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More curious than serious about these machines. Saw one recently for sale and, being pretty green to routing, thought I'd look into it.

I did some searches on this forum and several other places but most of what I see is about Shark systems. There are a couple of YouTube videos showing Probotix performance but, for the most part, very few CNC reviews out there. (I would've pm'd a couple of you for your opinions but I need 10 posts to do that.)

Thanks for any feedback on Probotix and/or the Fireball V90 specifically.
 

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I own Probotix' Fireball Meteor (25"x50" capacity). Bought it as I needed more capacity than my 3 year old CNC Shark. I don't think Probotix was making complete CNCs three years ago (small kits maybe), and I was also surprised to see these models available when I started looking for a larger CNC.

My Meteor arrive in a 6'x4'x2' crate. The PC (running LinuxCNC), controller, monitor, keyboard, mouse and joystick (for jogging) were all included. Mine was running within 5 minutes of plugging the last cable in.

I had one cut go haywire so far, but I'm blaming that on a static discharge to the machine. I'd been following the bit with a shop vac hose. Once I stopped doing that every cut has run fine.

I use VCarve Pro to create my tool paths, and the Meteor cuts anything I'd previously cut on my Shark. The Meteor is far stiffer though, being primarily out of aluminum while the Shark is mostly plastic. Probotix lets you use just about any router and will provide the necessary mount for it with your order.

So far I'm a fan. Limit switches and an e-stop button right on the frame. Cable tracks for both the X axis and Y axis cable bundle. My only reservation was the MDF bed as I've got t-track on my Shark. I bought some track and had the Meteor cut slots for it into the MDF. Works pretty well so far.

Let me know if you have any specific questions about the Meteor. They also make a 25 x 37 Asteroid and the 25 x 25 Comet. They appear happy to put together anything on special order as well, all the way up to 5' x 9' models.
 

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John
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Hello and welcome to the router forums, 4D
Sounds like you have a nice unit ( enjoy)
 

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Thanks, Semipro. I haven't challenged my Probotix CNC much since I got it, but it sure is a better value for the money than the CNC Shark I've had for a few years. Of course the Sharks are marked up for sale via Rockler and Probotix sells directly and builds your CNC once ordered. I have a 1.7" thick wood bench top waiting on it and ready to cut when I get the router insert I've ordered to check actual dimensions before committing.

4D
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the responses. I'm pretty green to the most basic routing efforts but the Probotix Fireball unit I was looking at seemed impressive. I think he wanted about $700 for it complete. It's sold by now but good to have some first-hand knowledge about this stuff. Thanks again.
 

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Their V90 and X90 models came first, and were kits. Not hard to assemble from what I can tell, and easy to customize with help from Probotix. Their Comet, Asteroid, and Meteor are fully assembled with PC included. Basically plug and play. I like the company so far. They have a facebook page and look to be continually trying new things.
 

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Own a V90 and love it.

I bought the unit about 2 years ago. I have the yellow 280oz Nema 23 motors and upgraded the power supply to 40 watts. I assembled the kit and following the Fireball forum advice achieved a fairly square and solid machine.

This is a great machine to learn on. The 1hp Bosch router has enough power to cut pine and spruce at reasonable speeds. I built a three ski reclining sled to run on the frozen river pulled by a 5m power kite. Designed in Vcarve Pro and cut out of 2x4's. Made lightning holes and attach point for cross-dowels, as well as an articulated steering mechanism. I also built a two ski sit-down sled that when I lean left the ski's tilt left (and right), up to the tilt limit slot. Have had this flying along the snow faster than I could ride a bicycle.

Have also done some 3d carving in oak. Trivets, bread searving boards, grandson stool.

Overall I am very pleased with the unit. Yes, it is made of MDF, but that also makes it a little more forgiving on your first mistakes. It can be made to do excellent work if you respect some depth-of-cut and feedrate limitations.

John A.
 

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I've run 3 different routers as a tech teacher,and built my own 24 x 36 inch machine before buying a Comet. I won't part with it now. It does everything I ask of it and more including some aluminum cutting. I just added the 4th axis to play with. The only problem I had was the same as 4dthinker had. When following with a vacuum I had static trigger a limit switch. I'm convinced linux is the better program as I had mach3 errors randomly from weak Windows output even after putting the output thru a powered buffer. I saw this on the school machines too. Len is a great guy even though I had trouble getting a hold of him on a couple of times. He was very helpful and took the time to explain everything especially on setting up diy probes and touch off switches .He sells the touch off switches and did not have to help me with the homemade one. 2 thumbs up
 

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Nebula CNC Router - Nebula CNC Router

4D I recently seen your post regarding the Nebula . Looks like a nice size and good value for the price !
The canadian dollar is trading below 80 cents US right now , so it may be a while before I order it :(
We now have a Meteor and a Nebula from Probotix in the university shop I teach in. I'm the resident CNC expert among the furniture design professors and we get plenty of use with both, as well from the CNC Shark HD 2.0 that we started with. I ordered both with internal beams and configured the bed with t-track and so one section could be removed to allow clamping to the center beams for cutting vertically or at any angle. Love the open frame design of their Fireball line. We've been doing tenons, finger joints, dovetails, and any other challenge the creative students come up with that would be impossible using most other CNCs. The under $5000 price lets us purchase without going out to bid, and probotix has been more than happy to customize the machines we've ordered to my specs.

I know their machines inside out now, so throw me any other questions you come up with.

4D
 

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Rick
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4D I think where things are going to add up quickly is when you start adding in the software , especially seeing as I would like to carve 3D pictures. I could see the price quickly doubling , but there are worse things you could spend 10-15 grand on
 

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True. Software, bits, material to cut on and spoil board to use, router/spindle, clamps, etc.. Since we started with a Shark it came with VCarve Pro and Cut3D. Those both have handled 95% of the projects for both the Shark and Probotix Meteor as well as the Nebula and Multicam my college has. We updated to Aspire for 3D and Photo work, although as a furniture design class series rarely have we done any 3D Photo work.

The CNCs from Probotix come with a CNC running Linux and LinuxCNC for control. I don't know of any software to generate toolpaths that run under Linux though except for a couple that are web based and simplistic. App.easel.com is one. We create cut files on windows PCs then carry them on USB thumb drives to the CNCs.

4D
 

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Rick
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The CNCs from Probotix come with a CNC running Linux and LinuxCNC for control. I don't know of any software to generate toolpaths that run under Linux though except for a couple that are web based and simplistic.

4D
Uh oh :(
 

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all programs have the option for post processors and linux is one of them. If not, the only difference from a mach3 output I found is adding the spindle speed and feeds to the first couple of lines for linux
 

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all programs have the option for post processors and linux is one of them. If not, the only difference from a mach3 output I found is adding the spindle speed and feeds to the first couple of lines for linux
I think what he meant to say was there are not many CAM packages for Linux. The CAM package generates the G-Code based on the vectors selected, the tool bit and the machining process you choose.

Most of the popular (easy to use) Cam packages are on Windows OS. Vectric product like V-Carve Pro and Aspire can generate g-code to be used with LinuxCNC. You would need to download the post processor from the Probotix site at http://www.probotix.com/wiki/index.php/Vectric/.

You still end up need a window pc and a Linux Pc.


Bill
 

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Vectrics product come with post processors for EMC2 which was what LinuxCNC used to be called. Probotix created a new post processor just for the new Tool height sensor they have just introduced though. If you add that $300 feature when you buy from them then you'll need it if you use anything from Vectric.com. It is NOT a tool changer, but lets you save all your tool paths into one file, then when a tool change comes up it stops, moves to where you can change the bit, then moves to a sensor where it checks for the bottom of the new bit. I'd rather have had a touch plate than that feature. Didn't order it with our Nebula. The MDF base had a hole in it for the sensor though.
 

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Probotix also now has a water-cooled Spindle option available for their CNCs. $800ish seems to be the going rate. I hope that includes the pump and tubing, and control of spindle speed through the linuxCNC controller.
 

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4D,

Was thinking of going with the Nebula. Questions for you

Can it do 3d "carving?" - -

Does it have a spindle attachment or can one be bought?

Can it etch or engrave curved glass as in glasses and bowls?

Is the spindle better than using a router? If so - air or water?

Can you use Aspire with it?

Was looking at a Shopbot but there's a lot of extras to buy for it plus it costs a little more for the basic machine. The Nebula comes complete with everything.

HJ
 

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Yes

4D,

Was thinking of going with the Nebula. Questions for you

Can it do 3d "carving?" - -

Does it have a spindle attachment or can one be bought?

Can it etch or engrave curved glass as in glasses and bowls?

Is the spindle better than using a router? If so - air or water?

Can you use Aspire with it?

Was looking at a Shopbot but there's a lot of extras to buy for it plus it costs a little more for the basic machine. The Nebula comes complete with everything.

HJ
3D Carving? Yes. Only limited by the 5" Z travel limits. As it comes though with MDF on top of the frame, you'll have to remove the top and either mount it to the bottom of the frame or bolt a panel to the underside of the frame to use the full range of the Z travel.

Yes, they are offering a Water or an Air cooled Spindle. $849 I think for the water version. Check their facebook page. Also will be offering a dust boot as well.

Never done any etching, but using Aspire you can map any 2D G-code to a 3D surface so it should be possible with a way to hold the piece.

The Spindle should be better, and water better than Air if you need to run it constantly. I don't have any experience with their spindles yet though. We are using Dewalt's 2.5hp router in them which so far seems to be working fine.

Yes. We use both VCarve and Aspire to generate G-Code for them.

Just to note, the PC it comes with is running Linux and LinuxCNC as the controller already configured for the machine you buy. You'll need a windows PC to run Aspire or any of Vectrics products on. We have a classroom license for Aspire/Vcarve and and two Win7 PCs available in the shop where the CNCs are.

4D
 
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