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Piranha FX?

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Forum topic by bruegs posted 01-29-2019 05:21 AM 610 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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bruegs

6 posts in 139 days


01-29-2019 05:21 AM

New member here. I apologize in advance for this likely being a question that you get sick of seeing. But I’m thinking of taking the CNC plunge, and I’m eyeing the Piranha FX.

If there are any members who have experience with that model, I’d appreciate hearing your thoughts.

Thanks!


13 replies so far

View JohnMcClure's profile

JohnMcClure

621 posts in 1026 days


#1 posted 01-29-2019 12:49 PM

I don’t have experience with it, but in case you get limited responses from those that do, I’ll share my 0.02.

I’ve used the Shapeoko 3 for years. It’s finnicky and I hate it sometimes, but it gets the job done. However, for serious work that you intend to make money from, a more rugged machine is probably in order. I looked at the Piranha as well, and what I found pointed me instead to the Axiom line of CNC. EVERY REVIEWER states that Axiom is far and away superior to the others, at a better price point.
Personally I’m waiting for Axiom’s newest “i2R” (economy model) line to ship before I order one, but their AR and ARpro series are market-proven with lots of reviews and positive feedback available online – particularly reviews that compare them to other machines like the one you’re looking at.

That being said, CNC is indeed a plunge, and I’m sure there are lots of use cases where the Piranha is an excellent choice – and you gotta start with something!

Good luck!

-- I'd rather be a hammer than a nail

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bruegs

6 posts in 139 days


#2 posted 01-29-2019 05:23 PM

Thank you very much, John. Very informative.

I’m looking to do just hobby stuff. In response to your comments, I’ve looked at the Shapeoko line. Maybe that’s a good fit for me? I could get a much larger work area for about the same price as the Piranha. When you say the Shapeoko is finicky, what do you mean?

The Axiom i2R looks pretty awesome, but I don’t think I want to start out with a $3K machine.

View sawdustjunkie's profile

sawdustjunkie

405 posts in 2103 days


#3 posted 01-29-2019 06:16 PM

You will be very limited as to the size of your projects with the Piranha. I also understand the the Axiom is more expensive. I would urge you to wait and build up more funds to get a machine more capable than what you are looking at. Trying to resell a smaller machine will be a problem and you would be better off waiting to get something larger.

-- Steve: Franklin, WI

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bruegs

6 posts in 139 days


#4 posted 01-29-2019 06:57 PM

Sawdust, thanks very much for your help. When you suggest saving for a machine that is “more capable,” are you talking mostly about the size of the cutting area?

I envision using CNC for decorative touches to woodworking projects—not making entire components for projects or massive signs. Do I really need a $3K machine for my intended purpose? Or is your suggestion based on the notion that a lot of CNC users get hooked and end up wanting to do bigger/better projects?

Again, I greatly appreciate any wisdom!

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JohnMcClure

621 posts in 1026 days


#5 posted 01-29-2019 07:59 PM

To a certain extent you do get “hooked”. I did a lot of sign carving, got stuff hanging all over my house and friends’ houses. My shapeoko 3 is the smaller one (they now have XL and XXL versions) and I had to get creative on some larger projects. I used a technique called “tiling” to do a sign that’s about 3ft long, for example.
As a hobbyist who is simply interested in learning CNC and doesn’t need it to bring in revenue, but also doesn’t want to spend a lot, I recommend Shapeoko 3.
Where mine is “finnicky” I believe they have solved that problem over the years. Some of the early models had a bug where the controller would just freeze up or lose connection with the computer. On a wooden sign that usually isn’t even catastrophic, but it is always annoying. However it’s relatively rare and for hobby use – engraving a rose on the top of a wooden box, for example – it’s a great machine.
Have a look at my projects, and you’ll see a lot of CNC particularly in the earlier ones (I got burnt out over the years as non-woodworking CNC became more of a business thing and woodworking became a more serious hobby). All of it was done on Shapeoko 3.
Edit – you’ll have to go to pages 2 and 3 of my projects to see much CNC.

-- I'd rather be a hammer than a nail

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

2796 posts in 960 days


#6 posted 01-29-2019 08:22 PM

I was going to buy it on the current WoodCraft deal, soon to end where they throw in the laser engraver and take $$$ off the CNC. It was the best deal I had seen. The local WoodCraft has a CNC guy, he also has a group that meets once a month, and as luck had it the meet day was the same day I had been in.

I went back home because it was several hours until the meet. I downloaded the Vectric Freeware module, so I could play with it and get some questions, as he assured me the questions would be software oriented. There is where the trouble started.

Vectric is evidently a British software, at least the voice they use for instruction is a VERY British Female. So BRITISH that I could not understand most of what she was saying. The volume was plenty up, it was just that difference between any language, then add syntax, slang, and the fact that the Brits call a LOT of stuff by a different name than we do.

Long and the short of it was 4 hours of frustration, and I still couldn’t understand how to even open the training modules. I finally got so I could kinda understand what she was saying, it was just things weren’t on my computer screen like she was saying they should be, at least not by the name she was calling it.

I would like to think I am computer literate as the next guy, my hearing is OK, and I have a higher than normal IQ. Vectric software made me feel like a dumb pumpkin.

So if you haven’t, start there, see if you can do the modules, and understand which button to click, and what to do in which order. If you can’t, just send me the 1500 bux, and I’ll send you regular updates as to what fun your money is having. :-)

On the PLUS side I met 11 guys who already own a CNC, all have invited me to come over whenever I need to do something. All but 3 added and maybe we can figure it out together….... I have had 4 pieces done by others since then, and haven’t spent 75 bux, 2 were semi complex pieces, and they took over 4 hours to run. I supplied materials in all cases. I’m still not sure as to what to do when though.

For as little as it has cost me to have the work done, I’ll keep my 1500 ++++++ bux, and contract the work out, as I need it done, which actually isn’t very often.

If you go forward I would suggest you upgrade the software from the V Carve, which is as limited as the Piranha is size restricted, up to the Vectric Aspire. Generally it is a $700 upgrade if you do it at time of purchase it is $350. Some said the Piranha was OK for a starter, seeing as I was just interested in box tops and small stuff, but ALL said upgrade the software while it was cheaper to do so.

Link for free Vectric trial software It’s useless to use it, then try to send it to a CNC, but allows you to play with it, before you buy. Watch several Monte Python movies first to get into the mood.

-- Think safe, be safe

View JohnMcClure's profile

JohnMcClure

621 posts in 1026 days


#7 posted 01-29-2019 09:24 PM

SteveN’s take on the situation is valuable, and if you’re just looking to have the occasional CNC work done, he makes a good point – contract it! But if you’re looking to learn CNC for a hobby, then you must obviously be prepared to learn the software.
I did not have any trouble learning Vectric, I don’t even remember the tutorials (though I probably skipped thru one of the videos they have). I didn’t find it difficult – but YMMV!
I couldn’t – and still can’t – justify the expense of Aspire. If you do 3d relief carving it is probably essential. For simple signs and panel cutouts it is not.
I didn’t realize the Woodcraft sale price is so low, with a laser included… I wish I had a laser… but different strokes for different folks.
One good thing about the Shapeoko 3 is that you can learn a LOT about how the machine WORKS which may better prepare you for a CNC future if you’re interested in it (3d printers don’t scare me, for example).

Good luck!

-- I'd rather be a hammer than a nail

View Peteybadboy's profile

Peteybadboy

722 posts in 2335 days


#8 posted 01-29-2019 09:57 PM

Just learned about the Shaper Origin from a post this am. Just check that out. (no I don’t work for that co), I just saw it and thought maybe…..I will continue to explore that product.

-- Petey

View bruegs's profile

bruegs

6 posts in 139 days


#9 posted 01-31-2019 05:33 PM

I greatly appreciate everyone’s insight. I’ve never been so overwhelmed in deciding on a tool purchase.
For my budget and needs, I’m leaning toward a Piranha XL or a Shapeoko. Seems like I might get more bang for my buck with a Shapeoko, but the Piranha seems to maybe be a little more beginner-friendly, more of a plug-and-play.

I’ll update when I pull the trigger on one. Thanks again.

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bruegs

6 posts in 139 days


#10 posted 02-03-2019 09:18 PM

And now Rockler has the Piranha FX on sale for $999.

View ArtMann's profile

ArtMann

1381 posts in 1202 days


#11 posted 02-04-2019 12:49 AM

If you had trouble understanding the Vectric software and training information, I would not advise you to move ahead with a purchase. It is the simplest, most straight forward and easiest to learn professional grade software you will find. Their video tutorials are the best effort of its type I have ever used.

View bruegs's profile

bruegs

6 posts in 139 days


#12 posted 02-04-2019 01:06 AM

Art, I downloaded the Vectric trial version a week or so ago, and find that it seems fairly straightforward. I’ve got some experience in photo-editing and publishing software, which seems to help.

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

2796 posts in 960 days


#13 posted 02-05-2019 01:04 PM

Huh. I’m wondering about the software thing now. I’m 64, and certainly wasn’t raised on a computer. You guys that just look st this stuff and “get it right away” How old are you? I’m wondering if Mom lied to me, and I’m not that witty, or if you are from the computer era? I do know one thing, if I ever run into a computer problem, all I’ve ever done is have one of the nieces, or nephews look at it, now it’s their kids, and the now parents are like I was, sheesh lookit them go…. Faster, Younger, Smarter, at least till you ask them who the lead singer of (pick any 50’s band) was.

Still finding it less expensive to “have it done for me” than at first. Initially it was the “pro guys” now I’ve uncovered a nest of owners willing to work cheap just to learn. My cost now is wood for them to play with. Luckily all of them own the Aspire, which has more than I will ever want for in attached patterns, and it plays with pictures better than the V Carve.

-- Think safe, be safe

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