Thursday, April 10, 2008

CNC Shark Wood Routing System Available Online

CNC Shark Routing SystemNot long ago, I posted about the CNC Shark -- the new entry in the field of more affordable of computer controlled wood carving machines. I just noticed that Rockler Woodworking Supply is has started selling them online as the exclusive dealer. They are offering live demonstrations in stores too.

Here's what Rockler has to say about the CNC Shark:

Bring the speed and precision of computer-controlled machinery to your shop with this top value CNC system! With a table measuring 15-3/4" x 31-1/2" it's ideally suited for carvings and machining operations on a large variety of signs, doors and other small projects. It boasts impressive power, speed, accuracy, and ease of use. With its robust steel and high-density poly-ethylene construction, it can take accidental impacts that would normally damage or destroy an aluminum or MDF machine. Optional Clamping Table features two hold-down slots for securing work anywhere along the length of the table. Compatible with the Bosch Colt Palm Router. Includes VCarve Pro software interface — a $500 value. You supply a computer with USB port, a Bosch Colt router, and a table top (router and table top also available sold separately). You connect the USB cable to the controller box and the other end to your computer.

Visit a store near you for a live Demo.

CNC Shark Routing System at Rockler Woodworking Supply.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

CNC Shark Routing System - Autonomous Carver

I posted a while back about the CarveWright automated carving system. A new model of Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) router has entered the market at a similar price point -- well below more established, larger machines. The new one is called the CNC Shark Routing System.

Photograph of the CNC Shark Wood Carving System
This CNC machine is designed for routing wood, engraving plastics, and even etching or cutting tile.

Like the CarveWright, the CNC Shark is a fairly small, portable machine. Unlike the CarveWright which uses a media card to transfer information from your computer to the Router table, with the CNC Shark, you connect the USB cable from your computer directly to the controller box.

Another difference is that the CNC Shark uses a conventional palm router mounted to it to do the cutting. The CarveWright routing system uses a specialized flexible shaft attached to an on-board motor. The CNC Shark's system allows you to use a router you may already own (like the Bosch Colt Palm Router), or may choose to use on its own. Since this is the part that will get the most wear and tear, I think this is a brilliant approach. The palm router can be fixed or replaced. Bits for the palm routers are easy to find too.

Unlike the CarveWright, which uses its own proprietary software, the CNC Shark can be used with a range of established CNC programs used in the industry. There may be a learning curve here, but it's probably worth it for greater control.

The last important difference that I can see is that this machine moves in all three axes of motion (X, Y, and Z). The CarveWright moves side to side and up and down. For lateral motion, the CarveWright uses a friction belt (i.e. sandpaper belts) to move the workpiece itself. This seems like a potential area for slippage which could ruin a carving. The CNC Shark never moves the work piece -- only the cutter moves, ensuring that registration is on target.

From the product literature:

The CNC Shark is the best value for a complete CNC system. This impressive has power, speed, accuracy, and ease of use. We also have a technical support system to help you with any questions regarding the and any of its software. CNC Shark has a high quality design and its parts have been CNC'd to ensure its highest accuracy. The Shark's construction of steel, aluminum and high-density polyethylene make it robust, and it can take accidental impacts that would normally damage or destroy other machines.

The CNC Shark is offered through the Rockler stores in the lower 48 United States. Take a look!

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