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ATC with carousel vs without


I'm debating between very similarly equipped and priced CNC machines. Both have ATC's, one has holders across the head of the bed and the other has an 8-tool carousel. Is the carousel enough of a difference to tip the scales to that machine. I'll be processing 3/4 and 1/2 sheet goods for typical cabinet production, and don't anticipate a ton of tool changes for normal operations.

11/11/21       #2: ATC with carousel vs without ...
james e mcgrew  Member


A Carosel frees up an edge on the table, this can be good for loading and unloading reasons, and can take a few seconds shorter time to conduct a tool change as it is just closer to the z head.

originally my tool rack was on the end of my machine, I had it moved to the side because i wanted to load from an end and remove from a side. this was a good decision for this set up.

my second machine has a on and off loader and uses a carosel

it is all about set up and thinking growth in use for your cnc

that said the actual function is the same

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11/11/21       #3: ATC with carousel vs without ...

Another difference which is a plus for the ride along carousel is the machine does not have to stop, rapid over to the rack to unload and reload another tool. The change can be performed without machine travel which equates to faster cycle times. My 2 cents worth.

11/11/21       #4: ATC with carousel vs without ...
Dropout Member

Or you get an old Biesse like mine with 2 spindles - loads the tool in one while the other is cutting. 3 seconds from one tool to the next.

Seriously, ride along is best.

Make sure you get a drill block. For cabinets that's more important than where the tool changer is located.

11/12/21       #5: ATC with carousel vs without ...
Bill Member

I am not sure of your experience with CNC or you application but I wish I had more tools ride along or not. The longer we have the machines the more we want to do with them.

11/12/21       #6: ATC with carousel vs without ...
Dropout Member

12 isn't enough. Even with a drill block.


11/12/21       #7: ATC with carousel vs without ...

I disagree with 12 not being enough. Standard tools including the fly cutter should take up 9-10 slots, leaving 3 for putting in odd ball tools that you may need from time to time like left hand tools, or profile tools. With automatic touch off probes, the addition of a non standard tool is just minutes. This is coming from a guy that cuts everything from hardwood, composites, laminated material and plastic.

11/12/21       #8: ATC with carousel vs without ...
Bill Member

I disagree. If you are "the guy" changing the tools than maybe its not a big deal. If you have operators eliminating the opportunity to pull the wrong tool and crash the machine is worth the extra slots and money in my opinion.

What are regular tools? That is different for everyone.

11/12/21       #9: ATC with carousel vs without ...

So, the decision is between a shopsabre pro and a camaster Panther. I was leaning heavily towards the shopsabre but the camaster has an eight tool carousel and the shopsabre can be outfitted with a 10 tool holder across the end of the bed. I will be cutting carcass parts to size, plowing dados, and drilling shelf pins. Typically...

11/12/21       #10: ATC with carousel vs without ...
james e mcgrew  Member


Ask the Owners all of them

CAMaster provides an direct Owner to Owner forum

11/12/21       #11: ATC with carousel vs without ...

I have a Shop Sabre Pro408 with a 10 position tool rack. If I had 20 positions, I probably would have them all filled. Granted, for cabinet work you only need 4 or 5 tools to do almost everything. But we do a lot of different things besides building boxes, and having all those tools ready to go saves a lot of time.

11/15/21       #12: ATC with carousel vs without ...

Glad I do not have your operators. I have notes in all of my programs that detail the tooling involved. Not have a problem in 19 years, but then again, I have only had 3 operators in all of that time. Yes, I do consider myself lucky in that regard.

11/15/21       #13: ATC with carousel vs without ...
Bill Member

Mike my operators are excellent. All our process are geared to limit errors. If you are not swapping tools in and out it limits opportunities for for something to go wrong. Even if it is as simple as dropping or banging a tool when handling.

11/15/21       #14: ATC with carousel vs without ...
Dropout Member

Operator quality is one thing, but changing tooling is time.

Don't know what your machine time is worth but I'll bet all told it costs $20.00 to change a tool. Once a week is $1,000 per year...

11/16/21       #15: ATC with carousel vs without ...
AcctekChina Member


Considering from many aspects, cnc router should choose more good quality spindles. The tools are secondary.

12/16/21       #16: ATC with carousel vs without ...
D Conti

Without a doubt as many tool positions as you can get. Changing out tools is not difficult but anytime you change a tool in a position there is always a chance for a mistake. Of course then you have to change it back as well. You have to make sure that ALL your software that runs on that machine has the change as well. Did I make that change in V carve as well? It is just a lot to keep up with. As far as carousal vs bed positions. Carousal will be somewhat faster tool change. If you are running your machine 8 hrs each sift then you will gain some time. The draw back of carousals is that they are attached to the head of the machine and as that machine moves rapidly form all positions on the table it is slinging that carousal, tooling and everything with it, all that weight is putting extra force on the gantry. No problem if the gantry is built stout enough to take it. Also a carousal also has to stay in the same plane all the time in order to deliver the bit to the proper x,y,z coordinate. Again not an issue if properly designed and stout enough to take years of use. A line of tooling at the head or side of the table will have to go through some serious abuse not to be in the same position through out the life of the machine. It is a pretty much a no brainer about picking up a tool from the head of the machine, there is really not much that can go wrong. The question is how much are you going to be using your machine every day, and how long do you really expect it to last until you are ready to replace it? Carousal machines need to be and usually are a bit more heavy duty and as such cost a little more. I myself do not use my cnc everyday and hope to have it for a very long time (My first cnc I had 20 yrs and replaced it more for upgrades then mechanical reasons) I have tool changes at the head of the machine, I fell there is just less to go wrong with that system, and the time lost by the exchange is not that great to me since I am not running the machine at full capacity, but each situation and application is different.

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