Put on some music, cover the table with craft paper, take a deep breath and then start the process. Building the ShapeOko is a major lesson in anger management.
But not because of frustration with the hardware, frustration with how many different versions there are, versions of build instructions, videos and photos.
So, hopefully these observations will assist anyone with a current version of the kit when looking for answers.
1. The instructions with the latest build reference different part names. When pulling the parts for each step, use the part number and not the name.
2. Sure, it’s not environmentally friendly to print the instructions… But for the build process, I wasn’t going to have my laptop nearby to be navigated with greasy/oily fingers. The instructions, when printed on a monochromatic (Black and White) laser printer are difficult to read because of the red color on certain parts. A recommendation to the makers is to change this color to something that will render lighter on monochromatic printers.
3. While we’re on the topic of instructions, the PDF of the current instructions (I guess they were current) is nestled quaintly in the text block of ‘Assembly Overview’. It needs to be a big link and not ‘here’ in the middle of a paragraph.
4. And while you’re doing that, there needs to be one solid set of instructions. All of the steps and pieces needs to be condensed into one set of pages. Depending on how you navigate the site you could see four or five different sets of instructions. The steps are fantastic, they really assisted when I had a question about the Eccentric Nut/Eccentric Spacer. I just wished they were all in one location sorted by build version.
5. Oh yeah, the PDF instructions stop abruptly at piecing the rails together. There’s still work to do – Installing the belt, hooking up the wiring.
6. Wiring the GRBL shield. I had to look for awhile to get the correct color pinouts for the motors, and even then it was a photo of someone elses’ setup. I couldn’t find it in the electronics how-to.
Tips on assembly:
1. Lay out all of your parts (See my Build #1 post) and keep your tools handy.
2. Print the instructions. It really helps. Make notes on anything odd you see as you progress through the steps. For the first many pages I kept note of how many of each part I used and how many assemblies I made (for example the Wheels, the instructions show you how to make one, but don’t tell you to make them all!)
3. Eccentric Nuts/Spacers MUST fit the holes in the plates. If they don’t you’ll want to file the holes just enough for them to fit. They can’t be loose but they can’t be so tight that you can’t adjust/rotate them with the wrench. It would have been nice for the instructions to tell you what they were for but you figure it out after you already have everything hooked up and have taken the motors for a wobbly/strained job. These things are meant to give you something to turn with the wrench to fine tune the placement of the bottom wheels.
4. After everything is done you’ll want to adjust the Eccentric Nut/Spacer to their lowest position. This will cause them to wobble on the Makerslides. As you create the wobble, slowly turn the Eccentric Nut/Spacer until the wobble is gone. Go slow, you want to stop just as the wobble goes away. If you go any further it will cause more friction to strain the motors.
5. Instructions on the web about the belts seems backwards. Don’t use the M5 bolt to cinch down the belt, turn the bolt and insertion nuts around and use the insertion nut at a horizontal position to cinch the belt.
6. For the love of all things holy, make sure that once you put the two nuts on the Z Axis Threaded Rod, you oil that thing up and send it through the Delrun Lead Nut about a dozen times top to bottom. You can use thread lock for the two nuts and then use the larger wrench to send it through. Don’t get everything assembled and then find out the whole thing is too tight for the steppers to do anything about it like I did (and then make a mess of things getting the Z-Axis unassembled to fix the issue after the fact).
That’s it for now. Spent time over the weekend learning the relationship between X, Y and Z. Measuring out the stops and shooting my Hello World ShapeOKO Video.