This kit does not include MakerSlide, except one 250 mm piece for the Z axis. MakerSlide is temporarily unavailable, while we change suppliers. More information on the blog.
Larger kits, and kits with open end plates are available. Look for 'Choose-your-size eShapeOko' and select your desired size.
NEMA23 upgrades for X, Y and Z are available. They include M5 hardware and spacers, 6.35mm bore belt pulleys and/or flexible coupler. You can upgrade the X axis only, both X and Y, or all three axes. The stepper motors are not included. You can now select these as options.
This is the standard size kit (375 mm X axis, 500 mm Y axis) with standard end plates. For open end plates and a selection of sizes, please select the 'Choose-your-size eShapeOko'.
With the dual-X upgrade option, you will get four extra V-wheels, as well as all the spacers, washers and bolts needed to build a wider X carriage that slides on two back-to-back MakerSlide rails. The two X rails can be bolted together, but no fasteners are included for that (it makes only a small difference at the standard X size anyway, but it becomes much more useful for wider machines). For dual-X machines, the X carriage can be upgraded to aluminium spacers. Aluminium spacers are not available for single-X machines.
If you have a question not covered here, please use the Contact Us link at the bottom of every page in the store.
This FAQ is under construction; please bear with us while we add links and images.
Q: Is this the same kit as the one sold by Inventables
A: No, this is our own kit. We are not affiliated with Inventables or with Edward Ford.
Q: Is eShapeOko a ShapeOko?
A: This is more of a philosophical question. See this discussion
. eShapeOko is largely the same as Edward Ford's ShapeOko, with the same brilliant economy of design, but it includes a number of changes. Some come from Edward himself, some from the most excellent community
, and a few are our own ideas.
Q: What does the "e" stand for?
A: "European", initially. Now it also means "enhanced" and "extended". We'll let you decide whether we deserve "excellent", "extraordinary" and "fabulous".
Q: But there's no "e" in "fabulous"!
A: You're right, there isn't. We got carried away.
Q: What are the differences between eShapeOko and Edward Ford's ShapeOko (the Inventables kit)?
A: By the way, we think that all the differences are improvements, except one. Here's a list:
Stiffer Z axis. The Z-axis V-wheels are further apart (more than twice as far), so they withstand lateral forces much better, both on X and on Y. They are bolted through two plates instead of one, so they are more rigid. This change reduces the deflection of the Z axis under load significantly. To achieve this, we replaced the Makerslide carriage plate with a fourth motor plate, and added the needed holes for the Z wheels. The two X motor plates form a taller torsion box, which is bolted together in eight places instead of four.
X rail moved back. This is the most immediately visible change: our motor plates are a different shape, with only one corner cut off. The X rail goes on the newly added corner. eShapeOko can take bigger spindles than the ShapeOko without reducing the Y travel, and the center of gravity falls between the Y wheels, closer to the middle. The X rail can be mounted in the original position, all the way to the back (ideal for larger spindles), and in between (ideal for smaller spindles). The same motor plates can support two X rails, for an even stronger machine.
Longer Y axis! Our kit includes 495mm Makerslide rail for the Y axis, instead of 375mm. This increases the Y travel to 330mm, over 50% more than a standard ShapeOko. The X axis travel is a tiny bit longer too, at 215mm, so you can machine A4-sized objects.
Belts! Modifications of the belt routing abound on the ShapeOko forum (for example, here, here, and here), and users have been making their own upgraded belt anchors from the beginning. We picked what we thought were the best changes and included them as standard. The eShapeOko kit comes with motor plates that can be configured for four different belt paths (three if using NEMA23 motors), including the original and Edward Ford's new configuration from his improved motor plates, plus two popular belts-on-the-outside configurations. Our end plates have belt anchor points for the latter two built in. We supply a set of belts anchors for the X axis and very nice belt tensioning devices. Please note that the images below show our old belt clamps; they were found unsatisfactory and have been replaced with zip ties. New kits may have a different type of belt clamp.
Redesigned Z mount plate. We replaced the original machined UHMWPE plate (acetal in the newer kits) with a sandwich of two laser-cut stainless steel plates. They trap between them the flange of the Z bearing, allowing it to take the weight of the spindle and Z axis. In the original design, the nuts on the threaded rod did little and the weight of the spindle was supported by the bearings of the motor and the flexible coupler. We never liked that.
Thinner and cheaper-looking spindle mounts. This one isn't an improvement, unfortunately. We haven't been able to find nice aluminium blocks like the ones used in the Inventables kit at a reasonable price. We substituted thinner (but just as strong) mild steel blocks. They just don't look quite as nice. (If you know of anyone who can make the aluminium blocks for us, please email us and let us know. We'd really appreciate it.)
Dual Y drive as a kit option. The basic kit has one motor on Y, at one end of the gantry, and the other end just follows along. If the V-wheels aren't adjusted just so, there is slop in the Y axis due to racking. Dual drive adds a motor on the other side of the gantry, which allows the machine to withstand much larger cutting forces with less deflection. We strongly recommend that you get this upgrade!
Dual X rail as a kit option. This adds a second X rail, with a wider carriage that runs on two rails instead of one. This reduces the flex in the Y direction substantially. It is a particularly useful upgrade for heavier, more powerful spindles.
Stainless steel fasteners and Z threaded rod. That's not to be posh; we just found a good supplier for them. The stainless steel threaded rod works much better, though.
Q: What is the same?
A: Overall design. Makerslide. V-wheels. Idlers. Open MXL belts on X and Y, M8 allthread as Z leadscrew. Choice of NEMA17 or NEMA23 motors for X and Y, NEMA17 on Z. This is still Edward Ford's machine, with all his experience that went into its design. We just added a few personal touches.
Q: I don't want a longer machine. Can I get the original size?
A: Yes, but you only save a few quid. We really think the longer machine is cooler, and you get over 50% more work area for peanuts. Can we get you to reconsider?
Q: Why is the price difference so small between the extended eShapeOko and the standard size?
A: Cutting standard size kits from the stock of Makerslide that we have wastes some material. Cutting extended kits uses a little more stock, but the lengths work out exactly, with no waste. Because of that, the extended kit costs us only a little more. The price difference also covers the extra length of belt. We don't like to waste precious Makerslide, so we keep the cost of the upgrade low to encourage you to get the extended eShapeOko.
Q: Why is eShapeOko more expensive than the Inventables ShapeOko?
A: It is and it isn't. If you bought a ShapeOko from Inventables, delivered in the UK, it would cost $225 for the kit, $90 delivery, and Customs would charge you VAT and duty at around £75. If you paid with a credit card, the issuer would charge you £2-3 for currency conversion, and the exchange rate would be 2-3% worse than the market rate. The total cost to you would be about £285. Put that way, our kit is much cheaper. Please keep in mind that anywhere in the EU you have to pay VAT, and our list price includes that. The Inventables list price does not include the sales tax (where applicable). That said, we produce this kit in smaller quantities, so our costs are a little higher. We don't want to make huge profits, but we don't want to lose money either. I hope you agree that you are getting a great deal!
Q: I want a longer machine!
Q: I want a wider machine!
A: First, you need the dual Y drive. The stock width is the maximum that works reasonably well with only one side of the gantry driven. Longer gantries will have too much slop and may even bind. You need another way to mount your Y rails, too. Edward Ford has a new end plate design
, and we plan to supply something similar soon. You also need a longer X rail. Thanks to this effort to get Makerslide manufactured in the UK
, we will offer the rail in our store very soon. We also carry the longer belt
you would need. If you plan to increase the width of the machine a lot, it may be a good idea to upgrade to dual X rail, too.
Q: I want a tougher machine!
A: The dual Y drive upgrade helps the most, and we strongly recommend it. Dual X rail reduces flex under cutting loads and allows heavier spindles. The eShapeOko already has a strenghened Z axis compared to the original ShapeOko, but you may want to experiment with moving the Z leadscrew to the side, in order to get the Z rail a little closer to the X carriage. These are the upgrades that we will offer in our store, but check out the ShapeOko forum
for other great ideas, and feel free to email us
with suggestions for kits and upgrades.
Q: If I get the dual Y drive upgrade, how do I connect the additional motor?
A: The simplest way is to connect both Y motors in parallel and connect them to a single driver. You can also use two drivers with their inputs in parallel, controlled by a single set of outputs from your microcontroller or PC. Or, if you have a board with four (or more) drivers and firmware that supports this, such as the TinyG, you can map two drivers to the Y axis. LinuxCNC also supports mapping more than one set of outputs to a given axis.
Q: Do you sell the motors or the electronics?
A: Yes, we have motors, drivers, driver shields, power supplies and so on.
Q: What about limit switches?
Q: Can I use the eShapeOko for things other than milling, such as 3D printing?
A: Yes! Of course, you'd need a print head, and possibly a heated bed. See the ShapeOko forum for many ideas. We like the Wade extruder with Greg Frost's modifications ("guidler", herringbone gears) and the J-Head Mk V-B hot end by Brian Reifsnyder, but options abound.
Q: Can I use RAMPS (or other 3D printer electronics) to drive the ShapeOko?
A: Yes! However, the usual ShapeOko drivers run at 24 volts, while RAMPS runs at 12 volts. You won't get the same speed and torque, but it will work reasonably well.
Q: Are the parts really blue, green and yellow, as in the model?
A: No. The parts are bare stainless steel, not finished in any way (mill finish). Feel free to paint them, or use a belt sander to give them the brushed stainless steel look. Send us pictures!
Product Code: ES001a