Fighting with computers

Computers are not always friendly.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

My ShapeOko experience

I have been dealing with a large size CNC project for a while. I thought a smaller version come come in handy at home. So I decided it will be a gift for my wife. I bought a ShapeOko from Inventables (Chicago, IL) with the fear that customs might be expensive. I ordered just the metal kit which was a steal at $199. It is shame that I ended up paying $90 for customs. When I mentioned to Zack (from Inventables) he was shocked too.

Anyway, for those of you that have never heard of ShapeOko let's say it is an open hardware project for a small CNC milling machine based on another open hardware project called Makerslide. The latter is a linear movement guide made of aluminium extrusion.

I am almost done building the thing and it only took a few hours. The kit is well packaged and it is easy to build following the wiki instructions. However there are several improvements that I may already include in my build: dual Y-axis motors, nema23 motors for X and Y axis and an alternate route for the belts so they are in the back of the metal plates, which hopefully will make debris to reach belts less easily.

One of the problem for those of you in Europe may be cost of shipping and customs. I have learned of an European "copy-cat" that will launch an enhanced version of ShapeOko next month called eShapeOko. Slightly more expensive but as they ship from the UK final cost for European customers may be ok. I like some of the improvements they have added to their offering, but I have no clue on how good these kits are going to be.

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