Questions on Making a Wasteboard

So I have been using double sided tape to hold my items down and it has worked relatively well except when I cut through the material and tape gets stuck on the bit :confused: I have been reading posts and the Wiki on wasteboards with threaded inserts and T nuts. Seems theres are a lot of different designs. I think I want to go with 1/2 inch mdf with T nuts. I have plenty of MDF (Home Depot had 4’x4’ 1/2" sheets for $5.) Then attach that 1/2 on top of the Shapeoko 3 wasteboard.

So good so far? Recommended grid for T nuts? Do I have to sink the t nuts in from the bottom or just mill a hole?

I drew up a fancy circular grid w/ phi (more-or-less) spacing, so as to not use so many T-nuts which locally were quite pricey (order in bulk from a fastener specialty shop).

You need to drill a hole, and a countersink for each T-nut, for what will be the bottom.

Your grid would depend on what you intend on milling. I have a grid with holes/threaded inserts every 1 1/2". It is very useful, however it is more threaded holes than I may ever need.

I use the threaded inserts, found 100 1/4"-20 on Amazon for under $8, requires a 9mm hole.

I am recreating my waste board for the XXL upgrade, will post photos when done.

@lewscrew any reason you went with threaded inserts and not t nuts? I think I can spread them out more than 1.5 inches

@WillAdams can i do the holes and countersinks on the shapeoko?

Still learning, thanks for the continued help/advice

IMO T-nuts were a pain to install. I used them on one version of waste board and wasn’t satisfied with them.

Haven’t had any issues with my threaded inserts, I used 3/4" MDF for my wasteboard. If I goober one up I can just remove and replace it from the top.

I also have a grid reference and locating pins so accuracy is critical to my setup for my operations. If I need to remove the waste board and reinstall, then I lose my reference.

Disclaimer- I have homing switches and use WCS - Work Coordinate Systems.

funcuntionality wise, t nut and threaded inserts accomplish the same thing right? Maybe I am leaning towards inserts now, ugh, The more I read the more undecided I get.


Links to: where I show bootstrapping everything.

I was using threaded inserts but over tightened a couple which pulled through the waste board causing the MDF to mushroom upwards. Once that happens it throws the board out of level. I am in the process of installing t-nuts from underneath the board now. I also started using carpet tape to hold the work piece which seems to work well when not cutting through the piece. I have the blue wax which holds as good as anything but is kind of messy and stains anything it is melted to including your waste board. Still a noob and working through all the little problems but getting there.


What size were the threaded inserts?

I use 13mm 1/4"-20 Threaded insert install from underneath for the SO3 original (not) waste board 100mm apart. Then I have 3/4" MDF Waste board with 50mm hole apart all over and also installed from underneath. I also have duplicate 100mm apart hole that match the (not) waste board threaded insert below. I mount the waste board to the (not} waste board with 16 screws. I mount all thread insert from underneath so there is no chance that it will pull through.

@eefits that’s sounds pretty nice setup. Any pics of it?

The same as Larry is using Alex. My mistake was not mounting them from underneath the board.


Well I’m buying a new wasteboard tomorrow so i’ll keep that in mind.

@lost57 here is my setup.

@eefits very nice. I am gonna do something similar I believe. Thanks for sharing. What is the distance between holes?

@lost57 They are 50mm and I skip a column in the middle that I shouldn’t have.

I am going to make simple clamps from plywood with slots. What length screw/bolt should I get to go into the top nut/threaded insert?

I have screw from 1 to 31/2 `inches in 1/2 inch increment. Screw length depended on what and how you mount your piece.

Thanks that will give me an idea what to pickup at store tomorrow.