Cutting Large Items on the Handibot




Introduction: Cutting Large Items on the Handibot

As the Handibot community grows there is a need for quick tutorials and tips and tricks. This is my first instructable and should not be my last.

This instructable will be on how to use the new large area jig for the Handibot to cut things larger than 6"x8".

I will not be covering the installation of the new base plate as it is covered quite well at, if you have not installed your V3 base plate go there and under support you will find the documentation.

Last, before we get started, go watch this excellent video by Eric Schimelpfenig.

Now that you have a good overview we can get started with tips and tricks.

One thing I should point out from the video is at 1:50 or so he says the tiles will be set for 6x6, he was working off pre-production prototypes and now should read 6x8 in.

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Step 1: Design Phase

Let us get going.

The first things you can do to make your life easier when you get cutting is in the design phase.

The first consideration from within Vcarve Pro is at the end of a tile the default place for the bot to park is 0,0 there is nothing wrong with this but we will make our life easier if we park it somewhere else. I find something around 3" for x and 3.5 for Y works well. The reason we want to do this is so we can see well for indexing the handibot.

In order to set this go to the tool paths tab on the right and at the top click "set" under the top item called 'material setup'.

The second consideration is the layout, the jig comes with enough spacers to do a full sheet of plywood but we want to avoid this if possible for accuracy sake.

It is better to arrange your parts so that they can be cut with as little chance for errors as possible. To do that arrange small parts so that they don't cross tiles they don't have to. You will get excellent results on the home row with the bot directly against the bar and this will diminish as more and more spacers are added.

If you are using someone elses file that was written with a full size machine in mind you can move the parts around to get the same results as if you had designed it yourself.

You can see what I mean from the screen shots, first a non optimized and then the optimized.

We don't really have a piece of plywood 96 inches long, we will cut the first 4 panels and then cut the plywood square with a table or other saw and start again.

Step 2: In the Shop

Now that we have our part designed and optimized we can head to the shop.

There are two ways to use the jig sticks, the first is to simply screw it onto the plywood. This is probably best for really big jobs but you will loose the first 5 inches of the panel.

The other way is to take a 5 inch wide piece of panel the same thickness as the project and screw it alone with the jig stick to a workbench or table.

Now we prep our work piece, if you are screwing the jig stick directly to the work come up 5 inches and make a pencil mark all the way across, this will be your zero point for the Y axis, after that every 8 inches for as far as the project will go. If you are using a table just start out with every 8 inches.

Now do the same across, mark off every 6 inches.

These should all be done with care as they are your conformation lines that you have a good set.

If the panel is small enough that it could move clamp it down.

Everything from now on is the same whether you use a work table or have screwed the jig stick directly onto the panel.

  1. Place the blue pointer into the base plate.
    1. Important edit: make sure the pointer is all the way down in the base and check between tiles because if the pointer works it's way up it will interfere with the Y axis!
  2. Set the bot onto your work.
    1. Pull it up to the first notch of the jig stick.
      1. You want to pull it up firm and make sure the pointer is bottomed in the notch, the base plate should have good contact all the way across the stick.
  3. Double check alignment with the cursors that are built into the base plate, for the first tile they should be aligned with the corner of your work piece.
  4. Run your file
  5. Move to next notch
    1. if there are any chips in the way blow, vacuum or brush them away, it just takes a little to start throwing your work off kilter.
  6. Continue across panel
  7. After going across panel come back to notch 1 and add the 8 inch spacer.
  8. After that row, remove the 8 inch spacer and install the 16 inch.
  9. If you need another row, add the 8 inch spacer back in and do the next row

There is enough 16 inch spacers to go all the way across a full plywood panel but as we talked about in the planing stage, I don't think it is a good idea, if 32 inches of Y travel is not enough you might want to revisit your design.

Step 3: Conclusion

As I said, this is my first instructable, feedback is welcome, any mistakes or additions please leave in the remarks.


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    3 Discussions


    5 years ago

    how much did you paid for that handibot and where did you bought it?


    Reply 5 years ago, $2800, that is roughly 10% of a full size ShopBot. If you order one and the jig make sure that you email them first as you should be able to get the jig cheaper as a new machine will already have the 3rd generation base plate.