Z clearance when milling a 2.5in high aluminum box

Hi everyone, new here, my first post!
I am considering the purchase of a Shapeoko XL.
I need to mill on a 2.5 in high aluminum electrical enclosure. Will only be milling 2mm deep into the aluminum and the diameter on the pocket will be about 1/8 in. Its used to build guitar amplifiers for a small business.
I read that the Z axis travel is 3 inches on the Shapeoko XL. Can I place the carbide cutter deep enough into the router to safely clear the movement of the machine over the 2.5 in high aluminum box? Box dimensions are 19in x 8in x 2.5in the box is also open on one side.
The cutter I will purchase will probably be the #112-z

Thanks everyone!

As always it seems Winston has a related video to this.

The machine can quite a few things to help you out here. If you truely need to come top side down into the box, you could pocket a recess into your wasteboard to get the box lower and then use a long reach endmill. Or you could have it on the front of the machine, similar to something like this: CNC Finger Joint Box

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Thanks for the quick reply Josh!
I realize I do not need to go top side on the enclosure. I can go on the open side and then z clearance is not an issue. I guess I could line up the enclosure so that the cnc does not move outside of the 19in x 8in space of the enclosure ?
Would it be possible to get the machine to not move outside of the 19in x 8 in dimensions of the enclosure?


It sort of depends on the program and what you have. If you have a bit setter, it will need to reference before the job starts. If that’s the case I’d imagine the best solution would have the open face point towards the right side of the machine (assuming the bit setter is on that side). Then when the machine references and stops it should exit out the side that’s open.
If you are modeling in carbide create you could have an operation that starts and ends at the outside of the box, that way when the job starts and stops, the gantry is already outside the box and isn’t going to crash into the box.
Hopefully that makes sense, and my assumptions are correct.

Actually the box is closed on all 4 sides (2.5in high all around) Its only the bottom that is open 19in x 8in. Does that mean I would have to do an operation in Carbide Create that starts and finishes inside the dimensions of the box?



The new machines are shipping with the z-plus correct.? If that’s the case a the waste board on top would be 1.5 inches. You could use this to you advantage by cutting a recess that the box sits in that is 1inch deep. You would always have a reference point.

Thanks everyone. This mention of cutting into the waste board to have your material sit lower , hence giving you more top clearance, seems to be mentioned a lot here and else where. This sounds like a viable solution. I need to do my homework and find out how this is done.

Thanks Michael and Josh!

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