Nate Duxbury's Blog

Make all the things!

Shapeoko Enclosure

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Completely assembled enclosure

Completely assembled enclosure

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.

Enclosure Design

Render of my SolidWorks model for my Shapeoko.

Render of my SolidWorks model for my Shapeoko.

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.

Component Sourcing

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

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.

I got sloppy at the end. Just a little too much of a side load and it snapped off.

I got sloppy at the end. Just a little too much of a side load and it snapped off.

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.

Outlines drawn out for the door and one of the sides.

Outlines drawn out for the door and one of the sides.

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.

20140921_160531

Top and side windows installed in the frame.

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.

Electronics mounted on the rear of the enclosure.

Electronics mounted on the rear of the enclosure.

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.

It was quite difficult getting this bolt to both line up with the tee nut and to actually tighten it.

It was quite difficult getting this bolt to both line up with the tee nut and to actually tighten it.

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.

Photo of the magnets being glued into their spots. The magnets on the opposite side were used to hold the position of the gluing magnet.

Photo of the magnets being glued into their spots. The magnets on the opposite side were used to hold the position of the gluing magnet.

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.

The door fits, and everything is installed!

The door fits, and everything is installed!

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.

Results

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.

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15 thoughts on “Shapeoko Enclosure

  1. What did you end up doing about that broken tap. Same thing hapend to me ☺

    • I got lucky. It was the last hole I needed to tap. I extracted the broken part with a pair of needle nose pliers. If you’ve got more to tap, you’ll need a new tap unfortunately.

  2. Do you have the measurements of the extrusion you used and the files for the corner brackets? I would like to build a similar enclosure.

    • I sure do. I have a complete 3D model of this enclosure too actually, let me know what CAD format you need and I can export the whole assembly for you if you’d like.

      To get you started though,

      http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:105900/#files has the 3 way corner connector I originally printed, then later bought an aluminum version of (I recommend just buying them, they are much more consistent and stronger in aluminum versus 3D printed). You will need QTY 8 of these.

      http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:503471 are the out of plane brackets that I designed, these are used for mounting the SO2 extrusion base to the enclosure. You will need 8 of these as well.

      For aluminum extrusion, you need 20x20mm profiles with the following lengths:
      QTY 6 of 560mm (depth of the machine)
      QTY 4 of 458mm (height of the machine)
      QTY 4 of 610mm (width of the machine)
      Keep in mind that my enclosure is quite tight around the machine. You may want to increase a couple of these dimensions.

      Additionally, you’ll need 8 standard corner brackets made for 20mm aluminum extrusion to make the base really rock solid. Again, you could print them, but the aluminum ones will give you much less trouble.

      You know, I ought to go into more detail on this whole assembly anyways. Keep an eye out on here for a post with a complete BOM, part sourcing, assembly tips, etc. If I take too long making said post, feel free to ask any other questions you may have.

      • Awesome, thanks so much. The only CAD format I’m currently worked with is .STL.

      • Hi, I really like this setup and want to improve it a little bit. do you think you could provide all the solidworks files so I can improve it to a little? I of course would send you my improvements if you were interested.

      • If you could hook me up with those solid works files and a BOM. I could improve the noise cancelation, make some room for a shop vac with an aerodynamically efficient nozzle annnd I might be able to dig you up parts for a 2-3 watt laser for you CNC machine. My family distributes them and i know how to make them personally. write me back if you are interested.

      • Hi Michael, apologies for taking so long to reply to you! I’ve just uploaded the design files to grabcad – Shapeoko 2 CNC Router with Enclosure. I never went as far as making a full BOM with required number of fasteners or T-nuts, but those shouldn’t be too hard to add in yourself. Good luck with adding those improvements, the things you mentioned are exactly what I wanted to look into for a second iteration!

        Also, thanks for your offer for the laser, but I’m not entirely sure what I would do with it! I recently got access to a 70W C02 laser at work, so my laser needs are pretty well fulfilled.

  3. Would you ever consider selling one of these with the dimensions of the Shapeoko 3?

    • Hi Joe,

      The thought has crossed my mind, but I didn’t want to deal with figuring out how to ship all the stuff (the window panels specifically). I also don’t have a design for the SO3, or own one, so any modification to the design would be a guess based on whatever CAD data for the SO3 that I can find. I can see what I can whip up based on a CAD model, but I imagine what I could come up with wouldnt be particularly cheap.

      • Do you have an estimate on cost? It could be disassembled to be shipped

      • Well, I looked at what it would take for an enclosure like mine to be big enough to fit the SO3, and it looks like it would be about $600 in raw material alone. The most expensive parts by far are the window panels. Shipping costs would probably not be cheap either.

  4. Anyway you could cut down cost? For example build the enclosure so when you pick it up it doesn’t pick the machine up, it just fits over it. Also maybe you could use a cheaper material for the windows like lexan

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