Shapeoko Machine capabilities and limitations

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sgth0mas
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Shapeoko Machine capabilities and limitations

Post by sgth0mas » Sat Dec 12, 2015 9:05 pm

Im planning to purchase a CNC machine for home use pretty soon, but i want to make sure it will perform as i need. Im relatively familiar with cnc machines and have been using a shopbot at tech shop for the past year. It will be used for prototyping and mold making, mostly with acetal, PTFE and some aluminum. I dont want to buy a toy that cant handle at least +/- .010 tolerances...preferably half that.

So my questions to shapeoko 3 owners are as follows:

-what kinda tolerances can you hold?

-how limiting are the belts? This is my biggest concern. If this was a rack and pinion drive i would already have it ordered. Do the belts blow tolerances at "high" feed rate?

-does the machine seem reliable? Can i expect 5 years using it 1x a week @ 75% delrin runs?

-does it trip over the software and crash more than 1 in 10 jobs?

If you were to buy a cnc machine all over again, and had a max target price of maybe 3K, would you pick the shapeoko3? The last thing i want to do is buy this and not be able to make the parts i want...then have to pony up the 5K for a shopbot anyways.

Atonwa
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Re: Shapeoko Machine capabilities and limitations

Post by Atonwa » Sat Dec 12, 2015 11:25 pm

Short answer....pony up for the Shopbot Desktop.

I like my Shapeoko 3 and it's making me money right now but I didn't have unrealistic expectations of what a $1500 machine versus a $7000 Shopbot was going to give me.

To answer your questions:

1. I can probably hold .015" and I haven't done fine tuning yet. But it's Delrin wheels on extruded aluminum frame cutting on an MDF board. Environment conditions can make a difference. Then take into account what material your cutting, bits, feeds and speeds your going to get wildly different answers.

2. Your not going to run at ballscrew feed rates. I'm regularly using 100ipm on wood and plastic with no issues. Using half bit diameter as a baseline for pass depth. I can cut and recut the same pattern without losing fine details so the machine is repeatable.

3. All depends on your maintenance how dependable. Other than the odd electrical glitch I've been running several jobs a day with no issues but I keep the machine very clean between runs.

4. Right now yes, this is my only issue with it. Hopefully Carbide will come up with an actual fix as many people are having issues and we shouldn't have to pay $100's of dollars to fix an electrical issue on our own.

I would not purchase the Shapeoko with the expectations you have set as you may be disappointed. If your used to using a Shopbot it is a big difference to go to a no prox switch, belt/vwheel type machine. Like I said I really like my Shapeoko and it does prototyping and work that I want to do but it is not a load material, press go and a perfect part comes out every time machine. This is a high end hobby machine to me. You'll probably hear lots of opinions but that's my 2 cents.
Shapeoko 3 #109
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sgth0mas
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Re: Shapeoko Machine capabilities and limitations

Post by sgth0mas » Sun Dec 13, 2015 12:10 am

Thanks for the response! I woulde definitely be disappointed with .015...so that settles my expectations.

I guess youre telling me what i expected to hear, but not what i wanted to hear haha. I cant imagine ballscrews or rack and pinion like a shopbot would increase the price more than 200, but it sounds like the biggest frustration you have is the failure rate of the software. Scrap work would be a huge deal to me.

Ill wait to hear from a few others before im off to shopbot, axiom or shark.

WillAdams
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Re: Shapeoko Machine capabilities and limitations

Post by WillAdams » Sun Dec 13, 2015 12:17 am

It’s not a Shopbot, and it costs one thousand, not thousands. That said, I think it’s the best value, certainly the best value at its price point.

That said, obvious upgrades to improve it:

- 9mm wide belts for the X- and Y-axes
- Acme screw for the Z-axis (I’m really surprised no one has done this yet)
- metal Wasteboard
- reinforced spindle carriage plate

It would be interesting to see direct comparisons and an enumeration of the resultant improvement in precision and accuracy.

The USB disconnect issue seems to be related to static electricity, and similar circuit issues, but once solved for a given machine seems to stay solved.
Shapeoko 3XL #0006 w/ Carbide Compact Router w/0.125″ and ¼″ Carbide 3D precision collets

sgth0mas
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Re: Shapeoko Machine capabilities and limitations

Post by sgth0mas » Sun Dec 13, 2015 12:43 am

Yeah i absolutely agree its not going to be a 5K machine, and thats why i somewhat expected to hear these responses. I was still hoping that i wouldnt have too many compromises and could save a few grand to spend on other shop equipment.

Having such high tolerances is a game killer for me which is why i asked the question. Seeing an elastomeric element used to control position in a force loaded application worried me, but i wanted to confirm my worries before writing it off. Hopefully there will be a rack and pinion or ballscrew option with the SO 4.

WillAdams
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Re: Shapeoko Machine capabilities and limitations

Post by WillAdams » Sun Dec 13, 2015 12:48 am

Unless there’s a price break-through, I don’t see that happening — the original price point was $300, and being the best value machine is still a core tenet of the project AIUI.

I’ve opined in the past that a small scale machine optimized for precision metal work would be a nice option, and that seems to’ve been realized in the Nomad 883 — the new Pro version eschews belts, but it also has one fourth the working area and costs two and a half times as much.

It’s been used to cut titanium and some really nice work has been done w/ it.
Shapeoko 3XL #0006 w/ Carbide Compact Router w/0.125″ and ¼″ Carbide 3D precision collets

sgth0mas
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Re: Shapeoko Machine capabilities and limitations

Post by sgth0mas » Sun Dec 13, 2015 1:07 am

WillAdams wrote:Unless there’s a price break-through, I don’t see that happening — the original price point was $300, and being the best value machine is still a core tenet of the project AIUI.

I’ve opined in the past that a small scale machine optimized for precision metal work would be a nice option, and that seems to’ve been realized in the Nomad 883 — the new Pro version eschews belts, but it also has one fourth the working area and costs two and a half times as much.

It’s been used to cut titanium and some really nice work has been done w/ it.
Good point on the price objectives. Based on what youve said, I would venture to guess that im not the target market for this machine.

I considered the nomad but the work area is just too small. It does seem like a great machine for small devices.

WillAdams
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Re: Shapeoko Machine capabilities and limitations

Post by WillAdams » Sun Dec 13, 2015 1:18 am

This does raise an interesting topic: what would a ShapeOko Pro (improvement like to the Nomad883 pro) be like?

What are the linear motion options and what would be the best option, what would be the uptick on the price, and what would that get us beyond the somewhat upgraded machine which I described?
Shapeoko 3XL #0006 w/ Carbide Compact Router w/0.125″ and ¼″ Carbide 3D precision collets

sgth0mas
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Re: Shapeoko Machine capabilities and limitations

Post by sgth0mas » Sun Dec 13, 2015 1:26 am

WillAdams wrote:This does raise an interesting topic: what would a ShapeOko Pro (improvement like to the Nomad883 pro) be like?

What are the linear motion options and what would be the best option, what would be the uptick on the price, and what would that get us beyond the somewhat upgraded machine which I described?
For a pro system:

Running a rack and pinion system like a shopbot, or a ballscrew/leadscrew system like a shark or axiom would be the biggest inorovement hands down. It would basically put this machine into a league that can handle the tolerances an engineer like myself are after and can realistically expect without jumping to a tormach. The only drawback then are software issues which are cheaply upgradeable for a user, unlike linear drives. I would expect the raw cost of an upgrade to either of these for a 16x16 machine to be under $200, closer to $150 at low quantity. Software changes are minimal and the basic mechanics are the same...especially with rack and pinion.

sgth0mas
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Re: Shapeoko Machine capabilities and limitations

Post by sgth0mas » Sun Dec 13, 2015 1:30 am

Another way to put it...for my intended use, tolerances of +/-.015 for a cnc completely rule this machine out. I will easily jump up a few grand in price because i know this would only become a $1000 toy since i cant rely on accurate machined parts.

But again, thats only based on my intended use. For hobbyists and model makers, i would imagine repeatable tolerances arent king.

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