I'm looking for some advice on a Shapeoko 1 rebuild.

I’m looking for some advice on a Shapeoko 1 rebuild. I bought a kit back in 2013 along with a TinyG v7. Did a few basic upgrades and quickly decided I wanted something bigger. I bought a bunch of 1 meter Makerslide and 2040 to super size it - along with what I think were v2 end plates and motor mounts. I also doubled up on the Y.

The thing ended up being just too big for me to leave setup all the time and the project just languished in the corner in pieces.

So here I am 5 years later thinking I should try again. I want to scale it back down to something more manageable. Maybe the size of the Shapeoko 2 but not sure if it’s worth upgrading parts or basically start anew?

My goal is to have a reliable machine that can carve wood, plastic and maybe aluminum. I’d like to add homing switches and better spindle (I still have a cheap HF Dremel on it).

There’s been so many blog posts and YouTube videos on the subject with people going thru their own discovery and upgrades - often things look great and positive only to skip forward 2 years and I see them with what look like entirely new Franken-machines. I really don’t want to repeat common mistakes.

I’m looking for some advice on simple things like:

• should I stick with the original belts/gear system or upgrade. I’m not even sure if the Shapeoko 1 had GT2 belts or something else?
• replace original lead screw with something better (ACME?)
• add belt kit to z-axis instead of direct drive?
• is the TinyG v7 still a good fit?
• while even the smaller Y-axis be a problem with a heavier spindle. Should I swap the makerslide for something else or fix what I have somehow?
• what spindle should I get?

Or should I upgrade things, or just keep it simple and stick with what I have (only smaller) or just start again with something new?

Thanks in advance


I guess the first question to ask is do you want to put energy into rebuilding or do you want find a quick replacement? There is a half way step you can take too.

I started with a Shapeoko2 and did some upgrades primarily the Xcarve upgrade (just rails and hardware mounts). Very early on I switched to the TinyG and to this day still use it. The other upgrade I did was to switch to a DC spindle. Its much quieter than an AC spindle. Size I stayed at 500MM . I don’t have the space either I can do most anything but I have not ventured into aluminum or any metal except for PCB boards.

Option 1. Convert your Shapeoko to an Xcarve the changes will be worth it. As far as size that’s a preference question are you going mill stuff that big. The TinyG is viable stick with that and get a DC spindle. This will be the cheapest but longest turn around time. If you need assistance with the TinyG let me know I’ll help. I did this option and can share experiences.

Option2. Find a buy a bare bone machine (3040, 3060 or OpenBuilds). You will be able to get a machine that meets you needs and Possibly reuse some of your ShapeOko parts. I almost did this but life got in the way and I may still do it next year.

Option 3. Buy all new and discard the ShapeOko. Always fun to buy new and does not say anything bad about ShapeOko.

The one thing I will suggest which I will likely do too, is get or build a machine that does not use belts. Belts are not a bad thing but I do PCB carving and belt flex causes more work. There are ball screw mechanisms out there that are reasonable in price that make it a no brainer.

If you want to mill metal you will need a high end DC motor (possibly with cooling) or an AC motor like the dewalt roto tool for the RPMs. Noising and messy.

The TinyG is viable unless you want to step up to industrial grade controls ( which are affordable ) but more expensive to the no commercial work environment.

Just my thoughts and there are many ways to skin this cat. Let me know if you have more questions.

I have a lot to add to this from my personal experience but lack time right now. Hope to have some time tonight to post.

Thanks both. Looking forward to more input.

This is a side project and I have and in no rush to get it done.

I’m lurking, have a “red” ShapeOko 1 myself, but it has been pushed aside for the kids’ Anet A8 3D printer.

Just upgrade to shapeoko 2. It’s run perfect. Aluminum, wood, plastic and PCBs with awesome results.

@Matt_Kasdorf that’s what basically happened to me. I got sucked into 3D printing but I really want to circle back around and work on the Shapeoko.

Best bang for the buck upgrades:

Possibly worth doing:

  • replacing the endplates with thicker ones will help with stiffness, buy X-Carve plates from Inventables or eShapeoko plates from Catalin Voinescu — I probably wouldn’t bother — my SO1 made some very heavy cuts in ipê using the original plates

Chris, Sorry it took me a while to get back to this post. I as well have an original Shapeoko 1 that I have upsized/modified over the years!
Mine is 1Mx.5M which is a pretty great size. Fits on my bench and is light enough to lift and move by myself.
I run the DeWalt DW660 spindle but also switch it out for a quiet spindle when demonstrating/teaching.
I recently just attached a 3.5watt laser to the back of the carriage.
I upgraded to the new motor mounts so I could double up the gantry to double extrusion. I have the open endplates and used 2020 extrusion as a base.

Some of the things I would recommend. Stick with the TinyG, upgrade your spindle. I recommend the DeWalt DW660 but there are times I wish I have a full size router.

I personally want to upgrade to the ShapeOko 3 version. I really wish they offered rack and pinion style versus the belts, but even after 7 years or more I’ve only had to replace the belts once on my machine. I still use the original MXL belts.
Mind you that I’m not cutting anything that’s precision style machining.

Most of all I’ve used this machine as a complete learning experience so when I do upgrade I’ll be better prepared to run a nicer machine.

Hope I helped… If you need help or have questions please let me know.

Thanks all for the advice. I’m still plodding thru various sites and I have a growing list of upgrade parts on my shopping list, but the total cost is coming close to a new bare X-Carve kit. Which would probably give me more/better parts. e.g. the boxed X Carriage Extrusion and better Z-axis setup - but having said that I just discovered http://cnc4newbies.com.

Any tips on cutting down the rails? I have a bandsaw but I’m not confident it will cut true square. I’m leaning toward just buying new rails if I don’t get a whole new kit.

@Chris_James I’ve cut some extrusion on my miter saw and it works really well.