Shapeoko Batch #4 - An update

Hi All, This is Edward! Inventables' newest employee. I started working full time on October 1st. It's been an amazing couple of weeks, and I thought I'd drop in and give everyone an update on Shapeoko batch #4.

On Thursday of last week, I made my way (with Phil) over to the factory where Shapeoko is being packaged. It's a 40 minute drive from our office downtown to the factory. I was excited to get out there and see the progress they had made since my last visit a few weeks ago when they were just getting started.

The factory is a cool place. Non-descript from the outside as just another building in an industrial park, but once you get inside it's a different story. High ceilings, modern furniture, and lots of wiz-bang stuff going on all around, from guys wiring up enclosures, to engineers modeling with 3D CAD software. You sort of feel like you're walking through NASA.

After a short visit, We made our way from the office out onto the shop floor, where they had all of the Shapeoko inventory setup and ready to be packaged.

Shapeoko Kanban at the factory

They had already gone through and packaged up one kit, which, after all, was the reason I was there. Before packaging up the rest of the kits, we really wanted to do a 'QC build'. That is, double check their work and make sure we had communicated the Bill of Materials Correctly. The best way we could figure out to do this was to just go ahead and build a shapeoko from the packaged box!

I quickly got to work and unpacked everything:

Electronics, Tools, Hardware

All the goodies, spread out for all to see.

It still delights me each time I see the kit packaged up nice and organized like it is, with each item in it's own bag, individually labeled. It makes me think of the drastic improvements we've made since moving the operation out of my garage and into a proper setting.

I set out to work by separating the packages and finding the parts I needed. It was like riding a bike! Yeah, I hadn't done it in a while, but the process came back to me quickly as I started snapping the v-wheels together. I was having a bit of nostalgia remember the evening I spent putting together 100 v-wheels!

v-wheel assemblies

After the v-wheels were assembled I put together the motor mount plates and the standard carriage. Do you notice anything different about the motor mount plates? It's subtle, but important:
motor mount plates, assembled.

1.) We did away with the stainless steel plates. In their place, we are using regular mild steel, but this time, instead of painting it, we had everything zinc plated! It looks awesome! Goes really well with the zinc plated hardware, and looks sharp in contrast to the black metric fasteners. We also added .2mm to the diameter of each through hole. The other change to the holes is the vertically slotted hole at the top of the plate. This was put into plate in order to accommodate the tolerance of the MakerSlide end holes. Instead of enlarging the holes all around, we made a single 5.2mm slot that runs 25mm long. Problem solved.

2.) See the hole in the middle of the plate? Yep, it was *finally* enlarged to the point that the nema17 face will fit nicely right into it. That means no more stand off spacers! it also means that the hole helps to locate the motor during assembly. It's something I should have changed months ago. Thanks to everyone who made that suggestion!

It never ceases to amaze me how quickly the build goes once the motor mounts are assembled. After tapping the rails, I bolted everything together and ran the belting. With everything bolted up, and the electronics test fitted onto their stand, I gave the thumbs up! Batch #4 started shipping the next day.

So, at this point we're still shipping out Batch #4 kits, but already looking forward to shipping batch #5! Once batch #5 is done we'll have a surprise.

No comments: