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New CNC router Reviews

cnc router reviews Reviews by Manufacturer

Carvewright /Compucarve
CNC SharkPro
PCNC Automation

Review By : Nicholas

Rating: 1 of 5
Product: Carvewright (aka Compucarve)

The Carvewright machine is good when it works, but never excellent. More of a toy than anything, but a toy (that favors malfunctioning) that costs $2000. Added costs are: router bits; parts you'll have to replace when they break in the first few months you use it; lubrications because it doesn't come properly lubricated and you must keep careful watch or it will overheat and burn through the router cable; an exacto knife to modify plastic parts (of which there are many) that aren't engineered correctly and aid in the machine's malfunction; in addition to the $700 you'll spend building a machine that is more reliable and sturdy than the Carvevwright. I suggest watching this machine in the next five years. I have a feeling it will be great once they start manufacturing it to be stable and work out the exceedingly numerous mechanical kinks and software bugs.

Review By : Tj

Rating: 5 of 5
Product: 24"x36" CNC Router

After much research, we have found a very affordable and extremely well built tabletop CNC router by a company called PCNC Automation in Texas. It is like a mini version of the larger CNC's with dual steppers. We especially were sold by the fact that it can be run by almost any software so we weren't stuck spending hundreds of $ on proprietary software. Wish we would have gone for the 4'x8' though - it's only $10,000.

Review By: Mike

Rating: 4 of 5
Product: CNC Shark Pro

MODELS INVESTIGATED. As with most purchasing decisions, you get what you pay for. The light production-grade ShopBot is king in terms of capacity, versatility, quality, support, and User Forums. Those serious abilities come at a serious price, and it was tough moving on to the budget-grade manufacturers. I liked the DigiRout model 223 because the rail guides instead of rods and held a standard-size router, but they have yet to return my 2 phone calls or 2 emails for some technical questions.

The K2 model KG2525 was solidly made and had a user-friendly website for customizing options, but was nearly the cost of a ShopBot. Sears' CompuCarve (CarveWright) was simply too light-duty for my needs, my technical questions got blank looks, it didn't have local computer control, and the key replacement components were not off-the-shelf. TorchMate excels at 2D plasma cutting; their 3D Router kit seems to be a software afterthought. PilotPro was interesting because they had a couple levels of partial-build available if you had the time to spare (and I didn't) and the cost was somewhere between a ShopBot and the Shark. While several plans-only models looked fun to fabricate, with 3 toddlers I simply don't have the time. The used CNC Router market was mostly production-grade 4'x8' machines like Techno, Shop Sabre, MultiCam, Thermwood, Haas, Komo, etc, which don't fit in either my shop or budget.

THE WINNER. Ultimately I purchased with the Shark Pro for several reasons. Simply stated, I wanted a warranted, turnkey solution from an established national woodworking Distributor with in-house technical support. I wanted someone else to have already debugged the compatibility between the mechanics, electronics, and software. I've purchased online from Rockler many times without problems. When the Shark was initially released, I traveled 70 miles to the nearest Rockler store to scrutinize it. At first I was apprehensive the polymer structure would flex too much or the rod & linear bearing construction with a central drive screw would bind. Both of these turned out to be non-issues. I played with the VCarve software demo and after watching the numerous VCarve training tutorials I had reasonable confidence it would meet my needs. The VCarve software has surprisingly versatile tooling control without having an unwieldy user interface, and has other modules available as my needs grow. It can create basic graphics, import, trace, and manipulate existing graphics. You'll still need a dedicated graphics package like CorelDraw or Adobe Illustrator to create advanced artwork. Support after the sale was a big concern. Al Wolford of Rockler (Shark distributor), Tim Owens of Next Wave Automation (Shark manufacturer), and Mark Moran of Vectric (VCarve software) all promptly answered my multiple inquires and gave me confidence they will be there when I get stuck in the future. While the table size on the Shark was more than adequate for my current needs, I bought the Shark Pro because I learned a long time ago to buy more machine than you need because you will always grow into it.

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