Unable to cut on new shapeoko

I believe Carbide3d needs to address the issue of the zplus being unable to cut without the addition of a wasteboard. As the shapeoko is currently shipped with the zplus (maybe the regular z axis also?) bits are unable to reach the stock or touch the waste board. I’m seeing multiple posts on cnc newbie sites when people buy their new shapeoko’s they are unable to cut until they install an additional wasteboard to raise the piece up high enough to be cut. This can be easily solved if this information was given in the FAQ and advertised more prevalently.

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Mike, It is disappointing about the Z-Plus. However in the long run a supplemental spoil board has many advantages. The stock base MDF has very precise holes drilled in it to screw down to the base. If you cut up the stock base board it is hard to replace. Depending on what you are going to cut the loss of 3/4 of an inch of Z height is not usually a problem. If you are cutting stock that is 2 inches or less you will not miss the loss of height. If you need to cut taller projects you can always remove the supplemental spoil board but you are back to the Z-Plus limitation for depth.

With a supplemental spoil board you can surface it several times after it is cut up. Replace the supplemental spoil board when needed. I have seen posts where people are worried about cutting up their spoil board but as the name implies it is there to spoil, surface and/or replace. You dont want to have to replace the base MDF that came with your Shapeoko.

I used the Myers Woodshop design (youtube.com) and it has 2 inch spacing for Tee nuts inserted from the bottom. The Myers spoil board also has the files for cam clamps and L shaped brackets that all work together with a fence. Take a look at Myers files and see what you think. He has an etsy.com shop you can buy the plans from or he did have on his website the files for free. He used I think 3/8 inch tall Tee nuts but I ordered 5/16 inch Tee nuts from Amazon because I can get a few more surfacings on the spoil board before replacing it.

Are you saying that all bits won’t reach, or just short bits? I was thinking that I read that shorter 1/8" bits won’t reach.

Actually, I just ran into this problem with my standard XXL where I spaced some parts close together on a piece of leftover stock. So, I chose to use a 1/8" bit to cut them out of the 3/8" thick stock. Everything zeroed out fine, and my multi-pass toolpath cut was going fine until the last pass, where the problem started. What I didn’t do was to see if I could actually reach the bottom of the part with my bit. I couldn’t.

I have the Meyers spoilboard on my machine. So, it isn’t necessarily the fault of the machine’s Z drive. My machine needs about 1/8" more reach to use short bits to cut out parts. (Yes, I know how to solve that problem in many ways. That isn’t the point.)

I have no issue with a supplemental spoil board…I have one myself…I totally agree with using one…BUT if that’s a requirement it should be posted up front and clearly. Lot’s of beginners are getting their Shapeoko’s in and finding this out after trying to run test cuts…it’s a very simple problem to solve…think how nice it would be to receive an email from Shapeoko if you’re a beginner that says–

"Hey, we just shipped your Shapeoko and it should be at your house in a few days – While you’re waiting here are a few things you can do to prepare for it.

  1. By a supplemental spoil board – If you don’t do this your machine won’t be able to cut!
  2. prepare your workspace – the Shapeoko XXL is a big machine…have you thought about where you’re putting it? the electrical plugs needed for it? The place you’re going to put your laptop?
  3. etc

The default 201 bit that comes with the machine won’t reach – and since that is typically one of the first bits if not only bit that beginners use…it’s a problem.

And yet many of us have figured that out and either had the material to add a spoilboard or went and bought some at a store where they sell boards; a place where you will have to go at some point before you can start.

Or, should you be mad because C3D didn’t also send some board samples for you to cut on?

A spoilboard is an expendable item. I didn’t get blank throat plates with my table saw. Should I blame SawStop for being deficient?

The spoil board shipped with the machine is a structural part of the machine. It helps keep it square and rigid. I wouldn’t want to be pulling it off to replace it when the “Spoilboard” gets worn out and messed up (and it does over time). I’d have to square everything all over again and I don’t want that bother.

I do agree that something more prominent needs to be said about the need buy another piece of MDF to mount on the machine with a Z+ but it should be recommended for all machines anyway

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I’m very glad you figured it out Tex and no I don’t think people should be mad that C3D didn’t send them the MDF for a new spoilboard. What I am suggesting is that this is a common problem that can be very easily addressed by C3D and I think it would be a good customer service to address it to allow their customers to be more fully informed. I’m not attacking C3D…I’m trying to help them improve their product and service their customers better.

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When I replaced the factory wasteboards on my Shapeoko 3 Std. I modeled the new boards off of the warped (from water damage) old ones and cut it out of a poorly made .75" birch ply because I had it on hand. The problem was that it didn’t fit under the Y rails so I Milled that area and it all fit up nicely and had an then had an elevated in the work area effectively. This may be an option for those who want to have an elevated face for your base wasteboard that will allow you to cut down to the face of the board. Just use whatever thickness of ply or MDF you can stack to make up what you need or mill the Y rails on a thick piece of high quality ply. I’m sure that there are those who will disagree with this approach and for good reasons but this was intended to get me off the ground and could be a solution.

To be honest I could have been more careful with the layout and considered a pattern to cut them on the shapeoko but obviously you can’t cut it in one pass and I don’t trust a 2 pass arrangement for something this critical. Not because of the machine but because of the guy running it. Anyhow, they fit up and I have had some good cuts but I know the current arrangement is warped as I get a shallow warp in my cuts where there is a depression in the wasteboard. So I think the plywood base waste board I cut is just warped and so I use a 1/4" piece of MDF as my tertiary waste board on top of my secondary .75" Birch Ply board where my T nuts are placed at 2" O.C… This has helped to dewarp the warp but I think I need to rebuild with MDF because it is nearly perfect in comparison to the sub grade Birch Ply I used.

So I will look for a pattern on the Wiki that I can plot 1:1 on paper check it and use it as a template for new base boards. With that I think I will feel better about knowing I have a more accurate substrate as my foundation.

For PDFs for the baseplates please see: https://docs.carbide3d.com/support/#shapeoko

Would it be possible to get a .dwg file for these? not critical but I prefer to plot from a cad file if possible. No worries if you can’t swing it. It won’t take too long to recreate.

Please see: https://wiki.shapeoko.com/index.php/Parts#Source_Files and/or https://wiki.shapeoko.com/index.php/Shapeoko_3#Drawings

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