Introduction: Building a Hybrid Xcarve Shapeoko CNC Router

Picture of Building a Hybrid Xcarve Shapeoko  CNC Router

Hello, thanks for checking out my first instructable. The idea behind this build was to bring back the original shapeoko with some upgrades, while trying to cheapen it as much as possible without it being junk. I've also stuck with self replication, all the parts that I have made for this are milled on this machine. Cost to build if you have to buy everything here is about $700. I built mine for about $600 by shopping around and using scrap wood to make my own parts. I may change some of the wood parts here over time, but the rest of the parts will stay the same.

This instructible still needs a LOT of work, but I've published now thinking if there's any interest in it that might motivate me to finish it.

Step 1: Order Parts

You need the following parts to build this.

From Inventables:

  1. gshield Don't cheap out here and get a knock off, I've used them and they suck.
  2. Arduino Uno Get the one with Grbl already installed. Same as above, get a real one. I had lots of problems with the knock offs. I wonder if these are official, it's a good price if they are.
  3. 18 tooth pulley x3
  4. carriage (You could also just make the shapeoko carriage out of wood and save some money, but it sucks and is a pain in the butt to build.)
  5. 1000mm makerslide x4, I use the untapped silver makerslide and tap my own 10-24 threads. If you don't want to tap threads, then get the black makerslide and switch some of the bolts later.
  6. 500mm makerslide This is for the z axis, this is a LOT of z axis for a machine like this. The reason for this is that I want to try 3D printing with this at some point. If you have no interest in doing anything besides milling with this, then the 250mm rail is plenty.
  7. nema 17 motors x4 (I've also used these, they seem to work fine but run a lot hotter. I've been running one on my z-axis for a while now.
  8. drag chain The first option (Any drag chain will work as long as it's 1m long, I've used under sized chain and zip tied the extra wires that didn't fit in it to it. It's not pretty, but works if you're trying to save every dollar possible.
  9. idler pulley x6 (If your trying to build this machine as cheap as possible, you can skip these and just use a piece of 1" diameter HDPE rod cut to 1" lengths. Drill a hole through it and bolt it on where the idlers would be. They don't spin but the belt slides along it just fine. I ran mine like this for a while and it worked fine and saves about $20)
  10. V-wheel kit 20 pack (If you're not afraid to shop around and buy from lots of different vendors these can be found here for $20 less, I've used them and they work fine.)
  11. Eccentric spacers the standard type x10
  12. MXL belting x12
  13. 4 conductor wire x
  14. spacers You need part# 25312-10 and 25312-13.

From Openbuilds:

  1. acme screw 500mm or 250mm if you went with the 250mm rail above for the z axis.
  2. nut block
  3. flexible coupling

From Ebay:

  1. power supply under "type" select 24v/5a
  2. terminal blocks

If these auctions disappear, just search for "4 Position Covered Screw Terminal" and "24v 5a power supply". Don't worry about the connector for the power supply, it gets cut off anyway. Also, Inventables has blocks and power supply that will work but they are not what I used here so I didn't list them.

From your favorite hardware store:

  1. Dewalt 660
  2. 2 8' 2x4's
  3. 1 4'x4' piece of 1/2" or thicker plywood (any type works, i used birch. Don't get fancy here, this is your spoil board.)
  4. 2.5" screws (I used star bit deck screws, but anything that screws wood together works)
  5. 3/4" #6 screws (Again, anything that screws wood together works)
  6. #10 washers
  7. 10-24 nuts
  8. QTY 7 m3 washers
  9. QTY 3 50mm m3 bolts
  10. QTY 8 8mm m3 bolts
  11. 1" 10-24 pan head bolts
  12. 2" 10-24 pan head bolts
  13. QTY 10 3" 10-24 pan head bolts (or 90mm M5 if you use the tapped black makerslide)
  14. 3 1" 10-24 eye bolts (exact size isn't important, as long as it fits through the slot and you can wrap the belt around it.)
  15. thread locker, I didn't use any but I would recommend using some or switching to lock nuts on the v-wheels. I'm constantly re-tightening nuts on my machine. It's only been a problem on the v-wheels, so you don't need much.

Find someone to mill the wood parts

I've included a DXF file for milling on a cnc or you might be able to convert it to PDF for hand making, but I don't know how accurate that is.

Step 2: Gather Tools

You'll need access to the following tools to build this.

  1. Circular saw and/or chop saw, this is only for cutting the wood for the base and can be done right at Home Depot if you don't have one.
  2. Electric drill with drill and phillips head bits.
  3. Assorted phillips head screw drivers.
  4. Adjustable wrench and/or box end wrench set. I just use an adjustable for the whole thing.
  5. Metric hex wrench set.
  6. Wire cutters and strippers.
  7. If your going to make your own parts for this then you'll need access to a CNC, I don't have any plans for hand making it.

Step 3: Building the Base

Picture of Building the Base
  1. Cut 3 2x4's to " and 2 2x4's to " then screw them together using the 3" wood screws like the picture. Don't worry about being exact with the cuts or squaring, just get it close. Cutting them slightly short is better than too long. These can be cut right at Home Depot if you don't have the tools.
  2. Cut the plywood to " x ". Home Depot will cut this for you if you need. It doesn't have to be perfect.
  3. Screw the plywood to the frame making sure to use some screws in the middle to keep the plywood as flat as possible. Make sure to sink the screws into the plywood a little so you don't mill into them later.

This step is kinda optional, you could just bolt the machine down to a bench or an old table or something using some angle brackets. I once had it bolted down to an old pool table. Squaring the machine is a lot easier with this base as opposed to bolting it down to something.

Step 4: Assemble the V-wheels and Idler Pulley

Picture of Assemble the V-wheels and Idler Pulley

The v-wheels and idlers come un-assembled. You just stuff the bearings inside the plastic part. One of the included washers goes in between the bearings. It's easier if you assemble them on a bolt, then the washer won't slide off into the abyss, which seems to happen every time you look away. After assembly, hold the bearing between your thumb and index finger, then try to move the plastic part back and forth. There shouldn't be any side to side movement. If there is, you either don't have it together quite right or it's defective. Usually it's just a matter of not having one of the bearings pushed in far enough.

Pics are from Inventables website.

Step 5: Assemble the Motor Mount Plates

Picture of Assemble the Motor Mount Plates
  1. Assemble the motor mount plates as shown.
  2. Bottom 2 v-wheels assemble like this: bolt-eccentric spacer-wood-washer-vwheel-washer-nut
  3. Top 2 v-wheels assemble like this: bolt-washer-wood-washer-vwheel-washer-nut
  4. Pulley assembles like this: bolt-washer-wood-1/4" spacer-pulley-washer-nut
  5. Use 3/4" wood screws to attach the terminal block, the exact position isn't important.
  6. Bolt the motor on using 2 m3 bolts and washers, only 2 are used so the motors can be replaced without tearing the machine apart.
  7. Flush mount the silver pulley to the shaft of the motor.
  8. Strip the wires for the motor and install into the terminal block using the order shown. Pay attention here, both motors are not wired up the same way (the black and blue wires switch position).

Step 6: Assemble the Carriage

Picture of Assemble the Carriage
  1. Bolt the motor to the adapter plate and sink the screws into the wood a little so they are flush with the surface, don't use washers.
  2. The v-wheels and pulleys hold the plate on. All 4 v-wheels on the bottom get eccentric spacers. The 4 bolts at the top and bottom of the carriage opposite the motor just stay loose for now.
  3. The 2 holes above the motor are where the Idlers go.

Step 7: Assemble the Z Axis

Picture of Assemble the Z Axis
  1. Attach the coupler between the motor and acme rod. It only fits 1 way.
  2. Tighten the set screws on the coupler.
  3. Tap 2 10-24 threads into the ends of the rail, either end, doesn't matter.
  4. Attach the wood mount to the rail using 2 1" 10-24 bolts and washers. Make sure you orient the rail the correct way. 1 side has 2 slots down the face, the other side doesn't.
  5. Attach the motor using the 1" spacers and M3 bolts and washers.

Step 8: Prep Wiring

  1. Cut the 4 conductor cable to the following lengths:
  2. Strip both ends of the wiring. I go about 2" on the outer covering and 1/2" on the inner wires.
  3. Use some masking tape and a marker or something to label the 4 wires x,y, and z.
  4. Cut the end off the power supply, not the end that plugs in the wall, the other end. Then strip the wires 1/2".
  5. Strip the wire for all the motors 1/2". You can either leave the wire long and zip tie it out of the way later, or wait until the motors are installed and cut the wire to length.

Step 9: Assemble X-Axis

  1. Run the wiring you labeled x axis through the x axis rail.
  2. Slide 2 of the big spacers and the assembled motor plate over the wiring and loosely bolt to the end of the rail using 3 3.5" bolts and washers.
  3. Slide the x axis carriage onto the rail.
  4. Turn the eccentric spacers on the carriage until the v-wheels are tight. You can tell if they are tight enough by trying to spin the v-wheel by hand. If the wheel spins on the rail and the carriage doesn't move, they are not tight enough.
  5. Repeat step 2 and bolt the other spacers and plate on.
  6. Ignore the spacers that are on my bolts, I messed up and bought ones that were too long. Also, I'm running a slightly different rail (this one) but it's not in stock very often. If you take your 2 rails and drill 4 evenly spaced holes through them and bolt them together you get the same performance as running this one piece rail that I'm using. I've done it both ways and neither is better than the other.

Step 10: Assemble the Y Axis Rails

Picture of Assemble the Y Axis Rails
  1. Cut your belting into 4' lengths.
  2. Tap 10-24 threads into the holes in the ends of the rails. unless you're using the pre-tapped rail.
  3. Bolt the endplates on, pay attention to the orientation of the rail in the picture.
  4. Slide the belt into the slot in the endplate, then into the top slot of the clip, then into the bottom slot. Make sure the teeth of the belt are facing up, away from the rail.
  5. Screw the tab into the endplate. Exact positioning isn't important, just don't do it too far up or you'll split the wood.
  6. Wrap the other end of the belting around the eye bolt and use a clamp to secure.

Step 11: Assemble Y Axis

  1. Take the 2 Y axis rails you assembled earlier and slide them into the v-wheels on the motor mount plates.
  2. Bolt on the other end plates and the small spacers.
  3. Turn the eccentric spacers until the v-wheels are tight. You can tell if they are tight enough by spinning the v-wheel by hand. If the wheel spins on the rail and the assembly doesn't move, they are not tight enough.
  4. Put the eye bolt with belt attached to it into the slot of the end plate and loosely tighten.

Step 12: Assemble the Spindle Mount and Carriage

Picture of Assemble the Spindle Mount and Carriage
  1. Installing these v-wheels is a little different than the rest, they get spacers behind them instead of just washers. Eccentric spacers go on the 2 on the side instead of the bottom (either side, doesn't matter).
  2. Place the nut block over the 2 spots marked on the wood and screw down. Dont worry if it's not perfectly straight just get it close.
  3. To install the Dewalt 660 into the mount you have to remove the cover where the cord comes out and loosen the mount for the cord inside. Then you can slide the mount down over the cord.
  4. Give the whole assembly the ole "1 fingered salute", It's the hardest part of the whole build.

I plan on changing this mount at some point so you don't have to take the Dewalt 660 apart to install it.

Step 13: Attach Z Axis Carriage Onto Z Axis Rail

  1. Slide the carriage onto the rail and thread the acme screw into the nut block
  2. Keep threading the screw into the block until all 4 v-wheels are on the rail.
  3. Turn the eccentric spacer on the carriage until the v-wheels are tight. You can tell if they are tight enough by trying to spin the v-wheel by hand. If the wheel spins on the rail and the carriage doesn't move, they are not tight enough.
  4. Tighten the set screw on the nut block until you can feel the acme screw become harder to turn. If you over tighten it the axis will bind up. If it's not tight enough, then the axis will drop while the spindle is running before the motors lock. You can tell if it's tight enough by holding the whole assembly up off your work area and shaking it a little. If the set screw is too loose then the carriage will un-thread itself and start to slide down the rail.

Step 14: Install Z Axis Assembly Into X Axis Carriage

Picture of Install Z Axis Assembly Into X Axis Carriage

The 2 slots in the z axis rail slide down over the heads of the bolts that you left loose earlier. make sure you get it down over all 4 bolt heads. You have to hold onto the threads of the bolts while tightening the nuts to keep them from just spinning in the slots. Don't worry about messing up the threads, this never needs to come back apart.

Step 15: Attach the Machine to the Base

Picture of Attach the Machine to the Base
  1. Set the machine down over the base you built earlier with a piece of 2x4 under each end plate. It only fits one way.
  2. Slide the gantry all the way toward you.
  3. Secure the end plates to the base with screws using the holes in the bottom of the end plates.
  4. Slide the gantry all the way to the other side.
  5. Repeat step 3

Note: This picture is from an earlier version of this when I was using a wooden carriage on the x axis, so it'll look a little different that what you have in front of you. But, the process is still the same. I'm not currently using the base, I just have mine bolted to a bench using some angle brackets.

Step 16: Wiring

Picture of Wiring

Wire the controller like shown in the picture. I'm using ferrule connectors on the ends of my wires which are starting to separate from being apart and tugged on too many times. But, you can just stuff the bare wire into the terminals. You won't have a yellow wire, it'll be green. Also, note that each axis is labeled next to the heat sink. The bottom red and black wires are from the power supply. Once it's all wired up, place it into the box that's on top of the motor mount plate. Do not attach it with screws or anything, it just sits in there.

Step 17: Take a Break

Congratulations, your machine is all assembled. Now you get to spend many many hours banging your head against the wall while you try to dial it all in and get it to work properly. I'll be adding tips and tricks for that here shortly.

Step 18: Software

I'm using a combination of universal gcode sender, scroll down to stable builds and download 1.0.9. And Cambam (they have a free trial). Or, this should work with Easel, which is free and you don't have to download anything else.

Step 19: Part Names

Picture of Part Names

This is just a picture of all the parts that I have made with names for reference. And yes, I took a picture of my laptop screen with my cell phone.


carlbrooks (author)2018-01-09

How do I fix my upside down pic?

Swansong (author)carlbrooks2018-01-09

You'll have to rotate it in a photo editor and re-upload it. You did a great job on your first instructable!

carlbrooks (author)Swansong2018-01-09

Ok, thanks

About This Instructable




Bio: Gamer, builder of things
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