So, I finally got to the hardware store to pick up a sheet of 3/4" MDF for use as an auxiliary wasteboard for my Shapoko XL. I’m planning on using the Sea of Holes approach using T-Nuts driven in from the rear. I want holes drilled even outside of the area that the S3XL normally will cut so I have place to put clamps/fences etc. when holding down stock approaching the cut dimensions of the machine. I see a couple of different ways to do this. Can someone please let me know if I’m over-complicating this.
Option 1: Split the wasteboard into two or more pieces. Lay out your holes and counterbores for the T-Nuts and machine them from the rear. Take the board off and do the next one and repeat until you are done. Now comes the issue. You have these boards which you now need to line up with each other and with the X & Y axes. I don’t think that just butting them up to the front of the machine will be sufficient so I’m guessing that you would have to drill a couple of indexing holes through the wasteboard and into the bed of the machine in order to locate the board properly once it is time to fasten it down.
Option 2: Use a single wasteboard and tile it in X. Machine a couple of the holes for the T-Nuts extra deep such that they can be used to hold index pins to keep the board straight both during the tiling and during the installation of the board.
In either case, once the board is fastened down, cut a shallow grid using a V-bit to verify that the sea of holes is square to the X & Y axes and do a surfacing pass with whatever your largest endmill is.
I realize that the holes can be skewed to the axes and still provide proper work holding but I’m trying to to think of how to properly align the stock to the machines axes rather than to my perception of them based on the sheet metal or hole pattern. For rectangular stock that I’m not cutting a pattern out of I would anticipate putting a couple of bolts in appropriately located holes; butt the stock against these pins and install hold downs as needed and then remove these bolts before cutting.
Am I taking a simple job and making it more complex than needed? I’ve been known to do that from time to time. Can someone suggest any simplifications before I start down this rabbit hole (or rabbit sea of holes)?