Updates to the Shapeoko 3 Kit (2016 vs 2015)

I’m looking for feedback on the changes made this year to the Shapeoko 3 kit. I was unsuccessful in finding answers via the search function, so apologies in advance if this has already been answered.

I have a SO3 from late 2015. It has the 6mm belts and old z-axis plate. I’ve seen a few forum posts indicating the z-axis plate is a worthwhile upgrade. But I haven’t seen anything about the belt width change. Some questions remain for me:

*I’ve had the z-axis slip on me a few times, so I’m planning on changing to a 9mm belt there. Is there room?
*Were there any other changes that affect milling performance?
*My machine flexes on the z-axis mostly because of the v-wheel bearings (it seems). Have those improved? (I’ve attempted using thinner shims and replaced v-wheels without luck)
*Is the control board the same? I still lose the USB connection during power-downs with the Dewalt.

Thanks in advance.

I was able to upgrade my SO3, serial #6 to 9mm wide belts as described here: http://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/User:Willadams#B.O.M. — I still think it’d be a good idea to use longer bolts and spacers and mount the motors on the other side, but that’s mostly a theoretical advantage / improvement.

The list at: https://shop.carbide3d.com/products/shapeoko3

  • Enclosed electronics, no need for a fan
  • One-piece MDF table, no need for bottom straps
  • 9mm Belts
  • New, more rigid Z plate
  • US-Made V wheels and eccentric nuts
  • Partially assembled- cuts assembly time by 75%!!
  • Homing switches included
  • Carbide endmill included (1/4")
  • Adapter ring to fit Makita RT0701C router

makes me think not except for

V-wheels — I’ve seen mention that these are thicker/more rigid design, but maybe I’m mis-remembering — the bearings themselves I think are very good quality, the problem is that on the Z-axis they get loaded in their worst possible direction AIUI — guess this is why linear slides are worthwhile. Really regret not getting one during the Reddit 150 promotion from Misumi.

As regards the control board, there have been several revisions — if you’re experiencing disconnects, you should contact support@carbide3d.com

@WillAdams, thanks for the info! I did run across your page while searching, but it wasn’t clear to me if you upgraded the z-axis to a 9mm GT2?
The z-axis seems like the one that needs it most to me. I’d rather widen the belt than put any more force on the stepper motor axle. I’d love it if the parts to upgrade were in the store. Or maybe I’ll just bite the bullet and solve all these shortcomings with linear slides…

I did contact Carbide and they sent me a different (newer?) board to prevent loss-of-USB, which helped significantly at first, but the problem has since come back. I’ve got some other tricks to try but I was just curious.

Cheers, -opj

No. My apologies — you’re correct that there isn’t room for a 9mm belt in there — it’s really tight. I also haven’t been able to find a source for a 9mm wide endless loop belt. While it’d be a lot of trouble to adjust, one option might be to add another pair of V-wheels which would help to distribute the loading.

Glad to hear you got a newer revision board which addressed your problem (initially) — if it’s started to come back, it probably means that you’ve been running your router a lot and the carbon brushes in it are wearing, increasing the EMI it puts out — see if a new pair of brushes helps.

I was having the same issues. Someone had suggested using a different power strip for the router. Tried that-didn’t work. Still had “did-connect” issues. Discovered, quite back accident, that the in-line on/off switch in the power line to the controller board was intermittent. Discarded the switch, and voila, no more disconnect problems. I did, however, continue to use the separate power strip for shutting off the router.
Hope this helps.

1 Like

@WillAdams Additional v-wheels are worth a shot, good call.
I’ve probably got another 100+ hours before the brushes are done, but I’ll see if that makes a difference if I haven’t resolved it by then :wink:

@drichard Interesting. I also tried using a different power strip, and have my computer and SO3 on a UPS. The UPS doesn’t make a difference in my case (it’s not an ‘online’ UPS, however). I never would have suspected board power switch, but I’ll check it out. Thanks!

I had the power applied to the control box and was adjusting the location of the power cord to the box and heard it connecting and disconnecting. That didn’t seem right. Popped the switch apart and the aroma let me know there was an issue. Worth a shot.