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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Alright, this is kind of a weird post, but bear with me.

I know nothing about woodworking. And on top of that I don't know anyone who knows anything about woodworking. But I'm very interested in it, and I want to learn, well, something. I'm not mechanically challenged or anything, I'm just new here.

Now, I also happen to be a very experienced 3D artist. It's not my full-time trade, but I did do it professionally a while back and continue to model in my spare time.

So, CNC routing sounds like the thing for me, right? Well, that's what I'm here to ask. It seems that all the information I can find on CNC routing comes from people who are already experienced with non-CNC routing, or some other aspect of woodworking.

So I suppose my question is "Is CNC routing the right place to start?"

Specifically I have my eye on the Shark Pro -- it seems like the simplest all-in-one sort of package that wouldn't be over my head, the size is perfect, and from my research into software I would definitely want V Carve, which is packaged. The USB connection is also a plus, as my Windows laptop doesn't have a parallel port.

I'm not set on the Shark Pro, though -- the price is off-putting although not a deal-breaker. But it seems like the most beginner-friendly CNC router I've found. I'm certainly open to suggestions on that though.

I read through the assembly instructions and manual and it seems, you know, pretty straightforward (full disclosure, I had to look up what a "star T27 bit" was). But obviously that's not all there is to it.

If I were to buy a CNC router, would I be getting in way over my head? I'm very confident I can understand it from a software perspective, it's more the hardware that I'm worried about. What if something breaks?

Also, just how "hobbyist friendly" is this pursuit? I don't have a workshop or a dust vac or anything. But I do have a large, car-free garage that I don't mind getting dirty. Am I setting myself up for failure, or will this not matter all that much?
 

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Hi Ian

I'm not a pro.on the CNC machines,I have the CarveWright CNC machine ,But I would say go for it, the best way to get it down is to fail now and than...

========
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yes, I know that. I've researched it quite a bit and spent a lot of time with the VCarve trial. What I'm more interested in is how much mechanical experience is required for working with one of these machines. I can't even find how much the Shark Pro (or normal Shark) weighs!
 

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Ian

There is a fellow near you in Austin that can help you.
He uses a SHOPBOT machine; more expensive but more capable.

PM me and I will get you his contact information.
I don't want to make it public without his permission.
 

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Weight of Shark Pro

Yes, I know that. I've researched it quite a bit and spent a lot of time with the VCarve trial. What I'm more interested in is how much mechanical experience is required for working with one of these machines. I can't even find how much the Shark Pro (or normal Shark) weighs!
Ian, weight of the Shark Pro is about 120 pounds. That is according to Rockler.
 

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I am in the same boat, except I've done some working in wood before, use most general equipment. . . . I once used AutoCad, but those skills are way gone, and I am looking to convert some ideas into furniture, clocks, boxes, and a bunch of other things in wood, without having to go to school. Much to old. However, I would also like to mill light metals. Will the Shark Pro, or PCnC Automation Industrial cnc routers handle that? I believe the software doesn't care, except for speed.
 

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I am in the same boat, except I've done some working in wood before, use most general equipment. . . . I once used AutoCad, but those skills are way gone, and I am looking to convert some ideas into furniture, clocks, boxes, and a bunch of other things in wood, without having to go to school. Much to old. However, I would also like to mill light metals. Will the Shark Pro, or PCnC Automation Industrial cnc routers handle that? I believe the software doesn't care, except for speed.
There is basically no PCNC Automation. Bill Johnson is hiding somewhere from the 14 guys he took money from and didn't make routers for. Don't even think of buying anything from Bill without doung your research on CNCZone.com's forum. They even created a new section for him = advertisers who are 6 months+ behind in paying their bills. His ads have been removed from that site, Vectric and others. Check with the BBB, Indiana AG, Ripoffreport.com:fie:, PayPal forum, etc., etc., before proceeding. Buyer beware!!!!
 

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Alright, this is kind of a weird post, but bear with me.

I know nothing about woodworking. And on top of that I don't know anyone who knows anything about woodworking. But I'm very interested in it, and I want to learn, well, something. I'm not mechanically challenged or anything, I'm just new here.

Now, I also happen to be a very experienced 3D artist. It's not my full-time trade, but I did do it professionally a while back and continue to model in my spare time.

So, CNC routing sounds like the thing for me, right? Well, that's what I'm here to ask. It seems that all the information I can find on CNC routing comes from people who are already experienced with non-CNC routing, or some other aspect of woodworking.

So I suppose my question is "Is CNC routing the right place to start?"

Specifically I have my eye on the Shark Pro -- it seems like the simplest all-in-one sort of package that wouldn't be over my head, the size is perfect, and from my research into software I would definitely want V Carve, which is packaged. The USB connection is also a plus, as my Windows laptop doesn't have a parallel port.

I'm not set on the Shark Pro, though -- the price is off-putting although not a deal-breaker. But it seems like the most beginner-friendly CNC router I've found. I'm certainly open to suggestions on that though.

I read through the assembly instructions and manual and it seems, you know, pretty straightforward (full disclosure, I had to look up what a "star T27 bit" was). But obviously that's not all there is to it.

If I were to buy a CNC router, would I be getting in way over my head? I'm very confident I can understand it from a software perspective, it's more the hardware that I'm worried about. What if something breaks?

Also, just how "hobbyist friendly" is this pursuit? I don't have a workshop or a dust vac or anything. But I do have a large, car-free garage that I don't mind getting dirty. Am I setting myself up for failure, or will this not matter all that much?
Hi Ian, This is only the second time I have posted on this forum and by chance, just as I was Googling CNC routing this evening, I received an automated email from this forum listing the current hot topics, one of which was your posting about CNC entry to woodworking. In all the fifty odd years I have been woodworking I would be the last person to cast judgment on whether you as someone who has not worked wood before to jump straight into CNC routing! What you and I have in common at this moment in time is we are both interested in CNC routing and whereas you are obviouskly computer literate but inexperienced at woodworking I am the opposite and y fear is the time it will take to learn the computer programming language or more importantly what software to get (I also have been recommended Vetric V carve). Curiously I wrote the UK pioneer book on creative routing called "The Incredible Router" over 20 years ago but am now behind in not knowing how to use a CNC routers!. My answer to your question is if thats what you want to do (with your 3D background) go for it. A fresh and innocent approach might be far more creative in the use of the technology than a seasoned woodworker. On the other hand some might argue that a little hands on experience of working wood to discover its essential character might help. Just splitting a piece of firewood with an axe is the most basic start. When routing the cutter tends to work better in one ditection than the other but I suspect that CNC routing overcomes this problem in cutting in both directions. The router was never destined as a finishing tool although the finish is remarkeable from a sharp cutter.
I suppose a CNC router will shape wood, plastics and soft metals in pretty much the same way and the results will be similar with slightly varying resistances. So the only advice I would give is make light cuts nd use softwoods to start with! What I would like to know from this forum is what smallish CNC routers are recommended. On my list are Shopbot, Exel (UK) and Heiz (Germany) and I am at the stage of getting my head around using a digitizing probe to copy existing wood components/objects and save a lot of programming time. Is a laser probe quicker? Specifically does anyone have an opinion about the Heiz range of CNC routers?

Good luck!

Jeremy Broun
 

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Shark Pro

Hi;
I have owned a shark pro since last October. Great machine. Just bought the touch probe for inputting / duplicating 3D objects. Machine goes together well. Software is great but you still have a learning curve to get things under control. You will need to learn about router bits and cutting rates. I use 40 inches per min. for most things. Also material hold downs are a real head scratch-er. You will also need to buy several bits and try using them at different cut rates small bit slower rate. The CNC machines are a lot of fun. Consider how your going to collect all the dust the CNC machine will generate.
let me know if you have any questions.
Doc
 

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Go for it. I am sure that no hobbiest was proficient in all aspects of cnc routing when they began. I am also sure that all will tell you that what they did not know came with experience. You have one hurdle cleared. You can overcome the rest.
 

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Just my 2 cents worth, Shark Pro is a nice machine for the hobbyist especially coming with Vectrics Vcarve Pro. I have Cut2d and PhotoVcarve from them and have no complaints. As for machines I've built 4 different machines, first one done 2001 and have enjoyed doing cnc machining. Building another larger machine that is similar to buildyourcncdotcoms machine (Blackfoot). I did programming for cnc's in the late 70's but went away from it until I built my first machine, alittle scared but jumped right in and learned the do's and don'ts. I can say I am having far too much fun with cncing. Anyone getting into woodworking,cncing, or any other type of "hobby" with little or no experience there is trial and error and alot of mistakes but after time it is worth the frustrations, good wood turned to firewood, and all else that goes with learning something new. It is great feeling when you stand back take a look a the finished project and say I did that. Good luck to you and what ever you decide as I always say is "Happy Cutting"


Mike
 

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Shark Pro and Woodworking

To all that are just starting with woodworking and / or CNCing. Remember we ALL had to start somewhere... I started 40+ years ago in a shop owned by my great-grand dad, without any electricity!! Everything was done by hand with out power. When I sterted to build my own shop I had to learn how to use all these new power tools. Because of my military background I got into computers so that part came somewhat easy. I have gotten into signs to help my son's sign business and have been working with 2D and 2.5D with out a CNC, then I got a Shark Pro and have found that it's been just like everything else I done in my life, there is a learning curve and like others I made many mistakes. Remember try to learn from them and make lots of notes of the things that worked well and the ones that didn't. Read your notes until you think you know what your doing then read them again.

But most of all, do what you enjoy and enjoy what you do. Ask questions, none of us have all the answers and we can learn too from the ones that have answers.

Sorry for running on so much...

Best to all,
Mike
(peg_legs)
Detroit, MI area
 

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Ian, if you'd be receptive, the Carvewright is an excelent machine, especially the "C" style which represents the latest improvements. Weight, 75 lbs., shipping, 80 lbs. You may down load the "Designer" software from the home page and use it for a 30 day trial. The down load as well as the pricing is available on the Carvewright home page. I think it's Carvewright .com ?? Google to be sure. I have two machines and dollar for dollar it's worked well for me for over three years. The cost is quite reasonable but check the home page for the specials they run all the time. As far as if you'd be over your head, I can't say. I do earn some of my income with the CW and use it to compliment/enhance my woodworking projects. Best wishes on your woodworking decisions.
 
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