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.

1 Like

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.

1 Like

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?

1 Like

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.

1 Like

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;-)

1 Like