Shapeoko side covers (fence ? walls ?)

My shapeoko is sitting in a tight enclosure, and I was getting tired of vacuuming on the sides and back of the machine, especially when cutting metal with no dust boot. I saw this guy in a youtube video (can’t find it again…) that had 3D-printed long covers and installed them on the sides, and I thought it was a neat idea to address that concern, so here’s my first go at it:

The pine covers look out of place and ruin the looks of my beloved aluminium bed, but as a prototype it worked just fine and makes a great job of containing the chips within an easy to clean boundary. I’ll probably redo them in a nicer material.

Side note: I did use the dust shoe, but this very deep pocket means loss of suction near the end of the job…and I was testing full-depth adaptive clearing on oak, so I also wanted to take a good look at those chips. So satisfying :slight_smile:

I rarely see any of these cover/guards/fence thingies on this forum, so never thought about it before.


Interesting. I suppose if I used some door weatherstripping material I could whip up some… chip catchers?.. that “seal” against the bottom of the Y rails and my shiny (HDPE) baseboard. That would mean I don’t lose any of my hard-earned travel, and they could stay there unobtrusively performing their duty.

I cut some more HDPE for my SmokeSucker (laser smoke vacuuming “dust boot”), and HDPE chips go everywhere even with a dust boot. I think they’re made of anti-vacuum magic (or perhaps it’s just static, but what’s the fun in that). At least they’re not vicious like aluminum sparkles can be.

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FWIW, they date back to the SO1/2 days, and were even sold by Brandon Fischer for a while:

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Hi have done a similar thing with acrylic and aluminium angle, works a treat!


The many broken links are a testimony that this idea is indeed very old :slight_smile:
I even found plans for foldable paper covers to slide onto the Y rails…neat.


They look great ! Acrylic it is, to replace my pine prototype.


Yeah they keep a lot of rubbish off the rails and on the wasteboard :slight_smile:

I love seeing how people come up with solutions to similar problems, having a place to share it is great!

I also added an acrylic sheet on the back of the machine. It sits in there sort of wedged between the wasteboard and frame , and I remove it when required for bigger jobs or for cleaning/access. It gives good protection from stuff flying out the back too

I’m away from the machine but you can just see it in this photo

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I don’t really concern myself too much about the little bits that get past the dust boot (I create way more dust and wood chips in the rest of my shop). But I don’t like the fine stuff that builds up on the rails and gets mashed under the V wheels. I remember a post a couple years ago where someone had put toothbrushes on their plates to sweep that dust off. I forgot exactly how they did it, but I may have to devise some sort of rail sweep :thinking:



A variation of this concept would protect the rails completely at the expense of a little travel loss. And make the shapeoko look remotely like a Tormach :slight_smile:

And now that I know that they are called “accordion bellows covers”, a little googling tells me there should be a way to procure some of the right size for the shapeoko. No way I want to spend hours origami’ing them by myself, but I can’t seem to find any relevant link on the forum to buy them. Too specific ? If anyone gave this some thought already I would be happy to hear about it.

Re-posting this image from the shapeoko wiki just to give people a sense of how cool (weird?) that would look:



does it play music while cutting :slight_smile: ?

sorry for slightly going off topic here @stutaylo i love that sign and am in the process of doing my first paid work (gulp) would you mind answering some questions

  1. what wood is that
  2. is it laminated or painted
  3. what bit did you use

Thanks in advance

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@Sherpa That was actually my first paid job!
The wood is called ‘formply’ in Australia, it’s for creating formwork when concreting.

Its pine Plywood, with a ‘resin impregnated paper’ on each side. It’s quite shiny, and cuts incredibly cleanly.

Bit used was a 60 degree whiteside V bit, the one on Amazon with a 1/2" cutting diameter and 1/4 shank

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I looked into this a few months ago and could find some that are the right size but they are expensive! I priced out that it would be at least $100 for them and at that price, it wasn’t worth it for me.

That stuff looks amazing. Found something similar at Menards for those in the USA:


@Julien This guy wrote a small program to help DIY bellows. I tried it and lost patience with it. I may have my wife give it a go…she’s more into paper crafts than I.


Thx, it looks doable but tedious :slight_smile:

That’s what

is for.


@Julien, I cut 1/8” slots in my “base” spoilboard then insert 1/8” BB ply. Easy to remove if needed.


Great idea, I’m regularly cleaning the little V wheels with compressed air and a little toothbrush but I wouldn’t make my own bellows. How would this work with the drag chains on the Shapeoko?