The past few months using my Shapeoko 2, there are two main things that have made it annoying and or difficult to use: The noise from the dremel, and the little bits of plastic that go everywhere when running. I tried to fix the second problem with the dust shoe project, but I had trouble with the bits of plastic fusing back to the work piece (this was because I did not have a vacuum attached to the shoe) . I also now have my Shapeoko in my bedroom, which means that bits of plastic everywhere is a big no-no. The noise problem is a little harder to deal with. Inventables sells a “quiet cut spindle” that is advertised as being significantly quieter, but the cost to implement said spindle is ~$150-$200. Instead of either of these options, I decided to make something that would fix both of my problems: a complete enclosure.
As with any of my projects, I began with laying out the design in SolidWorks. The Shapeoko 2 team already has a Solidworks model of the completed assembly, so all I had to do was download that and design my enclosure around it.
My design requirements were as follows:
-Must completely enclose the shapeoko
-must become part of the frame of the shapeoko. If I pickup the enclosure, it picks up the shapeoko.
-must have windows or viewports to monitor work
-must have door to access work area easily
-must have place to store electronics
I was able to accomplish every one of these requirements to my satisfaction.
I decided to use Misumi 20mm extrusion for the frame of the enclosure because it is super easy to work with. I got them cut to size and best of all, FREE (because of the misumi promotion eariler this year). Also, since the base of the Shapeoko is already 20mm extrusion, I could attach it to the enclosure very easily. I used my 3D printer to create the corner mounting blocks for the frame.
For the windows/viewports, I used 1/4″ clear acrylic from Amazon. Because of the goofy sizes I used, I had to buy two 2’x4′ sheets (which still shipped Prime!). I also bought two 2’x2′ sheets of the same thickness because I thought I would need them for the sides of my enclosure, but as it turned out, I was able to cut all the windows out of the two larger sheets.
For the door, there were a couple different sources of parts. The handles came from OpenBuilds, and are normally intended for attachment to 20mm extrusion, but they work great here as well. The magnets for the door are from Amazon, and the mounting blocks for the magnets were designed and printed by myself.
Assembly began fairly straight forward, but I did run into a couple problems as I went on. The first thing I did was tap the ends of the extrusion pieces for M5 threads. I started doing this the same night I received my tap, and unfortunately, broke my tap the same night. Luckily, it was the very last hole that needing tapping when it broke.
Next was the actual assembly of the frame. Using the printed corner blocks and M5 screws, I screwed everything together. Once the frame was assembled, I laid out the dimensions of the windows and doors to be cut out from the sheets of acrylic.
I used a jig saw to cut out each window. Probably not the best tool for the job, but it was the only one I had. The cuts were definitely not straight, but straight enough for my purposes. Since the acrylic panels slot into the extrusions, the messy edges get hidden. Once every piece was cutout, I partially disassembled the frame and slotted each of the windows into the extrusions. Once the frame was reassembled with the panels inside, the frame became much more rigid.
I also used a sheet of 1/4 Plywood in the back of the frame since I did not need a window on the back side. This area also proved useful as a place to drill holes to mount my electronics. It is a sprayed black to improve it’s appearance.
Actually installing the shapeoko into the enclosure proved to be the hardest part of this project. The way I designed the bottom of the frame to attach to the shapeoko was just really bad. I did not consider the manufacturing aspect of it at all. The main problem lay in the fact that I had to tighten some screws that were in almost completely unreachable locations.
With not a small amount of frustration, I was able to get these screws tightened. I very much hope that I never have to take this part apart.
For the door portion, I printed brackets to hold some magnets. The brackets have slots in them so that I could make the door exactly flush with the frame. To attach the magnets to the brackets, I used regular super glue. To keep the magnets in their recesses while the glue dried, I used the receiving magnets on the opposite side of the brackets.
For attaching the magnets to the door itself, I marked their positions and then scored the acrylic several times with an exacto knife to give the glue a better surface to adhere too. I let them dry for about an hour, and after testing, they worked quite well.
With just 4 of these magnets, the whole door is held on quite tightly well! It takes a decent amount of force to break free the door.
I also attached my E-stop bracket onto the side of the frame. It doesn’t really make sense with how I designed it, but that is because I designed it to mount on the shapeoko end plates.
I was very pleased with how the enclosure turned out. Not much of the view of the machine is obscured by the enclosure. The enclosure also quiets the machine and (presumably) keeps the mess inside (I have not actually ran a job with it yet). The door operation is very satisfactory and is easy to work with. The noise from the dremel is also noticeably reduced!
Hopefully I will have some time soon to actually make use of my Shapeoko. Lately, schoolwork has just been too much.