MakerSpace and Shelter 2.0 cutting instructions

The Shelter 2.0 design that the MakerSpace is based on is a digitally-fabricated structure designed as a transitional housing option for the time between initial emergency response with tents and temporary housing, and permanent reconstruction. It has a raised floor, doors for security, open space in walls for insulation, and is built from materials that give it a lifespan much longer than many other options. It was also designed to be constructed by unskilled labor with minimal tools, and the pieces sized to efficiently fit in a shipping container.

More information can be found at


We supply files in three formats.

If you are cutting with a machine that only reads g-code, we’ve included a VERY rudimentary convertor that will convert just the commands we use in your sbp files to gcode. We make no guarantees that it will work for your needs...there are lots of dialects of use it at your own risk and test the output files thoroughly before using them in production.


There are 3 material thicknesses used in a MakerSpace and Shelter 2.0

For the 3/4" material we use Advantech from Huber and really like's stable, stays flat for easy CNC cutting, is environmentally sound, and is strong and weather resistent. The ½” side panels are cut out of Plywood, and we like AraucoPly for it’s strength and consistency

We’ve experimented with OSB and  REALLY wanted it to work because it's really cheap, but it just doesn't have the strength or stability needed for long-term use. Your mileage may vary.

Here are the required materials for one shelter

Basic Structure:

¾” Advantech:

25 sheets

½” Plywood:

4 sheets

1.25” x ⅜” hex bolts


3.5” x ⅜” hex bolts


⅜” flat washers


⅜” hex nuts


15’ x 25’ tarp

Optional. If used you’ll need line or cable ties to attach to frame

2’ x 8’ corrugated metal or plastic

Optional. If used buy panels with 7/16” corrugations.

2.5” drywall screws

approx. 2 lbs.


¾” Advantech

9 sheets

⅛” acrylic

1 sheet

2” x ⅜” hex bolts


⅜” hex nuts


⅜” flat washers


clear silicone caulk

1 tube for windows and trim

3” hinges with ⅝” rounded corners

4 pairs

latches and locks

misc to suit location and application

Optional Ceiling:        

⅛” white tileboard or equivalent

8 sheets

small “gutter screws” to match panels




The Partworks 3 toolpath files are created with layers for the various cutting depths. The layers for the end wall parts are:


The name of each ShopBot Part file include the material thickness, the parts in that drawing, and the number of times that the sheet should be cut for one Shelter or MakerSpace.


We use a homebrew vacuum holddown system powered by central vacuum system motors...the kind used in whole house vacuum systems. We get them from Lighthouse Industries and use two LH7123-13 in a single zone on each of our 4'x8' tables, which holds our parts pretty well. As with most things you can never have too much vacuum for holddown, but this works well for us.


To make sure that ShopBot files can be cut on a variety of tools, old and new, and with a variety of bit geometries, the part files do not have cutting speed or spindle RPM commands in them. They will use the cutting speeds that are set in the ShopBot Control software and, if you use a spindle, the RPMs in the VFD. You can modify the cutting speed using the VS command, and the spindle RPMs directly in the VFD or using the ShopBot Spindle Speed Controller

We tend to cut almost everything we can with a ⅜” bit, so the files for the ¾” and ½” material are created for that diameter bit. You can re-toolpath for a different bit, but unless you have a strong philosophical issue with ⅜” bits we recommend sticking with that. If you still want to use a different size bit there are two issues to be aware of.

The two exceptions to our ⅜” bit rule are for the acrylic window inserts and the optional ceiling panels. Both if these use a ¼” bit. There are bits specifically for cutting acrylic but since edge quality is not much of an issue...the acrylic is housed in a sash frame...just about any ¼” bit will do.


You really don’t need much in the way of tools to assemble a Shelter or MakerSpace