Placing stock on wasteboard

Hey guys, so having finally gotten my SO3 XXL built and a successful hello world, I’m now ready to try a cut with the router engaged. As a test, I’m taking a pre-cut rectangle and trying to engrave some text into it. Since my stock is already cut to size and I want to engrave some text in the centre, how do I orient the stock so that the X/Y are straight? I could cut a reference line into the material beneath it, then place it on the reference line but wondering if there’s a better way?

Any tips would be much appreciated and sorry if this a stupid newbie question!

There probably is a better way, but I usually do one of two things: 1) You can turn your machine off, and move your x-axis beam by hand. Use a machinist square or even a good speed square to make sure that your beam edge is close to the edge position of your stock. Turn on the machine so that it locks in place, then use the same position and square to align your stock along the x-axis. Clamp the stock down. You can use a ruler or if close enough a square to measure from either y-axis beam in various places as well.

  1. You can measure the position of your stock from the front edge of your machine in various places.

Either way, this assumes that a) your stock is a rectangle or square with actual 90 deg corners, and b) that you have properly set up and tuned your machine.

The big thing with engraving is that your the surface plane of your stock needs to be parallel (to the extent possible) with your X-Y plane. If it is off, or if your thickness of stock is uneven, you will get variations in engraved carving depth. You may have to shim the stock from underneath slightly depending on the variation.

Edit: Keep in mind though that for most applications, especially in wood, you don’t need to be exact down to .001". You can figure out the level of precision required.


Sometimes I can lay a short 1"x4", or something wide and straight against the front lip, then lay my part against that.
I’ll also stick threaded rods in the inserts, for guide pins, and stops (for repeat ability). If they were done by the machine in place, they will be square.


Thanks guys, some great tips!

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I have used these methods and they work well, another which I use too is turning the machine off, hold a pen/pencil/marker on the side of the router mount, while it’s touching the wasteboard, and just push the carriage left to right, Marking the wasteboard square, making sure I don’t move it forward or backwards

I would like to eventually cut a grid into it with a v-bit and incorporate that into the toolpath I use for flattening or ‘tramming’ the wasteboard, so there is always a square grid to align to :slight_smile:

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I used the Shapeoko to tell me where to align my stock. I assigned a center hole, sized to the peg , and drilled a hole there for it, I also assigned two more off towards the sides in alignment with the first hole and drilled the same. The 3 holes are in perfect alignment with the Shapeoko because the Shapeoko cut the holes. Simple and easy. I also set the center hole in the front edge middle of the working area because many of my panel cuts require a 180 degree rotation of the panel to cut the other half of the over sized panel. ex. the panel is 32" long and the cuts extend past the cut area of the SO3 so I rotate the panel on the center peg and align it with the side holes and I have a perfect 180 degree rotation and than I can continue the cuts on the other half of the panel. The 3 holes are on the front edge just behind the front angle iron support rail . If you want a picture just ask…Jude

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