Shapeoko Sign

Create your own MAKE Makey Wall plaque

job setup

This is a quick and easy project to make on a standard sized Shapeoko 3 CNC machine. You’ll need a piece of material that measures 16” x 16” and is at least 1/4” thick. For this project we used 1/2” thick ACX plywood that was ripped down to 16” x 16”.

The instructions below walk you through creating the toolpaths with Carbide Create and setting up the job with Carbide Motion

Download artwork file here: Makey_lrg.svg

Download Carbide Create Project (with finished toolpaths) here: make_makey

Note: This job will be setup to start from the center of the material in the X direction, and approximately 7.5” from the front edge in the Y position. We used a 1/4” square end mill (#201 from our store) and the job will take about 23 minutes to complete.

Open Carbide Create

job setup

To begin, we need to clear the canvas and setup of material and job dimensions.

Click Job Setup

  • Click ‘Clear Drawing’ -> click ‘yes’

Set Material Properties

  • width: 14”
  • height: 14”
  • thickness 0.25”
  • Stock: Top
  • Toolpath Zero: Center
  • Material: Soft Wood (we used acx plywood)
  • Machine: Shapeoko 3
  • Retrack Height: 12mm
  • Units: Inches

Click OK

Import the SVG

Browse for the makey_lrg.svg file you downloaded from the top of the page, and click OK once you find it. The file will open on the canvas.

Once the file is open, select everything (click and drag or press ctl + a). Once you have everything selected, center the design on the canvas.

job setup

Create Boundary

We’re going to be making a big pocket around the entire design, to give the pocket an outside edge you’ll need to create a rectangle that will act as our bounding box.

To Create the Rectangle

  • Click ‘Design’
  • Click ‘Rectangle’ vector
  • click the origin, then drag to corner to create 14” x 14” square
  • click off canvas to deselect square

Create Toolpaths

job setup

Now that the design is complete, you need to create the actual toolpaths. We are going to create 3 separate operations.

  1. A shallow large pocket around the entire body
  2. A Shallow pocket for the center Circle
  3. A Deep pocket for the letter M

Body Pocket

job setup

Select Everything on the canvas, and then, by holding the ctl (or apple) key, click the center circle and the letter ‘M’ to deselect those two objects.

Create Toolpath

job setup

With all of those selected, create a new contour by clicking the ‘Contour’ button found below the ‘Create Toolpath’ menu.

Select Tool

job setup

We will be using a 1/4” square end mill for all of the operations. Be sure the correct tool is selected from the tool drop down menu. Notice that the speeds and feeds will be filled in automatically for you. Also note that Carbide Create remembers the last tool you used and defaults to that tool.

a note about speeds and feeds: these are set based on the material you selected during the ‘job setup’ process. If you decide to change the material you will be using, making sure you change it in the job setup screen too. Once it’s changed, come back to the toolpaths and verify the speeds and feeds have been updated accordingly.

Set Parameters

job setup

With the correct tool selected, click OK. Now it’s time to input the correct parameters for the operation. In the main window, set the parameters to the following values

  • Set ‘Max Depth’ to .125
  • Set Offset direction to Pocket
  • Name the toolpath: main_pocket
  • Click OK

After you click ‘OK’, the pocket operation that you just defined will be created and a preview will be shown on the screen with blue lines.

Center Circle

center circle

With the body pocket completed, we’re going to make another pocket for the center circle. Select only the center circle, it will turn orange when selected, and click ‘Contour’ to create another operation. Set the following parameters:

  • set max depth to .100
  • select pocket
  • name the toolpath: center_pocket click OK

After the center_pocket has been created, notice that if you hover over the operation names, the toolpaths will turn shaded. The shading represents the depth of cut. The lighter the color gray, the shallower the cut. The darker the color, the deeper the cut.

Letter M

The final operation to create is the letter ‘M’ found in the center of the circle. In order to give the letter a little contrast we are going to create another pocket operation, but this time, the pocket will be cut deeper into the wood. Select the letter ‘M’ and create a new ‘Contour’.

m toolpath

  • set max depth to .125
  • select pocket
  • name the toolpath: center_m
  • click OK

3D Preview


With your toolpaths complete, you can preview what the design will look like after it’s been cut into the material. Under the toolpath simulation heading, click select ‘pine’ for the material, then click ‘show simulation’

The 3D preview is full 3D:

  • click + drag to rotate
  • scroll to zoom in/out
  • ctl + click and drag to pan
  • Pressing ‘Reset View’ will reset the 3D view

When you’re happy with the design, click ‘save gcode’

Machine Setup.

machine setup

Now that the toolpaths are done and you’re happy with the preview, it’s time to setup the material on the machine and actually run the job!

Using a piece of 16” x 16” material (at least .25” thick):

  • place the bottom edge of the material against the inside of the front cross strap.
  • center the piece horizontally, there should be about 4” on each side.
  • Secure the material to the Shapeoko.
  • Measure the material and mark 7.5” from the front edge
  • Mark the center of the material (horizontally) across the 7.5” mark you just created. This is going to be your job zero position.

Job Setup (Machine Controller)

job zero

Before we can run the job, we need to setup Carbide Create and move the machine into the correct position to start.

If you do not have homing enabled:

job zero

  • move your machine to the job-zero position, then turn the power on.
  • Open Carbide create and Connect to your machine.
  • Go to the jog menu and zero the X/Y axis.
  • Jog the z-axis down until it’s just touching the material, then zero the z-axis.
  • Load the .egc file you created with Carbide Create.

  • Click Run!

If you have homing enabled

machine setup

With homing enabled, we need to reference the machine to home, and then create an offset to the job zero location.

  • Power on the machine and connect with carbide motion.
  • Click the jog button to begin the homing cycle.
  • After the machine has homed, click the rapid position button.
  • Select the middle of the table

machine setup

Jog to job zero

Once the machine has moved to the center rapid position, it should be close to the job zero position. Using the arrow keys on your keyboard, or the buttons in the jog window, jog the bit in the negative Y direction until it’s over the X/Y center mark you made on the table.

When The bit in in the correct position, begin lowering the z-axis until it’s almost touching the material. We used a piece of paper between the bit and the material, slowly moving the paper around, until the bit catches the paper. Then you know your z-axis is in the correct position.

once X/Y/Z are in the correct position, use the zero button in the jog window. Click the ‘zero all’ feature towards the bottom. Then click done.

Run the Job!

  • Load the .egc file you created with Carbide Create.
  • Click Run!

machine setup machine setup



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