What's your favorite 20 dollar or less upgrade you've done so far?

I just bought extra lock nuts and jam nutted my eccentric V wheel bolts in place and it is saving me from tightening them regularly, but it made me wonder what other really inexpensive upgrades there are that upgrade the X-carve.

1 Like

X-axis stiffening. It may have been closer to $25, but very well worth it. I even recorded how I did it, you can see it at https://youtu.be/CLJnvxJLdgY.


Blue Locktite. Angle brackets on the Y-Axis to prevent bowing and 3/16" steel in the X-axis AND a nice, fat bit to flatten my wasteboard so it is perfectly flat to the machine. AND grinding two flats in each of my stepper motor shafts for the set screws to settle into so there will NEVER be any slippage. All for less than $20. Though, I had the steel to make the y-axis brackets. Still this was all about $20 total. Those things combined were revolutionary.

CHEATING: I just realized, I already had the furniture bolts. Hence my recommendation to use them in the first place.

Well, prices are very surprising on Inventables shop. I ordered 4 screws and 4 nylock nuts. they seem kind of expensive. Withing 4 days, I received box, there are 4 packs of screws and 4 packs of nuts. Amazingly low price. Now I have lifetime nut and bolt supply.


I haven’t actually finished my X-Carve yet but started on the first mod today - $11.50 on 4 litres of white paint.
Deciding I needed a proper home for the X-Carve (and my 6040 CNC router), I cleaned out a small shed (3x3 metres) that previously had only been used for storage. A new power point ($5) and I’m good to go.

I found a $20 hard rubber floor mat that I put under my 500x500 machine. It really reduced the noise it was making.

1 Like

Good idea, I’ll nick it and get myself some of that.

T bar 4mm Allen key. Makes clamping down a pleasure.

uhhh dewalt dwp611

i dont care about your $20 rules! if you dont have one (or another type of upgraded spindle or trim router) you are just wasting your time


That is very true! I picked up a set of T handle Allen wrenches at Harbor Freight a few weeks ago, You can’t go wrong for $7


Easy work around:

Set a 1/4" hard board, like peg board, MDF or smooth plywood into the square that is milled out. This raises the work surface above the lip and gives me a spoil board so I don’t have to re-mill the wasteboard again (possibly ever).

Mid-way through a large project, one of the Z-axis wheels suddenly became loose (was perfectly fine before the start button)! Fortunately, the project consisted of a number of parts, so only one small piece was ruined.

(1) Bought 10 each hi-tensile M5 bolts (Oz $5.95) to replace all hex-head screws on the adjustment wheels. Holding the head with a spanner is way easier comparatively to the Allen key, especially for the X-axis.
(2) 10 each Nylock nuts (Oz $5.95) to hold the above adjustments in place
(3) Cheap nail-polish to paint safety markers on the above.

I wonder why the Allen key heads are there first place – the spanner is more practical. And 10 extra Nylocks should be included into the kit and the assembly instructions, he-he.

I managed to get a nice Bondhus (Imperial) and Wiha (metric) Allen wrenches for less than $20 each set. Would have paid more if need be.

Sometimes I borrow my wife’s Wera T-handle set.

1 Like

I was a bit concerned about the wheels coming loose so I replaced the eccentric nuts with eccentric spacers and nyloc nuts.
Replacing the socket head screw with bolts might be a good idea too although with the eccentric nut replacement, adjustments should not be required.

Can you tell me where you get the excentrix spacer (and a picture please !)

We list eccentric spacers on the Parts page on the ShapeOko wiki: http://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/Parts#All_Axes along w/ sources, and instructions for making your own.

They look like the eccentric nuts currently in vogue, just no threads:

1 Like

@WillAdams The eccentric washer sound like a great idea!

Another great purchase was an 18 inch magnetic tool holder. It is perfect for holding all the screws and bolts I use for clamping plus all the other misc. stuff that does not have a good home, but needs to be available.

Just $5 at Harbor Freight

1 Like
1 Like

Lol @ “poor man’s lactate”