The Shapeoko2: Belated Day 3 of Assembly

It’s been a few weeks since I was able to work on the Shapeoko2 CNC milling machine, which I began over Columbus Day weekend, and worked on for a couple of days. Here’s an update.

This was my day.

I had the day off from school today.  I walked up the hill and said my thank-yous to the local veterans at dawn; and I did a bit of ‘ceremonial magic’ in the morning. And then… I did Maker magic all through the day.

Shapeoko2 CNC Miller
sub-gantry

By the end of the day, I’d gone from having a sub-gantry assembly badly assembled, to having the sub-gantry correctly assembled, and the full  framework of my Shapeoko2 CNC milling machine assembled. I still have to attach the motor belts, and hook up the electronics, and bolt on the Arduino to the frame. But, I tested those things back at the beginning. I know that they work.

My next steps are to true/square the machine, and fine-tune the arrangement of belts.  I also have to dispose of the garbage, and I need one M5x20mm round-head bolt, and two M5 nylon washers (which are somewhere underneath the radiator pipes, I’m afraid).

When I tell people I’m building this machine, they’re usually surprised, and then intrigued, and then puzzled. Because in part, I bought this machine to figure out how to repair a broken 3D printer (which melts plastic through a tiny tube while a bunch of motors extrude the ribbon according to a precise digitally-generated path).  And now? I know how to fix that machine.

But I still think this machine has much greater potential for the kinds of things that I do in school, and at home.  I feel newly empowered. With a couple more days, maybe a week of tinkering, this project will be complete — and it will immediately give me some new powers in the world that I have never had the chance to explore before.  I’m looking forward to it.
Shapeoko2 CNC Miller

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