Shapeoko Work Bed

A work hold down surface is my next contribution to the Shapeoko project.
Following the path of others: Shapeoko Workholding
The plan is for an MDF board resting on top of the rails with a 9 x 9 grid pattern of holes on 50mm centers.
Threaded inserts will be used. (purchased)
A vCarve file has been created for the hole pattern.

To secure the work piece 3D printed hold down clamps like this Hold Down Clamp secured with 1/4 20 bolts with a variation of this Knob .

Is there an instructor who can ‘check me out’ on the big router sometime in the next week?
I’ve had the class, but not been checked out. I’d been waiting until I actually had a project to for CNC.
This seems like that project.

Dave Velzy

I could do that, as well as assist with the build.

Are you sure you don’t want to use a solid magnesium tooling plate, laser positioning system, and hydraulic shock mounting? Oh and put an arduino on it, just in case.

Please call me before you machine the magnesium tooling plate. I’d like to get a video started to train people on Magnesium fires . . . . . :flushed:


I bet those people on the roof got quite a show. Probably need a new pair of pants.
Hope no one got hurt.

Thanks for your support. But seriously, no more flammable metals for me.
In the mid 70’s I was on a mitigation team at an old match factory. There were spots in the gravel parking lot that caught fire from forklift traffic.

Hey Lorin,I’ll take you up on the offer. Sometime next week in the afternoon work for you?


Saturday Jim approached me with an interesting addition to the Shapeoko work holding project.
He proposed adding tool pins to align removable pallets on top of the the work holding surface. Such alignment pins are routinely used in industrial production settings for alignments in quick changeover production. Jim suggested using pins from Carr Lane, which I’ve also used. With at least two pallets we could demonstrate quick change over when we take the Shapeoko on a demo tour. This would allow a work piece to be secured to the pallet off line from the Shapeoko while it is running, then quickly removing the finished part/pallet and dropping the new part pallet onto the tool pins. Which sounds like a great idea.

I propose to modify this idea, by making our own pin / pallet system by turning pins on the lathe and screwing the pins into the 9 x 9 grid of threaded inserts.

The benefit is to break this project into bite sized steps. It will allow the Shapeoko to be set up for one off router jobs and then evolve.
Project steps

  1. Work holding surface and hold down clamps. Note: The clamp surface would be double thicknesses of 3/4" MDF.
    Further Note - It is my intent to use the 3/4 inch MDF that has been leaning up against the pallet rack by the server for the last six months.

  2. Pallet system and pins on top of the work holding surface. Turn pins with 1/4 -20 thread to insert into the threaded insert, then match this to a precisely routed hole and slot in the removable.pallet.

  3. Vacuum extractor add on for router head - catch PCB debris or wood chips 3D print

  4. Enclosure for further containment of dust and noise.


Sounds good. Let me know when you want to start working on it.

Sounds interesting.
I would also check Misumi, we use them a lot at my job.
I found locator pins with 12mm diameter and M8 threads for $6.50 each.

You can go crazy configuring them with custom lengths and shapes.

I would not use the hardened tool pins in this project as you would with steel tooling. We are working with an aluminum framed router and MDF work board.

MDF and aluminum are good enough for our work, but are not anywhere near as precise as precision ground tooling pins.

Besides the threaded inserts will be 1/4 - 20
Turning a nice smooth OD on a 1/4 - 20 socket head cap screw will make a wonderful alignment pin for pennies. And we already have them on the shelf in the hive.
You can put it in or take it out in a jiffy.
If we need a precise hole and slot in the MDF pallet we can fill the surface with epoxy and drill/mill it.
Simple to make later.

sounds like a plan

Turning a nice smooth OD on a 1/4 - 20 socket head cap screw will make a wonderful alignment pin for pennies. And we already have them on the shelf in the hive.