XXL Wasteboard upgrade

My search for a good but not too expensive wasteboard continues. While stutaylo’s solution is ideal it’s far too expensive for me - particularly since I have an XL.
Was at the hardware store (Bunnies for people in Oz) this morning and spotted panels (2200x600x25 mm) of Laminated Bamboo. Three layers as shown in the Pix below. This is solid and fairly heavy stuff. I wonder if anyone has had experience of using such a product as their wasteboard?


I’ve not used it for a wasteboard, but used it elsewhere - bamboo ply is serious stuff. It seems to be quite stable and reasonably uniform (on the order of MDF) in thickness. It’s VERY durable as it’s bits of bamboo and a high-strength resin cast under extreme pressure and heat.

1 Like

How flat is the bamboo ply you found?

Even high-quality Baltic Birch plywood in the US is a little wavy.

Hard to know Phil until I buy a sheet and fit it to the XL. To the eye it looks pretty good but that is not really much of a guide. My Pix above shows the pieces of laminate 3mm thick but it is closer to 4 maybe even 5mm so there is enough ‘meat’ for skimming the board.


I like the look of that, I would imagine it is pretty rigid, and the price is right.

In my opinion, the wasteboard doesn’t have to be perfectly flat, obviously if it is thats ideal, but my experience has been that having a sacrificial wasteboard the size of my cutting area (so I can machine it flat) on top of the base board works well enough, as long as you square the machine up as per the info on this forum, the results are pretty accurate.

Mine is currently 1” ply and my machine is very accurate, far more than it was originally with the mdf board

1 Like

Thanks Stuart, what troubles me with the MDF wasteboard is the give toward the middle of the machine, just a little pressure will move it many thou. in the z direction. Following a thread some time back in this forum I have removed the feet from the XL and fitted a rubber mat underneath. http://community.carbide3d.com/t/sounds-suppression-xxl-bed-flatness-and-other-musings/4875 This has improved the situation but still leaves a lot to be desired.

I agree that a sacrificial wasteboard the size of ones cutting area mounted on top of the ‘baseboard’ is a good idea and this is the way I intend moving. Flattening the ‘baseboard’ has problems by leaving a ridge that could get in the way with some jobs.

I think the bamboo will be fairly rigid and I probably will spend the money on the 25mm bamboo sheet, fortunately I have a friend who will take the other half sheet off my hands.

1 Like

I couldn’t believe the amount of flex in the mdf. If took me a while to work it out, I was getting several millimetres just pushing the baseboard with my finger…

I changed to plywood, and with a dial indicator I can see no flex at all, and have none of the issues I used to, with pockets not cut to depth, and rough stepped finishes on 3d toolpaths.

I imagine the bamboo is just as rigid, if not more so. It is probably more resistant to moisture too, which was a big weakness of the MDF. It may even be worth putting some type of finish on it, maybe a lacquer or even acrylic paint, do you have any thoughts on this?

Nice find, I am interstate for work but may also give this a shot, I like the look of it!

Agreed Stuart, a lacquer on both sides would probably be a good idea. I don’t know how susceptible the endgrain of bamboo is to moisture absorption. In any event it may also be a good idea to coat the edges also.

1 Like

The iron plate is an excellent idea, has weight and does not buckle like MDF or engineering plastics, being a stable investment. For me, I would buy a 12 mm sheet. or 1/2 inch and I would make a rectification on both sides, to finally have a flat surface technically elaborated, then I would place my plastic sheet as protection to the tools and to fix the stock of the materials to work.

OK, I purchased the 25mm Bamboo panel and cut it down to the 3XL size (purchased size 2200x600x25mm). I quickly gave it two coats of Shellac all round to seal against moisture ingress and will probably give it more before installation. It’s really porous stuff.

Cut down to XL size it weighs in at 20 kg and is truly a solid lump of wood. I put a straight edge on both the x and y axis, on one side I cannot see light between the straight’s edge and the panel in either axis. On the reverse there is about a 0.3mm (0.012") ‘valley’ about 1/3 along the x axis. This side will face terra firma.

Haven’t started to drill the mounting holes yet but plan only to use this panel as a baseboard and mount a sacrificial levelled board above it as noted by stutaylo above. I am looking forward to seeing the results.


20kg for XL size?? That sounds perfect! It’s a pretty well known rule that more weight = less vibration & more rigidity.

I think shellac is a good call, personally I think I’d go with threaded inserts in the base then screw the mdf to the base so it can be removed if cutting thicker jobs, that has worked well for me in the past

1 Like

I want you to excuse me, but I have already used a base in engineering plastic, in wood and come to the coclusion that the base must be rigid, either in aluminum or iron.

1 Like

I have already used a base in engineering plastic, in wood and come to the coclusion that the base must be rigid, either in aluminum or iron.

I take your point JoseD3. However cost is a consideration for many.

Thinking about it though, already there are a lot of plastics in a Shapeoko in the form of V-wheels and Belts all significant components!

1 Like

Yes, but there’s also “The Wonderful One-Hoss Shay” aspect of it, and the thing only being as strong as its weakest link. That should be the V-wheels — any wear / distortion should happen there (and they’re relatively inexpensive and easily replaced).

For some folks, cutting some materials, the MDF won’t be workable, but for many folks, it’s fine — it’s a kit, and the wasteboard is one of the most customizable aspects of it.


In my case I cut hard wood, copper, aluminum and require exact measurements, but my council is the fruit of working every day with Shapeoko, I also believe that the person who has one of these machines at some point needs to make a accurate cut . You can put now or leave to do it later.]

I just received an email from Carbide they now have a T-Track table, just ordered it for my xxl.
Can’t wait

1 Like

Nice, How did you fasten the MDF to plywood

Just used 6-8 timber screws per length of mdf, and countersunk them so they sit 1/4” below the surface

1 Like

How is the board keeping up, any sag or is it staying true?

Has anyone thought to use signboard? Its aluminum sheet, with corrugated plastic in the center (although you can buy some with solid ABS in the middle too)

Its fairly rigid, light, and a 4x8’ sheet from a signage supplier should be about $80 or less, and you can cut it with a good condition circular saw.

1 Like