I’m loving my cnc adventure, but I was really struggling with the stock bed – not only did it flex but each time I stuck something down I ended up peeling away some MDF.

I went on my way to improve this – I looked into a stainless bed (really expensive) – then a mild steel (would rust) then settled on a aluminium one.

I looked for about 3 weeks for some decent stock to come up on Ebay for a reasonable price to no avail. I then went to my local bolt shop – balls grinding in Cheltenham who hocked me up with a 1/2 sheet for £75 – cut to size! What lads!

I started with a piece of 720×580 1/2 aluminium sheet

From there gave it a quick polish then drilled the mounting holes and put the shapeoko frame back together – only recessing the 2 front centre screws – then I drilled 88 pilot holes, then drilled to 5mm, then tapped with a M6 machine tap.

All in I spent about 2 hours drilling the 88 holes – the boring and tapping only took about 30 min which I thought was pretty quick. I went through 6 3.2mm drill bits, and charge cycles on my 18v 4ah dewalt.

Here are some pics of the build –

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Dissembled the old one img_6592img_6594

Looks like an arse but it’s actually just my hand.img_6596img_6597

This made a real mess!

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The best bit is using my DTI the base only have a 0.2mm variance across the board. It also only cost me £75 in materials and £ 10 in misc bits – like drill bits.

If I was able I probably would have bought the one offered by carbide (it’s great value if your in the US)n – but this was a cool project and by far the largest bit of metal I have worked on.

A few weeks on the results are great – I can now mill comfortably knowing the board isn’t going to flex – I also have a much more versatile bed – I can clamp things down or glue them with a hot glue gun – if I do this it’s much easier to remove.

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