Introduction: Shapeoko 2 PCB Bed Leveling and Spindle Guard
So I've had my Shapeoko 2 desktop CNC machine for a while a now and finally made some pretty practical mods to it. I also showed this on my YouTube Channel here.
Step 1: What I Made and Why...
This was a simple little upgrade that allowed me to protect my vacuum hose from rubbing the spindle as it worked and also allowed me to create a constant bed probe on the spindle side of things.
I stared out with some 3/4" by 3' aluminum flat bar that I picked up from Lowes. I bent it into a simple U-shape with the sides about six inches long and the short part (bottom of a squared U) to be about two inches across. This fits over the quiet cut spindle from Inventables pretty good. Since it's made out of soft aluminum that is easy to bend, I didn't have to worry about being very precise. I created another U shaped piece that would fit inside the previous U shape but rotated 90 degrees as shown in the picture. This created the part that would keep my hose from coming into contact with the moving section of the spindle.
As for the PCB bed probing. I messed with making PCBs soon after I got my machine and haven't done much with it since. I did do one experiment with pin probing using ChiliPepper.com but not much else. After using ChiliPepper is when I started to think of a better way to do probing. Luckily in ChiliPepper, there is a prompt to make you verify that you had your probe connected. Even though there was this check, I still came close to crashing my bit into the bare PCB board. It's simple enough to get half of the wiring done and forget about it, simply place one of the probe wires securely onto the copper board and you don't have to remove it until you are done making boards. With the other side of this circuit (the common wire in my case) was more of a hassle. Since I used an alligator clip to connect the wire to my spindle, I couldn't leave it there while I cut. And since I was testing, this meant a lot of clipping and unclipping from the tool bit.
Using my multimeter I found that there was an electrical connection between the tool bit and the 'drive shaft' of the spindle. So all you have to do is connect your wire to that and BAM! Except for it spins too. So do solve this, I simply drilled a small hole in the big U that I made earlier, put a screw in through the bottom with a spring on it and made sure that the head of the screw was making consistent contact with the drive shaft of the spindle. I verified this by running the spindle for a bit then testing continuity between the screw and the tool head, no issues found! It's a pretty crude setup but maybe I will improve it but probably not. But you can! Hope you enjoyed!