Shapeoko 2 - Multiple bits

Asking anyone here with real Shapeoko 2 experience - is it anything other than a learning tool? I’ve been playing with it a bit and my conclusion is, it might not be. I’m looking to create a small wood project - route two pieces, a male and female pattern (mirrored image), to mate for an inlay. I need to do multiple tool paths which include changing out the bit. I don’t know how anyone can change a bit on that machine without moving the X/Y steppers, which throws off any alignment between multiple tool paths. So, I tried a repeatability test where I just re-ran the same tool path on the same test material without changing the bit. I used the same 0,0,0 position and when I ran the job the pattern was off by maybe 0.050 (thereabouts).

So I guess my next best option is to wait for multicam training(?), unless someone can point out best practices on the S2 that I might be overlooking.


BTW - I learned a lot from Jay’s training on the S2 and S3

It’s entirely possible, even likely, that the Shapeoko 2 is not an appropriate tool for whatever you are trying to do.

As for tool changes I’d suggest one method is to use the machine jog to move to a good position to change the tool while ensuring the stepper motors remain powered while making a change. Reset your Z height for the new tool and proceed. It’s also important to not overtighten each tool and that helps ensure you can remove the previous tool without a lot of fuss.

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There’s no way to adjust the Z height only is there? You have to go back to your original X, Y, Z (home) position then adjust the Z height. Am I correct?

Thanks Jay

No, that’s not correct. You might not be able to do what you want to do in software like easel but it’s fundamentally g-code under the hood so you can do pretty much anything you can with g code.

I enjoyed the Shapeoko 2 training last night. Thanks for your time and efforts here.

I went back to DMS today and apparently, I missed recording a step last night. I could not get the DMS Surface 1 Laptop, Identified as for the Shapeoko, to acknowledge and communicate with the CNC.
What are the sequence of steps to get these two talking?
Also; When finishing and Exporting, what format does Shapeoko 2 need? Is a .CRV file considered a g-code? SFV?

I have a Shapeoko 3 and love it. I use it often. Couple of thoughts:

  1. Check the belts (I’m assuming the belt system is the same on the S2 as on the S3) - make sure they are tight no play - they stretch and can come loose from the “clips”.
  2. Check for dust/chips on the rollers
  3. For some projects, I put a hole slightly larger than the bit at 0,0. I can reset 0,0 if I have a problem/power failure/etc.
  4. Not related to repeatability but you may want to check “square” ie - cut a 4"x4" square and see of it is really 4x4. If not there is a way to recalibrate see How to Calibrate for Belt Stretch - Carbide 3D

Most CNC machines use a hardware (X,Y) starting position referred to as Home. Usually the user can define a soft home for convenience by moving the bit a specific amount in relation to the job, and saving that location . The machine will now begin operations using the soft home as the starting point.

Why wouldn’t this concept work?

  1. Place a block with an inside corner on the machine, thus establishing a hard machine home.
  2. Always start cuts/bit changes from this location.
  3. Place jig locating pins at a known (x,y) and use this point as the official soft home.

You could place a couple of micro switches on the block to automatically stop the machine from over-running.

P.S. I’m not sure that you ever change the tool in the (work field), it always rehomes.

Some really good suggestions here. You gave me some ideas about creating a soft home, I’ll give that a try. There’s definitely some slippage in the belts when powered up. I’ll take a closer look and see if they can be tightened.

Thanks everyone

I used the laptop that had a Shapeoko label. And I used VCarve to create my model. I used a PC in the common room to run VCarve and generate a .gcode file and loaded that into Easel running on the laptop at the machine.
Going from memory here so missing some details but that’s the gist.

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I’ve used the S2 on very small, fairly precise objects (miniature silver colander shown).


I agree that changing the bits pretty much obliterates repeatability. I do everything I can to avoid changing bits, even if that means I do a lot of cutting with a bit that’s smaller than desired. When I change bits I clamp a spring clamp onto the gantry on each side of the router and that minimizes motion during tool change.


A CRV file is probably not G-Code. Easiest way to tell though is to open whatever file you have in a text editor and look at it.

Come to think of it the X/Y belts on that machine have got to be more than a few years old. If folks are interested in doing some maintenance on it that would be something to replace and low cost.

I was successful today. I was able to carve some text. It looked bad but was due to my design.

I had to (or believed I had to) create an account to log into Easle or to access the Trail SW. I bookmarked the site on DMS Surface 1 under Chrome for future access.
Is this necessary, or is there a better way?

I didn’t know the Machine Setup and ended up selecting “Third Party CNC” / “Carbide 3D” again is there a better or recommended setup?

Lastly, is there a get around to the issue of WILD AND ERRATIC CURSER OPERATION when Laptop is connected to CNC?

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For Machine Setup I think I selected Other and then entered the numbers from Jay’s class (I think this is it from the wiki)

Regarding the WILD AND ERRATIC CURSER OPERATION, it’s a touch screen and you can pretty much do everything you want with just touching buttons and such. I haven’t tried any other laptop.

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Bookmarking this will help you the next time you use that surface book.

Please try using Surface Book 2 or a different USB port on the Surface Book 1.

Take a calm and soothing drink to deal with cursing, the thing on the screen is a cursor;-)

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Thursday last week I added a ground bus bar on the Shapeoko and rewired main ground from power strip to that, then added a ground from there to CNC gantry, micro controller cover, power plugs, etc. Now, the curser is very stable and operates normally. This seems to also have fixed the intermittent “lock up” of the system. In the middle of a cut, X,Y,Z movements would just stop, mandating a restart of the entire project to continue, often causing the loss of the zero-reference point and a wasted piece of material. I also added a longer vacuum hose and a means to store it.


Thank you for doing this work, it’s appreciated.

Odd though that after all these years the ground has suddenly started to be poor. Other than the electronics becoming really dusty over time I’m not aware of any changes to the system. Any ideas?

You really can’t keep electronic “bits” from corroding. It just happens over time and use.

No reason I can give. It is possible a ground wire broke and it is not the added grounding bus so much as a missing ground was reconnected. Is also possible that the issue is/was temperature/humidity related.
I have lied before, I generally say “It is working” rather than " It is fixed" especially when it comes to an intermittent problem. Sometimes, because a symptom goes away, we THINK it is fixed.