Spoil board with threaded inserts

I’m close to ordering my first Shapeoko (SO3 XXL). After looking at some options, I think I’d prefer threaded inserts instead of T-track. I feel like a spoil board needs to be replaced every few months. Do you just unscrew all of your threaded insets and put them in the new spoil board?

My thought is if I put the threaded inserts just below the surface in the original spoil board, then mount a sacrificial piece of 1/2" MDF on top, and have the Shapeoko drill through holes in the 1/2" top spoil board that line up exactly with the holes in the original spoil board underneath. This way, any bolts that I use in the threaded inserts would just have to be a little bit longer so that they pass through the 1/2" top spoil board and then catch the threaded inserts underneath. Setting the threaded inserts below the top surface of the original spoil board should make it possible to machine the through holes without hitting an insert. Any thoughts on this?

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That would work. Also many folks just put a sacrificial piece of MDF or whatever under their work piece and clamp both down at the same time.



I would recommend 1/4in T-Nuts instead of threaded inserts, they attach to the underside of the board so they hold better as they can’t come out under stress and last longer.


I agree with the T nut suggestion. On the first use with inserts they were pulling up

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I use M5 threaded inserts in a supplemental wasteboard on top of a double wasteboard. I inserted flanged threaded inserts from the bottom of the board. It is mounted to the big wasteboard with countersunk nylon 1/4-20 bolts. The 1/4-20 inserts in the big board aren’t going anywhere. And the M5 in the supplemental board aren’t going anywhere.

I recorded the extents that I was comfortable cutting on the XL (jogged as close to the rails as I could and wrote down machine position). I also took my .25" endmill diameter into account. I used one of the holes on the big wasteboard as a good approximation for my zero.
Just make sure that if you’re a day or so from replacing your Z you wait and do the measurements with the new Z. i did not.

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I put threaded inserts into my original spoil board, but use sacrificial pieces of MDF or plywood between my spoil board and my workpiece. I secure my workpiece to the sacrificial pieces with normal wood screws coming up from the bottom of the sacrificial piece. Then I secure the sacrificial piece to the spoil board with clamps and bolts. This puts the clamp much lower so it doesn’t get in the way of my dust boot.

For projects where I’m cutting 4 of the same, or 3 parts of the same box, I created MDF templates to hold the workpieces. So now I just cut the workpieces to length, place them in the dog-boned pockets I made in the MDF sacrificial template, put some screws in the corner outside of any tool paths, then drop the assembled package onto the original spoil board. I secure the spoil board at the 4 corners with nuts that actually go all the way through the spoil board and the sacrificial piece. I stripped out my threaded inserts when originally setting it up. And I actually drilled these holes outside of the cutting area, so I know I won’t ever accidentally run over them with a tool bit.

I still use the threaded inserts for smaller, quick, one-off jobs. Like cutting out the male part of an inlay.

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