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Thread: Upgrades and Accessories

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Los Angeles

    Talking Upgrades and Accessories

    Hey All,

    This is my first time posting as I am now a finally a ShopBot owner. I just bought what I think is a PRT(not sure if alpha) 5x12 with a 5hp Colombo and a 15hp FPZ. I'll attach some pics below.

    The machine was left sitting in a shop for a while, it's not thrashed, but it does need cleaning up. All the rails are somewhat rusty, the dust-shoe needs replacing, and maybe some v-bearings need to be replaced, and the rack gear definitely needs cleaning, and the pinions definitely need to be replaced.

    I've yet to re-assemble the legs back onto the long beams, we had to take it apart to transport.

    So.. As I have yet to really put it all back together, I was wondering what you all had to say and recommend in terms of upgrades and accessories that I should look into as I am cleaning this monster up.

    I saw some people had a spring-like arc that held the control cables and spindle power up and away from the moving gantry.. do you have a link for how/where to get that?

    This is an older machine with an ATX computer case as the control board housing. Do you have recommendations for where to get the cool electronics cabinet with the on/off switch on the face?

    I saw somewhere that people were talking about strengthening the gantry as it might sway in the middle, was there a consensus on if it should be taken care of and how?

    As for a vacuum, it came with this 15hp FPZ, but it's at the very limit of what my shop can handle (I don't have 3-phase). Do you think something smaller would be sufficient? How many of you rely on the vacuum to hold things down? Is is a matter of holding DOWN and/or preventing lateral movement? I have a home-built machine and I used a lot of fixtures or I'd screw down to my spoil board.

    The previous owner had crappy CDX as the base layer under the HDPE layer that he had cut a vacuum pattern into. That seems dumb, what material would you start with under there? My thoughts were baltic birch ply, but maybe there's something better?

    I saw in a youtube video a guy had some cool pneumatic pins that would come up out of the table for registration. Does anyone have links or ideas on what those parts are called? I'm fairly resourceful, but sometimes it's easier to get the exact name of what I'm hunting for ;-)

    Lastly, but maybe first on my list, where can I get replacement pinion gears? Just call ShopBot, or is Mcmaster-Carr ok?

    Well, that's it for now.. I thank you all in advance for any help you can provide. I'm REALLY excited about this machine. I've been wanting one for 10 years now, and while I have already built my own based on the BuildYourCNC guys' videos.... It's nice to finally have something that looks professional.

    Thanks again and looking forward to hearing your thoughts!!


    Screen Shot 2018-01-06 at 8.11.15 AM.jpg

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2020
    Chicago, IL


    Dang I'm kinda sad nobody responded to this! I'd be curious to hear what you got James, I am in a similar situation, bought a used PRS 4896, had disassembled for transport and re-assembled, and I'm finding out now (learning curve) that there's a bunch of improvements/maitnence that I need to do.

    Wire carriage: mine has the weird plexiglass spring kind of thing, would love to change it to a normal chain link harness kind of thing...

    Dust collection: mine came with the old shopbot made dust shoe that... doesn't suck, probably will get the KentCNC dust shoe

    Pinions: Definitely need to replace, these probably haven't been replaced in years.. where did you get yours?

    Control Box: mine came with the computer case... would love to rehouse it in the industrial metal box... did you end up getting one?

    Last edited by Andrew Hassel; 11-19-2020 at 11:07 AM. Reason: add text

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2010


    You guys can make your own dust shoe as easily as buying one.... just find a design or create one that looks good to you. I would send you my design but it is (1) designed for a spindle and you both probably have routers., and (2) the PRT has a different routing and set up than the PRS series. (Andrew if you want to reach out separately for your PRS, I can send you a photo of what I did, but you would have to mod the sketch to fit it to the router (assumption on my part- but not with any malice)

    "Wire springy acrylic thing" gets replaced by "E Chain". You can find it in lots of places. I have bought mine from SHopbot. You can make your own bolt on anchors in aluminum if you like and buy echain from all sorts of vendors. Search it on ebay and McMaster and marketplace, etc. You may want one along your y carriage as well as along the x axis. Again: PRS and PRT are different set ups and I can't help with the design on that style. I only have my Y carriage done on this machine, but my last one was on X and Y...
    Pinions: Go to shopbot for these, for sure.

    Shopbot is good at a LOT of things and one of the best is their tech support. Speak with them. They will help. And they have parts on hand for you most of the time.

    Best of luck in your endeavors. And I hope you have tons of years of making of new things ahead!


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Hobby-Tronics, Chiloquin Oregon

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2020


    Utilize Microfiber towels to clean accessories and gadgets without making any scratches and dust smearing around !!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Springfield Mo

    Default carrier chain

    this carrier chain works well ... I still like the dust going out the back with a few supports to the vacuum hose
    Attached Images Attached Images
    The decimal point seems to be the most important on the z axis... x & y not so much....
    ShopBot... Where even the scraps and things you mess up and throw away are cool....

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