do I need all the holes in the waste board?
I have only 8 holes in my base board, each one with a threaded insert. I’ve used only 6 of them so far to hold down workpiece supports or the workpiece itself. That’s me, though. Others use a lot more due to a different way of mounting workpieces.
How many and which ones you need depend on how you intend to hold down your work. If you use the 3" long clamps and have varying size workpieces, you may need them all. If you only plan to make one size item and put it in the same place every time, you may only need 4. It’s all up to your intended use.
As mentioned earlier it really depends on what options you want for securing your work piece. I currently have the Inventables provided waste board but find I hardly use the holes to secure the clamps. Most of the time (99.9%) I use double sided tape. I plan on increasing the size of my X-Carve from 500mm x 660mm to the full 1000mm x 1000mm and when I do I will just use 3/4 inch MDF. I do want to play around with other types of mounting work pieces.
it’s horses for courses…
I have lots of threaded holes (1000x1000 machine) but I hardly ever use them. Far more useful are the 5 lengths of T slot channel I’ve used as part of my base. The spaces between the the T slot are filled with 19mm MDF (they sit approx 3/16th above the aluminium).
The T slot (and the threaded holes) mean I’ve almost unlimited hold-down options. When the MDF gets too artistic (i.e. there are dozens of different shaped cuts in it), I simply replace that strip.
Providing I make sure the tool never cuts through the base of the work by more than the 3/16th limit, the T slot remains pristine.
Do you have any pictures handy, David?
I just use MDF as my wasteboard and screw all my work down to the wasteboard. That way, when profiling, you can cut through your material completely. When your wasteboard gets ugly, just resurface it with the biggest bit you have. Absolutely secure hold down, no fiddling with clamps or worrying about your bit slamming into clamps on rapids, etc. Very simple, inexpensive and fast. My screws of choice are drywall screws. If my compressor is on, sometimes, I will just pump a few brads through my work into the wasteboard. Instantly secure, but you can still grab it and pull it up without too much effort.
Plus, surfacing your wasteboard is really the only way to make it absolutely flat to your specific machine if you are doing really fine engraving.
@JustinRobbins Here’s an old picture, you’ll see the general idea of what I did. Between the T Slots are rows of threaded inserts. Any questions, let me know.
The dust shields you see are strips of polycarbonate hollow cell sheeting, which have a strip of aluminium “U” channel glued along the edge with a rare earth magnet glued inside the sheet at each end. They’re virtually weightless, clip in and out in seconds and work really well.