Shark Pro CNC Router

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Review by Mike Pientka posted 12-11-2009 09:42 PM 18349 views 1 time favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Shark Pro CNC Router Shark Pro CNC Router Shark Pro CNC Router Click the pictures to enlarge them

When the Shark was initially released, I traveled 70 miles to the nearest Rockler store to scrutinize it. I had to put my Engineer’s cap on to keep remembering there are continual tradeoffs between cost and performance; from all the homework I did I knew what specs were important and where I could give. At first I was apprehensive the polymer frame would flex too much. or the rod & linear bearing construction with a central drive screw would bind. Both of these turned out to be non-issues. I thought only a full-size router would work, but the Colt trim router has proven to be more than adequate. I was offput by the PVC pipe used as a spacer between the rod bearings (all 16 of them) and polymer frame; it looked poor but didn’t affect function. The controller and power supply simply sat in the open; I knew I would find a better home for them. The MDF table was inexpensive, but I viewed it as a consumable I would replace every now and then.

read my full 2-page review at:

-- Engineer by day, Woodworker by night, Original Approach LLC, Windsor CO,

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Mike Pientka

129 posts in 3890 days

9 comments so far

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Chris Wright

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#1 posted 12-11-2009 10:06 PM

Wow, great review. I’ve been looking at this system for a while, just need to save up the money. Everything I’ve seen it’s really the best CNC system for the money. Thanks for the information.

-- "At its best, life is completely unpredictable." - Christopher Walken

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David Craig

2137 posts in 3909 days

#2 posted 12-12-2009 08:17 AM

Big thanks for the review. Tough new world where the technical meets the traditional wood working populace. I wonder sometimes what a “Jordan Straker” feels about such things. The painstaking physical wrok and expertise against a CNC machine. Kind of like a photograher might feel when compared to the capabilities of photoshop. Does the vision or the technique become the victor overall?

Enquiring minds want to know ;)


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

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118079 posts in 4378 days

#3 posted 12-12-2009 08:26 AM

Thanks for your review.


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Charles Maxwell

1107 posts in 4608 days

#4 posted 12-12-2009 04:20 PM

Mike, In your review you said, “In the future I’d like to CNC wood-gear clocks…” Maybe you and I could talk about a way ahead on this topic. I have a few years of experience building these clocks but, I spent 25 years in the Navy and have lots to learn about various approaches to cutting gears. Very happy that you posted this. Thanks. Max

-- Max the "night janitor" at

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1157 posts in 4095 days

#5 posted 12-12-2009 06:39 PM


I bought a turn-key system couple in 2005 for many of the reasons you described. Software has come a long way in the past 4 years and while not as simple as a copier it is light years easier than before. An important thing you hit on is support. While mine is all metal, the company I bought it from went out of business two years after I bought it. I agree that Shopbot is a dream system if you can afford it.

My first hurdle was fully understanding what the machine thought was 0.0.0 and what the code said was 0,0,0. Next biggest hurdles were holding the raw material for smaller parts and getting the Z axis position accurate.

For holding, I tried vacuum, double stick tape, fixtures, clamps and skin cutting. All had their up and downs. I have to think this is the biggest challenge to a small shop. Fixtures are only good for volume or high fee jobs. Vacuum with skin cutting is my best for smaller parts, but the cleanup is a pain.

My Z axis solution is a brass gage block that I lay on the surface, work or table depending on the job. I jog down close and then keep indexing at 0.10 mm until the gage block can’t slide under it and then index up at 0.01 mm until it does slide through. The electronic blocks with feedback to the software will have to wait until I hit the lottery.


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5048 posts in 4694 days

#6 posted 12-13-2009 06:10 PM

When I studied CNC programming our midterm exam was to make a program that machined our signature into a piece of wood and having a name that is a bit unique I was surprised how many people in my class had the same first and last name, the same as mine.

I am neither for, nor against CNC but at present I have little need for one so just a few observations on CNC purchases where I was asked to be a consultant on their purchase.

Company “A” that employed about 40 guys in high end custom architectural concrete products,like ballusters and newel posts, stairs, acorns, horses….you name it, had great difficulty with staff turn over so he bought a CNC, five axis, x y z and a and b. The unit can suck the skin off your body through a 3’ thick slab of MDF. he hired “The” teckie who trouble shoots CNC machines around the world to do his programming and he hired an older gentleman who has used CNC since its birth… move,lots of work that few companies can produce and his machine is now running 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Company “B” purchased a CNC 3 axis, and against any advice from me, will be in recievership soon.

Company “C” decided, as per my advice, not to purchase a CNC but rather get the shops that have invested big bucks in CNC, to do the work for you, this avoids a lengthy learning curve, costly workmans compensation costs, frees up much needed floor space and in the event a “pissing match” begins between them and a supplier, there are a thousand other suppliers who would die for their business so let the wolves fight on their own….......................this company is now turning out 1,000 kitchens a month, alls they do is assemble parts supplied by CNC companies.

It is only my opinion but I think that “CNC” is highly over rated.

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

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jim C

1472 posts in 3899 days

#7 posted 12-15-2009 06:47 AM

I take a friendly issue with your comments.

””Company ‘A” is running 24/7, lot’s of work”” etc. ——- Sounds like a winner.

“Company “B” is in receivership” ? What are the details? Did the 3 axis kill them or were there other circumstances?

Company “C” as per your advice, farms out to the big buck CNC companies. That’s called using a service shop for contractors who have smaller business requirements/customer bases and can’t justify the 24/7 that a $100,000 machine and the support/costs required to be on the floor.

CNC revolutionized the metalworking industry starting in the early 70’s. As an example tooling components, used in production, that maybe took 50-60 hours to grind with precision, became a 2-3 hour exercise using CNC.

I founded,managed and expanded a CNC metalworking shop for the express purpose of providing a service to small and medium machine shops that needed precision forms and shapes in stamping tools, but could not justify the cost of a $100,000, 5 axis machine that could keep them competitive. If they had stayed with the old laborious method of sectioning and grinding stamping/forming components, they would have been out of business within a short time.

It was a win-win for everyone. CNC and it’s benefits provided superior quality, a lower cost and competitive advantages to foreign sources.

Nobody can argue the point of a hand craftsman and their ability to create art, but in a competitive environment, one must take advantage of the advanced technologies that have been advanced and are available.

I, for one, welcome new or enhanced processes that can make my efforts produce better results. The challenge is keeping up with the advances and the willingness to adapt and learn, as well as to apply them.

If company “C” is truly turning out 1000 kitchen a month as you state, they are “missing the boat” in terms of bottom line cost by not having an in-house manufacturing system. There is a point, when volume dictates, to eliminate the “middleman” and become the root source of that part of the final product. Many of my customers eventually purchased their own CNC equipment when they reached a point of volume outsourcing, that dictated eliminating the “value added” (my profit) that a subcontractor charged.

In the case of a hobbyist, CNC is a wonderful and fun “tool” that enhances our abilities to create our ideas, with finer detail and fewer hours, and enjoy those creations with less “oops and calluses’”. It’s another reason for mental entertainment and to learn new and better methods.

CNC is fun, entertaining, and not, by any means over rated. It’s the present and the future, as was Henry Ford’s novel idea of mass production.

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188 posts in 4204 days

#8 posted 12-16-2009 04:36 AM

I agree, this is a review of a $3,400 hobbyist machine. This brings the technology to those who can’t afford or justify the cost of even a small industrial grade machine, and who doesn’t need that level of quality anyway.

-- Failure is the road to success if you learn to learn from your mistakes - Vince, Greenville, SC

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5048 posts in 4694 days

#9 posted 12-17-2009 04:24 PM

Hi Jim

the company that went down, bought too much, spent hundreds of thousands in CNC point to point, CNC beam saws….............the market crashed and they are toast. Too much debt and not enough work. Kinda like Canac where they just couldnt shiut down their factories fast enough.

The company that didnt purchase a CNC buys tractor trailer loads of parts, doors, gables, drawer parts, pre machined, pre finished…........they pick parts, assemble, pack and ship. If they are doing something wrong you would never guess it by the lifestyles of the owners. They can assemble a kitchen, wrap it, ship it to me, for less money then it would cost me to just buy raw materials alone. certainly not high end, but they are banging out kitchens far faster, making more money, then most of their compitition. I might add, that where I live, if you own the building, and employ people,put in a spray booth…....the governement will shut you down faster then you can count to 100. Workman’s compensation taxes are extremely high where I live, especially in this industry, thus why they chose to outsource it. Also, big CNC machines require a substaintial footprint which could otherwise be used to house inventory and inventory is often supplied on “pay the supplier after its sold…......

I occasionally use friends thickness sander and they have a CNC. As I was thickness sanding about 30 doors this is what took place.

CNC machined MDF double oven panels would not fit the assembled cabinet. I watched three guys decide it wouldnt fit. lead hand takes notes and brings panel to CNC programmer where re re-writes a program. After an hour and myjob was done,,,,,,,,,,,,,,I do the math. 4 guys on downtime and still no panel for the double ovens. I could have cut out a new panel on their 10’ sliding table saw in less then 5 minutes.

I am not against CNC but Idothink that a lot opf companies dont think it through before purchasing them and if you check out the bankruptcy auctions for woodworking shops….....they are a dime a dozen right now.

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

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