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Mike
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
If you are thinking about buying a Next Wave Automation Shark HD4 you might want to know they are selling new Shark HD5 units now but they are trying to get rid of their remaining Shark HD4 units. You might check your local Rockler store and see if they are discounting any that they have in stock right now. Here they are $500 off fo the regular price, remember those are the ones they have in stock right now. Of course, you might want to wait for the new units because the price for the new Shark HD5 looks like it will be the same as the normal price for the Shark HD4.

I'm not sure when Next Wave Automation will make an official announcement about the new Shark HD5 but you can buy them now. They do have a few new fetchers like steel reinforced gantry uprights, new linear guides on the X and Z axis, aluminum mounts for spindles and routers. I'm not sure how much of the Z-axis has been redesigned but it does look like some good improvements have been made.

I have not had a chance to look at one of the new Shark HD5 units yet but I will let you know when I do get to see one of the new units.

https://www.nextwaveautomation.com/shop/CNC-SHARK-HD5-®-p141898019
 

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Looks like they might have a gantry/Z axis worth investing in now. The linear rail greatly reduces the overhang of the spindle. New spindle clamp shouldn't fail over time like their plastic design inevitably does. There is so much play in the Z axis of their old design that we've basically abandoned ours. I'd love to be able to buy an HD5 gantry upgrade for our machine which might make it worth using again. Plastic was never a good idea in this application.

4D
 

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I sent a support note to NextWave about the HD5. This is their reply:

"Good Morning,

The HD5 has HDPE encased between two pieces of steel, the undercarriage that supports the Gantry is precision bent and laser cut steel, and the router cradle and mount is now aluminum.

The legs on an HD2 are at a different angle than HD3 & HD4 so retrofitting the entire gantry would not be possible.

If your HD2 backplate is HDPE then there is an upgrade to stiffen the gantry you may want to look at.

https://www.nextwaveautomation.com/shop/GANTRY-UPGRADE-KIT-p114869862

We are also making an adapter for the aluminum router mount, I have a message into engineering to see if it is compatible with HD2."

Later they relied with "Router mount is not compatible, completely different cradle design. "

4D
 

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Mike
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·

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Mike
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I did some major upgrades to my old HD1 and it still has a lot of looseness due to all the plastic.

I talked to Tim Owens of Next wave Automation about 3 years ago about building one out of aluminum instead of all the plastic and call it the SHark Ultra and his response was "no one would buy one because the price point would have to be too high". To me, it would be to their advantage to offer a quality machine along with their entry-level hobby machines. They are trying to make it a better machine while trying to keep their normal pricing, at least right now.
 

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A step in the right direction, but in my opinion still too much $ for not enough machine. The only thing going for them is their presence in Rockler and Woodcraft’s retail stores. For many it is probably the only machine they have seen, and most are not aware of the many other options (other than the more expensive Axioms also on display in some stores).

I have VCarve Pro (not desktop), the spindle, 4x the size, 4x the speed and 4x the mass, a gantry driven at both ends, stiffer structure, and more capable controller, and spent $800 less than the base machine shown.
 

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Mike
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
A step in the right direction, but in my opinion still too much $ for not enough machine. The only thing going for them is their presence in Rockler and Woodcraft’s retail stores. For many it is probably the only machine they have seen, and most are not aware of the many other options (other than the more expensive Axioms also on display in some stores).

I have VCarve Pro (not desktop), the spindle, 4x the size, 4x the speed and 4x the mass, a gantry driven at both ends, stiffer structure, and more capable controller, and spent $800 less than the base machine shown.
They do include VCarve Desktop with the unit so that is a plus and part of the price of the package where systems like Axiom don't come with any software and cost more.
 

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My first CNC was one of those early NextWave Sharks. The one that came with a separate power supply and controller, and slotted MDF bed. It was designed for the bosch trim router which is about 1/3 the weight of a regular 2.5hp router. It still lives in my garage shop although I've updated it to a t-track bed and their more modern controller. The plastic router clamp eventually cracked and has been replaced with one I cut from 3/4" BB plywood. As I teach furniture design I remember frequently wishing it was capable of more than flat clamped cuts. The box bed with a plastic bottom and center Y axis lead screw prevents any obvious opening up of the bed for vertical clamping. Z axis clearance is 3.5" roughly, but more useful/available thanks to their design than the 3" of clearance the original Probotix Galaxy series CNCs is. I've replaced the lead screw nuts once, and am on the 3rd trim router. It got busy regular work when it was the only CNC available for my students.

I bought my Probotix Meteor initially only because it was a great price for a 2' x 4' bed. The open frame design (two Y motors) presented wonderful potential for complex furniture jobs, and has led to us having 3 Probotix CNCs now in our college fine furniture lab. The Sharks and Axioms and all CNCs with a solid bed/base lack that potential.

4D
 

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Again, it mainly depends on what you need to do with a CNC. I started small (24" x 24" CNC Shark) and only occasionally wished it had more horizontal area for larger cuts. Despite using a trim router it did handle all the work presented to it that fit within its bed area, and a few projects larger using tiling features of the Vcarve software. There are several CNCs out there you can get for under $5k that could likely do 99% of CNC jobs that would fit within their cutting volumes. On the other hand we have a 5' x 10' Multicam industrial CNC where I work, and it tackles all the sheet work with larger areas than the small CNCs. During the last 2/3 of any semester that Multicam may be running all day serving up landscape models, parts from plywood and other sheet goods, etc.. The small CNCs are kept busy cutting hardwood furniture parts and joinery/textures/inlay on them.

4D
 
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