Recently, I spent time with the Shaper Tools Origin. It’s a hand-held CNC. At first glance it’s router that thinks it’s a CNC. Or, maybe the other way around. Either way you look at it, it really works. A remarkable tool, well executed with serious possibilities for creatives and room to grow and enhance for the developer . For my Popular Woodworking Magazine, click here.
I did a minor tweak to the Shapeoko XL CNC. Cleaning up wiring, connectors, cable track to keep the dust away. The price of woodworking on a CNC is always lots of dust. I’d like to keep dust off of collections of fine cable, which the Shapeoko has plenty of. So, I covered them up. About 30 minutes with various sizes of split loom cable cover and it’s done. I did a review for the December 2017 issue of Popular Woodworking magazine. It’s a well designed and executed machine that a great place to start for new digital woodworkers and makers. And, I see plenty of possibilities for enhancements. Here’s a YouTube video of covering exposed wires.
The Shapeoko XL is a very interesting CNC. It comes in easy to build kit form, costs about $1500 and uses a trim router. Now, there are a number of inexpensive CNCs out there, especially for the hobbyist “Maker” market but I haven’t seen one that I thought was up to the heavy duty task of woodworking. This one is well designed, smartly engineered and just might be up for the job as budget friendly digital woodworking CNC. I’ll be doing a full review at Popular Woodworking later on, after putting one to a good test. In the mean time, here’s my build video on YouTube.
I confess. I sometimes have a problem with self-induced volunteerism. Throughout my adult life, I’ve been consumed many times by a project, cause or group in need of something I could contribute. One of my latest adventures was to design and build 9 workbenches for a community woodworking group. Good folks. Happy to help. But, like a lot of things, I’ve taken it way over the top.
So, besides a new bench design each one got their own unique vise chop. Designed in Rhino3D, programmed in RhinoCAM and machined on my CNCs. I’ve been writing about this project over several blog posts at Popular Woodworking’s online site. Here’s a link if you missed it. And, here’s a link to photos of the vise chops.
Both processes give you great results but there are clear advantages to using a CNC to cut parts. More accuracy, a better finish and speed are three reasons I prefer a CNC for the task. And, it’s great to walk away to work on other things. To learn more about the two techniques, check out my latest YouTube video…