Is a Shapeoko 2 right for me?

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Sniper1154
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Is a Shapeoko 2 right for me?

Post by Sniper1154 » Thu Apr 17, 2014 7:05 pm

Hey all,

I'm a woodworker that's found a bit of a side job making bottle openers for various clientele. You can see them here (https://www.etsy.com/shop/WoodEyesWoodworks) for reference to the size and thickness of the openers. I use solid stock lumber (walnut, cherry, sapele, maple, oak, sassafras, etc.) and have lately been getting requests to create these openers with some customization incorporated. That can either be someone wanting to engrave the name of the person they're gifting the opener to (i.e. "Nate's Pub") or an interested company wanting me to route their logo into the base. So far I've been unable to fulfill these requests for two reasons: one, I'm not confident in my ability to handle the taxing workload of custom engravings by hand and secondly, even if I wanted to do each order individually by the time it took me to do one it would be a sunk cost.

Enter a CNC router. I've looked online at numerous models (Oliver Intellicarve 1013, Rockler Shark, Shop-Bot, etc.) but the Shapeoko 2 appears to have all I need at an extremely attractive price. My circuitry skills are next to none; however, my day job is at an architectural millwork firm so I'm relatively familiar with CNC routers and the associated work flow (I also work in CAD but don't program for the CNC). I have a few questions that I was hoping I could get answered prior deciding to purchase the Shapeoko 2:

1) First and foremost I'll be adding my Bosch Colt to the machine in lieu of the Dremel-like router. Suggestions for bits? I know I'll need a 60-degree V-Groove bit but is there a good 1/4" shank cutting bit or should I get an 1/8" collet and use 1/8" shank bits?
2) How hard is it to change the bits? I've read that the motor can slip on the belt as you torque the collet down. Does this happen frequently?
3) How does a machine like this hold up to the rigors of cutting into solid stock (sometimes 1"thick) wood? Rarely would I need to go completely through the wood but it's still a much different process than cutting through MDF / Particleboard / Plywood
4) Again, my knowledge of circuity and upgrades is limited, how hard would it be to get this up and running? I'm not an absolute layman to the process but the less tinkering the better
5) Any point in getting the Cut2D 1.5 software? Anyone love it? Hate it?

I appreciate any and all feedback and look forward to you guys' testimonials!

twforeman
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Re: Is a Shapeoko 2 right for me?

Post by twforeman » Fri Apr 18, 2014 2:12 am

I do lots of woodworking with my ShapeOko.

#1: I can't answer number 1, as I don't do engraving yet.

#2: I have never had this issue. If you set your stepper driver board up to leave the motors energized, you can't move the machine around by hand (on purpose or by accident.) Also, if you put limit switches on it, even if you move it changing bits, you can just run the homing cycle again and you will have your zero again (assuming you use work coordinate systems.)

#3: Works great. I run a 1/4" router bit though particle board and hard maple. I take .060" deep passes at 60 inches per minute. I could probably go deeper but have not played with it much.

#4: It's not difficult to wire and get running. There are lots of people here willing to help if you get stuck.

#5: I have not used it. I use CamBam for most of my work, but again, I don't do engraving yet. There are several free programs for engraving that others will be by to point out.

Good luck and don't worry about asking questions.
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WillAdams
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Re: Is a Shapeoko 2 right for me?

Post by WillAdams » Fri Apr 18, 2014 9:49 am

twforeman wrote:I don't do engraving yet. There are several free programs for engraving that others will be by to point out.
I guess that would be my cue: http://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/F-Engrave
Shapeoko 3XL #0006 w/Makita RT0701 Router w/0.125″ and ¼″ Elaire precision collets
Nomad 883 Pro #596 (bamboo)

Marty M.
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Re: Is a Shapeoko 2 right for me?

Post by Marty M. » Fri Apr 18, 2014 1:07 pm

I have found that when I want to occasionally scribe or etch things, that a pointed dremel burr will work nicely in a 1/8 to 1/4 adapter in my router. They are cheap too. I'm still waiting on some backordered parts for my Shapeoko2, and once it's up and running I'll share my design. I'm running double Y slides as well as X with double wheels on the Y for some extra support. It might be a bit overbuilt.., but I found on my first homebuild that mass and rigidity are key to good results. Check out CamBam for a fairly inexpensive Cad and Cam program. It is free for 40 uses and then loses a bit of features after that, but still does most of what you would want to do.
Last edited by Marty M. on Fri Apr 18, 2014 1:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.

edwardrford
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Re: Is a Shapeoko 2 right for me?

Post by edwardrford » Fri Apr 18, 2014 1:09 pm

First: Those are cool looking bottle openers! We have another forum member who makes something similar with his Shapeoko:
https://twitter.com/ImprblConstruct/sta ... 32/photo/1
https://twitter.com/ImprblConstruct/sta ... 04/photo/1

Regarding your questions:
1.) If you're cutting wood, you can use regular router bits! The same type that you would use in your hand router.
2.) It's much easier to change bits if you install home switches. This way if your gantry does move, you can simply re-home the machine and start your job again. Most of the time, this is the workflow anyway, as you'll need to re-zero the bit with the work surface. However, it's actually not too common for your carriage to move when the motors are energized
3.) Cutting hardwood isn't a big deal. You'll want to split the cut into multiple passes (something the CAM program takes care of). So instead of plunging through 1" of mahagony, you'd probably doing 8 passes at 1/8" depth increments.
4.) This one is hard to answer. Assembling the machine is straight forward. We dont' hear a lot of complaints about that. Getting the electronics hooked up is suprisingly simple. And using the machine on a basic level is fairly straightforward as well. The trick is to learn the workflow. Given that you have a reference point (experience with how a CNC router works) it will probably be easier for you than a lot of people.
5.) Sorry, I have no experience with that CAM package.

-Edward
Shapeoko 1 #0 - a couple of upgrades.
Shapeoko 2 #0 - a couple of upgrades.
Shapeoko 3 #2 - Stock

Sniper1154
Posts: 13
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Re: Is a Shapeoko 2 right for me?

Post by Sniper1154 » Fri Apr 18, 2014 1:16 pm

edwardrford wrote:First: Those are cool looking bottle openers! We have another forum member who makes something similar with his Shapeoko:
https://twitter.com/ImprblConstruct/sta ... 32/photo/1
https://twitter.com/ImprblConstruct/sta ... 04/photo/1

Regarding your questions:
1.) If you're cutting wood, you can use regular router bits! The same type that you would use in your hand router.
2.) It's much easier to change bits if you install home switches. This way if your gantry does move, you can simply re-home the machine and start your job again. Most of the time, this is the workflow anyway, as you'll need to re-zero the bit with the work surface. However, it's actually not too common for your carriage to move when the motors are energized
3.) Cutting hardwood isn't a big deal. You'll want to split the cut into multiple passes (something the CAM program takes care of). So instead of plunging through 1" of mahagony, you'd probably doing 8 passes at 1/8" depth increments.
4.) This one is hard to answer. Assembling the machine is straight forward. We dont' hear a lot of complaints about that. Getting the electronics hooked up is suprisingly simple. And using the machine on a basic level is fairly straightforward as well. The trick is to learn the workflow. Given that you have a reference point (experience with how a CNC router works) it will probably be easier for you than a lot of people.
5.) Sorry, I have no experience with that CAM package.

-Edward
First, thanks to everyone for all the awesome tips. Edward, I just had one question:

1) When you say regular router bits...are there recommended bits to get going? I'm a big fan of Freud and CMT and notice they have 1/4" shank bits but how much do these break? Does the beefier shank size lend itself to a stronger bit?

WillAdams
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Re: Is a Shapeoko 2 right for me?

Post by WillAdams » Fri Apr 18, 2014 2:00 pm

Sniper1154 wrote: 1) When you say regular router bits...are there recommended bits to get going? I'm a big fan of Freud and CMT and notice they have 1/4" shank bits but how much do these break? Does the beefier shank size lend itself to a stronger bit?
I've tried to capture all of the bit recommendations in the wiki: http://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/ ... mendations (that recently moved off the Vendors page).

There's a little bit more information on that page which you may find of interest --- let us know if there's something you think ought to be there and we'll see if someone knows it or can run it down.
Shapeoko 3XL #0006 w/Makita RT0701 Router w/0.125″ and ¼″ Elaire precision collets
Nomad 883 Pro #596 (bamboo)

edwardrford
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Re: Is a Shapeoko 2 right for me?

Post by edwardrford » Fri Apr 18, 2014 2:06 pm

There hasn't been a lot of discussion about using regular woodworking router bits on this forum. Probably because the default spindle is 1/8" shank. However, you mentioned that you'd be using a Bosch Colt, so I thought I'd mention it.

The types of bits I'm referring to are like this (found here):
711SB8SSTGL._SL1500_.jpg
711SB8SSTGL._SL1500_.jpg (135.09 KiB) Viewed 1187 times

Regarding brand recomendations: Sorry,I dont' have much info on brands. I usually just pickup inexpensive sets from menards like this one. However, on the few occasions that I've used CMT (contractor line) it did seem to last longer, but that's just speculation on my part.

-Edward
Shapeoko 1 #0 - a couple of upgrades.
Shapeoko 2 #0 - a couple of upgrades.
Shapeoko 3 #2 - Stock

twforeman
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Re: Is a Shapeoko 2 right for me?

Post by twforeman » Fri Apr 18, 2014 8:57 pm

CMT are pretty high-end bits.

The Katana line from MLCS are also pretty nice.

The MLCS house brand carbide bits are inexpensive, but work well. But the 1/4" bit does not center-cut so you shouldn't plunge it. That said, you can do a ramp cut (most CAM pkgs will do this) instead of a plunge.
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Marty M.
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Re: Is a Shapeoko 2 right for me?

Post by Marty M. » Fri Apr 18, 2014 10:30 pm

I've been woodworking since 1976 and have found that buying router bits is one of those "you get what you pay for". Although it seems like they are twice the price, the bits produced by CMT, Freud, and Whiteside are superior to all other brands from what I've found. You can buy a Freud bit on Amazon or Buy.com( whatever name it changes to now) for about 50 percent more than a cheap DIY store brand. You will get more than twice the life out of one of these better brands. Do a google search of router bit shoot outs and you'll see who rises to the top. I occasionally will buy a cheaper bit for a task that only gets used once in a while but on my bits that get a workout, I go for the best.

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