View Full Version : Basic CNC

Angus Hines
11-03-2008, 2:31 PM
Ok I know I'll get a lot of diffrent opinions on this but that's a good thing.

I'm looking to buy a good starter CNC router. I know nothing about them or how they work other than what I have read hear and at the MFG's sites.

The two big things I'm looking for is expandability/upgradeablity as I improve and/or the technology improves.

And the ability to add different features as I may need/or want them ( ie can I switch it over to a Plasma cutter water jet cutter ect.

As for price I'd like to keep it under 15,000.00 but may go as high as 20,000.00 depending on quality and adaptability.

And I'm going to Durham Wednesday for a demo of the ShopBot.

james mcgrew
11-03-2008, 7:31 PM
a trip to shop bot is a good experience i went in november 07. let us know what you see!!


Keith Outten
11-03-2008, 10:21 PM

I would be willing to bet that you place an order before you leave Durham :)
You know that I am a ShopBot fan......
Whichever machine you decide to purchase you will be hooked big time.

Angus Hines
11-04-2008, 10:45 AM
Thanks Keith I think your right.....Thats why I posted this so I could here other opions before I went down there.

But based on the responses and your endorsement I'll probably end up with a Shop Bot.

Unless some one is willing to tell me why I should buy something different ??

James Jaragosky
11-04-2008, 12:26 PM
Thanks Keith I think your right.....Thats why I posted this so I could here other opions before I went down there.

But based on the responses and your endorsement I'll probably end up with a Shop Bot.

Unless some one is willing to tell me why I should buy something different ??

Before I purchased my machine I looked long and hard at all the machines I could find, Both on line and at the Atlanta ww show.
The shopbot was on display at the Atlanta show and I got to talk to many members of the shopbot staff. I was also able to see an Chinese made machine there as well, it was priced at 27k but reduced to 23k for the show. This same machine is available directly from the manufacture for 8.5k
It looked like a solid machine, and after shipping and taxes I figured I could get it from the manufacture and into my garage for 13k.
I saw one guy there that made the system as a kit that you assembled for 5k but he seemed sketchy so I eliminated him right off. although he was a wealth of information on where all the parts come from that are used on all the USA made or assembled machines. the parts pool is relatively small and most USA based Brands are using many of the same suppliers for all their quality components.
In the end I got a awesome deal from the people at camaster, and I got it very near the price range that you are looking at.
At first I actually tried to purchase a shopbot at the show, but the sales staff was pushing so hard to get me into a 24k machine that I finally gave up and moved on. Shopbot offers many configurations and options and they claim that the have a base machine starting at 17k, but try as I might I could not get them to sell me anything for less than 20k , and for near that kind of money I could get a machine fully assembled on a very solid base using all top of the line components from camaster.
For what you want it will take over 20k with a shopbot machine configuration. the up side to shopbot is the large owner support network this product has. This cannot be under estimated or over stated, in fact it was the main reason I actually tried to purchase one from them in the first place.
Please remember that with a shopbot you have to assemble it yourself unless you pay to have it assembled. also in my opinion the table they sell is not as substantial as most of the other major brands.
I am sure if you purchase a shopbot you will be happy,the machine has so many happy satisfied customers that it would be impossible to go wrong with this company.
good luck with your purchase.
Jim J.

james mcgrew
11-04-2008, 1:17 PM
i will not tell you what to purchase i will tell you i have a camaster and i am behind them 100%, it's an industrial machine with non propietary components and as a result my learning curve and down time are minimal is on better than the other, i don't know i am in the cabinetmaking business so what i have works for me



James Jaragosky
11-06-2008, 8:33 PM
Angus: How was the trip to Shopbot central?
Did you get a machine ordered?

Keith Outten
11-07-2008, 5:14 AM
The Cammaster looks like a solid machine and certainly worth investigating for anyone in the market for a CNC router. Just from looking at the pictures I see a few features that I really like over the ShopBot but I have to factor in the price tag.

I bought my ShopBot 3 to 4 years ago, the price at that time was just under $11,500 for a 48 by 96 including a PC Router which I felt was a lot of machine for the money. About 18 months ago CNU purchased a similar model ShopBot with a spindle rather than a router and the price was $15,400. With exception of the spindle vs router configuration the machines are basically the same.

Assembly of a ShopBot does take a couple of days and it pays to take your time. The process isn't difficult but it is a good idea to have a helper even though you could do it alone using shop stands to hold up one end of each part while you work the other end. It drags out the job somewhat but it can be done alone. I would suggest that anyone who is going to assemble their own ShopBot find a precision machinist's level, don't use a common level to assemble your ShopBot. I borrowed a Starret level from a friend.

The ShopBot support structure is plenty adequate for the weight of their machine. I have never seen any sign of the frame shaking or any noticeable vibration. The only thing I really dislike about ShopBots frame is that the rails are high above the table so you are destined to have to lean over and lift over the rails anytime you access the table from the long axis. This is a pain, and every ShopBotter owns shirts that are stained from contacting the grease on the gear racks. ShopBot will give you an apron with your machine...you will need it :)

The ShopBot Community is an incredibly valuable resource. This is an aspect that cannot be underestimated in its value, especially to someone who is new to CNC machines. The ShopBot Staff are also a great resource, they are knowledgeable and friendly and there isn't any expiration of their support. Not once has anyone at ShopBot denied me their help because may machine is out of warranty. I have never seen any machine that had anywhere near the support available from both peers and the manufacturer and I have to say that it makes me feel more comfortable when I need assistance even though it has been very rare.

I might add that the ShopBots are the only CNC machines that I have ever owned or operated so my experience is very limited. Given the workloads in my shop and the one at CNU it is unlikely either machine will ever be worn out or have to be replaced and I don't push either machine anywhere near the limits of their capability.

james mcgrew
11-07-2008, 5:37 AM
kieth you and i both need to go to sleep!!


James Jaragosky
11-07-2008, 1:08 PM
Keith normally I would have no problem telling anyone what I paid for my machine but I got such a unbelievable deal from Camaster that I feel it would be inappropriate for me to post the actual numbers.
But if I could have gotten a Shopbot with a spindle less than 17k I would have bought it cash on the spot and never found my way over to the Camaster Booth.
I still have my Shopbot quote and it is over 20k, 24k if i remember correctly, if you would like I can dig it out and scan you a copy.

Like I have said here in the past, The Shopbot community is unparalleled in the cnc community and its value cannot be overstated.

I am very new to cnc as you may know and I too have no other machine experience to compeer my Camaster with, but like you I am happy and also like you I do not see my machine wearing out before I do.

As far as the assembly: It may not be a bad thing, as you will get to know your machine fairly well by doing it this way. But I like the plug and play convenience of my machine and I know that if something is not functioning properly it is not do to my faulty assembly, I had not considered the rails above the work surface but I can see that having them mounted below would be a more convient option, that way I would not get any grease on my shirt and mess up all the poly stain spots that I got on it over at the paint booth.

Thanks for your insight on your shopbot experience I look forward to seeing more of your work, and hearing your tips and advice in the future. Because much like the Shopbot community you are a valued resource unparalleled in the community. Thanks for starting SMC, without it I would still be groping in the dark alone,
I am active on many forums and this group by far is the best.
Jim J.

james mcgrew
12-11-2008, 8:07 AM
i know angus has now purchased his bot and there is no second guessing the quality of the new shopbots!!, im my commercial world and with the smaller operators who are hobbiest and home businesses i must tell you guy's how extremly happy i am with my x3 camaster, yesterday they came in hooked it up (i wanted to build my own vac plenum) set up the pp for my vectric software and of i went!! man this is some machine!!!


Angus Hines
12-11-2008, 11:39 AM
I must say all that yellow and chrome sure does look nice. Now if we can just get your electricians to stop trying to kill people.....LOL.....SO you all moved in the new shop now?