Help! What to do to make my Shapeoko1 usable

I have a shapeoko 1. I built it out with a grbl shield and arduino back in 2012 when it first appeared on inventables. I ran a few hello world style intros drawing with a sharpie - but as I lived in a tiny apt at the time, I never hooked a spindle or anything to it.

I have a garage now and I want to bring this old machine forward a few years. I’m not seeing any clear upgrade path.

My original build out:

  • 1x Shapeoko 25143-01 Mechanical Kit
  • 1x HF100W-SF-24 power supply
  • 3x NEMA 17
  • 1x grblShieldv4 (w/ shapeoko z-axis mod, jumpers that configure micro steps, and upgraded TI drivers)
  • 1x Arduino Uno R3

Please help!

Upgrade it by adding a J-Tech Laser.

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What do you want to do with it? Carve wood, plastics, metals, PCB´s, or laser?

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wood, plastics, metals, PCB´s, or laser


mostly wood and plastics for now, but once i get a little more comfortable I’d like to do some aluminum pieces.

If it was easy enough to switch out without having to rebuild too awful much, laser etching/cutting would be awesome at a later date. For now i want to focus on using it for entry level things.

The only thing I can think of upgrade x carriage x rail and y plates, eccentric spacers. About ~ $130

Hi Francis-

I did something very similar to what you’re looking to do last year. My goal was to reuses what I could from my Shapeoko 1 and get something more usable out of it. I had sort of sat out the Shapeoko and Xcarve stuff. But then I dusted off what I had and wanted to get going.

In the end I bought what was called an ‘Xcarve 2015’ kit, which was a lot of the parts to remake this. I’m not sure if they still have this or not, but that was the first thing.

From there I just spent a lot of time studying what was different between them and making an order to get it all to work.

Frankly, I ended up using my rollers and tensioners, a lot of the hardware, some maker slide I had as well as the runs from the SO, my motors, wiring, and then my motor controller. A lot of the rest of it went into a box. But, that’s a lot of stuff.

In the end, my upgrade cost me about $400 with parts from Inventables and then other little things. I also bought a DeWalt 611 which really ups the capability. But you could skip that at the start.

The good news is that the resulting machine is REALLY nice. I found the Shapeoko 1 pretty much useless due to flexing and just being weak. It would bind or bend. So it just sat there. But now I’m cutting things accurately and beautifully. In short, if you throw some money at it, it’s really worth it.

If you’d like, I could paste in my order email to get you started. Your mileage may vary, but I was really close with my order and if you have Shapeoko guts, you might be in about the same place.

Did you do the y axis dual drive axle mod that they used to do on the shapeokos? If not, you really need to add another stepper motor opposite the one you already have installed. You should be able to run it in parallel with the one you already have.

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Laser engraving projects would be considered entry level by my experience. No screaming in your ear spindle or wood/plastic dust flying everywhere. No dust shoe, dust collector/shop vac or purchasing various cutters needed. No upgrades are required to circumvent this problem either.

You can use your Shapeoko as is with a Laser now and upgrade it later to do the more complicated spindle projects.

You just need good ventilation to the outdoors and a good pair of laser safety glasses. Just mount & wire the laser, change to a laser version of grbl firmware and be up and running in no time making cool laser engraving projects. :grin:

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@DavidAnnetta what needs to be updated with the eccentric spacers? my kit came with those where v-wheels attach to plates.

@aTanguay I would love it if you posted your order email. Could you also post a pic of the finished machine? I’m a visual guy and seeing the final project would help me get the scope of this.

@JeremyHanks i haven’t done the dual y axis motors yet. when you say i can run them in parallel, do you mean both motors’ sets of wires could feed into the same grbl shield header (with the red/blue direction reversed for one of them)? Or would I need to buy a different grbl board?

The X-rail and second Y motor are no brainers. I hooked all of my stuff back up last night and ran the old hello world “Shapeoko” print with a sharpie again. Everything still seems to work.

@picengravertoo i do want to laser eventually, but i really want to get the cnc going first.

To change to eccentric spacers you need , eccentric spacers, longer screws and nylock nuts.

@DavidAnnetta I guess my question was my kit already has eccentric spacers - are my old eccentric spacers different in some way from whats available now? Or are you suggesting that for the additional x-plate that I need to get longer screws, more eccentric spacers and vwheels?

You probably have eccentric nuts, they are harder to adjust and drift out.

Yes, in theory you should be able to run the new motor off the same port as your current gshield. I Do the same in mine, but it sounds like it is a newer revision than the one you have. It also isn’t expensive to add individual motor drivers for each stepper so they have dedicated power that can run motors at their highest potential. Adding just another motor is a good place to start, new electronics can be added later with ease. The only downside to this path is that when you decide to upgrade your steppers to nema 23s , you will have just bought a nema 17 that will be somewhat of waste.

@FrancisYaconiello Here’s the list of things I ordered to do my upgrade. The one thing I will say is that I bought some extra parts with the assumption that I’d be going to Nema 23 motors in the next year or so. So I bought some extra stuff. Like extra belting. I also made some mistakes when ordering the drag chain mounts. Those are sitting around and I made my own out of aluminum. Hope this helps

Product: X-Carve 2015
Quantity: 1
Total: $218.00

Product: GT2 Belting - Open Ended - 26053-01
Quantity: 10
Total: $19.90

Product: Aluminum Extrusion (20mm x 20mm) - Black - 26049-01
Quantity: 2
Total: $14.00

Product: Aluminum GT2 Pulley - 26054-01
Quantity: 3
Total: $20.13

Product: Aluminum GT2 Pulley - 26054-03
Quantity: 4
Total: $26.84

Product: Drag Chain - 30331-01
Quantity: 1
Total: $19.65

Product: Drag Chain - 30331-02
Quantity: 1
Total: $3.15

Product: Drag Chain Angle Bracket - 30586-01
Quantity: 2
Total: $11.50

Product: Drag Chain Angle Bracket - 30586-02
Quantity: 1
Total: $7.95

Product: Drag Chain Gantry Bracket - 30587-01
Quantity: 1
Total: $8.15

Product: X-Carve DeWalt DW611 Spindle Mount
Total: $35.00

If your Shapeoko 1 has the MXL pulleys, you can buy Dust-Free Kevlar reinforced belts at McMaster Carr and save on some of this expense.

I use MXL Kevlar reinforced belts on our Shapeoko 2 and our other CNC machines. They have very high strength, low stretch, excellent shock resistance and there bullet proof. :grin: There only $2.00-$4.00 each depending on the outer circle dia.

@picengravertoo Oh hello…I’ve been getting stretching and it’s bumming me out.