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I’m finally back in the UK after more than two weeks away.  We’re shipping orders more or less in the order we got them.  We’re also packing eShapeOko kits, but they won’t be done until the end of the week.  I’m still very busy with my day job and other stuff, so we probably won’t catch up completely until next week, but I think we can get all the small orders out this week.  We’re blessed with very patient and understanding customers, but we don’t want to take advantage of that patience and understanding more than it’s necessary.

Motor Plate

EM-LMP rev 4I have a new design for the eShapeOko motor plate (EM-LMP).  Four of them are used in a machine, two for the gantry ends (which run on the Y rails), and two for the front and rear of the X carriage.  The new design has a second NEMA23 hole pattern, higher up and rotated 45°.  It improves the contact between the belt and the pulley for a flush-mounted motor.

More importantly, the new motor plate has holes compatible with both the standard acetal V-wheels and the smaller steel V-groove bearings.

I’m going to get my hands on the prototypes on Monday or Tuesday, and test them.  They are the missing component for an eShapeOko with hardcoat anodized MakerSlide.  If I did not make any stupid mistakes, I’ll start selling the bare plates in the store in about a week, and the “black edition” eShapeOko a little later.

Power Supplies

I am trying to restock the 24 V 120 W laptop-type power supply.  That model is no longer available at a decent price, and I’m having a hard time finding a supplier of power supplies built to European safety standards.  They all claim that they have regulatory approval, of course, but some have the gall of showing clearly counterfeit UK plugs while claiming BS 1363 conformance.  If the plug is fake, how do I trust them to have followed the safety rules when building the adapter itself?  (Answer: I don’t, and they probably haven’t.)

Our LiteOn power adapters were manufactured to a high standard.  I opened mine to check, and, as far as I could tell, it followed the rules to a tee: it was double-insulated, did not rely on solder alone for conductor separation, had proper isolation distances between the mains and the low-voltage side, and had fuses in the right places.  The capacitors seemed good quality and had the right voltage ratings, and the circuit was a sophisticated regulator with over-current protection and good filtering.

Good cage-type supplies can be had for less money — and they’re the right choice for many applications — but a completely enclosed, insulated AC adapter has a lot going for it.  It is safer and more convenient, and reasonably dust-proof too.  Unfortunately, the only way I can get more of those is to increase the price.

Camera Slider

The camera slider is available again.  The new version includes the belt and the belt pulley, which the old one didn’t.  All you need is a motor (we have those), electronics (we have those too), a way to attach a camera to the slider (we have 1/4″ and 3/8″ tripod-type screws), and a way to attach the slider to two tripods (working on this one).

I plan to make a thick aluminium or acetal (Delrin) plate, say 60 mm by 40 mm, with four holes in the corners and an 1/4 inch 20 TPI threaded hole in the middle.  It would bolt to the back of MakerSlide, and the central hole would take a standard tripod screw.

Stock of accessories

The eShapeOko kits have been a great success so far.  Thank you.  This time I estimated the demand correctly, so the stocks aren’t going to run out any time soon.

However, some of the accessories have run out: the spiral-flute taps for MakerSlide, the power supplies, and the copper heatsinks for the drivers.  I’m getting more of them.  I’m also getting a cage-style power supply, heftier than the 120 W laptop-style brick, but those will take a while to arrive.  The stepper shields are running out too, so I’m going to put the beta version of my own design on sale in a few days (I have to write assembly instructions for it first), and try to get the “release” version of the PCBs made soon.

The eShapeOko kits are back! (Well, sort of.)

The eShapeOko kits are back in stock!

However, due to unexpected circumstances, I won’t be able to pack and ship them until the week of 26 August.  There’s no hurry to order them; this is a big batch and won’t run out any time soon.  Don’t be alarmed if they’re briefly out of stock: this is just because the inventory management that comes with the store is not able to deal with the complexities of custom kits with shared components, so I have to put them on sale in small quantities and track inventory by hand (ugh).  If they show out of stock, they’ll be back in a day or two.

We also have Pololu drivers and a few other new goodies in the shop, and still adding stuff.  Emergency buttons, for instance, are coming soon.



I have spoken too soon.  For some reason, the eShapeOko kits are still shown as “out of stock”.  I’m not sure what’s going on.  Stupid store software!


They should work now.  It’s either a bug, or I don’t understand how a certain feature works.  I was trying to prevent people from ordering single-X rail with aluminium spacers (it makes no sense, and I don’t have the right spacers for it anyway) by declaring that particular combination out of stock.  However, the store interpreted that creatively and made the whole thing out of stock.  It should be fixed now.

MakerSlide Now On Sale

The MakerSlide is now available!

I put only small quantities in, because I have to check it for damage before shipping. As I go through the stock, I’ll add more. If you need a larger quantity than available in the store, send me an email (use the “contact me” link at the bottom of each page of the store).

The open end plates are available too.  The eShapeOko kits will have to wait until morning.

Surprise: Hardcoat Anodized MakerSlide

Hardcoad Black Anodized MakerSlideI am ready to reveal the surprise: black hardcoat anodized MakerSlide (known as Type III in the US).  The coating withstands contact with steel V-wheels.

Not only tough, but also gorgeous!

The 1 m pieces are in the store; I’m adding 375 mm, 500 mm and 750 mm pieces as we speak.  One metre is the longest length available hard coated.

We also have a new MakerSlide carriage plate, with hole patterns that work with our chrome steel V-groove bearings.

Coming in September, a hardcoat-and-steel-wheels upgrade for the eShapeOko.

MakerSlide and eShapeOko Update

I know you’re still waiting!

I have just fixed the shipping calculator for the store. It now knows how big each item is, and, hopefully, uses that information to calculate shipping correctly. Small UK orders (under 1 kg) are still £3. Small international orders (under 2 kg and shorter than 60 cm) are sent using Royal Mail Airmail, although you can choose a courier instead if you want. For everything else, I use whichever courier costs less. If that happens to be a lot less than what you paid, I’ll refund the difference. I expect the shipping calculator to make the occasional mistake the other way, too. If the error is substantial, I’ll have to email and ask for more money… I think it will get it right most of the time, though.

There is no longer any restriction on combining MakerSlide with anything else in the same order.

There is a problem with the 2 m lengths of MakerSlide, and only a small number may be available.  Everything else will be in the shop in the next 24 hours or so, including the eShapeOko kits and the camera slider.  I’ll post again as I add them.

MakerSlide Arrived

The new batch of MakerSlide is here!

I’m going to spend the weekend unpacking the rail and fixing the shipping calculator of the store. You’ll be able to order it on Monday.

Some of the laser-cut parts have arrived this morning too. The rest should arrive on Monday, I hope. Among them are the motor brackets (for the camera slider), the eShapeOko belt tensioners, and one of the parts that go with the surprise.