Hello all. I'm new to Cnc, not new to wood working. I have always sent my wood projects out to get done, but I'm tired of having some guy charging 2 arms and a leg and half to get some cool looking stuff to my wood work. I have found a shark and a legacy explorer CNC machines. I want to know the pro's and the cons of both machines. I also want to know how easy are they to work. I'm open to hearing about anything on these machines.
I own a Shark, and although the company that makes them has been improving them over the years since they first came out, The Legacy will be more durable and stiff. I know nothing about what it uses as a controller to run it though, so I'd check into that.
Dear Grim, If you have never used the CNC, There are many vids on the net at You Tube. Having said that, I found going to a demo class was of great help to me as I could ask questions and see things happen first hand. If you are a quick study and computer savvy, you will pick it up quickly.
The Software, you choose to use and purchase is very important. I have used a couple of different now. I kinda prefer the V-Carve Software. There are many vids to watch on almost every aspect of the CNC. The "SharK", comes with V-Carve. I am not sure of the exact version. I am no help on the other brand you mentioned. The support and help I have found to be just super with the Next Wave Automation. They are located in Ohio, so the machine is built State Side. I am very pleased with this company. Again, I know nothing of the other brand you spoke of.
The CNC Shark is lead screw based and has the Y axis screw running in the center under the bed. The Legacy is rack and pinion driven and does have the drive on each side so you will have an open center span that lends itself to angled jigs and fixture use, so you can do joinery on the end of material. The Legacy will be a tighter machine but will sacrifice a small amount of tolerance but for most jobs it is negligible and for a hobby CNC it is acceptable.
The Shark has a 25x25x7 work area normally set up as 25x25x5. The legacy has a work area of 24x24x3 so it will somewhat limit the jobs you can do but it depends on the job size and bed configuration, the open bed is very helpful to gain extra Z height.
The CNC shark is still built with a lot of plastic parts so there is more play than the Legacy will have being build with welded steel construction.
Both machines use proprietary control software.
I would lean toward the Legacy if those were the only choices I had.
I do have 3 Next Wave Automation machines, 2 Sharks and a Piranha, they are limited by the looseness by the plastic parts in their construction. I won't buy another one but the newer machines are a little better than the older models.
I know quite a few people with Legacy machines, Explorers Artys and Mavericks. The CNC group I am part of is mostly Legacy owners. I think all of them are generally happy with their machines and company support. One of my friends is one of the featured owners showcased on their website, he has upgraded twice (he should have one of the first 4’x8’ Mavericks in his shop by the time we meet there next Wednesday). They have weekly and monthly online training. The conversational cam for their rotary axis is unique and useful for fluted and spiral rotary items.
Personally, I think the Legacy hardware is overpriced for what you get (i patterned my DIY build off my friends $16,000 maverick, mine cost $2700, is stronger and has a much larger cutting, area but no rotary axis). I think if you are looking at spending that kind of money, you should also look at Camaster and the higher end Axiom machines. In that price range, I think profile rails should be used.
Again, my friends who have bought their machines are happy with them, the above is my opinion as someone who has seen, but not owned or used one. The support (and included computer and software) certainly has value, I am only looking at the cnc hardware. Part of this is that I probably have a more limited budget, and cost was/is a big issue for me.
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