Rail Kit additional option(s)?

I really like that you have the 500mm and 1000mm Square options available in the configurator.

What does Inventables think of releasing a 500mm x 1000mm rail kit(s)? It’s a seemingly happy medium that people on the internet seem to run with in terms of footprint and cutting capacity; though there is no consensus on which axis benefits the most when doing so. I myself am cobbling the parts together to do this with an extended 1000mm X axis, so I’m crazy biased but thought I’d throw it out there and give you additional theoretical packaging and logistics challenges. :smiley:

Inventables sells the rails separately in the store. If you want to do this we suggest extending the Y to 1000 and keeping the X at 500. This will give you a stiffer machine. We won’t be selling this option in the configurator because we are trying to keep the order process simple for folks while offering flexibility. This is a more advanced set up we sell parts for, but don’t officially support it in the configurator.

You will have to make your own waste board but we sell the threaded inserts separately too.

Does that make sense?

Makes sense and thanks for the reply Zach, I appreciate it.

i think you guys should make a 750 x 750 rail option, its the perfect size not to big or small.

Hi Zach,

I understand your suggestion regarding extending the Y axis rather than the X axis, however I’m considering the 500 by 1000 option myself, and I would find the 1000mm X by 500mm Y a much more appealing approach. I run my machine on a counter against a wall, and the suggested configuration just wouldn’t work for me.

Are there engineering measures being taken in the 1000 by 1000 machines to address the reduced stiffness of the long X axis that could be applied to a machine with an extended X axis? I saw something mentioned in the XCarve videos about braces for extended Y axis rails. Are there any ideas for bracing X axis rails that could be applied to an upgraded Shapeoko 2?

There are a few different DIY methods to do this actually.

Probably the cheapest and most popular way is to use a series of #6-32 2" bolts and nuts. They are used to clamp the makerslides together vertically. See this vid for an example by Ronn. The bolt acts as a spacer between the rails and the excess is cut off.

Some take this a bit further and source 2 pieces of flat steel stock that run the length of the makerslide to increase the clamping surface area and provide additional material bracing.

Another more involved method is to drill holes into the 40mm wall of the makerslide at regular intervals and bolt the two makerslide together with a spacer or metal between them.

And maybe the most involved is to go with a different extrusion all together. Say a 40mm x 60mm with linear rails bolted to it.

For those with a 3d printer, a 3d printed connector is viable, though it would be real tough to get it into the depths of the rail without it breaking or jamming up. Structural benefits would be lower than any of the above i think?

I was saying it would be optimal to put the 500 on the X but you can certainly put the 1000 on the X. Your machine would perform in similar fashion to the 1000mm size. We have been able to operate both sizes successfully for about a month now. The skateboard video is cutting through a piece of 3/4" plywood and the job took about 6 minutes.

We have been analyzing the system to determine exactly where the weakest points are and what can be done to move the weak link to the next part of the system. We are also looking into what are the critical aspects of using the machine that bring out the best performance. Our data is not conclusive yet but when we can verify and validate our hypothesis with data from our experiments we will be publishing the results for people to review.

This is a hot button issue so I don’t want to speculate on the forum about where the weak links are and what potential solutions are to fix them until we have data from actual experiments with the X-Carve machines. We are actively testing this right now.

What is the issue you are trying to solve for with this improvement? The speed at which you can complete a job? Are you planning on carving a lot of soft metals?


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Fairly light work, Zach. I’m primarily looking at being able to put a 3 foot sheet of balsa or light plywood onto the bed for cutting model aircraft parts. Most of the other work on heavier materials will be smaller, I expect. I figure that, even if the longer axis is less stiff, I can do the heavier work on the side of the bed close to a Y rail to take advantage of the increased stiffness
My expected work for the Shapeoko is looking like

  • model aircraft parts
  • printed circuit boards
  • plywood parts up to 12" x 12" x 1/2" aircraft plywood
  • engraving hardwood signs up to 12"
  • milling aluminum parts up to 6" diameter x 1/2" thick
  • milling G10 sheet up to 1/4" thick

I think you’ll be fine. I’d start with the softer materials to get the hang of the process. To do aluminum you’ll want to use High Speed Machining (HSM) tool path strategies that have constant engagement from the bit. The tool paths make a significant difference in what kind of performance you can get out of the machine regardless of the stiffness.

I am very interested in having a longer Y axis as well. I dont know if I need a full 1000mm, but something longer than 700mm would be nice. Can someone confirm all I should really have to do is buy the standard 500mm kit and then two of the 1000mm makerslide rails (https://www.inventables.com/technologies/makerslide) and then swap them in during the build for the Y axis?

I’m already thinking about taking my Y to 1000…

Just off the top of my head, you would also need more wire, belting, and drag chain, and the support rails for the waste board. It would be a bit more expensive (about $50-$75 by my rough guess for everything), but if you got the 1000mm kit, you could cut the one side down to 500mm, and the other side to what ever length you chose. Then you would have more then enough of the other things.

Just a thought.

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Take a look at what @DonDespain, did on his machine here:

User Assembly Tips

He basically got the 1000mm kit and chopped the rails down to size.