Salvaged Shapeoko from AZ Backyard

Hello Carbide 3D World! - FYI this is long-winded but put together in gratitude to those of you on the forum whom have been assisting me indirectly via your archived helpful posts.

I came into my Shapeoko at the very end of last year. We own a house next to a rental home in central Phoenix where they rent out the rooms to folks apparently. While checking on their dogs due to a spat with a their cat one day I noticed this piece of equipment sitting on their backyard deck and although I didn’t know what it was I did recognize the Dewalt trim router from a distance.

About 15 months pass and the neighbors are moving out. In passing I asked one of them about the machine and what they would be willing to part with it for ($$$). She tells me to just come and get now because they are leaving and were just going to put it out on the curb. So she leads me into the backyard bushwacking through the weeds over to the deck and see that although it’s in bad shape, it may be salvageable. She said it was heavy and she was right.

Hour 1

I picked it up and it was soaked from the overnight rains but I was able to haul it back to my shop where I took pictures of it to study it and figure out what it was. It did have a badge on it which quickly led me here.

The Breakdown

So I study and I quickly learn what I am working with is an early model of the Shapeoko 3 that carries the flat Z plate. With that I recognize the value of this unit and begin the rehab to see if it will even fire up. The power supply was full of water but i opened it up and let it dry out for a couple days and then cleaned all of the dirt out of it as well. While that was drying I broke down the unit entirely to nuts, cut a new wasteboard off of the warped MDF wasteboard as a template with what I thought was a decent 3/4" plywood and learned my first lesson. A 3/4" wasteboard doesn’t fit under the Y rails so i milled the area under the rails and then moved on to the cleanup. The bearings needed to be cleaned up and although rusted on the outside were smooth as can be. A few of the V wheeels were cracked so I put them on the bottom of the Y axis rails where they would have the least effect on the operation. With the power off the unit sailed easily across both axes other than the motors locking due to the power generation from turning stepper motors as they are manually moved along the axes. One of the springs on the Z axis was all stretched out but it also didn’t effect the operation.

Pre and Post Bearing Cleanup

With this unit sitting in over 1 year of rain during a very wet winter (18/19), direct southern sun exposure with no cover, dog/cats urinating on it, bugs living in it, and a good sense that it was not likely placed there gently I never expected this unit to run.

All Cleaned Up

After I dried out, cleaned up, and reassembled everything, I plugged it in, hit the switch, and all the motors locked. I got after some cable management and really wanted to get a cable chain but stuck with what I had on hand, split corrugated plastic. There was a 1/4" double Freud fluted end mill in the router and it looked like it was in decent shape so i grabbed my router bits to see what I could use on hand. I had a Vee that was in fair shape so I fixed it in the router and was wanting to cut something but I knew i had to walk before I could run. That is when I moved it to my dining room table for testing and hopefully Hello World excellence but I would need to learn some Carbide 3d software first.!

With my background in Engineering and Architecture I have used nearly every design software available excluding Fusion, Solidworks, and Inventor. Of course the 3 I could the most for this technology but many of the commands and design tools are similar for the Autodesk products I do use. Regardless, I decided to learn Carbide Create and Motion to at least be able to initiate my use of the machine for testing. I ran the Hello World file to get started and it halted mid way multiple times. I did some research and found that I likely needed to be plugged into a separate grounded receptacle (My house was built in 1924). With that I successfully completed hello world with the only hiccup being the flatness of my wasteboard which was evident by the pressure applied by the marker where the board is higher. But my circles were circles and the unit was effectively working.

After trimming up the unit I decided to give a cut a shot. I didn’t have any means of workholding other than conventional woodworking clamps so that’s what I used. I attempted a simple sign, my daughters name with a Vee bit with a flower cut with a 1/16 Freud bit I purchased… and iT WORKED! With that success I bought a set of bits on Amazon that were recommended and came with; 2 Vee’s, and 2 Engravers. I also got an .25" upcut end mill.

First cut!

That was the first week with the Shapeoko. In the second week I called up Carbide 3D to source a spring to be added to my order of a maintenance kit and homing switches. I replaced 3 of the wheels installed the homing switches and flashed the board to upgrade to the v5 Carbide Motion software. I should say that did not replace the belts which I may regret but since its working I didn’t want to change anything.

Cheap Old Router Bit Cutting Slow and Shallow

Same Bit Cutting Too Deep and Too Fast

Since then I have cut quite a few signs, workholding devices, and had some fun but have spent most of my time focusing on understanding the tooling application and variables. Watching all of Winston’s videos and reading the posts you all create hugely supports my education in CNC. I really want to cut something BIG, but like most I feel like i should earn the upgrade. My list of upgrades in order of priority will be Bitsetter, dustboot, Bit Zero, Zplus, and then XXL.

AZ Family Flag (pre-advanced V-cut)
Stars too deep, bad toolpath.

Eventually would like to take a workflow for drone pointcloud capture I developed and incorporate as a resource to cut 3D. For now I want to focus on the hardware learning first and don’t want to sacrifice software for hardware dollars so that will have to wait.

Uncle George’s Boston 2612 paper cutter rebuild

There is a LOT to learn and I am still daily frustrated because of my mistakes but it makes me appreciate the guys who have been doing CNC professionally. A HUGE THANKS to Winston Moy, Carbide 3D, and DIY Engineering, for the clear guidance during the ramp up. Without many of the videos and documentation online I’d be lost. Thanks to youAll on the forum for your regular posts assisting us all.
And lastly, I appreciate Brandon Lee for helping me get another spring bumped onto my maintenance kit order.



Epic story!
I cringed throughout the first paragraphs thinking of that lonely Shapeoko left out to rot in a backyard…
You did a wonderful job there, and this is a tribute to the fact that this machine is SOLID.
Thank you and don’t hesitate to report with more pictures of what you do with it !


I’ve seen cars, boats and even airplanes left out in the “bushwacking” backyard, but this has got to be a first for Shapeoko. Someone had a dream, but it sounds like you’re on a mission! :smiley:

Obviously, a fantastic job getting to where you are now. +1


Oh my - well done on saving this little fella.

I’m always one for a rescue - if you need any parts drop me a message and I will see what I have in my spares bin.

Happy making!


Well done! from a fellow Zonie. Your forgot to mention the Haboobs!


Most excellent job on this!


A second on that offer from me, lots of leftovers in the parts bin.

Great job on the resto!


Again I know this post was a bit longwinded and may have included more details than needed it really does speak to the industrial nature of Carbide 3D’s Shapeoko BEAST. If it were any other machine by any other manufacturer including any late breaking units that are coming on the market that may not even released yet, it would be 90% scrap for sure and I’d still need to buy a router apparently.

Julian with the EBook, Thanks, and Dang! Awesome!
4Nine- I don’t recall if we experienced a Haboob during that window of time but there is a good chance!

Again’ I can’t thank you all enough for your support and kindness! This is a great group of people here and I am encouraged by the the generous guidance!


I know this was a bit lengthy and I appreciate your love of the machine and its capabilities. I cant imaging the countless hours that you have spent studying an making it happen.

Your support is truly appreciated!


I had to look-up what a “haboob” is, we don’t have any of those here ! :slight_smile:

I have a newer-ish “bent edge” z-axis plate that would be much happier on your machine than in a box. If you are interested just let me know, I would be glad to ship it to you. Awesome job on the restoration!


Yea you have to be careful using the terminology, especially when speaking in plural. I was asked to call them sand storms in our meeting safety shares now but I was also asked not to use the term, “Pow-Wow”…

Mr. Microwave_Monkey, that is incredibly generous of you! Although i do intend to upgrade to the XXL beast and new Z it will be a while and this would be a great improvement!

Please advise on your location and cost to ship.

I’ll send you a private message shortly. It will be a little source of pride to know a piece of my machine went to a proper restoration and update!

Edit: just try to “pay it forward” when the opportunity arises in the future. My shapeoko, and passion/hobby/business have benefited immensely from the generosity of good people in this community!


I have a soft spot for restoration projects. If you can convince support to send you an updated Z axis plate, I encourage you to do so, otherwise I have bits from several old belt-drive Z assemblies I can send out of you need anything.

Edit: Saw Microwave_Monkey already has you covered. :+1:t3: Carry on!


:exploding_head: Mr. Moy, I cannot express my gratitude enough for your expertise and supporting videos. Your collection of videos is so helpful, with my most recent favorite being the “Making it Across America” Video. Although I have not seem them all I have learned so much in the last 130 days. Your documentation of your projects and videos is very well organized and I hope to become that organized in documenting my projects as time moves on.

I appreciate the offer on the updated belted Z parts. You’re like a pit crew with experience and now parts? Your generosity has has picked up my spirits and I can’t thank you enough!

I will fully pay if forward.


Microwave_Monkey _ I will certainly create opportunities to Pay it Forward. Thank you so much again for the updated Z Plate and then going above and beyond that it was exceptionally :exploding_head: generous to offer to ship it to me at your cost.

I can’t express my gratitude for this community of people supporting each other in common interest.

My family thanks you too!


Microwave Monkey - It was 105 when I finished the lawn at 10:00 yesterday morning and the Mailman walked over to hand me a package. I saw that it was from Tennessee so I knew that meant I needed to finish up the yard and retreat to my shop where it was a cool 95 and I could appreciate this delivery.

Well, it’s too much man and I can’t thank you enough! It’s like a cornucopia of awesome albeit in a box!

  • 2016 updated Z Plate complete with hardware and belt ready to install
  • 17mm Collet Wrench
  • 1/4" shank Dewalt Collet
  • 1/8" shank Dewalt Collet
  • (3) 1/8" End Mills
  • 1/8" Tapered Ball End Mill
  • 1/4" Ball End Mill
  • Z and Fiberglass Core GT2 Belts
  • (2) Z Springs
  • Dewalt Carbon Brushes

Unreal man! Thank you, Thank you! I immediately installed the new Z plate and studied the rest of the goods to understand my new abilities afforded by the your generosity. I didn’t have an 1/8" collet or bits at all, and I also have not picked up any ball end mills yet. With my interests warming up to 3D the ball end mills will be key to that. The precision collets and more solid Z plate will clearly help prevent run out and I immediately noticed a difference in the rigidity of the Z axis with the new plate installed. The additional clearance just for working under the X Beam is great! All that and the spares will be very handy to help ensure that when things go wrong I am only down and not down and out.

When I was disassembling my Z plate I noted some slop in the y axis that was caused by the V wheels on the X axis being a bit loose but I spent a good 2 hours dialing in the new plate and it’s smooth and aligned.

The last thing I have to do is check my base wasteboard for high spots and adjust and I can really start cutting more frequently. I have been doing a lot of design in CC and have many pieces to cut while I have also been learning the Fusion software and workflow.

SERIOUSLY MAN, I really appreciate your support and look forward to getting to doing some cutting!




@Hifidelite Anthony. THANK YOU for finding my lost Shapeoko! I wondered where I left it. Should I just give you a mailing address?