Workable space, has anyone slipped their shapeoko around?

I’ve been looking at my shapeoko and can’t help but feel it’s the wrong way around (yes it’s built correctly).

On a shapeoko you have something like 40x35cm of workable space, unless you run over the front of the machine (not something I’ve done). I was wondering why it wasn’t built with the X at the back of the carriage…


  • Rotate the X assembly 180 to have the Y steppers at the front
  • Swap the Y steppers to the other side of the carriage - using spacers similar to that on the X - they would be on the outside of the macnine
  • rotate the X bar 180 so the flange side is faving forward

you would probably gain something like 5-10cm of waste board size.

Has anyone done this, if no why not?


There were similar designs back in the SO1/2 days — in addition to the on-wasteboard gain you’d lose the ability to cut/move into the overhang area, which is a great feature, and a nice convenience.

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I know there would be a loss of the over hang but it’s not something that would be an issue for me.

The only issue I have doing this is I’d have to extend my enclosure again - it’s about 2cm too narrow to accomodate the steppers…

FWIW, I cut “outside the box” frequently I.e. over the front edge. I have a tertiary wasteboard specifically for this that I clamp to my regular WB. sometimes have to raise the 611 in its mount to accommodate thicker stock.


Is this because you need the additional space or because you want to cut something too large for the Shapeoko?

It’s the only way I know of to actually have 16” x 33” cutting area, the advertised max area for the XL. Max cut in Y is, ummm, about 14.8 inches if you stay within the frame.

And, yes, I’ve cut decorative designs in stock that has overhung the front of the XL as much as 40”.


Off the top of my head, I don’t remember how much slack there is in the wires on the Y axis steppers, but you would need an extra ~6 inches of wire on each to reach motors flipped to the outside of the Y carriages and mounted on ~1 inch spacers.

Which is not to say you couldn’t rewire your motors or add extensions, but it’s another thing to consider.

RE: cutting over the front edge, I’ve had long term plans in the back of my head for a while to build some kind of front panel clamping system for doing work on the edges of material. Main thing stopping me is that it’d have to be precisely aligned with the X axis travel (which might not be equivalent to the front of the frame), so I’d need some kind of calibration system.

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