pieces properly on the Shapeoko, I should be able to move the spindle in a straight line to fix the dado. Thanks to my wasteboard with a 2in X 2in grid pattern, I was able to place the each part square on the wasteboard.

I initialized the Shapeoko and using CM, I jogged the spindle to a corner of the dado and moved the carriage along the Y-axis to ensure squareness. it was perfect so I placed the 1/4in bit in a corner, lowered the Z until I touched the lowest part of the dado to establish the max DOC then I started the spindle and used the jog commands to move the spindle along the dado. I used the fast speed to move along until I was close to the end then reduced the speed to 1mm to get aligned with the end of the dado. Just like a manual milling machine would do.

Within 30 minutes, I had perfect dado of the right depth and I was able to assemble the box. I thought I would sharethis trick because sometimes people may encounter a similar need to carve grooves or slots and this be the quick or best solution for their project. I understand that the producer of the CNC cookbook has a control software designed to do this but the jog control of CM and probably many senders could to this albeit a bit more crudely.


I use mine this way quite often too, often it can be useful when surfacing timber that is very uneven and would be very inefficient to run a surfacing toolpath.

It’s good with the Bluetooth keyboard too as you can keep a good eye on the bit as you’re working


I needed to extend some 1.5” thick plywood the other day from 8ft to 10ft in length.

I placed both the 8ft and 2ft pieces side by side (perfectly square) and using a DOC of .75” I created near perfect lap joints that I then used to glue the sections together!

Doing this on the mitersaw with chisels sucks and isn’t nearly as clean of a lap.


Hi Carbide guys, is it possible to make the Shapeoko work like mill? It would be useful for me at time too.

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