My ShapeOKO is dead, Long Live the ShapeOKO

Comic Sans! The most hated font in the universe.

Comic Sans! The most hated font in the universe.

Well, the ShapeOKO isn’t dead, but my GRBL shield on the Arduino is. With less than 30 minutes on it, while moving the X/Y axis to start a job the GRBL went ‘POP!’.

So, let’s take some time talking about the ShapeOKO while I wait patiently for a replacement.

First off, it’s a very capable device. The reason my ShapeOKO is dead is because the GRBL shield decided to give up. That’s in no way ShapeOKO’s fault. Since I’ve only had it a week I sincerely hope that Inventables will be sending me a replacement. I also ordered another one straight from the people who make the GRBL just to have a spare. (Update: Inventables had one shipped for me the very next day.. Talk about service!)

If/when you order a ShapeOKO you get two slaps in the face. First off, you realize that the area between the rails is tiny. Then once you realize that you can’t mill edge to edge you get another slap. I estimate with enough margins to be safe, my ShapeOKO has a working area of 7 1/2″ square. This isn’t a lot. But it’s enough for most. Just be aware of it.

Is the ShapeOKO a beginners learning tool or is it something I can get serious with? Honestly, with a few upgrades (The ACME Z-Axis for instance), some bumper switches (to protect from going too far in any direction), a better way to secure your work to the table, a vacuum attachment (any Shop Vac works) and a good routing tool there shouldn’t be anything you can’t do. You will learn CNC Milling with the ShapeOKO and be able to cut wood, acrylic and soft metals (aluminum) with the stock kit. Want a larger work surface? Get the longer rails (readily available open source ‘maker slides’), some longer belts, maybe another motor or a stronger motor to assist with the extra width/length and you’re all set.

The photo of my Comic Sans wood plate was made with 1/8″ Luan Plywood. Secured to the table with spring clamps and had a bow in the middle. That’s why the cut depths seem to vary. So if this job is what I would call ‘basic’, imagine what else it can do!

And some people are taking off the router and working with other tools. You’ll get started with a Sharpie. Move to Router, then there’s Laser Cutters, 3D Extruders and Lathes that you can ultimately upgrade to.

Software costs? None. I haven’t found one function yet that requires pay software. Everything I’ve used is free and open source.

Even though I have a minor set back, the ShapeOKO is a very capable tool. Infintately upgradable and I would buy it again. It’s just a shame that mine is benched pending the shield replacement.

Other ShapeOKO Articles:
ShapeOKO CNC Mill ->
Build Update #1 ->
Build Update #2 ->

And I’ll leave you with video of the ShapeOKO in action. Here’s the video of my Hello World. It’s double speed however the audio pitch was maintained.

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