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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm working through options on my ShopSabre 23 quote. The sales rep is highly recommending purchasing a 220v spindle to upgrade the 3 HP 110v router that it comes with. The spindle upgrade cost is very expensive, over 1/3 the price of the entire unit, but the upgrade cost is the same whether I do it with the initial purchase or down the road.

I found a few old threads on the forum discussing spindle verses router. It seems that the spindle will run much quieter, will be able to handle longer routing sessions better and generally will have more power. I think eventually I'll install a spindle but I'm leaning towards just going with the router for now.

I'm also considering the vacuum table option. It's about a $600 upgrade to get the vacuum table and the 220v vacuum pump verses getting the standard T-Track table. I'm comfortable with the extra $'s for the upgrade but I'm curious if people that have been routing for a long time find a vacuum table to be a better choice than a simple t-track setup.

If I skip the spindle upgrade for now the $'s I'd spend on that would fund the vacuum table and pump as well as their 4th axis add-on which I'd really like to have for profiling furniture legs and other items.

I'd appreciate any feedback.
 

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in my opinion, the best $$ spent would be on a spindle, atc/ftc if you can swing it. the spindle runs every time you run the cnc, so would be appreciated every minute.
a vac table is mostly good for sheet goods, and even then takes a good set up to work well with. clamps, screws, tape/superglue are the hold downs used by most hobbyist and low level production folks.
i bought the 4th axis also, and haven't installed it yet after 2 years - just haven't got there yet...
 

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If your capable of doing it yourself, you can get a Chinese spindle and VFD for $300-$400.

On a small machine, you might be better of making vacuum pucks or pods, with a small pump. These can work better for small parts, and you can DIY it for $200-$300.
 

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Cry once, do the spindle & phenolic vac top. Better to have and not need than to need and not have.
I've had my vac table almost 3 years and haven't used it yet. But it's there if I need it and it will be soon.
 

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One thing to consider with the vacuum table is if you are going to cut pieces completely out then you will need a spoil board under it. The vacuum table will only hold the spoil board and you will still have to attach the top board to the spoil board some how.
 

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The rotary can do many things, but the software to handle some carves can be a substantial addional cost. Vectric's products can handle things that are basically round and has reliefs, but not anything that cuts below the centerline or has undercuts, so things like a Cabriole leg cannot be done in Vectric.
The shopsabre is a fine machine, but you can get a much larger machine for the same price if you look at Avid, probably get a full 4' x 8' or at least 4' x 4', including a spindle for less. It is also a fine machine, and expandable, should your needs change in the future. I personally think that unless you are doing sheet stock (full sheets won't fit on the smaller ShopSabre) vacuum is not a necessary feature. Very valuable for sheet stock (holds warped stock flat) if you go with a full size machine. I have cut far more projects that would not fit on 30 x 40 than I ever expected to (my machine is 4' x 5').
397186
 

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One thing to consider with the vacuum table is if you are going to cut pieces completely out then you will need a spoil board under it. The vacuum table will only hold the spoil board and you will still have to attach the top board to the spoil board some how.
Vacuum pulls through the spoilboard and holds the sheet and parts down. You don't have to attach anything, that's the beauty of a vacuum table.


Very valuable for sheet stock (holds warped stock flat)
Yes and no. Warped stock can be extremely difficult to hold down with vacuum, especially with hardwoods. Sheet stock will be held flat, IF you can place it on the table with the convex side up. It's it's warped two ways, (like Pringles), good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
so would you have to have a spoil board that is full of holes?
I didn't understand this either but after looking at a few videos on-line I understand what Ger was saying. The vacuum is strong enough to actually pull air through the MDF spoilboard without drilling any holes in that spoilboard. An example of airflow through the MDF spoilboard starts at 4:56 in this video:

 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
...The shopsabre is a fine machine, but you can get a much larger machine for the same price if you look at Avid, probably get a full 4' x 8' or at least 4' x 4', including a spindle for less. It is also a fine machine, and expandable, should your needs change in the future...
The base price of $7,495 for the ShopSabre 23 seemed pretty reasonable to me given the quality of the machine. As I started adding in a few things like the spindle upgrade, bench, material height touch pad and some starter bits the price with shipping quickly jumped to just over $14,000. I'm starting to realize that is a bit too much to spend for such a small machine,

I had looked at AVID last year but hadn't really considered them. Just the way their website was laid out and not having a phone number listed didn't leave me with a lot of confidence. After you mentioned them yesterday I spent a good part of the day digging into them and I looked at a bunch of on-line reviews from people that bought their systems. I'm not really finding much in the way of negative feedback on AVID machines. All the feedback I've seen on-line has been positive.

I priced out a 5' x 5' pro CNC kit with a 3HP spindle, NEMA 34 control system, table legs, corner/Z height pad, VCarve Pro and a starter pack of bits and the price came to $12,872.56 shipped to my house. I like the idea of a 5' x 5' machine because when I do use plywood it's almost always 5' x 5' baltic birch. It's also nice that if I want a bigger machine at some point in the future I can expand this out.

I need to work on my shop layout to see if I can fit a bigger machine in. If that works out I may go with Avid over ShopSabre.
 

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Im new but can say without a shadow of a doubt the spindle is 100% worth the upgrade. Im amazed at how quiet this thing is. I cant even hear it running over the sound of the air from my dust collector and Im not talking about the sound from the DC motor since the DC is in another building. Just the sound of the air being pulled through the ducting is the loudest part of running the cnc. Super happy with the spindle choice.
 

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I have a 5 x 8 cnc router with a 4hp spindle. I designed and made my own vacuum hold down table. I do glue my spoil board to my table grid. I use 3/4" light weight mdf for the spoil board. I apply glue to the grid and lay the mdf on it, cover it with plastic and let the vacuum clamp it until it sets. When I change the spoil board, I simply use my spoil board bit to remove any remaining parts. I glue it down so that placing full sheets is much easier. I just have to position one sheet at a time. This has worked well for me for about eight years now. I have six zones on my table.
I am semi retired. I own a small (3500 sq. ft.) cabinet shop.
 

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After just going through the vacuum table process I am in agreeance with Joseph. I have both t track and vacuum table so I made T nuts to fit into the T track and screwed the spoil board down to the grid table with nylon screws but that does limit how much I can plane of the spoil board before hitting the screws. Im hoping it will be awhile.

For Joseph, what type of glue are you using? and what material is your vacuum grid made from? Mine looks like some type of plastic or phenolic, so Im not sure what type of glue would work best. I was thinking either silicone or epoxy.
 

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After just going through the vacuum table process I am in agreeance with Joseph. I have both t track and vacuum table so I made T nuts to fit into the T track and screwed the spoil board down to the grid table with nylon screws but that does limit how much I can plane of the spoil board before hitting the screws. Im hoping it will be awhile.

For Joseph, what type of glue are you using? and what material is your vacuum grid made from? Mine looks like some type of plastic or phenolic, so Im not sure what type of glue would work best. I was thinking either silicone or epoxy.
I used 1" waterproof mdf for the vacuum grid. I have a top shop as well and we fab a lot of Corian. The waterproof mdf i what we use for build up under the Corian. It has worked very well. I investigated using some sort of plastic but that was way too expensive. I decided to "try" the water proof mdf and it has served well. I use water down titebond 2 with about 25% water and use a short nap roller and roll it on the grid. It does not take much to hold it.
 

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I used 1" waterproof mdf for the vacuum grid. I have a top shop as well and we fab a lot of Corian. The waterproof mdf i what we use for build up under the Corian. It has worked very well. I investigated using some sort of plastic but that was way too expensive. I decided to "try" the water proof mdf and it has served well. I use water down titebond 2 with about 25% water and use a short nap roller and roll it on the grid. It does not take much to hold it.
Thanks, I guess I will just have to experiment a little
 

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I'm working through options on my ShopSabre 23 quote.

Did you choose to buy the machine? Or are you going with something else? I am working on making a decision myself. I need a machine for making precise 3D molds.

Options I am considering are no stand, (I'll make my own), the spindle, phenolic vacuum top (w/ vacuum) and t-slots, and the upgrade dust skirt. That puts me just over $14k, or $15k when you add the tax!

I am pretty sure I will go with the spindle, because everyone seems to agree that the spindle is important. And I don't feel comfortable taking my chances with a cheap imported spindle of unknown origin.

The vacuum table seems to make it easy to use the entire 30x40" capacity. Having t-slots only seems useful for some things, but I expect it would also mean giving up some of the usable space (leaving space around the perimeter for clamps). So I figure having both would be ideal.

I am still struggling a little with the value comparison between the 23 and bigger machines, but I think I'm mostly settled now. I am figuring out the "base" price of every machine is deceptive and should be ignored. I was dreaming of the Pro 404 machine...I could really use more gantry clearance, and the pro has 12"! I configured one that would cost me $35k, without vacuum. Adding the vacuum table to that machine would add ~$5k. And having that vacuum would require me to upgrade my electrical service in my garage. And there's shipping. And I would need to hire a forklift or skid steer to set it up. That "starting price of $25,000" turns into $50k+ pretty quick!

So I decided the 23 is a fair deal. Not cheap, but no quality machine is going to be cheap. I haven't come across anyone who has complained about buying one of these. And I can't find anyone trying to sell a used one either.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Did you choose to buy the machine? Or are you going with something else? ....
I decided to go with an AVID machine. I have a quote for a 5'x5' machine with a 3HP spindle that is around $13,000 with some extras. I also have a quote for a 5'x10' machine with the same configuration that is just over $14,000. Those are both under my max budget so I looked into adding a ATC from CNC Depot. They have a package that bolts right onto the AVID. I mentioned that to my contact at AVID who has been working with me on a few configurations. He mentioned that AVID is coming out with an ATC later this fall so right now my plan is to wait until that's out.

I am working on changing the layout of my shop right now. I know I can fit a 5'x5' machine in there. I think when I'm done with the layout change I'll be able to make room for the 5'x10' model. That would give me room for the ATC tool holders as well as enough space to setup a vertical table.
 

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Hi. This may be a bit late to post. But if you want to do ANY highly accurate work the Avid won’t give you the results the ShopSabre will. I was on the fence and have purchased the ShopSabre 23. Yes it is a bit more expensive but it is one heck of a solid build. I contacted Avid and their repeatability is only 0.005” versus the ShopSabre which is 0.001”. I need repeatability accuracy. Just my 2 cents worth.
 
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