HIVE13 ShapeOko Project - Post 2 - First build night, tonight, July 9 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm

Fellow Hivers,

This is the second (of several) posts on this forum Google group on the progress towards our community’s build of this community machine. There are three rules: (1) Be safe, cause no harm, (2) Be excellent to the equipment and each other [the Golden Rule], and (3) Have fun!

As discussed at last night’s meeting, tonight (from about 6:00pm to 8:00pm) will be the first of two build nights. The second build night will be next Wednesday, July 16. The target build completion date is Thursday, July 24. We want to include the machine in the kit for the HIVE13 booth at the Detroit Maker Faire. All are encouraged to attend and participate.

The guidance from Inventables says it will take 4+ hours to assemble the machine. The level of skill required is on the order of Lego Technics, with some light electrical wiring (no soldering required).

They recommend we spread it out over two evenings. We need to see who is willing to serve as custodians for the machine. Some small group should assume formal responsibility to understand how it all works and how to maintain it; even as every interested member is also encouraged to be helpful. More hands makes for lighter work.

Come prepared for tonight by reading the ShapeOko assembly overview, ahead of time, at
The outline for this Assembly Overview webpage is:

  • Note on diagrams
  • Note on safety
  • Overview of the eight steps
  • Assembly Steps
    Software target week 1 build night
    Electronics target week 1 build night
    V-Wheels and Idlers target week 1 build night
    Carriages target week 1 build night
    Z-axis target week 1 or 2 build night
    Gantry target week 1 or 2 build night
    Y-Axis target week 1 or 2 build night
    Work Area target week 2 build night
    Electrical Wiring target week 2 build night
    Hello, World target week 2 build night
    First Job target week 2 build night

Looking to see folks join in. Ian mentioned setting up a GoPro camera to get a time lapse build video.

This will be fun and great for the HIVE,


Hello Jim,

I was writing an e-mail to the hivers about that building night when I received yours! I intend to come tonight and I wonder if the number of people is limited? Maybe there is no more room for me?

I also read carefully the mounting instructions and I’m surprised that there is no surfacing step required for the working table. I had a small CNC like this before. A good parallelism of the working area with the XY surface of the tool is absolutely mandatory if we want to do low deepness engraving. Maybe we could ask inventables if they recommend this action.


P.S As a french guy, I want to apologize if my written english isn’t correct. I trying to improve this everyday…


You are welcome to come and join this build team tonight.

I share your concerns for the ultimate accuracy, repeatability, and general precision of this toy machine. I work for a machine tool company and know something about what it does not have. I agree that a surfacing step by the machine spindle can be a good step. We will build it and see what it will do.

Finally, your English is much better than my French so I have no complaints.


I will try to attend 7/16.

i am unable to attend. However since I have a shapeoko 2 I might be able to share my experience with the build process via Google hangout if you send me a link


Update on last night… Liz and Julien lead the way on the first build night last night and made good progress.

  • A quick first inventory proved everything was there and well organized.
  • Julien completed the software install and did the quick Arduino/Shield/Stepper hook-up and electronics test. The motors spun under software control on the first try. For a given jog, the config file makes the Z-axis stepper rotate more (since it is geared down more with its leadscrew drive) than the Z or Y steppers (which have a less geared down belt drive) and that is normal.
  • Liz was working through the mechanical assembly. There was a minor issue in the socket head cap screws for the stepping motors being too long. She was cutting them down to fit. It is likely there will be more progress before next Wednesday and that is OK. We want it done.
  • Some folks are interested to add an E-stop to (at least) the spindle motor, or perhaps the full machine. Ryan was researching the forum for prior work in this direction
  • There was also interest to add/buy/3D_print cable power track parts. We will look into that.
  • Ian had the GoPro cam and it fell of its mount a few times at the start. The video quality may not be there yet, but it was a start. Thanks Ian.

More later,


Elizabeth and I made significant progress on the mechanical portion of the assembly last night.

The following sections of the build instructions are complete.
Wheels & Idlers
Work Area

With this, the Shapeoko rolling chassis stands ready for electronics installation and path testing; followed by mounting of the rotary tool. The Project Shapeoko page on our wiki has been updated to reflect this work.

I’m inclined to leave things in this state so we’ll have something left to do next week.

Anyone planning to assist with our second build night should review the following sections of the Shapeoko 2 Assembly Manual before Wednesday. Those simply wishing to see sawdust blown around the Hive have no homework assignment.

Project Shapeoko
Pro Tips
Shapeoko2 - Electronics
Shapeoko 2 - Wiring
Hello, World!
Shapeoko2 - First Job

Thanks again to Jim for procuring the Shapeoko and coordinating this effort; Julien for validating the software and electronics; Elizabeth for mechanical build work; and Bill for helpful suggestions and hurtful puns.

  • Ry

Hello everyone,

I glad that you could go that far on the mounting. We"ll have more time next Wednesday to test the machine and maybe adjust the settings for a good accuracy. I have note down a lot of stuff in my personal note book for future improvements of the CNC.

I would like to share this with everyone via the wiki. How do I edit the wiki page? How do I get a account?

Thanks everybody in the hive yesterday night for welcoming me!