Here's a new machine from Craftsman that, according to the folks at Sears, is selling faster than they can make it. It's no wonder. This sounds like an amazing machine. The CompuCarve, $1900, is a computer-controlled three-dimensional carving machine. Working on your PC, you can use a library of clip art, or create your own. You save the artwork on a flash card, which is then inserted into the CompuCarve. Like a planer, the material is automatically fed through the machine while the router bit does the carving. Adding text to the carving, according to the manufacturer, is as easy as typing in a word processor. If you want to duplicate an existing shape, add the 3D Scanning Probe, $400. The manufacturer says the probe is gentle enough to be used even on soft materials. So, in addition to scanning a wooden carving or molding, you can also copy a shape made from wax or clay.
The CompuCarve will handle material up to 5 in. thick and 14-1/2-in. wide. Length is virtually unlimited. It requires a PC running Windows 2000 or XP with 128 MB RAM (256 MB or greater recommended), 75 MB of hard drive space and an accelerated graphics card with OpenGL support. You can watch a video of it in action on the Sears web site.
Sears, (800) 349-4358, www.sears.comCraftsman CompuCarve, #21754, $1899.99. 3D Scanning Probe, $399.99.