What would you do?

Howdy all, hoping to get a bit of insight here
Where I work will be buying a Shapeoko XL machine here shortly. We want to through mill aluminum panels no more than 1/4" thick for switch displays. We also want to drag knife cut .3mm plastic sheeting for water proof covers.

Question is (cost not much of a factor): what type of vacuum setup would you use, want to cut on MDF as to not mangle the cutting knife but am unsure of vacuum setup.

Have shopping carted from Carbide the following
Makita router
Makita adaptor
Threaded table

drag knife and blades from Tormach

other than vacuum setup what else should I put on my purchase req, software?

Thanks guys, dealing with a noob here

The Suck It dust boot seems to do a really good job, and would look amazing on a purchase request. There is a lead time (they’re fufilling kickstarter orders now and shipping non-kickstarter hopefully really soon, as that’s where my order is :stuck_out_tongue: ). But there’s a lot of DIY versions out there also.

Depending on the type of cutting you want to do, if it’s 3d profiles you way want to look into MeshCAM or another 3rd party package. If it’s 2.5d cutting then Carbide Create may suffice. I prefer doing my layouts in Illustrator (though any robust vector art program will work) then importing into CC because the tools in Illustrator are a little more defined. Save as SVG then open in CC and you can setup your tool paths.

Beyond that just consider what you’d normally consider for cutting metal, whether you need coolant fluid and so forth as that would all require some other solution.


thanks for the feedback. Having never cnc’d before and finance department wanting everything related to this purchase up front it’s kinda rough. Hard to know what you need when never doing it before.

We’ve had some previous discussions on this:

To add to that — the new maintenance kit is an easy thing to justify:

and I keep kicking myself for not buying an inexpensive box of assorted M5 hardware I saw at an automotive store early on in my Shapeoko days.

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End mills
Hold down clamps
Other hold down supplies: Hot glue, ca glue, rubbing alcohol and/or work holding wax.

If you’re going to do a lot of MDF maybe you’ll want to build an enclosure? And since its at work, do you already have HEPA dust collection?


thanks, forgot about the clamps

not milling MDF, was just going to use as spoiler board for drag knife cutting. To which still not sure of vacuum table.

have a table and extruded aluminum frame for an enclosure already, just need the lexan.

We do not have hepa collection here, or not where I’ll be setting this up.

Don’t forget collecting a mix of metal and wood/mdf/etc dust can be dangerous and cause fires.

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They’re currently saying “middle of march” for non-kickstarter suck-it orders…

Mikep yeah on February 12th they emailed me saying they’d start shipping non-kickstarter orders within a week or two, so hopefully that means very soon for mine, and not too long after for orders placed now.

Here’s the actual response I got from my query to them:
“We will be shipping out your order March 17th. We were a couple weeks behind from the Kickstarter. We were rolling them out a bit slower so we could receive feedback from the customers. Due of the feedback, we were able to make some revisions that benefits the ease of installation. We are making every effort to get your unit shipped out as quickly as possible. Our product is made in smaller batches to ensure quality, which is the reason for longer lead times.”

Since you have to request everything up front, and since you know you’re going to be using a drag knife, you might want to put in for a copy of Vectric, or maybe Aspire. I haven’t used either of them, but I know they are well respected, and can do proper drag knife paths.

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