Spoilboard idea. Would love input

Hey guys. Just ordered a XXL. Very excited. While I wait I have been reading about people’s various solutions for workpiece holding (and bed leveling). After watching Winston Moy’s video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MtA_uF4CnVM&t=195s) where he does not level the base spoil board, but instead a supplemental board (which he also installs his threaded inserts into), it got me thinking. His reasoning that leveling a topper instead of the base makes sense. But I wonder if the idea can be improved (and maybe this has already been done by someone)

  1. Instead of drilling and threading inserts into a supplemental board like Winston, I would thread them into the base boards.

  2. Take a supplemental board and drill the same hole pattern (a fare larger for a good tolerance). This is aligned with the base boards and bolted on. This board can now be leveled with a leveling bit. Clamping is done passing the clamp bolt through this board into the base board.

I see a couple of possible advantages here. The supplemental spoil board could be a 1/4" thick instead of 3/4" saving Z height. Also the threaded inserts never have to be redone since they go into the untouched base.

Does this sound viable? Has anyone tried it?

Thanks for any input.


It’s a very good idea, and one which I’ve been considering myself — please let us know how it works out!

I wanted to do it using pegboard, but the holes on the sheet I got aren’t consistent enough.

This is more or less what I do. I ordered my SO3 with the threaded plate so using it as a spoil board isn’t the best idea although that’s not to say I haven’t done so a few times accidentally.

I get a lot of PCBs and stencils delivered and they usually come packed between ~2.5mm sheets of MDF that the PCB fab has previously used as spoil boards for the PCB milling. I stick them down and take 1mm off for leveling and I’m away. I stick a couple of holes in them for access to the threaded holes beneath, usually just by hand drill as Steve noted, you want a bit of slack for easy access to the threaded holes.

Just remember your dust extraction when surfacing MDF!

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I did that too before moving to the masking tape way of fixturing. Haven’t looked back since.

@idank Could you provide links or details of what you mean?


A hearty second to @idank. A strip of masking tape on spoilboard, another strip on workpiece a stripe or two of thin CA (superglue) on tape on spoilboard, stick workpiece on with pressure for a few seconds, start cutting.
Check out YouTube.

But, I think you still need other options. This is my latest iteration of spoilboard heaven. You’ll see I love mdf. Cheap, easy to surface, disposable. I also recommend dowel pins for alignment. First screw the spoilboard down, then make a pattern of holes, I used 2 inch spacing then use your S3 to cut the holes.

It’s pretty much what I do. I have t-track on top of the base wasteboard, with mdf fillers between the tracks. I have a removable threaded board that covers about half the workable area with threaded inserts in it, inserted from the -back- side of the board - this leaves a fair amount on the top of the board to be milled away etc without getting near the inserts. The inserts are brass, I’m not too worried about damaging something by hitting one (mostly) and they’re cheap enough that if I do hit one, it’s not going to break the bank to replace it.

I drilled and inserted threaded inserts into about a half dozen places in the stock wasteboard. I use those to hold down a 3/8 inch piece of plastic. Then I use vacuum pods like these https://nemi.com/BenchtopVacuumPods.aspx and position them wherever needed atop the plastic topper. MDF leaks air because it’s porous so the plastic is needed to hold the pod/clamp to the table.

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