dvdsnyd's Shapeoko 3 #23 Upgrades and Custom Aluminum Table

dvdsnyd
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Location: North Branch, MN

dvdsnyd's Shapeoko 3 #23 Upgrades and Custom Aluminum Table

Post by dvdsnyd » Thu Apr 07, 2016 3:04 am

Hi everyone,
I wanted to chronicle my upgrade path for my Shapeoko 3 for myself and anyone else who wants to look at what I have done and hopefully gain some inspiration, or possibly see something that I could improve upon. First a little background on me.

I've had my machine up and running for over a year now. I've made a few projects with it so far. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of those. Overall I am very pleased with the machine. Edward and Carbide did a great job designing and building an affordable and very capable machine. My main focus for the machine is to aid in my hobby endeavors which include rocketry and other things that fly. Having two young boys under 4, I see some small gliders in the future as well. Having an Aerospace Engineering background, I'd like to eek out as much precision out of the machine as possible.

To unlock all of the precision in the machine, a solid and flat base needs to be procured somehow. This base is the reference for all of measurements and relationships that will help make the machine square and ensure that the two y axis rails are the same height. I fought with the idea of building a torsion table work bench and using that as a reference similar to twforeman's build log. However, I do not own the necessary woodworking tools to build something that I would be happy with. The aluminum table that Carbide is now selling is also a great option. However, I missed out on the last batch because I contemplated too heavily on the price tag. I began looking at other options and came up with something that I believe Is pretty economical and could possibly be scaled to some of the new larger machines.

I found a local (to me) supplier of precision aluminum plate - Midwest Steel and Aluminum. They provide Cast aluminum tool and Jig Plate, URL is:
https://www.midweststeelsupply.com/stor ... minumplate

I did a lot of research on aluminum plate. The brand of plate that Midwest sells is Vista Metals ATP-5, Other industry names are Mic 6 cast plate. The biggest thing to keep in mind is the flatness spec and understanding that usually thicknesses of material over 0.5" or 0.75" the thickness and flatness tolerances are generally held to a better than 0.005" deviation. For the ATP-5, anything over 0.5" thick, the flatness is guaranteed to be under 0.005" deviation. Ultimately, I chose Midwest Steel because of its pricing and location to me. I ordered a piece of 5/8" plate 22.8125" wide by 28.4375 (Same dimensions as the stock Shapeoko 3 MDF wasteboard) I was pleasantly surprised to find that the plate I received was almost exactly to these dimensions, however the way the machine is put together, I believe upwards of about + /- 0.0625" could be tolerated just fine. Total cost was about $135. They offer a lot of sale pricing as well, upwards of 15% off can be had if one is patient. For another $30, I could have had it shipped to me. I'm sure this varies depending on shipping location.
Here's a quick pic of the raw plate with the PVC covering still intact.
Image

So, lets get down to the actual build...er deconstruction first...
I first removed the original wasteboard halves from the y axis rail supports and base assembly. I used the center strap to hold the two halves together square and tight while I center-punched the 8 locations where the two y axis rail supports will be attached to the plate. I used a couple of machinist squares to ensure that the center punch was as vertical as possible. A 7/32" center punch worked almost perfectly in the 5mm clearance holes.

Image

Once the locations for the Y axis rail supports were marked, I drilled small pilot holes at each location. I used my small drill press to do this to try to make sure that the hole was as vertical as possible. The plate weights about 40lbs, so this wasn't an easy task. I used a quick clamp to help hold the plate while I positioned it. After the pilot hole was drilled, I used a hand drill to bring the hole up to 7/32" I then used a special counterbore bit with a drill tip:

http://www.mcmaster.com/#29445a23/=11ve0en
They are kind of pricy, but it worked flawlessly! The drill tip fit well into the 7/32 hole we drilled earlier allowing us to center the counterbore portion of the bit. I used a hand drill with this bit. I also ended up using the same screws that came with the machine to fasten the Y axis rail supports, which meant I my counterbore depth was just enough to leave the end of the screw sticking out enough to engage into the PEM nut all the way.

The machine screws were a little tight in the counterbore. I took them to by bench grinder and ground them down ever so slightly, just until they spun freely. To my amazement, everything lined up perfectly without having to slot or oversize any of the holes!

Image

Once this was done, I went onto measuring out and marking locations for leveling feet. I purchased these from McMaster Carr since they have a nice large pad and can be adjusted from the top with a flat tip screwdriver.
http://www.mcmaster.com/#23015t67/=11ve5u4

I put one in the center of the table to help support it from it's own weight (after putting everything together, I'm not sure if this is totally necessary, but better to have more support than not)
I just located the 4 levelers off of the Y axis rail supports in the main portion of the bed, but still close to the 4 corners.

Here's a view from under the table:

Image

And a view of the completed table with Y axis supports:

Image

I purchased a 24" precision straight edge that was flat within 0.0015" over it's length. When placed on the table, I can't see daylight through it:

Image

Overall I am incredibly pleased with how this project is progressing so far. Next I am moving onto marking, punching, drilling and taping 120 holes for clamping. So far I have them all marked and half of them pilot drilled. The real chore will be tapping them all. I'll post more once I have them all tapped...Any bets on how long to tap them all?

Thanks,
Dave

AnonymousPerson
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Re: dvdsnyd's Shapeoko 3 #23 Upgrades and Custom Aluminum Ta

Post by AnonymousPerson » Thu Apr 07, 2016 1:57 pm

Cool project. :)

The original MDF wasteboard in mine has been replaced with (not super flat) 4mm aluminium + M5 tapped holes every 50mm square.

Like you, I tapped the holes by hand. In hindsight, I wish I'd finished setting up the S3 on it's rails first, then used that to drill starter holes for each of the holes it could reach. That would improve their placement accuracy over "by hand" by quite a lot.

Is that something you'd consider doing? It can't reach the entire wasteboard area, but since you seem to be striving for accuracy, it seems like a good idea for the ones it can get to. :)
Shapeoko 3 #516

dvdsnyd
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Joined: Thu Dec 11, 2014 5:08 pm
Location: North Branch, MN

Re: dvdsnyd's Shapeoko 3 #23 Upgrades and Custom Aluminum Ta

Post by dvdsnyd » Thu Apr 07, 2016 5:05 pm

Thanks,
I thought about it, but got too antsy and just started marking out the holes by hand. I'm not too concerned with the placement of the clamp holes being off a little. If I ever need to have something precision placed like a clamp or something similar, I would use the SO3 to make holes.


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twforeman
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Re: dvdsnyd's Shapeoko 3 #23 Upgrades and Custom Aluminum Ta

Post by twforeman » Thu Apr 07, 2016 5:55 pm

That looks great.

If you are careful you can chuck the tap in your cordless drill for the tapping. :)
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CrazyBillybob
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Re: dvdsnyd's Shapeoko 3 #23 Upgrades and Custom Aluminum Ta

Post by CrazyBillybob » Fri Apr 08, 2016 1:37 pm

With that many holes that need drilled and tapped..... Pick up one of these
http://www.amazon.com/Greenlee-DTAP1-4- ... P+1%2F4-20
It's a combination drill and tap. Hit it with some good aluminum cutting/tapping oil (or stick) and you should be good to go. Well worth the $10 us

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Re: dvdsnyd's Shapeoko 3 #23 Upgrades and Custom Aluminum Ta

Post by WillAdams » Fri Apr 08, 2016 1:55 pm

This wasteboard is quite a bit thicker than the 10 gauge sheet which that bit is specced for --- will it work w/ something (aluminum) this thick?
Shapeoko 3XL #0006 w/Makita RT0701 Router w/0.125″ and ¼″ Elaire precision collets
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Re: dvdsnyd's Shapeoko 3 #23 Upgrades and Custom Aluminum Ta

Post by CrazyBillybob » Fri Apr 08, 2016 2:22 pm

WillAdams wrote:This wasteboard is quite a bit thicker than the 10 gauge sheet which that bit is specced for --- will it work w/ something (aluminum) this thick?
Nice catch Will. I looked up the part on MSC and posted the link from Amazon (easier for most people to order from) and they didn't note the 10Ga limit on MSC. After seeing that I've rechecked all the 1/4-20 Dtaps I could find. Best length (to Cost)seems to be on the interstate ones from Enco http://www.use-enco.com/CGI/INSRIT?PMAK ... PG=INLMK32
It shows the drill size as 17/32 with the thread cutting area of 13/16. It should thread to the bottom of the hole but your going to have to back out alot to clear chips. Never tried one on plate that thick.

If you go up to a 5/16 bit you should be able to do it (based on the specs not experience)http://www.use-enco.com/CGI/INPDFF?PMPA ... M=510-1320.
Maybe faster maybe a waste of $12-18us.

CBB

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Re: dvdsnyd's Shapeoko 3 #23 Upgrades and Custom Aluminum Ta

Post by AnonymousPerson » Fri Apr 08, 2016 4:13 pm

That's interesting info. Didn't know anything like that existed.

Super cheapo set here in the UK, might be worth trying out at some point: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Drill-Combinati ... B01DIWWT0A
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dvdsnyd
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Location: North Branch, MN

Re: dvdsnyd's Shapeoko 3 #23 Upgrades and Custom Aluminum Ta

Post by dvdsnyd » Sat Apr 09, 2016 12:02 am

Thanks everyone!

I thought about tapping with my drill, but the thought of busting off the tap and dealing with that doesn't excite me. Plus, I did try it quickly, I don't think the chuck of my drill can grab the tsp very well. Oh well, I'll just crank up the tunes and grind away.

Those are interesting bits. Definitely good to keep in mind.

I tapped a few holes after work today. Looks like it will take about 2 minutes a hole...so... Only 4 hours of tapping...


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dvdsnyd
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Finally done tapping

Post by dvdsnyd » Wed Apr 20, 2016 2:24 am

Just a quick update. I finished tapping all of the 120 holes last weekend. It took a little over 4 hours total. I broke it up into several shorter sessions.

Image

I also went through and ordered bearing shims and shimmed all of the v-wheels. I followed Tim's fantastic tutorial:
http://www.shapeoko.com/forum/viewtopic ... =30#p60081

Now I am going through the tedious process of leveling the machine.

More to come..

Dave

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