View Full Version : Sears Compucarve meets the need.

AL Ursich
09-02-2007, 10:38 AM
I have 2 Sears CompuCarve units making tourist products. The key is the artwork getting it right. Here is a great example of when it all came together for a very nice project within the limits of the Sears CompuCarve Machine. I have over 400 hours on this machine and with just a few problems has served me well.

This is from the Local Waymart, PA Gravity Railroad Depot Dedication I did last weekend. I made the Donation boards using the designer software to make the tracks in vector cut mode.

This is an example of taking line art drawing and making it 3D. I paid to have it done as I am still learning. I purchased 2 sets of Artwork converted to .ptn by HT at http://go3d.us/store/ (http://go3d.us/store/) .

I am VERY happy with the results. It takes a fine eye for detail to convert a lifeless line art drawing to a 3D .ptn file for the Sears CompuCarve machine. Over time I will developer the skills to do it myself.

Did I say..... I am VERY Happy with the results.

This is a Thank You plaque for Senator Lisa Baker for her part of the Depot Dedication, driving a gold spike in the new Railroad track. Not a sight you see every day. Excellent job !!!

The Depot line artwork in picture was the source of the final result. Excellent WORK HT !!!!

This .ptn will now become Life Member Plaques, Calenders, Clocks, Wooden Chests and more in my Pocono Digital Woodshop and sold in the Depot Store.


Leigh Costello
09-02-2007, 11:44 AM
WOW!!! Al, that is impressive. How long did the cuts take for the picture and the member plaque? I have been considering one of these machines for awhile now. Hubby has been considering locking me up -"why do we need another machine?" - and banning me from the 'Creek. :p

AL Ursich
09-02-2007, 12:22 PM
Cut Time on Best Quality was 2 hours 10 min. On the other hand the Vector cut Rail Road Tracks on the Donor boards cut in 27 min.

It is a very Versatile Machine. It does require a learning curve and has had it's share of hands on maintenance issues. But if you are willing to be patient all the answers are available through LHR the company that makes it at www.carvewright.com (http://www.carvewright.com) and the forums are great. I post under digitalwoodshop.

For $1800.00 it is a remarkable machine.

The 4 hole boards are Quilt Racks and the 6 hole version is a CD/DVD/Shelf rack. The 6 rail will have a choice of a shelf or rails for CD's DVD's or VHS.

I do the cutout on a router table for a 90 second cut vice the extra hour the carve machine would do it. Cut a pattern with the carve machine from 1/4 inch plastic. Just drop it on the blocks and go. I am staining them now.


Keith Outten
09-02-2007, 1:47 PM
Really nice work Al,

I had heard some negative comments about the Carvewright/CompuCarve machine but you obviously got past the problems and have learned to make the machine work very well. Your carving work makes the racks special...your extra effort makes all the difference.

Let's see some more......



AL Ursich
09-02-2007, 2:17 PM
My repair background helps... Between the Navy and Sony I have been fixing stuff since 1976..... Old.... Really OLD....


Bill Cunningham
09-03-2007, 12:05 AM
Wow!! Thats one of the best 'Bear' carvings I've ever seen...So life like you would almost think it had been alive:D

Actually that eagle/fish/deer look great ..I had no idea the compucarve machine would do that!

AL Ursich
09-03-2007, 5:22 PM
The Bear .ptn cost a whopping $6.50 from one of the site's that make patterns. $25.00 for most but less for many.

Gray Scale photo... 1 inch depth top to bottom Black to White in Gray Scale... They use a lot of "Gradients" to make the curves and roundness....

Yes, been cutting bears all day.... Using up my scrap wood.


AL Ursich
09-04-2007, 12:13 AM
My Labor Day was a full work day staining Quilt and CD Rack parts. Have 85 sets and 3 coats of MinWax Stain looks great. My Carve machine has been humming all day, over 12 hours pumping out Bears. I am almost out of Scrap Wood.....


Frank Corker
09-04-2007, 6:41 AM
Al I am very pleased for you that it is doing so well. The work looks excellent. If they were doing the Compucarve over here I'd go for one on the size alone, it looks like a great machine and from the amount that you are turning out, reliable. Couldn't want for better really

Michael Kowalczyk
09-04-2007, 1:57 PM
Hey Al,
Very Nice work. When you say 2 hours and 10 minutes is that how long it takes to carve 1 side or both sides or are you only carving one side? How much are they selling for? @ 2 hours+ each and staining, silk screening/stamping, assembly, packaging (if used) shipping/delivery, and material adds up quick doing 1 or 2 at a time on the Carveright. If you can do like the Ronco product where you just "Set it and forget it" and go about doing other production stuff, for a swim or fishing. Well you know what I mean. 2 hours is a long time in between parts for me. Sounds like you probably have a great time making these racks.

Thanks for sharing and like Keith said "show us more",

AL Ursich
09-04-2007, 5:16 PM
Carving time on the Depot Plaque with the text and picture was 2 hours 10 min. I do other stuff while it works. The CD and Quilt racks are about a hour each with 3 bit changes it stops and waits. I have been working on them for 3 months now.... A lot of man hours.... That is why I am sticking with a selling price at $125.00 and up.... Sold unfinished ones at $100.00 in the spring.

Time will tell.... I am sure I am making penny's on the hours I have worked....


My Carve machine died this morning... Traced it to bad bearings in the Z head. It stalls. The Encoder data is good... Took it apart....

Set it aside for today to keep staining. I do have the back up machine if I really need it... I have the bearings, it's an hour job.

Michael Kowalczyk
09-04-2007, 7:54 PM
Hi Al,
Sorry to hear your bearing went out but it sounds like you have the techno to get it back up and running quickly. Glad to hear you are also getting a fair price for your racks. Are you packaging them also or cash and carry "as is"? Most of the stuff I do is wholesale and must be in a box. So I have to always look at how will I package it, when I am in the design phase, and hopefully be able to have it fit in an existing box we already buy.
Thanks again,

AL Ursich
09-04-2007, 9:14 PM
I bought the tube shrink wrap and the plan is to do each board in shrink as the beauty of this is you pick each side then the rails are all standard.

Might do packaged deals too for the retail stores I am working with.

I am so new to this....

Did point of sale displays too for a store with a few products modeled after the sign.


Ed Newbold
09-05-2007, 8:04 AM
My Labor Day was a full work day staining Quilt and CD Rack parts. Have 85 sets and 3 coats of MinWax Stain looks great. My Carve machine has been humming all day, over 12 hours pumping out Bears. I am almost out of Scrap Wood..... Looking terrific, Al! By the way, how are you applying the red and green coloring to the lettering?

Thanks very much,

Ed Newbold
09-05-2007, 10:54 AM
Well, Al, after a lot of research about the machine, I'm sold on it. Where's the best place to get one? From Sears or the manufacturer?

Oh, and in my internet travels I've discovered the greatest free font site I've ever seen: http://www.dafont.com/

Thanks for all your comments. You've helped tremendously with my decision making process.


AL Ursich
09-05-2007, 10:59 AM
I use Rust Oleum Painter's Touch Latex paint for the letters. Spray paint was too thin and wicked up the grain even on some that I had put sanding sealer over first.

Since the letters are V carved with a V60 degree bit there is lots of room for paint. I slobber it on and keep cleaning out the letters. After it is dry I hit it with 120 grit then stain 3 times. Using LP air to blow the stain out the letters and the carvings while wearing a respirator.

Thanks for asking.


Sam Ely
09-14-2007, 9:17 PM
My Labor Day was a full work day staining Quilt and CD Rack parts. Have 85 sets and 3 coats of MinWax Stain looks great. My Carve machine has been humming all day, over 12 hours pumping out Bears. I am almost out of Scrap Wood.....

Hi, Al

Thanks for posting some of your interesting work and techniques.

What's the flat black box thing hanging off the right side of your compucarve machine, underneath the transparent lid? Is this for dust collection? If so, could you describe it a bit?

I'm just starting out with the machine, and am looking for an effective way to manage the dust it puts out.


AL Ursich
09-16-2007, 12:12 AM
Sears is the best place to buy one with the Tool Club discounts. I built the top box from copper Circuit board material and painted it. Used copper because I know of at least a dozen units that were killed from Static Electricity of a Shop Vac moving the chips through the hose. This can build up static in the range of 10 thousand volts. So many posts start out.... I finished my project, Vacuumed it out and now it won't come on????......

I really helps remove the chips but it is way too big.... I draw a suction from the bottom and the one in front. That machine is down because the bearings did not fix my problem of Air Carving. There is a bit flag on the right side and when the Z head is going down to touch it and determine bit length it stops 1 inch above the flag. Every time, same place.... The computer is looking for a increase in current on the Z motor equaling a touch. Thought it was the bearings. LHR the maker now thinks it is the flex cable feeding the data and power. A redesigned one is on it's way to me. At 444 hours and out of warranty I will pay for it.

I am using my back up machine that only has 60 hours on it. It only has a bottom suction. I am going to pick up some copper pipe and fittings in the inch and a half range and make a suction for that machine using the right side as the exit point. I will post pictures on the Carve Forum and here. With only the bottom suction and a 2 HP dust collector I still get a big mess inside compared to the one with the top collector.

Good Luck,


Here are some pictures of the collector and some clocks. The bears get painted black.

Not used here, but I now also run an external ground cable with 3 clips on each end between the dust collector and the carve machine since the Carve Machine is a 2 wire system. I ground the metal cabinet, dryer hose, and Carve Machine. I am a little anal about it....

Kevin Gallagher
10-26-2007, 1:18 AM
I own and operate Omega Guitars building custom acoustic guitars in my shop here in Saylorsburg, PA. I've been considering one of the Sears units for doing light inlay and cavity routing, but have never seen one in action.

I was wondering if you were close enough for me to schedule a visit just to get glimpse of the machine in operation. I'm in the south Pocono region about 15 minutes south of Stroudsburg, PA.

Let me know and I'll get in touch with you.

Thanks in advance,
Kevin Gallagher/Omega Guitars

Ed Lang
10-26-2007, 8:57 AM
Also take a look at the ShopBot CNC machine built in Durham, NC. They have a new smaller machine and it is built tough.

shopbottools dot com will get you there.


AL Ursich
10-27-2007, 11:33 PM
I am not ready for prime time yet.... So sorry no visitors yet. The Shop is a mess from 5 months of 7 days a week. Was up today at 5 AM and off to a Craft Show 65 miles away for a total sale of $2.00...... Others have been much better. Have shows just about every weekend until Christmas and I need to finish the Wood Shop and wire and insulate it. I have a LP Direct Vent heater but it's still too dusty to use it. I have dust collection but it needs improvement.

In know LHR was in NJ at a Wood Show and I bet they will be back to many more on the East Coast including the Philly shows.

Check the schedule at www.carvewright.com (http://www.carvewright.com)

And the Shop Bot Buddy I think it is called is worth looking at very seriously. The 14.5 inch width limitation could give you a problem. There is a Guitar guy doing the work.

As far as inlays, a Laser Engraver is much better for that in my opinion. Remember the sand paper belts do the moving in and out and the little Brass Roller in contact with YOUR wood or a Sled or Carrier Board. Any slippage will cause very expensive errors. You have better control of this with a Shop Bot where there are no "Slippage factors".

Good Luck,


Here are some EXTREME Examples of when the sand paper belts get worn smooth and tracking is not working properly. In ALL FAIRNESS this has NOT HAPPENED AGAIN since I fixed the problem. The Problem was the warn sand paper belts. But a example of what can go wrong.

Picture 1 the points of the outer track don't meet

Picture 2 The tracks should be centered in the ties.

Picture 3 Things really got out of hand..... The board even moved RIGHT and away from the Left Guide and the location of the Brass Roller. See how close together the tracks are along the side. And the moving away from the brass roller causes the board to move with the sand paper belts but the Encoder or Brass Roller is not moving. The Computer keeps moving the board until the Encoder is happy. I have had boards keep moving right out of the machine....

The Brass roller contacts the bottom of the board or sled and this is the encoder input to the computer.

A GREAT DESIGN when it all works....

My 2 Cents,

Happy owner of 2 CarveWright Machines from Sears.


Would I buy them again or buy a Shop Bot?

CarveWright without a doubt.

Kurt Strandberg
10-28-2007, 9:23 AM
Here a few items I have made with my Compucarve, I have about 150 hours on mine, I do mostly signs and picture frames but I also made some end tables for a customer and had the machine put the detail into the sides in the fourth picture. And the third picture is an autographed picture of Richard Petty that a customer wanted a frame for.

I have also had the machine drill shelf holes for cabinets while I do ther things in the shop

Jerry Bittner
09-07-2013, 11:35 AM
I have the Compucarve -- one of the first an A model. Since been upgraded with the Rock chuck, rubber belts, etc. Extended the original maintenance agreement for one more year and notice that I am entitled to one PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE CHECK-UP.

Anyone have exppereince with the checkup? Is it worth the time and trouble having the machine shipped off to wherever Sears does the checkup?

AL Ursich
09-07-2013, 9:34 PM

This is a 2007 post. For this info your asking for, you would be better asking on the CarveWright forum. Not too many CW users here.

The Risks of sending your machine off is Shipping Damage.... Many machines get dropped in the shipping box and then are trash due to a cracked frame.

Even if you drop off the machine at a local Sears it may get shipped back to TEXAS to LHR. Much has changed with Sears and LHR.


digitalwoodshop on the CW forum if you need help.