Right, being a massive motorcycle enthusiast, I find that I want to make lots of different parts as I can’t get everything stock – and when I can it’s more fun to make it if I can. In the past I have used my trusty clarke CMD 10 micro milling machine – perfect for making small parts as/when. I even used it to create a 30cm spacer for when I converted my bonnie to belt drive. That said it has some real limitations and is not all that accurate in my hands and I do everything by eye.

A few years ago there was a kickstart project for a home brew CNC miller, it looked FKing awesome – this was known as the Shapeoko – and is now off kick starter and on it’s 3rd major revision as of 2015 and in 2016 featured a mini update where they added some features like limit switches out the box.

Ever since the Shapeoko 3 came out I have had my eyes on one – for the sole reason they can cut aluminium! However they are also only made in the US, incredibly heavy and cost $1099 + shipping and import duty to the UK- so pretty pricey.

Recently I had a bit of luck and found a brand new, unassembled Shapeoko 3 (early 15) on ebay. It was in America but that wasn’t going to stop me.

It arrived Thursday… the best bit about these, is they arrive UNASSEMBLED! Which means I get to make it!

Here are some pics of the assembly


After assembly I ran the hello world project on it – it took a few attempts to get it right, see video 4 or final for a proper run down.

This isn’t a review of the shapeoko – there are loads of those out. I will give my initial thought and that this is a well built sturdy machine that appears to suit my needs – although this is just a thought as I haven’t tested it yet. I would say the instructions are not for the feint hearted – I know my way around a lego kit and put it together first time, but the instructions could be better – at the same time the lack of detail is also nice as it makes it that little bit more challenging.

As of yet I only had to do one adjustment – I had the pulleys a little low on the Y axis which caused some rubbing – once loosened and re-tightned this cured the problem.

I’m now waiting for my Dewalt trimmer to arrive – once that comes I will look to run my first project.