The Shapoko XXL is coming along

@JohnK and I got the intermdiate CNC - the ShapokoXXL up onto it’s table and were able to work out what we need to download, position, and run a job on it. The default CarbideMotion control software while screwy, will suffice for positioning the job and loading the G-code. The goal is to use either/both VCarve Pro or Fusion360 for the CAD/CAM. there is a post processor available for both. It has a few differences over the Shapoko2 so we don’t want to just reuse the same materials - although the transition should be easy. People are already asking if they can cut their aluminum project on it. The target is still plastics, composites, resins, fiberglass. The issue with metals is that there is no misting pump, nor do we want one since coolant will just end up all over the place. I see brass as allowable since it doesn’t require coolant. We can work out the restrictions in committee.

We’ve got some options for building an enclosure or a shroud for it which is what I think we need to do before we bring it online for everyone. None the less, I got what I need to start developing class materials.

So to be clear - it is NOT online yet. I’ll get started on building a class for it and will then I will do a teach the teachers before it is ready to come online.



Heckn yeah :+1:t3:

So does that include carbon fiber once the cover is built?

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I was under the impression that Aluminum could be cut without coolant, or with air as coolant if the feeds/speeds were appropriately set. I found videos at one point of a demonstration of same, I thought from the Shapeoko web page.

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Especially if the parts are small and/or the cuts are very light …

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Yes. CF has always been a target for the PigSIG. It just needs good dust collection


You can…you just have to take very, very light passes. I’ve cut aluminum and many friends have cut aluminum with no lubricant. If you want to be safe, you can manually add some lubricant on the cutting path, but spoil boards get messed up because of the lubricant. Depending on the size of the finished piece, it can take a very long time to finish.

How about cutting 0.008" thick, soft copper sheet?

Technically correct however running dry is hard on the endmills. We got a box of F’d up ones on the blue table showing exactly that. Keep in mind the committee has banned the use of compressed air on anything but the haas. Unless that changes we will not be supporting a cold air gun on the XXL. We’ll have to have a committee discussion on what we will and won’t allow on the XXL.

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It’s all academic right now since it is not in service. Like I said it’ll be a committee decision, but the XXL is originally indended for PigSIG activities. @TBJK sounds like an agenda item for the next meeting.

My application in this case would be drilling and engraving, rather than milling.

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Good luck with that. Copper is very gummy and doesn’t machine well. I tried some on the Sherline mill. Not successful.

The existing Shapeoko 2 would be fine for this unless your piece is larger than the bed. I have engraved and drilled small metal parts on the Shapeoko 2; without coolant of course. Silver, aluminum, and (unintentionally) steel. BTW, if you proceed with this PM me and I’ll tell you what I learned about drilling on the Shapeoko.


I’m pretty sure we can accommodate that.
Certainly I’m thinking diamond bit engraving for sure or ‘tracing’ as fusion calls it with small endmills. Drilling should be no problem so long as a sacrificial plate is underneath.


Copper and its alloying elements are incredibly abrasive. You really need to use sharp carbide mills. If you’re getting big burrs it means the heat isn’t being dissipated fast enough (i.e. the chip load is a big factor). An adjustment of the RPMs would help. Probably in the 4000 rpm range. I don’t remember off hand what the high end of the Sherline is. This could still be a factor on the XXL since it is router driven with a low end speed of 16,000 rpm.

We have a diamond drag bit in the Shapokeo 2 kit (Red Toolbox) though I’ve never seen anyone use it or post a make from it. I’m not very artistic but I was thinking something like edge lit signs might be a PigSIG use case for it on either machine in maybe Acrylic. Any idea if etching glass would be allowed on the XXL?

Yes and yes. I hope to get glassworks involved both for engraving and bending plastic

I don’t know if the diamond drag bit would be what I had in mind. Not sure how small a ball end mill I can reliably use, but that would be closer.

What I meant by engraving was like the mil/aero panels. Letters are cut into the surface, then filled with contrasting paint.

There should be no issue going down to a 1mm ball nose - other than they are quite fragile.
At present there is only a 1/4" collet for the DeWalt 611 router. There may be a 1/8" collet buried somewhere in the boxes. If not one is available on Amazoom. The 1/16" or 1mm may require a shank adapter which is readily available from Rocklers.

Don’t expect much depth from a diamond drag bit. They literally only scratch the surface. You can certainly outline a letter and create a fill or crosshatch pattern inside that letter for a contrasting texture. If you need any amount of depth, I’d definitely go with a 1/32" or 1mm or even better with a 20 degree engraving bit (v bit). The 20 deg is what I use on some of my brass stuff, but there is always at least one causality.

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what’s going to be the bed size?

if you’re gonna be doing glass works then definitely going to need an enclosure + vacuum. nothing over engineered but reasonably air tight.

bed is 32" x 34" or 800mm by whatever for the non-moon walkers.
diamond bit engraving or drilling on glass is pretty safe and doesn’t need anything special. If someone plans to actually grind on glass well that is a different story and will have to be done after the enclosure is set up.

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