Sourcing aluminium sheet for custom SO3 bed in Europe?


I have been drooling over the threaded aluminium table for the (standard) SO3 for quite some time now, and I would have paid 400 bucks to get one if I lived in the US, but I don’t, and having it shipped it to here would almost double its price (shipping + crazy custom taxes), so that is not going to happen.
So, I’m ready to roll up my sleeves, source a cut-to-size 12mm aluminum sheet locally (France), then and get to work to drill/tap/chamfer holes myself (yes, I know the time & effort this is going to take, which is why I would have paid 400$ to avoid it…).

Anyway, I would appreciate some advice as to:

  • the type of aluminium I should get ? (I am clueless when it comes to knowing the difference between the various 50xx/60xx/70xx numbers and what is a good choice for a shapeoko bed where rigidity matters and I still need to be able to drill holes in it without fancy drill bits). Does anyone know what Carbide’s threaded table is made of ?
  • is 12mm / 2.5" the optimal thickness ? (by default I intend to replicate Carbide’s table dimensions)
  • any specific pitfalls when selecting the Al sheet ?
  • by any chance if anyone as a good source for a Europe-based supplier…

(@Luke I know you made one last year, so I am counting on your advice :))


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This is a great mod to do…

You will want 5083 or a 60 grade of Ali.

12mm is good thickness, it’s a good compromise between cost and strength.

I also might be able to help you. I have a machine that’s able to mill a shapoko 3 size board. Would that be of interest?

I also designed a waste board - granted a while ago. I belive the plans are on wiki somewhere.

After doing this myself I’d mound the waste board then use the S3 to mill the holes and thread by hand - I’m doing this on my current beaver pro


Thank you for the info.
I’ll PM you to follow-up on your offer (I happen to travel regularly to the UK for work, so…)

Might look into 6082 T651, it seems this is readily available in the EU. My day job I deal with a lot of designs that come from the EU and that grade is consistently used. Just FYI, at that thickness you’re looking for “plate”, not “sheet”, might help on your search. As for where to actually source it I’m of no help, here in the US we use 6061 as an alternative.



Right, “plate” it is. The point is indeed to end-up with an “armored” shapeoko :slight_smile:

More important than the alloy is getting plate that is flat. Most aluminum plate requires additional processing to get the large faces parallel to each other. I used cast tooling plate for mine. Check the manufacturers tolerance before buying. 6061 plate here in the states can vary by 1 mm in thickness and still be within manufacturers tolerances. This would make squaring the machine accurately quite difficult.


Excellent point, thank you

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