Shopbot Safety Reminders

1) Wear protective gear including eye protection, ear protection and steel toed boots. Avoid loose-fitting clothing or dangling jewelry.

2) Keep eyes, hands, hair and clothing away from the ShopBot and router when it is operating. Tie long hair back. Do not use your hands to hold down parts that may come loose as they are cut out.

3) Read and follow the safety information that comes with your router, bits and other accessories. Unplug or shut down power to the router or spindle when changing bits.

4) Listen for changes in sound that may indicate a problem while running the tool. ALWAYS be near enough to the Remote Stop Switch or Space Bar on the computer keyboard to be able to stop the gantries should a problem arise.

5) Use a bit that is appropriate to the task. Inspect your bits for wear, burning, dullness and cracks each time you use them.

• Choose a bit with the largest shank and the shortest bit length to fit the task to avoid excessive bit deflection and stress.

• Never cut deeper than 11⁄2 times the diameter of the bit in a single pass. Not only will two passes make a cleaner cut but a shallower cut will cause less bit deflection and danger of breakage.

• Check your collets frequently. Collets do wear out, and a loose collet can result in greater deflection and shimmy which equal poorer quality cuts and greater chance of breakage.

6) Avoid unsafe holddown practices that can shatter a bit or allow parts to move during cutting.

• Make sure that the vacuum is sufficient to hold down small parts. Create templates or use the tabbing feature to hold small parts in place until you are ready to remove the machined pieces.

7) Locate mechanical holddowns such as clamps or sheet rock screws well clear of the cutting area. Design your files in such manner that the bit does not encounter the screws or clamps. Countersink holes for holddown screws.

8) Air cut your file before you put actually cut the file using the 3D offset option. Remember to deselect the 3D offset when you are ready to really run the file.

9) Create cutting files that avoid small parts flying out when being cut

10) Set Z accurately before starting the cut file, and know exactly how thick the material is.

11) Plan your toolpaths so that you cut out details and small parts before cutting out the big parts and drill any holes in a file while the material is intact and positioned properly, then go back and cut out the pieces.


Adapted from Shopbot


Visually inspect the Shopbot to make sure nothing on the machine will obstruct the machine, spindle or gantry.

Turn on the computer and Shopbot with the red on/off switch.

Check to make sure both emergency STOP buttons are released by twisting clockwise.

Press the blue reset button.

Open ShopBot 3 on the computer.

To manually move the spindle and/ or gantry type K and the keypad will appear. Use the blue arrows or keyboard arrows to move the gantry in X and Y. Only the key pad arrows will move the Z.

If the spindle speed control box (below) does not appear type “TR”

If this is the is time of the day the Shopbot has been run you MUST run the warm up routine. Type C5 and press the start button on the machine. This will take 9 minutes and can be done any time before cutting starts.

The error below may appear. Either RESET was not pressed or one of the emergency STOP buttons is pressed. Clear this error by pressing in both emergency STOP buttons and resetting them and then press the reset button.

Loosen the thumb screw to drop the dust shroud for better access to the spindle.

Choose the correct bit/collet and install by inserting the bit into the collet and the collet into the collet nut and the entire assembly in to the spindle, hand tighten the nut clockwise and finish tightening with the wrenches.

Raise the dust shroud so that it is 1/4 to 1/2 inch is below the cutter and tighten the thumbscrew.

Place the material to be cut in the home corner (nearest the control box). This is by default the home (0,0) position, if the material can not be secured in this location you will need to, after finding an adequate location for the material create a new home location (manually with the keypad locate the corner of the material and use the zero X, Y command).

Securing the material is important for accuracy and safety. Most material can be secured by screwing it to the table, being careful that the bit will not contact the screws, damps may also be used with the same precautions. Larger material can be secured with the air hold down system, make sure the air is off to areas of the table that are not being used and on to parts of the table that are being used, this is controlled with the red handles behind the blue silencer on the floor.

Once the material is in its final place the zero for the Z must be determined, this must be changed whenever the thickness of the material changes.

Use the keypad to move the spindle with the installed bit over the material to be cut. Place the aluminum bar on top of the material and under the bit, so the bit will contact the aluminum when the bit is moved down.

Install the grounding dip on or near the collet nut.

Click the Z zeroing icon or select from under the zero menu. It will have a few prompts that will confirm you are ready to zero the Z. Then will move down twice to find the location of the Z.

Make sure to remove the dip and the aluminum bar and move the spindle back to its home position as shown below.

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