Desktop-sized digital technology priced for the home workshop.
by Tim Celeski
Generally, CNCs suited for woodworking have heavy construction for stable motion, precision tracking for accuracy and the power to carve through hard woods easily. They come in sizes from very small to huge and are priced from $3,000-$12,000 (and beyond).
Until now, there have been few CNC options for woodworkers on tight budgets with small shops. There’s a class of CNCs designed for “makers” – hobbyists who build all kinds of things using the latest technology – but these are usually light duty and not suited to machining solid wood. But a new machine, the Shapeoko XL from Carbide 3D, is.
The Shapeoko XL has a desktop-sized footprint – a cutting area of 33″ x 17″ x 3″. It’s priced at $1,499. And, if you have more room, consider the 33″ x 33″ x 3″ XXL version for $200 more.
Both come as simple-to-build kits. I put my evaluation unit, the XL, together in just two hours. For a spindle (the cutter), the user supplies a DeWalt DWP611 or a Makita RT0701C trim router (Carbide 3D offers both at reasonable prices).
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From the December 2017 issue, #236