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Forum topic by jasonallen posted 03-05-2015 07:53 PM 4777 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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202 posts in 2009 days

03-05-2015 07:53 PM

Ok, I am interested in CNC. But I’m not $5,000 – $8,000 worth of interested. I just want to do simple small inlays and interesting joinery. I know you get what you pay for, and for the most part I haven’t been shy about spending the extra cash to get quality shop equipment. But I just can’t justify a high dollar CNC. I have looked at the Piranha on Rockler for $1,600. I’m wondering if it would do what I want to do or if I would just be throwing away money on junk. It uses Vectric software and a Bosch Colt router. It also interests me because it can take other attachments to do different things. I admit I haven’t done a huge amount of CNC research and I don’t know much. I just thought I’d start here. I always prefer to ask real people over doing online research.

-- Skill and confidence are an unconquered army.

17 replies so far

View SuperCubber's profile


1078 posts in 2673 days

#1 posted 03-05-2015 10:54 PM

How about the Shapeoko? A few YouTube woodworkers recently reviewed the Shapeoko 2, and for the most part, had good things to say. It sounds just about right for what you mentioned. If you haven’t seen the videos, a few of the guys that’s got them are:
Jay Bates (also an LJ member)
Izzy Swan (not very active LJ member)
Bob Claggett (I Like to Make Stuff)

-- Joe | Spartanburg, SC | "To give anything less than your best is to sacrafice the gift." - Steve Prefontaine

View ChuckC's profile


843 posts in 3323 days

#2 posted 03-06-2015 01:02 AM

Check out There is a lot of information there on buying and making a CNC router. If you are up for it consider making one. If you check out my projects you will see the one I made. They are easy to make and very accurate.

View jasonallen's profile


202 posts in 2009 days

#3 posted 03-06-2015 01:09 AM

How computer savvy do I need to be to operate these things? Lets see…. I took a keyboarding class in 1998.

-- Skill and confidence are an unconquered army.

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1864 posts in 2705 days

#4 posted 03-06-2015 05:09 AM

You’ll need to know some sort of CAD or drawing software for starters. Then comes CAM. CAM isn’t as hard to learn as CAD but expect to make a lot of mistakes when working on your first cutting programs.

If you go the do-it-yourself route and cobble together a package of cheap/free software like I did, you’ll need a lot of computer skills. I’d recommend looking into a compatible software/machine package if you aren’t good at computers or you’ll need to find friends to help you with initial setup.

-- See my work at and

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12803 posts in 2768 days

#5 posted 03-06-2015 07:00 AM

Best video on the Shapeoko, IMO

After giving away a bunch of Shapeoko’s, Inventables came out with the Xcarve

-- Rick M,

View KarenW's profile


131 posts in 2576 days

#6 posted 03-07-2015 05:23 PM

I can’t speak directly about the Piranha but I do have the Shark Pro Plus.
The only thing I can tell you for sure is don’t skimp on size. The more you learn and the more you get into what a cnc can do, the more you’ll wish you had the larger bed.

The Vectric software is very good but you’ll have to spend some time learning it if a keyboarding class is your only background. It’s a brand new language to learn with vectors and nodes and toolpaths and G-code and offsets and endmills and feedrates. And you’ll have to adjust your thinking. I’ve been working with computers since 1982 and have been a woodworker for 34 years and it still took me a good 3 months to learn and understand what I was doing.

The machine itself is relatively simple – a bed/table, a gantry with a spindle or router mounted to it, stepper motors that move the router left/right/back/forward/up/down. It’s the software that takes the time. It’s designing, planning and creating the file and understanding the expected results of each step.
The machine is a machine, just like any other in your shop but the real work is before you ever touch a piece of wood.

JMO of course.

-- Happiness does not come from doing easy work but from the afterglow of satisfaction that comes after the achievement of a difficult task that demanded our best. --Theodore I. Rubin

View cootcraig's profile


58 posts in 1600 days

#7 posted 03-07-2015 05:26 PM

I would like to get a CNC mill some day. My current choice is the
Gryphon V-2

View Gixxerjoe04's profile


850 posts in 1965 days

#8 posted 03-07-2015 05:33 PM

I have the shapeoko 2, nice small machine I had to put together completely, but for $550 it’s worth the time compared to other machines price wise. They came out with the X-carve which is a little bit more expensive but it’s suppose to take half the time with assembly and suppose to be better. Problem I’m having is figuring out the software side, but I’d say depends how in depth you want to go with it and what you want to do. The good thing about the inventables products like shapeoko and xcarve is you can upgrade what you want. It comes with everything you need to make stuff but you can put a better spindle if you want and make it bigger. The work area is around 12”x12” but if you want you can buy the longer rails, forget how big you can go though.

View Mike Gager's profile

Mike Gager

665 posts in 3656 days

#9 posted 03-10-2015 12:42 PM

the basic setup is 500mmx500mm with about a 300×300 cutting area or about 12×12 like mentioned. the typical upgrade size is 1000×1000 which is 800×800 cutting size or about 31×31

for about $1250 you can get a 1000×1000 Xcarve with all the upgrades or if you dont need everything they let you pick what you need. you can get a running 500×500 machine (after assembly) for less than $800. only bad thing at this point is it doesnt come out til april!

View Grant Davis's profile

Grant Davis

797 posts in 4297 days

#10 posted 04-06-2015 11:16 AM

Waiting patiently for the X-care by inventables to start shipping to see how peoplelike it after assembly. Its supposed to start shipping 4/30. I’m thinking my wife should buy me one for my birthday in May.

-- Grant...."GO BUCKEYES"

View Mike Gager's profile

Mike Gager

665 posts in 3656 days

#11 posted 04-06-2015 11:46 AM

i ordered an X carve last week. i got mine without the waste board because they wanted $120 to ship it! yikes ill just go to home depot and get mine, thanks.

View oldnovice's profile (online now)


7484 posts in 3756 days

#12 posted 09-09-2015 11:57 PM

Have you seen the new Shopbot Desktop MAX looks like a desk top on steroids!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View KarnWoodworks's profile


9 posts in 1252 days

#13 posted 01-14-2016 05:33 PM

Gryphon V-2 is a good one!

-- Hey, New guy!

View MadMark's profile


979 posts in 1841 days

#14 posted 01-14-2016 07:12 PM

AutoCAD – .DXF file with geometry
“DXF2GCODE”: – .DXF ==> .TXT GCODE commands for CNC
GCODE is arcane and has been in use since CNC was born.

-- Madmark - [email protected]

View ste6168's profile


258 posts in 1560 days

#15 posted 01-14-2016 07:21 PM

Have you seen the new Shopbot Desktop MAX looks like a desk top on steroids!

- oldnovice

Looks nice, but 9k. I’m out.

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