View Full Version : decisions, decisions

Ted Filley
06-14-2009, 8:05 AM
well I'ved narrowed it down to the CNC Shark Pro or the Sidewinder. I'm leaning towards the sidewinder because of it's larger capacity. They are both in my budget range but I don't know anything about the sidewinder other than what is on their site. I'll be using ArtCam Pro software and more on 3D reliefs than signage. I would welcome any input anyone may have.

Thanks, Ted

"If you think you can or if you think you can't you're right." H. Ford

Keith Outten
06-14-2009, 1:25 PM

I think your software costs are much higher than your hardware :)

There hasn't been any information presented by anyone who purchased either machine yet, at least that I know of here at The Creek. You may be the one to break the barrier and let us know more about the machine you select. There has been a lot of interest but very little information from anyone here.

james mcgrew
06-14-2009, 2:03 PM
i have seen post both to the positive and negative on both machines, dave who builds the side winder has proven himself to be a stand up guy on several occasions. buying art cam pro when compared to aspire in both price and quality seems a bit odd when your hardware buget is below 3000.00, seems to me one with a total of 10-13000.00$ would buy aspire at 2000 and spend 10.000 on the router ??


Guy Mathews
06-14-2009, 4:40 PM

No matter what you decide a year from now you will wish you had done something else.

The Artcam users will cheer your decision. The Aspire users will wonder why you spent so much on Artcam. The ShopBot guys will wonder why you didn't get a ShopBot Buddy. The Techno guys will have their opinions and the Xfactory guys and gal will have theirs. Long story short, no matter what you do someone else will have an opinion as to why you should have done something else.

At the IWF 2008 I beat up on a bunch of salesman who were trying to tell me how good their machines were. One guy couldn't even tell me the max Z height of his machine with a 2.75 inch bit offset. Needless to say, he didn't sell us a machine.

The CAMaster guys finally won us over. I have had a few problems with their machine. Nothing that we couldn't figure out with the help of a few forum questions. I have also made some modifications to their design because quite frankly, it wasn't right for our applications. Nothing major, just moved the gantry, replaced the belt drive with a gear drive and I am in the process of turning it into a CNC lathe with the addition of a motor, a disengagement lever on the axis drive and a lathe knife that will be fixed to the side of the Z mount. By doing this I can turn spindles, re-engage my A axis drive and then go right into carving on the spindle in just a few seconds. But enough about me.

Long story short, no matter what you do, a time will come... (Jim knows what I mean) when you are looking for that extra Z height or table length and don't have it! You will curse yourself for not going bigger.

In a year or so, you will find yourself wanting something bigger, badder and better. You may sell your current machine or keep it.

I have said it many times before. these machines are nothing more then stupid pieces of metal and electronics. It is the programmer that can make them dance to any tune no matter what type of machine it is.

You will only get out of your CNC machine what you put into it. It is like that old computer acronym... "GIGO Garbage In, Garbage Out". As long as the machine you buy has the ability to do the things you want to do and you have a feasible understanding of what it can and can't do, you will be OK.

Since I know absolutely nothing about either machine, I can not tell you which one to get. I will suggest that you review your budget and buy more machine up front then you think you are going to need. As for software, I use Rhino and Visual Mill as primary and about 15 different sub-primary programs depending on the applications I am doing. All my G-code is generated using Visual Mill.

I can tell you that you are going to either love CNC, or you are going to hate it.

I myself, hope to drop dead running one of our 3 machines!!!!!

Good luck on whatever you decide.

Ted Filley
06-14-2009, 7:03 PM
I think I need to explain a few things. I've been using Surfcam 5-axis software for 15 years. 5-axis being 3 linear axis and 2 rotary axis. 75% of the patterns or models we cut are over 80 sq. ft. We also have Solidworks and Rhino software. I am the head programmer and plant manager for a large mold and pattern shop. We have a Fadal 40-20, a Motion Master 5'x10', and a Motion Master 10'x20'x6'z. I purchased Artcam from my Surfcam dealer. I have access to all the ncs at work but it's 30 miles from my home. I have a well equiped wood working shop here at home. I'll be using Artcam at both locations and am just looking for a small but reliable cnc to put in my home shop. CNC programming has been my passion for many years. There's very few things as rewarding and satisfying as seeing a 5-axis cnc going through its paces at 500 IPM with all 5 axis' in motion. I'll be 56 in July and would like to semi retire soon and spend more time in my shop at home. My plans are to able to augment my income with wood projects I can produce and sell from my home shop.

Thanks, Ted

Michael Kowalczyk
06-15-2009, 4:53 PM
Aspire is a nice software and can do a lot but, IMHO, still can not do what Artcam Pro does. Many may not need the full artistic side that Artcam Pro offers but if you have it, use it. I agree with others why spend $7,500.00 when you can do about 75% of what ArtcamPro does with Aspire for about $2,000.00. But if you need the other 25% then ArtcamPro is invaluable.
Some of the software you have access to is not even considered by the home/hobbyist CNC operator cause they are almost always on a shoe string budget but none of us like to waste money. Although Rhino and Visual Mill (AKA RhinoCam) are ones I am also considering (4th axis or pro version) because of it's additional 4th axis capabilities to do continuous routing instead of just parallel.

One must also remember that there is no Panacea software and just like we have more than one tool in our tool box, CNC software is a tool and sometimes we have to have more than one tool to accomplish what we need.

PS you are the first person I have seen here that has a Motion Master. I looked at them back around 2000 but decided to get the Thermwoods. Are you still able to get any service or parts for them?