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closeup of custom made dust shoe attached to x-carve CNC router

custom made dust shoe attached to x-carve CNC router

video thumbnail for video of dust show milling process

I hate dust. So do my sinuses. One of the first projects I completed after building my Shapeoko 2 was to design and build a suitable dust shoe to cut down on the mess I made. It is possibly one of the most useful things I have ever built. My recent X-Carve upgrade meant rethinking the entire system to fit a new spindle and slightly modified machine. Below is the story of how it all went down.

Also, it’s only a portion of this project, but I have uploaded a short video of carving the top and bottom plates on the X-Carve. You can find it here. Enjoy the ride on the Y-axis endplate and watch out for Lexan shavings!

General Design

The defining feature of my last shoe was a detachable boot. This was made possible by cutting two plates (one with attachment holes for the vac hose and spindle and one with a foam boot) and attaching them together using countersunk rare earth magnets.

This setup worked well, allowing you to get easy access to the endmills for tool changes, or simply to expose them for better viewing. It also lent itself to the possibility of having multiple length boots to accommodate multiple length endmills, although I never took advantage of this option.
I decided to take a similar approach with version 2.0. The key difference would be affixing the top plate to the new Dewalt spindle.

L For Love

A breakthrough came while rummaging through some old scrap materials. I found an old mounting bracket for a CB radio (Whats your 20, bandit?) that looked like it would be the perfect size to mount to the 3 M4 tapped holes on the side of the Dewalt 611 mounting bracket and extend down to the top plate below.

Another unforeseen, but quickly seized upon opportunity was some slotted holes in the bracket. These made the top plate height adjustable, which I can see coming in handy down the road. I had to add a couple additional holes to allow two points of contact but, other than that, trimming the bracket down to size was the hardest part.

The real icing on the cake was that the bracket was already powdercoated black, making it blend right into the X-Carve carriage. Right away it looked like it belonged.

Shape Shifting

Using the new bracket as a reference point, I set about modifying my old dust show design to better fit the new setup. All this really meant was shifting over the vac hose input hole to tuck neatly against the spindle. I took care to ensure that it did not cause any reductions in travel for either the X and Y axes and would comfortably clear the entire router.

Parts were designed in Inkscape and uploaded to Easel as an SVG. However, for some reason Easel decided to mess up the scaling for all of my parts. Unfortunately, I learned this the hard way, by carving some parts that were far too small. I suppose it’s what I get for not double-checking.
Once I fixed the scaling issues, things worked perfectly. It was time for assembly.

A Riveting Experience

The top plate of the shoe was attached to the bottom of the L-bracket using two small pop-rivets. I attached them with the belled end facing up (on the metal side). My reasons for doing this were two-fold.

1) The head of the rivet has a lower clearance so it will be less likely to get caught on the material I am cutting (even though that’s highly unlikely)

2) I was worried that the expansion of the rivet would stress the Lexan top plate. The steel L-bracket should hold up better considering it’s the type of material these rivets are designed to hold.
Making the connection was very easy and it seems nice and sturdy. We’ll see how it hold up.

Hot Glue Everywhere

The final step was to attach the magnets and foam boot. The magnets were very easy as the countersunk holes and their extreme attraction to another pretty well hold them in place without any help. However, I gave them a good seal of hot glue to dissuade them from abandoning their posts.

The foam boot was certainly more challenging, but a liberal amount of glue around its perimeter ensured a firm connection. As basic as this method may seem, it held up extremely well on my first version.

In fact, the dust boot held up so well that I was able to remove it from the old bottom plate and reuse it in version 2.0. Salvage victory #2!


An effortless installation on the machine confirmed the time and effort I had put into design. The screws lined up perfectly, the vac hose tightly hugged the spindle, there were no reductions in axis travel, and the system just looked great. A couple of Velcro cable straps locked the hose in place and that was it. It was finished!

Final Thoughts

This was an important first step in setting up my new router, and I am confident it will be a huge benefit to maintaining a clean shop. I think I have made a number of improvements to my original design that will allow for a lot more flexibility moving forward.

The end result matches the rest of my machine very well. Cosmetically, it is very inconspicuous and sleek. I like that!

The proof-of-concept video that I recorded in the process also turned out great! You can go check it out here.

Eventually, I plan to upload the design for the top/bottom plates to Easel for any who may be interested in making their own. However, before I do this I want to be sure that the scaling issues are resolved. I would hate to waste someone else’s Lexan…

Thanks again for reading/watching and beat the hell outta dust!!!