You are not logged in. [ Login ] Why log in
(NOTE: Login is not required to post)

Advice for custom shops new CNC purchase

Ryan Member


Hello All,
We run a small 3-4 man custom wood shop. We build mainly high end custom interior/exterior doors, entryways and millwork as well as jobbing out our CNC router from time to time. We route mostly 8/4"+ hardwoods to create curved door components, and carvings as well as mdf/ply for jigs/fixtures, and then HDU foam, plastic and aluminum on occasion for sign and custom CNC work. It's not like we are processing panels 8-10 hours a day. We currently can have a lot of down time on the router (which I'm hoping we can change with the new one), but when it is running, we are working it pretty good. Please see our website for examples of our work.

Our current router, a Shopbot 4'x8' running a Porter Cable router, is over 10 years old now. It was a great machine to learn the ropes, and to open up our design possibilities, but we are now ready to step up to a better router.
We have been researching mid-range, 5'x10' machines with ATC and vacuum table in the $30,000-$60,000 range.
It had seemed we had narrowed the search down to Shop Sabre's IS 510, Camaster's Cobra, Freedom's Patriot, and MultiCAM's machines (which seems like the best machine, but is probably way too far out of our budget). We like that the above machines (I believe?) are all made in the US. We've also come across a lot of less expensive machines, possibly assembled in the US, with some Chinese components. A couple that seemed interesting were, CNC Factory, and New CNC. We also originally looked at Laguna Tool, but weren't sure how much was sourced over seas for the price.

It seems like a lot of options and companies to weigh up. Obviously we would love to get the best router out there, but we also don't want to pay for more machine than we will ever really need (though I'm hoping the router will open up new avenues for our business).

So I guess a few of our questions are: do any of you have experience with some of the above machinery, good or bad, or would you recommend something else? Pros and cons of varying spindles and components? Size of spindle and frame necessary to produce deep, clean cuts in hardwood (currently looking at 5-12hp)? Best table and vacuum configuration for medium to large parts. And any other input on all the other areas I'm sure I have missed would be much appreciated.
Thank you in advance for your time and effort in just reading (jeez just looked at the preview!) and hopefully responding to us!


9/17/15       #3: Advice for custom shops new CNC pur ...

Bite the bullet and buy something like an Anderson CabMaxx you will not regret it in the least in years to come. Great heavy duty machine, great support and will make more quality parts than you know what to do with. Experience has taught me that heavy cuts require a heavy machine if you want a lot of quality parts. Buy cheap, buy often.

9/17/15       #4: Advice for custom shops new CNC pur ...

Seems like you don't turn cnc jobs very fast, so you are able to get by with a light spindle, but for 8/4 + solids, I think you want to stay in the 12-18hp range. Since you have already showed good skills with the one you have now I would push the limits on your budget. You know how to program, so don't let a low end machine hold you back. Heavier iron will turn jobs faster and the increased power and Z axis working range will let you take on jobs lower end machines cannot do. Another thing to consider with doors is a C axis coupled with an aggregate will allow for machining lock sets and hinge machining. For door beveling, I use Vortex 3.5 bevel tooling. 3/4" shank and handles up to 2.5" thick stock. Good luck with your final decision.

9/18/15       #5: Advice for custom shops new CNC pur ...
james mcgrew Member


I have two CAMaster Cobras, a 508 and a 510. I have had no limitations of any kind from panel production to custom carving. I agree if you are gona do a lot of thicker hardwood work then the 7.5 or 10 HP spindle may be a blessing. My 5hp HSD ATC on the 508 is now 4 years old and has seen some heavy use and shows no sign of being any where near a rebuild. I have owned six CAMasters as I stepped up to the machines I have Now...
I am also totally sold on the wincnc controller, WINcnc has just announced a wireless hand held with dial control for close up work. this is an asset in carved detail work. All of the machines you mentioned have strong merit yet I have had no trouble or limitations of any kind with Mine.

as always I encourage visiting shops with machines. feel free to call My Number is on the Website...
Having had a Shopbot you know the value of Strong Peer to Peer support so the Forum is another total plus. there are dozens of Owners of CAMasters there who moved from the Blue machines to the CAMaster so there are those ahead of you if help is needed. The SB machines are a great platform you will have No trouble stepping Up.

View higher quality, full size image (1023 X 682)

View higher quality, full size image (713 X 800)

View higher quality, full size image (800 X 532)

9/18/15       #6: Advice for custom shops new CNC pur ...
Dropout Member

I recently bought an older Biesse Arrow.

It took me about a month of setup, learning and a few early mornings on the phone to Italy to get it all sorted.

The result is that for less than the lower end of your budget I have a 5X10 machine that has 2 spindles, a A (or C) axis, a 12 position tool changer and drill block.

I use Sheetcam to create the G code. It won't look ahead to the next tool and it won't drill multiple holes at a time like the Mastercam etc., but for $200 I don't care.

Add to that my $1500 used 30 HP rotary screw vacuum pump and there's not much I can't handle.

At the end of the process I know more about this machine than the local tech so I will never be held up waiting for service.

To be fair, I'm a mechanical guy and have some great resources - for instance getting my PC to talk to the machine was supposedly not possible but a computer genius friend of mine got it done.

Anyway, just another option to consider.

9/18/15       #7: Advice for custom shops new CNC pur ...
Ryan Member

Thanks everyone for the responses. It is all very helpful information and really opens our eyes to some other possibilities and avenues we can take. James, that is an amazing carving you did there! We'd love to talk to you more about your CAMaster machines. I'll look up your contact info on your site, thanks! We definitely have our work cut out for us researching this big decision.

9/18/15       #8: Advice for custom shops new CNC pur ...
james mcgrew Member


BIG CARVINGS !! I have had some fun with this, I looked at your Site ,, We have a lot in common

View higher quality, full size image (1024 X 683)

View higher quality, full size image (1024 X 683)

9/19/15       #9: Advice for custom shops new CNC pur ...


I own a 5 X 10 FMT Patriot. Its been a great machine for the two years that I've had it. Very heavy duty with ball screws on all three axis, It has its own Fagor controller which is easy to use. Just as important its a great company to deal with. My advice would be to go look at a couple machine manufacturers on your list and talk to the owners. Good Luck with your search!

9/21/15       #10: Advice for custom shops new CNC pur ...
Ryan Member

Those life size carvings are amazing, James! What sort of material are they made from?
Brian, thank you for the info on the Patriot machine. It is definitely one near the top of our list so far and we are hoping to meet with them for a demo soon!

9/21/15       #11: Advice for custom shops new CNC pur ...
james mcgrew

They are layers of 1" Glued into layers of 3" each Mdf carved slices of a full Life size stl Model.

9/22/15       #12: Advice for custom shops new CNC pur ...
Ryan Member

Wow, very cool James!!!

10/19/15       #13: Advice for custom shops new CNC pur ...

I would suggest looking at the BIESSE Skill. Has 12 position tool changer, phenolic table, almost 8" z part passage (don't get that confused with z stroke), LIFETIME tech support, full bumper to bumper warranty not limited like some others and priced not much more than what you've mentioned depending on other options you might want.

10/9/20       #14: Advice for custom shops new CNC pur ...


Among all the manufacturers of CNC machines, FORSUN CNC is absolutely the one deserving your attention.

Jinan FORSUN CNC Machinery Co., Ltd., one of the professional Wood CNC Router manufacturers and suppliers in China, has been focusing on providing high-quality CNC Router Machines and solutions for worldwide customers for 20 years.

View higher quality, full size image (942 X 621)

CNC Wood Router Projects & Applications

  • Post a Response to this thread
  • notify me of responses to this topic
  • To receive email notification of additions to this forum thread,
    enter your name and email address, and then click the
    "Keep Me Posted" button below.

    Please Note: If you have posted a message or response,
    do not submit this request ... you are already signed up
    to receive notification!

    Your Name:
    E-Mail Address:
    Enter the correct numbers into the field below:

    Date of your Birth:

    Return to top of page

    Buy & Sell Exchanges | Forums | Galleries | Site Map

    FORUM GUIDELINES: Please review the guidelines below before posting at WOODWEB's Interactive Message Boards (return to top)

  • WOODWEB is a professional industrial woodworking site. Hobbyist and homeowner woodworking questions are inappropriate.
  • Messages should be kept reasonably short and on topic, relating to the focus of the forum. Responses should relate to the original question.
  • A valid email return address must be included with each message.
  • Advertising is inappropriate. The only exceptions are the Classified Ads Exchange, Machinery Exchange, Lumber Exchange, and Job Opportunities and Services Exchange. When posting listings in these areas, review the posting instructions carefully.
  • Subject lines may be edited for length and clarity.
  • "Cross posting" is not permitted. Choose the best forum for your question, and post your question at one forum only.
  • Messages requesting private responses will be removed - Forums are designed to provide information and assistance for all of our visitors. Private response requests are appropriate at WOODWEB's Exchanges and Job Opportunities and Services.
  • Messages that accuse businesses or individuals of alleged negative actions or behavior are inappropriate since WOODWEB is unable to verify or substantiate the claims.
  • Posts with the intent of soliciting answers to surveys are not appropriate. Contact WOODWEB for more information on initiating a survey.
  • Excessive forum participation by an individual upsets the balance of a healthy forum atmosphere. Individuals who excessively post responses containing marginal content will be considered repeat forum abusers.
  • Responses that initiate or support inappropriate and off-topic discussion of general politics detract from the professional woodworking focus of WOODWEB, and will be removed.
  • Participants are encouraged to use their real name when posting. Intentionally using another persons name is prohibited, and posts of this nature will be removed at WOODWEB's discretion.
  • Comments, questions, or criticisms regarding Forum policies should be directed to WOODWEB's Systems Administrator
    (return to top).

    Carefully review your message before clicking on the "Send Message" button - you will not be able to revise the message once it has been sent.

    You will be notified of responses to the message(s) you posted via email. Be sure to enter your email address correctly.

    WOODWEB's forums are a highly regarded resource for professional woodworkers. Messages and responses that are crafted in a professional and civil manner strengthen this resource. Messages that do not reflect a professional tone reduce the value of our forums.

    Messages are inappropriate when their content: is deemed libelous in nature or is based on rumor, fails to meet basic standards of decorum, contains blatant advertising or inappropriate emphasis on self promotion (return to top).

    Libel:   Posts which defame an individual or organization, or employ a tone which can be viewed as malicious in nature. Words, pictures, or cartoons which expose a person or organization to public hatred, shame, disgrace, or ridicule, or induce an ill opinion of a person or organization, are libelous.

    Improper Decorum:   Posts which are profane, inciting, disrespectful or uncivil in tone, or maliciously worded. This also includes the venting of unsubstantiated opinions. Such messages do little to illuminate a given topic, and often have the opposite effect. Constructive criticism is acceptable (return to top).

    Advertising:   The purpose of WOODWEB Forums is to provide answers, not an advertising venue. Companies participating in a Forum discussion should provide specific answers to posted questions. WOODWEB suggests that businesses include an appropriately crafted signature in order to identify their company. A well meaning post that seems to be on-topic but contains a product reference may do your business more harm than good in the Forum environment. Forum users may perceive your references to specific products as unsolicited advertising (spam) and consciously avoid your web site or services. A well-crafted signature is an appropriate way to advertise your services that will not offend potential customers. Signatures should be limited to 4-6 lines, and may contain information that identifies the type of business you're in, your URL and email address (return to top).

    Repeated Forum Abuse: Forum participants who repeatedly fail to follow WOODWEB's Forum Guidelines may encounter difficulty when attempting to post messages.

    There are often situations when the original message asks for opinions: "What is the best widget for my type of shop?". To a certain extent, the person posting the message is responsible for including specific questions within the message. An open ended question (like the one above) invites responses that may read as sales pitches. WOODWEB suggests that companies responding to such a question provide detailed and substantive replies rather than responses that read as a one-sided product promotion. It has been WOODWEB's experience that substantive responses are held in higher regard by our readers (return to top).

    The staff of WOODWEB assume no responsibility for the accuracy, content, or outcome of any posting transmitted at WOODWEB's Message Boards. Participants should undertake the use of machinery, materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB's Message Boards after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk. WOODWEB reserves the right to delete any messages it deems inappropriate. (return to top)

  • Forum Posting Help
    Your Name The name you enter in this field will be the name that appears with your post or response (return to form).
    Your Website Personal or business website links must point to the author's website. Inappropriate links will be removed without notice, and at WOODWEB's sole discretion. WOODWEB reserves the right to delete any messages with links it deems inappropriate. (return to form)
    E-Mail Address Your e-mail address will not be publicly viewable. Forum participants will be able to contact you using a contact link (included with your post) that is substituted for your actual address. You must include a valid email address in this field. (return to form)
    Subject Subject may be edited for length and clarity. Subject lines should provide an indication of the content of your post. (return to form)
    Thread Related Link and Image Guidelines Thread Related Links posted at WOODWEB's Forums and Exchanges should point to locations that provide supporting information for the topic being discussed in the current message thread. The purpose of WOODWEB Forums is to provide answers, not to serve as an advertising venue. A Thread Related Link that directs visitors to an area with inappropriate content will be removed. WOODWEB reserves the right to delete any messages with links or images it deems inappropriate. (return to form)
    Thread Related File Uploads Thread Related Files posted at WOODWEB's Forums and Exchanges should provide supporting information for the topic being discussed in the current message thread. Video Files: acceptable video formats are: .MOV .AVI .WMV .MPEG .MPG .MP4 (Image Upload Tips)   If you encounter any difficulty when uploading video files, E-mail WOODWEB for assistance. The purpose of WOODWEB Forums is to provide answers, not to serve as an advertising venue. A Thread Related File that contains inappropriate content will be removed, and uploaded files that are not directly related to the message thread will be removed. WOODWEB reserves the right to delete any messages with links, files, or images it deems inappropriate. (return to form)
    Suction Cups, Vacuum Lifters, Vacuum Pumps from Anver Corporation ecabinet Thermwood Limtech Industries, Inc.
    • Unique Machine & Tool
      Industrial Machinery for Door and Drawer Production
    • Vexor Custom Woodworking Tools, Inc.
      Custom and Standard Router Bits, Shaper Cutters, Profile Knives, Multi Profile Insert Tooling and More
    • Industrial CNC
      Affordable, Easy, Industrial Grade CNC Routers for Woodworking and Cabinetmaking - Free Lifetime Support
    • Colonial Saw
      North American Supplier of Striebig Panel Saws, Lamello Specialty Tools and a Wide Range of Saw and Tool Grinding Machinery
      The Ultimate Spoilboard - ULTI-BOARD - Specifically Engineered and Formulated for the Ultimate in Spoilboard Performance - Not Your Ordinary Sheet of MDF.
    • W. Moore Profiles, Ltd.
      Supplying Knives and Cutters to the Woodworking Industry - Standard and Custom Profiles Available
    • Professional Machinery Group
      New and Used Machinery Serving the Needs of the Professional Woodworker
    • Southeast Tool, Inc.
      High Quality Tooling at Competitive Pricing
    • Felder USA
      High Quality Woodworking Machines and Tools
    • NEMI
      Products For CNC Machines - Digitizers, Tool Setters, Vacuum Pods, Vacuum Cups, Vacuum Tables, Vacuum Chucks and Software
    • Tooling on the Web
      Tooling and Tooling Accessories - Free Re-Sharpening for Qualifying Tools
    • Diversified Equipment & Supply
      Complete turn-key CNC systems including Delivery & Installation, Training, and Support
    • VortexTool Co. Inc.
      Manufacturers of Custom Cutting Tools, and Distributors of Major Cutting Tool Brands

    Become a Sponsor today!