Primary Wasteboard

As there is a fair bit of discussion regarding the installation of a primary wasteboard on the Shapeoko, I created this thread. Here are some of the takeaways from the discussion.

Aluminum wasteboards offer a significant improvement in rigidity and precision to the Shapeoko and when using coolant, it will not be damaged like an MDF wasteboard.

Looking at the Shapeoko Wiki, I found an unofficial wasteboard design (SVG) for the XL but not for the other models. Has anyone confirmed the dimensions or successfully milled one? Are the other models available somewhere else?

Ohio Diesel offers a 1/2in predrilled aluminum wasteboard (fixture table) for all 3 models of the Shapeoko.

Carbide 3D also offers an aluminum wasteboard for the standard size Shapeoko 3.

Beaver CNC @Luke used to offer predrilled aluminum wasteboards for the XXL and maybe the XL in Europe, maybe Carbide will now start making them available through the store at some point.

Midwest Steel offers very reasonably priced ATP-5 aluminum plates in several thicknesses at a very reasonable price. It was mentioned that the 5/8in thick plates offers better flatness than 1/2in and the thinner ones.

An aluminum wasteboard that covers the whole area can be drilled on the Shapeoko by tiling the project. One would still have to tap every hole used for fixture.

I hope this captures relevant information on aluminum wasteboards.


This post from @WillAdams links to wasteboard diagrams hosted on C3D’s website for the other machines. I have verified that it accurately reflects the measurements of my XXL.

I intend (and thus recommend) to drill mill the holes in my aluminum board, then thread mill the holes, so that the grid pattern aligns with my machine’s. There will be unreachable areas outside the machining area, but these will purely be for clamping and thus, the alignment will not be as critical for my purposes, and I will be happy to hand drill and tap these (or do it on another machine).


If you don’t have a supplementary wasteboard installed, you could tile the new wasteboard sideways in two sections, under the Y rails, this way you would be able to mill the whole surface.

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you could tile the new wasteboard sideways in two sections, under the Y rails, this way you would be able to mill the whole surface.

You’d actually have to flip it over both x and y to reach the whole surface, since the shapeoko can’t all the way to both edges in either direction. I have a hard time imagining you’d end up with a perfectly flat surface after doing it in 4 ops on top of the factory MDF (but would love to be wrong).

I have been thinking about this a lot, I am starting to think the best path forward would be to build a 1/2" aluminum primary wasteboard with a modest amount of threaded holes, but still run a supplementary wasteboard on top that just covers the area you can surface in one setup.

You are right for the XXL, you would need to move in both directions to make holes, I have an XL and I would need to move in one direction only but still doable on an XXL. For the Y direction, you would need to make the holes using a 3/4 in supplementary wasteboard to support your new wasteboard. As far as the flatness is concerned, you are only milling for hole location that would depend on strategically placed indexing pins using the holes on the grid you are making, you would not flatten the wasteboard, it is supposed to be extremely flat when you receive it.

Maybe we’re talking about different things.

All 3 sizes of Shapeoko wasteboard have mounting holes in all 4 corners. Given the distances involved, how would you ever setup the machine such that it can reach more than one corner’s mount holes at once?

As I said in my original post, you do not reach all sides at once, you use tiling and you use tiling to drill basically one quarter at a time. Let’s say you start with the SW portion placed in the cutting area then slide the wasteboard to the SW to the indexing pin location then cut the SE section. For the next 2 parts, you could flip or turn the wasteboard to mill the N side using the indexing holes to align the workpiece. On the XL, it would be easier because you would turn the workpiece sideways, set it up on a 3/4in supplementary wasteboard (if you don’t have one already) and mill the SE then pull the workpiece forward to the indexing pins mill the next part the pull again to the indexing pins, mill the last portion. The workpiece would need to be held leveled at the front of the Shapeoko while milling.

I understand you can tile it in quadrants - I was replying to this comment, because I don’t see how you could possibly get it in just 2 operations. Sounds like we’re on the same page.

You are right, I made a mistake in my first post. Sorry for the confusion.

Or, may I humbly suggest, another alternative. If, (like me) one has an aversion to paying almost as much for a chunk of aluminum as for the machine itself.
Nice rigidity may be obtained with the SO3 bolted directly to a carefully constructed torsion box.
I have a variety of leveled MDF spoil boards as well as several small ATP5 boards I’ve made. Works good for me.
But, says the guy with the 2.2 kw spindle, I completely understand the compulsion to upgrade. :blush:


I was trying to find a Canadian source for ATP5 and so far have come up empty. It seems like all I can find is MIC6 that has a lower tolerance and is apparently more porous and ALCA5 that has a lower tolerance until you hit 3/4in. I did not even call for pricing yet but I guess I will get soaked by the dealers too. Anyone knows of a source for ATP5 in Canada?

Are you near Toronto? You could order to crossborderpickups or equivalent. The cost to bring stuff across the border isnt usually too bad. For the XL a 5/8 slab of ~23" by ~41" aluminum weighs about 60lbs I think.

CBP cost would be something like $33 + HST on the slab. I dont think there would be additional duties if it were made in usa. (The tariffs have been dropped).

I’m quite interested in upgrading to an aluminum primary wasteboard for my XL.

I’d also be interested in finding someone to drill and tap it.


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I’m in the Ottawa area, I know I can do this, and I may have to. I already have a shipping address I just have to drive there to pick it up but was looking for a Canadian source. We make so much aluminum in eastern Canada, you would think that we would have the stuff readily available for purchase at a reasonable price.

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