I’ve seen quite a few expensive and labor intensive Shapoko enclosures here and figured I’d show off what I’ve come up with:
Just kidding, although I did run the machine like that for longer than I’d like to admit, I decided it should build something permanent. My requirements were: <$250, good working height, mobile, illuminated, waterproof (so I can use coolant if I want) and heavy.
I started out by building a steel table for the machine w/ $40 worth of 2x2 box tubing. I needed the MIG practice anyway. One of the main reasons I went this route was that if I decide to build a sturdier machine in the future, I can use this as the actual starting structure for that machine. Steel has the added bonus of being very stiff and heavy so it should help act as damping/bracing for the Shapeoko. I don’t have many pictures of the building process, but after all the lengths were determined in Fusion, I just cut the tubes out and shimmed them level on my garage floor. I went back and forth welding them in an order to try and keep the structure as flat as possible.
I added some casters from Amazon and coat of paint. The casters were expensive and not as sturdy as I’d like, I expected more for $70. This is one of those places to try and save more money either buy building something more complicated but sturdier, or deciding the machine doesn’t need to be mobile.
For the actual enclosure part of the build, I stole an idea from Clough42 on Youtube and made it out of angle aluminum and corrugated plastic. This material is pretty ideal, it’s water proof, can easily be sealed with aluminum ducting tape, and is very easy to work with. Here you can easily see the trip tray which sits below the machine at an angle and funnels all the debris into a trash can. Using CAD sheet metal tools make this job super easy and I just printed out templates 1:1 on my home printer and taped them together.
Walls and lights going up. The LEDs are just $10 adhesive backed strips from Amazon with clear packing tape over them to prevent shorting to any stray aluminum chips. The panels are held on with self tapping screws to the steel and zip ties to the aluminum.
Here’s the completed enclsoure with my latest version of my 3d printed bit-setter, hold button, air routing and 5S accessories. There’s an access panel held on with velcro so I can get to the electronics box. Someday I’d like to move it outside the enclosure, but that’s a project for another day.
All in all the setup wasn’t all that expensive:
- $40 - Steel
- $70 - Casters
- $50 - Aluminum, paint & fasteners
- $50 - Corrugated Plastic 4x8ft sheets, qty 2
- $10 - LEDs
- $10 - Shower curtain
The computer is an rPi I got for free from someone, the LCD was $15 on Craigslist, and the arm was $20 on Amazon. I didn’t include them because they’re not really part of the enclosure per se.
Hopefully some others find this info useful or motivational.