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Thread: Pantorouter, Shaper Origin, CNC router

  1. #1

    Pantorouter, Shaper Origin, CNC router

    I'm looking for some advice. I'm a avid hobbyist and retired. With more available time, I'm trying new, more complex projects. I have a technical background and enjoy the learning and designing as much as the doing. Through the years I've done a lot with some poor quality tools but I can now afford better machines. I am doing more joinery these days and with my current tools, I don't enjoy it. I was looking at the Festool domino but the Pantorouter (metal product - not hand made wooden one), seems more capable and fits what I'd like to try. However I was wondering if the Shaper Origin with a tenon jig (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=En-gUB33o4g) could do the same function and get me into some other CNC capabilities. But then I wonder, could a good CNC router machine be capable of this plus a whole lot more? CNC woodworking is appealing. The learning curve is a pro for me, not a con.

    Based on my limited knowledge, I'm thinking the Shaper Origin may be able to do what the pantorouter does for a little more cost but I'd have to build some jigs and fixtures and the outcome maybe wouldn't be as accurate. Also, a flat bed 3-axis CNC router may not be a good tool for joinery. Can some CNC routers extend their travel past the bed to cut tenons? If so, their capability in terms of accuracy, depth of cut, freedom of shapes would be attractive. I know the cost is probably 5 times more but worth consideration. Thoughts?

  2. #2
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    A three axis CNC can be used for joinery, particularly if it's adapted to having a vertical support of material, either at the end or in the middle of the bed. Obviously, the length of the workpiece is limited by the distance to the floor in this scenario. I've seen a number of adaptations by folks to work this way. The advantage of a flat bed 3-axis CNC machine is that it can do a whole lot more, too. Shaper Origin is nice for what it is, but it's no stationary CNC machine. I'm not familiar with the other product you mention.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  3. #3
    The Pantarouter is a pretty neat tool invented by Matthias Wandel and it well serves the purpose for which he designed. But it's no CNC router, not even close. It does a great job on cutting mortise and tenon joints, dowel joints, etc. but that's about it. If you're going to be building frames - tables, cabinets, boxes - then maybe a Pantarouter is what you need. But if you want to do all you can imagine then a CNC router is the ticket.

    I think the Shaper Origin is more for portability but I don't think it will ever be as accurate or versatile as a CNC router.

    My $0.02

    David
    David
    CurlyWoodShop on Etsy, David Falkner on YouTube, difalkner on Instagram

  4. #4
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    The Pantorouter has a lot of versatility. If you haven't looked at the Multirouter you should, as it's a very capable machine, too. And if you like making your own machines, you should look at building my horizontal router mortiser. https://sites.google.com/site/jteney...outer-mortiser It will make mortises of nearly any size, integral tenons, raised panels, rabbets, and a whole bunch more. The plans are free so it's at least worth a look. The Domino is a one trick pony, but it's very good at what it does.


    All of the above are machines that are human driven and require minimal setup time. That's their inherent advantage over any CNC approach. The disadvantage is you are the computer interface. For most joinery work where you are only producing a few to a few dozen joints on a project, however, I personally don't see the advantage of any CNC approach.

    John

  5. #5
    Can you recommend machines that accommodate vertical support? I have studied Camaster Stinger 4x4 and am sold on their product and fantastic support but it looks difficult to do end milling short of cutting a hole in the bed. Legacy is a perfect set up but very limited info available which scares me.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Moll View Post
    Can you recommend machines that accommodate vertical support? I have studied Camaster Stinger 4x4 and am sold on their product and fantastic support but it looks difficult to do end milling short of cutting a hole in the bed. Legacy is a perfect set up but very limited info available which scares me.
    Tom, I'm one of the folks that spoke about the "hole in the table" method. The only machines I've seen that can "natively" do vertical support at the end were home-built and "I think" one of the ShopBots, but I'm not positive about that last one. That's not saying there are not other solutions...you mention Legacy, but I'm not really familiar with their CNC. They have been better known over time for their original ornamental mill which has largely been superseded by 4th axis CNC setups. Cutting joinery on CNC doesn't seem to be a major driver historically, but I think it's a good solution...and very repeatable...once you do get it setup.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  7. #7
    Thanks Jim. A bit surprised that there isn't more application. Seems like a perfect fit.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Moll View Post
    Can you recommend machines that accommodate vertical support? I have studied Camaster Stinger 4x4 and am sold on their product and fantastic support but it looks difficult to do end milling short of cutting a hole in the bed. Legacy is a perfect set up but very limited info available which scares me.
    The Legacy CNCs in the Maverick line can do this. They call them their "3 workstation" design. Flat bed (1), off the short end ("vice") (2) and rotary (3).

    Legacy is rather protective of their info on the web site so you have to contact them directly to get more info and price quotes. Just the way they are. Their YouTube channel does have a pretty good assortment of info but really think of them as video brochures for the most part.
    Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Moll View Post
    Thanks Jim. A bit surprised that there isn't more application. Seems like a perfect fit.
    I think that the bigger push for CNC has been for operations where it excels at either speed (sheet stock processing) or finesse work, such as dimensional signs, engraving/3D routing, etc. The capability is absolutely there to cut extraordinary joinery, but a lot of the folks who have been buying CNCs are thinking of other things, at least at first. There is some attention to it however...some specialized software exists and there are both native and creative adaptations to support joinery like dovetails. There are also folks who are doing some pretty sophisticated furniture joinery using CNC. Russ Crawford is one of them...you'll see him on Camheads. The key here is to think through what you want to do and work out how you will accomplish that. I'm starting to do certain kinds of joinery on my SR-44, myself. Not dovetails as I rarely used them and when I do, I prefer hand-cut, but joinery for assembling things. I'm about to start working on a creative way to do picture frames and photo panels; the latter of which I already cut for a local photographer already. Precision joinery comes into play with my guitar work already. Same for inlay work I do for a specific client...where .03mm makes a difference in fit.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  10. #10
    Jim - Russ Crawford's stuff is inspirational. I think once I have a CNC, it will open up new ways to do things.
    Rob - I will contact Legacy. Looks like a good match.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Moll View Post
    Can you recommend machines that accommodate vertical support? I have studied Camaster Stinger 4x4 and am sold on their product and fantastic support but it looks difficult to do end milling short of cutting a hole in the bed. Legacy is a perfect set up but very limited info available which scares me.
    Hi Tom,
    Frank Howarth has done an excellent job adding a "vertical support" to his Avid cnc router table. Here is his video showing the details.
    David

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6UAAN5vNGys

    Vertical CNC Table.jpg

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by David Buchhauser View Post
    Hi Tom,
    Frank Howarth has done an excellent job adding a "vertical support" to his Avid cnc router table. Here is his video showing the details.
    David
    Nice setup. Very versatile. Build your own may be another way to go. Thanks for the link.
    Tom

  13. #13
    I faced your dilemma about 12+ years ago, only woodworking for me is livelihood, fulltime, at this point for over 35 years (my entire adult life). In 2007 I set out to build a larger version of the Matchmaker, a pantorouter, multirouter-like machine. I was especially keen on making long tapered sliding dovetails in large quantities in those days. I started buying parts on Ebay, and the first thing I bought was a two axis set up with high quality linear guides for an x and z axis and a nice ball screw for the x. When I received it I started to think about going CNC for the first time, and started thinking I'd make the machine convertible to be able to be used not just for joint making, but for conventional CNC routing, especially for inlay work. I knew literally nothing about CNC, neither the electronics or the mechanicals, except for the little I knew about linear motion mechanics from the Matchmaker.

    The project consumed me for several months, and I rather ridiculously reinvented a couple wheels and tortured myself to keep the price down, but ended up with a one-of-a-kind CNC joinery machine and router that's been the backbone of my business as I've struggled since October '08 to earn a living through the recession and all the changes in the economy and consumer demographics.

    The resulting machine is like a CNC controlled Multirouter or Pantorouter, with 34 " of side to side (x axis) travel, and 6" of up and down (Z axis) travel. The spindle can be tilted to vertical in about 2 minutes, and in that configuration there's 24" of Y travel. Unlike the end cutting strategy using a conventional CNC router you can cut mortises or tenons on the end of a long board, and you don't have to fight gravity for clamping work. I use a water cooled spindle that's quiet enough to chat over when it's cutting inlay work. I spent about $2500 for everything except the CADCAM software.

    I cut: quadrant hinge recesses, through-cut and half blind cnc-router.jpgdovetails with tiny router bits that look hand cut, 2" long mortise and tenons with stepped tenons for easy assembly, matched tapered sliding dovetails, complex inlays, 3d bas relief carvings, miter-fold hexagonal frames , --and I'm aware that I'm just scratching the surface of the possibilities. A bunch of the work I have done is on my web-site here:http://www.alladd.com/custom-boxes/inlay/index.html.

    If you have ambition to tackle a challenging learning curve, the control and accuracy that a machine like mine can give you can be really rewarding. You could take some huge shortcuts over what I did, though I'd encourage you to consider the advantages of a moving table over a gantry design for a machine that's going to have joinery as a prime function. There's so much good information easily available on the web now, and plug and play electronics.

    I've been meaning to post some videos of my machine and it's capabilities, and maybe this will spur me to do it.
    Last edited by al ladd; 02-23-2020 at 11:24 PM.

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