Stoopid noob HDM questions

Thanks to all who have replied so far. I’m reading all of them and trying to soak it all in.

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The HDM is pretty complete. The Hybrid bed is amongst the best platform out there for many projects, and I HIGHLY recommend the Gator and Tiger clamps. They are great workholding solutions. But once you venture into plastics and metals it may be a good idea to get the Saunders Machine Works plates and mod vises. My HDM sees almost exclusively plastics and metals and I tend to push pretty hard. The SMW plates and mod vises are now something I have trouble working without. But again, I push mine hard. The C3D Tigers and Gators are the highest quality stuff for most projects.

I’m definitely looking into the SMW plates. What I’d really like is a single plate that runs down the center in which I can use a mod vise and other fixturing while leaving the sides original. I have emailed them to see if they will sell just a single plate for the HDM rather than the 3 plate set.

4 – If you have a rolling solution, I recommend the casters that either lift and le the legs hit the ground, or the type that have solid pieces that lift the casters off the ground. The HDM can make a bench on casters walk across a shop

That’s good to know. I’m considering something like one of the Husky tool boxes which I hope would be heavy enough to keep the thing stable. I’m not sure if this one provides a large enough surface, but I can always attach a larger surface on top of it. I like the idea of having lots of storage underneath. Another option would be to just build one and use jacking casters that would allow me to rest it on the floor.

If you had to remove casters have you thought about these bench casters. The only down side is they stick out some so mount them on the side. They take optional plates so ypu can remove casters and use wheels on other shop equipment.

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I worry about those not being able to support the weight of the HDM and table, especially if it’s a full enclosure. I’d be willing to gamble my setup is close 600 lbs.

The issue with the center plate only with the current design is that the hybrid table and center plate share some of the same mounting holes so you’d only be able to have 2 slats per side iirc.

If you don’t need the ½” vises, then you can use the Shapeoko 4/Pro ¼” plates and just out them on the bed extrusions as well. The hybrid bed spacing is the same for the SO4/Pro/HDM

The Husky boxes are nice. But replacing the casters would be a good idea. They are heavy duty enough, but the locking mechanisms combined with swiveling casters is not really up to handle all that mass shaking around. I believe you would have to extend the surface to get the depth you need. I have also seen people put 2 of them back-to back to get the appropriate surface area.

I use the jacking casters that have pads that screw down to lift the casters. They have been the only ones I likes so far. The are out of the way and support the weight straight down as opposed to from the sides.

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Yep, they work well on my little workbench.

Too much trouble to retro fit to my HDM setup.

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Just curious, why not make your own? You will have the tool for it. Your only restriction will be to make it a size you can surface all in one go. Or, swap ends to surface the remainder if you decide to go all the way to the back of the bed.

I’m a cheapskate I’ll admit but I don’t understand buying something you can make, it’s why we have these machines isn’t it?


I thought about making something for my S3 but came to the conclusion that I would not be able to match the accuracy of the SMW plates. You can probably do better on an HDM. I would still caution that matching the accuracy of what you get with SMW is not trivial. It can probably be done (or get close enough) with a decent amount of effort. One other thing is that all of the holes on an SMW aluminum plate are form tapped and not cut which makes them significantly stronger.

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Not suggesting that what’s made on an HDM is equivalent to SMW, they make top notch products no question. I have a couple of their mod vise’s.

But, I’m confident the plates I’ve made on my HDM will not in any way degrade the quality, or reduce the accuracy of work the HDM is capable of producing.


I didn’t notice anyone talking about these casters, but this is what I’m using. These specific ones are no longer available but there are a ton like them in design. They sit down on rubber feet and when you want to move the table you spin the middle and they come up. My HDM is on these and they’re great. Now I will admit it takes a minute to spin all 4, but my goal was only moveable as needed.


These look perfect for my enclosure. Thanks!

Those are what I have on my SOPro/SO4 bench and I love them. I that is what I was referring to…poorly worded of course. :smiley:

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Several reasons. One is I’m not sure if I could source the aluminum plate cheaper than what they are charging for the finished product. Even if I could I doubt I’d save that much. The next is I’m not sure I could maintain the tolerances required for the vise and fixturing to work correctly on this machine. I’m pretty sure they are making these plates on machines that are far more rigid and are capable of tighter tolerances. Then there’s also the screw up factor. Could I successfully bore and tap the dozens of holes needed? Maybe, but I’m not sure I could do all of it on the machine itself and hand tapping that many holes would take a decent amount of time with a high probability I’d mess up several of the holes.

I do get what you are saying. It’s much more satisfying to make something rather than buying it when you can, but in this case the pragmatic side of me sees the benefit to just buying it.

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I didn’t notice anyone talking about these casters, but this is what I’m using. These specific ones are no longer available but there are a ton like them in design. They sit down on rubber feet and when you want to move the table you spin the middle and they come up. My HDM is on these and they’re great. Now I will admit it takes a minute to spin all 4, but my goal was only moveable as needed.

I’ve seen these on Amazon and have been tempted to use them for a few projects, but as yet I haven’t. Another much more low tech solution I had in mind was just to make some wooden blocks with some 1/4" rubber attached with contact cement. Then I’d just lift each corner with a pry bar and insert the blocks. Leveling could be done with shims, but my shop floor is pretty level so I doubt I’d need it.

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These casters sit on the wheels in their up position. and when you spin the middle wheel, the rubber part lowers onto the ground. I have them screwed directly into 4x4 leg posts. For $50-60 bucks for a set of four and built for heavy duty weights, its a great solution. I’m not sure how using a crowbar with rubber feet makes the table moveable, but maybe I misunderstood your solution.

I also had zero experience similar to you with CNC except woodworking and it’s been such a neat hobby so far. You’ll never regret starting with the HDM. The ER 20 collet/spindle is amazing. Best of luck to you!

More like semi-mobile. I will mostly want the machine to be stationary with the infrequent option to move it away from the wall for cleaning, maintenance, etc. I’ve done this before with other benches and it’s a simple matter to pry the machine up 4 times and remove the blocks to make it mobile. I suspect it would be roughly as fast as resetting the casters with the other type. It might not be the best idea, but I thought it might be worth a try as I can always go with the better caster solution later.

SMW has awesome products. Recently purchased their hobby mod-vises and they’ve been a game changer for me.

However I like their products, fixture plate is something I’d rather make myself. You can certainly get the mic6 plate at very reasonable price from Midwest Steel Supply. Any shapeoko will handle boring and tapping the holes. In another thread, I’ve uploaded a file with all my speeds and feeds for cutting threads in sizes from m4 to m10. It took me few hours to bore and cut over 400 m6 threaded holes, but it was well worth the time. My fixture plate works flawlessly with the SMW mod-vise and I know that the holes are perfectly aligned to the machine.

I strongly recommend you consider doing it yourself. It’s a great exercise in cutting threads and tbh machine does most of the heavy lifting anyways. Just my 2c.


I’ve been thinking about maybe figuring out some way to install a plate that replaces two of the MDF slats and the underlying aluminum extrusions. I figure the dimensions will be somewhere around 7.75x26". That way I could keep my material costs down in case I mess something up. Until I have more experience boring and threading with this machine I don’t want to dive into any ambitious projects.

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