Shapeoko Rolls Along

We continue assembling a Shapeoko 2 and have completed 4 more sections of the build instructions: Wheels & Idlers, Carriages, Z-Axis, and Gantry. We’ve really only spent a few hours so far, just spread out over pockets of availability and primer drying on another project.

Below are our notes and action shots.

Wheels & Idlers

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  1. Bearings are oiled so they make hands slippery.2. We and an extra wheel. We assembled them all but needed parts later for idlers.3. To disassemble a wheel we used small screwdriver through center to catch the edge of the bearing and pushed it out.


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In the Shapeoko wiki, images we want to enlarge won’t, but the others do. The exploded diagrams in SVG are very helpful. (We should find out how they’re doing those.)

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One of the choices for carriages is around attaching the wiring and motors. We chose Option #2, Terminal Blocks, mainly for ease of maintenance. Our kit didn’t ship with bolts to the mount the blocks so we grabbed M3 x 16mm bolts, washers, nuts. The Terminal Blocks appear to leave the contact points exposed, which we’ll figure out how to cover to prevent electrical shorts.


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The first trick was installing the bearing. The powder coating on the plate prevented the bearing from seating. Using our new golden hammer, the spindle sander, we removed the powder coating and some metal until the bearing fit flush.

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At this point we thought a part was missing, Lead Nut PS20010. We found the empty bag. After searching around for a while… we had installed part in previous step on the Spindle Carriage Assembly.

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The Shapeoko came with a tool kit with everything needed to assemble it. We still recommend Bondhus 10687 7pc Balldriver Tip BSX7M Metric, a set of drivers for dealing with reaching bolts at an angle.

Z-Axis Sub-Assembly (PS20030)

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When using the “10mm M5 bolts (#6) with an M5 washer (#4) into the Z-Assembly Carriage (#1) from the side the V-wheels are on, thread on the M5 insertion nuts (#5)” to attach it to the Z-Axis (in pic above), our bolts bottomed out in the track. We added an extra flat washer on each bolt so the plate is secured to the Z-Axis.


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After Tap handle slid out and dropped to the floor twenty times, we wrapped some duct tape around it to keep it from slipping through. Beware of aluminum dust and shavings - they are SHARP!

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While assembling the Gantry we discovered that two tapped holes didn’t work. Tapping works better with a few drops of 3-in-ONE oil on the tool. We’d forgotten to do that or didn’t clean the tap enough, and then just powered through the aluminum and trashed the threads. To finish the gantry, we tapped the other two MakerSlide pieces and used those.

Next Step

Now we have to decide on what to do about our jacked up MakerSlide pieces.

To fix the failed holes, we can:

1. Buy new 500mm Makerslide pieces

2. Use thread repair inserts

3. Tap the holes to a larger size, M6.