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Thread: CarveWright?

  1. #1
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    CarveWright?

    Anyone have any experience with this product? I'm SERIOUSLY considering buying one. We don't do a ton of 3d work, but this bad boy can be had for 5% of what a decent CNC can. I talked to them today, and you can even to tiling and glue ups to make a full 4'x8' panel if you want. I'm intrigued.

    www.carvewright.com

  2. #2
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    Buy a good set of chisels & start practicing. It's really quite simple to learn. Start practicing on scrap hdu.

  3. #3
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    I was going to suggest it for you in one of your previous posts, but after reading the reviews, I would not recommend to my worst enemy!
    Would be a good idea to stay away from them.

  4. #4
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    cnc cricut?

  5. #5
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    I know of a couple of people that have them and one has the probe and 3D package and just loves it. Now it is more of the hobby version, but they seem to really like it.
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  6. #6
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    I'm interesting in hearing what you plan on making. Do you have a product in mind?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ProWraps View Post
    cnc cricut?
    Told ya!

  8. #8
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    I've seen them hands on & watched multiple users operate them for hours on end.

    I know a couple people (2) who absolutely love them & have no regrets..one is a member of this forum (or was) & if you have specific questions I would be happy to try to put you into contact with him.

    the others (5 people) were not happy 3 of them tried to find a way to fit them into the workflow of their shops & ultimately ended up unloading them,the other 2 kept them...1 of them rarely uses it (he is a bit of a collector of tools) & the other uses it occasionally for small embellishments,small dimensional items to add to his projects etc.

    the 1 person that I know who I would say excelled with this tool was already extremely cnc & dimensional sign 'educated' he is a 'tinkerer & has the time to fool around in short,he could make great signs with a 'spoon' if he needed to.

    it is a neat concept. I have personally looked at them many times but not in the last year/18 months. There was some issues with the originally released machines so if looking at a used one check into 'how used' what age,etc.

    in my opinion very few people will be employing this tech successfully into a commercial sign shop. I would not expect to be able to 'glue up' panels & make large intricate dimensional projects.

    but if you have patience & want to do small projects,within the scope of what the machine is intended to do..it MAY be a good fit for you . Just understand & be realistic when considering the limitations.

    there was a fairly active users group that I would imagine still exists that showed the type of work people were completing with the machines,the quality of the work,sharing project files,instructions,troubleshooting,etc. I would definitely suggest spending some time researching there...and if the projects shown, the quality of the work shown are in line with your expectations it MAY be a consideration...personally for the majority of shops/users I would suggest saving that $$$ & continue saving while searching for an entry level used shopbot or similar entry level machine that will allow you to enter the cnc world affordably, will allow you to do a larger scope of work and IF you decide that the cnc world simply is not for you it is a rare day that you can ot sell those machines for the same $ it cost you for the price of admission, further if you do decide that the cnc world is for you .. There are MANY sign shops that run nothing but antiquated SHOPBOTS happy as can be turning out very sellable work, consistently..but if you should wish to step up again it is a rare day that you can ot get essentially what you paid for a used shopbot out of them in selling them again...i can not say the same for the carvewright..i have seen people try to sell them at considerable discounts from the retail price & still had a hard , lengthy sales time.

    do your 'DD' & see if it meets your needs & expectations.

  9. #9
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    I'm looking at the new series C, with all the upgrades. I've read good and bad about the original models. If you know anyone selling one for a good price, let me know. Otherwise, I think I'm gonna pick one up new soon...

  10. #10
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    I did a little research when I was looking for a table top CNC. I settled on the CNC Shark from Next Wave Automation. Their customer service has been excellent and fast. they are a little more pricey than a carvewright, but much more versatile. If you are familiar with vector graphics then the software they use (V Carve pro) will be a snap. There are plenty of videos out there on the Shark & the V-Carve software.

    http://www.nextwaveautomation.com

    http://www.vectric.com

    Good luck in your search.

    Bob Martin

  11. #11
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    in general cnc routers are relatively simple machines. Carvewrights approach what traditional cnc routers do a bit differently..mainly the substrate moves versus the cutting tool, so in theory you can do projects much larger than the machine's 'cutting area' & it is possible to glue up panels/pieces etc., in a production sign environment this simply is not reality..& if you have any ideas of actually being competitive in the dimensional sign business you simply will not be able to compete on bid work etc. If your work is so unique & your customers are so loyal that you do not have to be competitive or worry about the time involved or the processes used in the manufacturing of your dimensional signs..well you may be able to commercially use this piece of equipment...i do not know too many people who do not need to be at least somewhat competitively priced,whose customers do not at least get an idea of general industry pricing on high end purchases & who do not educate themselves at some level as to general practices in regards to constructing a high end product (which as far as signs are concerned,dimensional signs are usually more costly than flat vinyl substrate signs imo) if I was a customer & needed a dimensional sign larger than the running width of the machine ( I am too lazy to look it up but let's just say 14 inches.. So if I needed a 4' wide sign by whatever length & found out my sign was going to be constructed by the 'craftsman' gluing up 4 panels where as everyone else in the industry would complete that project using a single panel...sorry...you've lost the opportunity to do the project..furthermore..as professional craftsman/tradesmen/women it is my opinion. That we should always employ the best practices to complete the project at hand..so IF your dimensional projects are only going to be limited to projects that can be done within the size constraints of the machine..again this may be a solution if you are going to use this machine to make signs that exceed the size limits (working in panels) you simply are not using the best practices for constructing the projects at hand.

    I have seen very few professionals who have not regretted making this purchase..if you are a hobbyist it is a different discussion. If you are making the purchase because of the cost (affordable entry to cnc) you are looking at this erroneously..buy equipment that you need that allows you to complete the work you need to complete..do not make your decision on what you think will meet your needs to enter the dimensional sign industry based on the equipment costs..& this is what I see many people do..they say I've got x dollars & then try to find a solution, alternatively I suggest you identify the type of work you are already doing or plan to do & then find a machine that accomplishes that..if you can not afford the correct tools to do that job .. Outsource until you can versus buying tools that will not professionally accomplish the work you need to complete...the scope of work is not going to change because you bought lesser equipment.

    I see too many people caught up in shiney new machinery .. Without considering if it will accomplish the work they need to complete..just because the price is affordable does not mean it is the tool you need to purchase..just my 2 cents.

  12. #12
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    I just watched the demo on the Carvewright site. Hate to be a Negative Nancey but it looks like it will take a while if you are planning on making wood signs with it. The finish is pretty rough by the look of it too. Can you get a sample of what it produces from Carvewright? I think you might end up sanding intricate parts for a very long time. HDU would probably work better finish wise but I would check out whether it can reliably feed HDU vs wood. It appears to use a sandpaper belt to feed the substrate and I'd be concerned that the HDU might not be compatible.

    When I carve a sign, I carve through a mask so I can paint the lettering with reckless abandon. (the panel is pre-painted before the mask goes on) I doubt you will be able to do that with this machine due to the roller feed system. This means I can paint my lettering 3 coats and then gild it way faster, and with less skill, than you could.

    I may not be very objective about this stuff... I'm not terribly impressed by what I've seen come off large scale CNC routers compared to hand carved. The only benefit I see with a CNC is repeatability. For one offs I don't think this machine is worth the bother. (Yes, Grampa Dan does wonderful work with a router but all the fine detail work is done with Magic Sculpt... by hand.) I see this machine making the little ornate squares that go at the tops of door frames and that sort of thing.

    Do your due diligence and ask a lot of questions before you "take the plunge".

  13. #13
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    To be brutally honest Gary, after spending a couple minutes on the site and outfitting the machine with the "signmakers" package and a couple probes, I was already over $2K. For not too much more you could get a basic ShopBot Desktop which would drastically increase your choices of materials and thicknesses. Couple that with the Vectric software and you've got a nice CNC system that could handle just about anything. The only thing it wouldn't do is self-feed. Double your budget and you could upgrade to a 4'x4' SB Buddy.

  14. #14
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    You all raise some very valid points - however, I've seen what this thing can do - hell, it can CNC photographs.

    That all being said, I don't want it to just gather dust either. I'm thinking of it as a tool that I would occasionally use for dimensional work, be it pieces or boards, and then most of the time using it to 2D edge cut PVC and HDU.

  15. #15
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    A real CNC?

    I was going to stay out of this one - until my name was used and my work was referred to.

    A CNC is a wonderful tool. And yes the CarveWrite qualifies - barely. It has it's place and you CAN do some cool things with it. I have a good friend who owns one and does some amazing things with it. The fact that you can do only small pieces means a LOT of extra work to glue up the assemblies later. There are also many limitations in regard to thickness. But my friend is also the first to admit that the first thing he is going to do when he gets the money together is to buy a REAL CNC machine.

    Now I have an expensive and fast MultiCam CNC. I feel it is one of the best out there. Ours has all the bells and whistles. Vaccuum hold down, auto tool changer and a fourth axis that can handle a massive block of material. Did I mention it is FAST! :)

    Now the truth is a shopbot or a home built machine will do pretty much everything I can do on my machine. It may not do it as quickly or accurately but pretty close.

    So why spend all that extra money? Reliability and long life. You get what you pay for. I am not a mechanical guy. I don't want to think about my router and I don't want to be limited by any shortcomings. I only want to create stuff.

    My new machine can do the the work six or seven times faster than I could do it by hand. It can achieve accuracy and precision I could only previously imagine. Repeatability - when I need it is instantly available. I would be hard pressed to do the work we currently do in our shop by hand. Is the high end machine worth the big bucks? It is in my book.

    Check out the blog on my website to see some current pieces - done largely on the CNC without any handwork. http://imaginationcorporation.com/journal/

    I still sculpt things by hand as mentioned above - but only when it makes sense.

    The program available for the Carvewrite will also limit you in a hurry. For a real CNC there are many choices, some better suited to high end work than others. It depends to some degree on the type of work you wish to do. We use EnRoute in our shop and I haven't found the limits yet. I still learn something new every single day.

    Ultimately it is about passion. You will go as far and as fast as your heart allows. Having machinery that is inadequate may slow you down but it will not stop you. Those with a huge passion can do amazing work with a sharp stick.

    -grampa dan
    Last edited by grampa dan; 03-02-2012 at 01:27 PM.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by grampa dan View Post
    I was going to stay out of this one - until my name was used and my work was referred to.

    A CNC is a wonderful tool. And yes the CarveWrite qualifies - barely. It has it's place and you CAN do some cool things with it. I have a good friend who owns one and does some amazing things with it. The fact that you can do only small pieces means a LOT of extra work to glue up the assemblies later. There are also many limitations in regard to thickness. But my friend is also the first to admit that the first thing he is going to do when he gets the money together is to buy a REAL CNC machine.

    Now I have an expensive and fast MultiCam CNC. I feel it is one of the best out there. Ours has all the bells and whistles. Vaccuum hold down, auto tool changer and a fourth axis that can handle a massive block of material. Did I mention it is FAST! :)

    Now the truth is a shopbot or a home built machine will do pretty much everything I can do on my machine. It may not do it as quickly or accurately but pretty close.

    So why spend all that extra money? Reliability and long life. You get what you pay for. I am not a mechanical guy. I don't want to think about my router and I don't want to be limited by any shortcomings. I only want to create stuff.

    My new machine can do the the work six or seven times faster than I could do it by hand. It can achieve accuracy and precision I could only previously imagine. Repeatability - when I need it is instantly available. I would be hard pressed to do the work we currently do in our shop by hand. Is the high end machine worth the big bucks? It is in my book.

    Check out the blog on my website to see some current pieces - done largely on the CNC without any handwork. http://imaginationcorporation.com/journal/

    I still sculpt things by hand as mentioned above - but only when it makes sense.

    The program available for the Carvewrite will also limit you in a hurry. For a real CNC there are many choices, some better suited to high end work than others. It depends to some degree on the type of work you wish to do. We use EnRoute in our shop and I haven't found the limits yet. I still learn something new every single day.

    Ultimately it is about passion. You will go as far and as fast as your heart allows. Having machinery that is inadequate may slow you down but it will not stop you. Those with a huge passion can do amazing work with a sharp stick.

    -grampa dan
    Ultimately

    Very well said and applicable for many areas, not just with regard to CNC work. Change out a few things here and there and it can easily work within the machine embroidery area as well. Even rather or not to do hand embroidery or to do machine embroidery.
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  17. #17
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    You all raise some very valid points - however, I've seen what this thing can do - hell, it can CNC photographs.
    All cnc machines can cut photographs and do what that carveright can do.

    You can get an excellent starter software package from ArtCam for $150 bux.. that includes hundreds of dollars worth of 3d art. Couple that with a properly purposed cnc machine and you will be so happy. You will do work completed in one setup that will make you money the very first day.

    There is nothing wrong with a carveright. It will make cool stuff. My neighbor has one. He cannot run it in the house at night because of the noise. The dust makes his wife ride a broom and cast spells. Personally I was enchanted too and looked at one for weeks.

    But, the speed at which you perform your work is the breaking point. Making parts one at a time to embellish a sign verses making the whole project at one time is what counts. While you set up a second part for a job a full 4x4 cnc will have all the parts completed. Buying those memory cards will just about slay you. The first time you run out of memory will bring you to a grand mall hissy fit. Too bad they didn't use usb keys instead of the memory cards.

  18. #18
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    So from everything I am hearing, what I need to do is keep on saving some $$ until i can pick up a 4'x4' ShopBot? I guess my biggest concern with a larger CNC is that the costs start adding up super fast...Yeah, I can get a ShopBot used for around $4k. But then I need a vacuum table, etc....

    Still trying to figure out the right direction....ARGH!

  19. #19
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    you can even to tiling and glue ups to make a full 4'x8' panel if you want
    Just the thought made me quiver.
    Your limitations will be more frustrating than anything else. May be a cool tool, if all you did was small plaques or something like that.

    If you're looking for small decoratives to add to a sign, Lowe's has a bunch of pre-made ones

    .
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    Some Mistakes Are Too Much Fun To Only Make Once !





  20. #20
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    I guess my biggest concern with a larger CNC is that the costs start adding up super fast.
    You are correct. The costs will add up. But the cnc machine is not the main cost. All the support equipment is what adds up. Cutters, dust collection, hold downs, other tools, and a work space are all the same no matter how big the cnc machine. Do not forget spoilage. IT is huge at first.

    There is a number of 4x4 machines out there. Shopbot, gerber, shark, and a plethora of home built. Some of which are excellent.

  21. #21
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    I dunno, Gary. I don't know you very well (obviously) - but what I do think I know about you is that you do real high quality work, really enjoy the trade, and is always looking to expand you knowledge of the industry. So, that being said, I would think that you would more than likely get frustrated with a machine like this. I say that because I know I would. These were meant, as their website shows, for Grandpa and Grandson/daughter to do little projects with. Not for high end custom anything. I think that it would probably do you more of a disservice than any benefit you may get from it.

    That is just my opinion. And I have been wrong before. I'd say spend the dough on some nice Pfiel chisels...Or keep saving for your real machine. (The same one you're gonna end up with anyway - rather if you buy this 'CNC Cricut' or not)

  22. #22
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    When I was looking at a CNC machine the first time I spent months looking at every possible option. I did a business plan too. I knew my investment would be substantial. I looked through my back issues of sign magazines and found work that was similar to what I wanted to do. Then I racked up a BIG phone bill talking to router owners all across North America. I asked about routers, software, and everything concerning routers. I got frank answers that I needed to hear. I was told by all to buy the most machine I could possibly afford.

    I wanted a 4x8 machine. Anything less and I knew I would be immediately frustrated. I considered larger sizes but most material I had ever handled came in that size. After six years that was a decision I don't regret.

    I wanted to buy quality. TOP quality. Making this kind of investment and getting less than the best didn't make much sense to me. The reality is that the price difference between the starter routers and the high end ones isn't as great as one might think - if you consider everything and if you compare apples with apples.

    Power requirements are substantial. I had to get an electrical involved. I spent a couple thousand dollars.

    Because I wanted a tool changer I needed a beefy compressor. Initially I went with a just barely enough compressor. When I replaced it for the second time I did it right. I spent $2K for each of those small ones. My new screw compressor cost me $8,000 and does the job right with no worries and far less noise.

    The first two times I bought and installed a dust collection system I spent as little as I could. I should have done that right the first time too. My proper system which I eventually bought cost me $6K.

    Good software that will give you no limits is expensive. I bought EnRoute with no regrets - chalk up another $6K. There are less expensive packages out there, but they may not have the capabilities you need. Do your homework - don't just rely on what a buddy says.

    Then there is the learning curve. I count my time - even though I enjoy it immensely. To get through the learning curve I created samples for my shop walls. MANY SAMPLES. These were a great INVESTMENT as they helped me learn AND they work as great sales tool. BUT this time was factored into the router cost. I would conservatively estimate this time to be worth $20K for anybody wanting to learn routers and software. If you aren't prepared to spend this time then stick with a jigsaw. In he last six years I have probably realistically spent five times that amount on samples. But that investment has come back many, many times over.

    If you buy a used machine or shopbot (or similar router be prepared to spend a bunch of time setting it up. I elected to buy a high end machine and had a tech do that work. I KNOW I spent good money having it done but taking time away from my work to do it myself would have cost FAR MORE. Conservatively this time was worth $5K

    So when I added up the numbers on similarly equipped machines my math went like this.

    Low end router (Equipped with tool changer and vacuum hold down) 35-40,000
    High end router with accessories....................................... ........... 65-80,000

    Dust collection system............................................ .................... $6,000
    Electrical........................................ .......................................... $2,000
    Compressor........................................ ...................................... $8,000
    Dust collection system............................................ .................... $6,000
    Learning, samples........................................... ........................... $20,000
    Setup time (A manufacturer tech or you)........................................ $5,000

    So if you truly add up the cost of a machine (and you are fooling yourself if you don't) you can see the soft costs can equal the machine costs. Saving a few thousand dollars by buying a lesser machine is foolish business in my view. You pay or you PAY. But there is a cost for sure.

    Besides my costs of the CNC machine I looked at the other side of the equation as well. A top end CNC machine could do the same quality work (or better) more than five times as fast as I could do it by hand. My new machine is half again as fast. Looking at the work I was presently doing by hand I figured I could pay for my machine in two years. We decided to purchase a top end machine (lease to own) and finance it over four. The reality is we paid for our machine in six months. I ran it six years before trading it in on a four axis machine that gave us more capabilities. The old machine was still in great shape with virtually no problems in six years other than minor maintenance.

    My experience tells me to do ALL the math. Be realistic - both in costs and in projected revenue. Include YOUR time in your costing of the router.

    My advice is to buy the most router and software you can realistically justify. Buy less and you will quickly be reinvesting what you should have spent the first time around. Ask me how I know...

    -grampa dan

  23. #23
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    Dan,

    I gotta thank you for taking the time to share in this thread - it is super helpful! I would love to go out and grab your type of set-up. I'm faced with a few fiscal limitations that prohibit that unfortunately.

    1. I have no jobs like this in the pipeline, and will be working from scratch to create that market here.

    2. I do not have the cash on hand, nor the credit-worthiness to pull off that type of lease (my wife and I got hit HARD in the real estate bubble burst).

    After reading everything that has been said here, I think my current course of action will be two-fold...

    1. Buy a nice set of chisels and get to work!

    2. Keep saving cash until I can get a "real" router.

    I have the space for it, so it's just a question of finding the right thing. I can' imagine that it would be a wise investment to go spend $100k+ on a piece of equipment to speed up a workflow that i don't even have at this point.

    Thanks again to everyone who has chimed in. I still may eventually pick up a CarveWright, but if I do it will be for my personal "hobby" use. I have some ideas for 3D paintings

  24. #24
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    I've seen firsthand more than one ... At least 10 in the last 5 years .. Startup used cnc router packages ..older computer workstation ,older software , at least a 4' x 4' table but also 54" X 54" & a few 4' x 8' tables, all with a variety of cutting tools,some substrates,& whatever other associated 'stuff' the person moving on from their dreams of getting rich with a cnc router sell from anywhere from $3800 to $7500.. I've seen MANY in the $5-6,000 price range.

    there are deals to be had you just need to know what you want & need & consistently look. There are MANY cnc setups sitting idle in shops & garages in working order that people simply do not use. I have seen more cnc routers in sign shops used as weeding tables,assembly/project tables than I care to remember. There is also many machines out there that were decommissioned as people moved up to bigger better equipment.

    bells & whistles are nice..they are not necessary. My 1st router (a Camtech Routermaster) made me great returns,allowed me to turn out great volumes of quality work & we ran it the entire life of the machine without a vacuum table...vacuum tables are great but it is very possible to work without them.

    tool changers imo are a luxury..unless you are regularly doing projects that require multiple tool changes consistently (which does not describe the vast majority of work done by MOST sign co.'s) when I sold routers / serviced them / & trained new operators over the years I sold HUNDREDS of setups solely to sign co.'s ... I can count the amount of tool changers I sold on my hands & feet & can count those who really needed that option on my hands...if money is not a concern, heck go for all the bells & whistles..but even when I personally had a tool changer ( was included witb a used machine ) I used it more for convenient storage than anything else..

    dust collection..there are many solutions.

    things new users tend to overlook that need to be thought about:

    adequate space / appropriate space. You need to have the room to load the machine , you need to be able to walk around the machine..u can squeeze some of these things but if you can avoid that it is much more enjoyable to be able to load your machine from either end & not hve to wrestle substrates into a confined space.

    you need appropriate space. These machines can be loud..some setups louder than others. They create dust & debris..obviously you can not run them where you will be painting, printing or installing vinyl.

    if you are working from home dust,noise,etc as Techman pointed out need to be considered.

    electrical needs. You will most likely need to invest in one thing or another to meet the electrical requirements of your machine..this varies from setup to setup,machine to machine,shop to shop..but even though I ve warned every shop to be prepared for this & to plan for it...the majority underestimate it or forget about it entirely until forced to deal with it at the last moment to become operational. The logistics are frustrating when trying to setup & get someone trained on their schedule but hate for anyone to have unexpected financial 'surprises' so you have been warned,consider it,plan for it..

    software, I've said it many times ..once you understand cnc routers,what makes them do what they do,how they do it & the 'magic' is gone..it reall is simple technology. All machines essentially do the same thing , some are just built better than others allowing for tighter tolerances,greater speds, longer machine life, less maintenance etc. But the average/normal user will not be able to do complex multi dimensional projects ( think of cut parts with textured surfaces such as a dimensional letter where the face is textured to simulate wood, rock,tree bark,circuit board,whatever you can envision) you can not do this without good software. Most basic cnc software will allow you to cut parts (such as dimensional letters with flat faces) essentially using your machine as an automated 'jigsaw'..but to truly push any cnc router to do what they are capable of you will need quality software (such as enroute..there are many choices depending on your needs & goals) but the reality is that the majority of sign companies (in my experience) use their machines as automated 'jigsaws' cutting panels, dimensional letters,etc, the majority of shops do not use their tools to their potential..so you may or may not need software with all of the bells & whistles..there are many options from simple 2d to full 3d capabilities.

    learning curve. I've heard it more times than I can remember..' I went through the learning curve from vinyl to digital printing, color management,etc' .. These are two different animals, it is a new way of thinking (spacially / multi dimensional ) in addition you have computer controlled machinery that has physical limitations & perameters. You can do extreme damage to your equipment if it is not setup,operated,maintained properly..you can also do great physical damage to yourself or others if not operated correctly.

    I can not tell you how many machine components I have had to replace in the 1st month of ownership because ppl got too aggressive with their abilities or felt they could bypass safety & setup steps while learning or becoming lazy after they were trained.

    sadly I know many people who have lost fingers ( one person 3 fingers on 1 hand) as well as many others who have found themselves on the receiving end of some nasty stitches ( think about it..it is a rotating tool @ seriously high speeds..not a cutting tool like a kife) because they ignored basic safety steps/instructions.

    supplies. A startup supply of router bits is an expense but you can grow your collection as your needs increase. You will break some now & then as you push the boundaries & learn what you can & can not do & that the 'silly' instructions/guidelines you are given during training in regards to feed rates rpm/cutting depth/passes etc...that there is reasons why,but it seems every new user needs to push the envelope & learn for themselves.

    substrates. You will burn through material to learn but you don't need to use 40# 2" HDU when you are learning .. You can run cheap blue home insulation foam from home depot until you trust your files,setup,your own abilities & practice on a piece of material that costs $10 vs $300+..but I've seen new users who are confident in their abilities & don't want to invest the time in that extra step & seen them go through $1000s of dollars in hdu that could have been easily avoided...

    Tech? Others? What other costs can you think of that I maybe overlooking? I've wrote too much already..my apologies just trying to paint a realistic picture since the topic came up.

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    St Louis, MO
    Posts
    166
    Post Thanks / Like
    We run our machine at least 6 hrs a day and some time 6 days a week. We also have a Multicam and run Enroute. Our machine is a 80x120. It was all we had space for when we bought it. We cut a lot of alum and plex since we are mainly a electric shop. When we get another machine it will have 2 beds or a 24 foot bed. That way we can be breaking down and setting up while the other side is running. We also cut a lot for other shops so a small 4x8 for foam PVC and HDPE wont hurt either. We also rarely use the panel saw.

    My suggestion is to buy the best you can cause you will only cry once.

    Lastly if you dont have the work to buy a router, job it out. Life is to short to try and bang it out with a jigsaw and other foolishness.

  26. #26
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Susanville CA
    Posts
    1
    Post Thanks / Like
    Quote Originally Posted by Circleville Signs View Post
    Anyone have any experience with this product? I'm SERIOUSLY considering buying one. We don't do a ton of 3d work, but this bad boy can be had for 5% of what a decent CNC can. I talked to them today, and you can even to tiling and glue ups to make a full 4'x8' panel if you want. I'm intrigued.

    www.carvewright.com
    Circleville, I own 2 CW and if you like ask any questions. I use it all the time for my sign business.

    Ike

  27. #27
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Shohola PA Pocono Mountains 18458
    Posts
    172
    Post Thanks / Like
    I have been a member here for a while and really enjoy the tips on Sign Making. I have had 4 CarveWright's for a few years now and went through all the growing pains with the first "A" models. At this point my "A" models are up to the "C" model reliability with the known fixes. I am also a "Mr. Fix It" on the CarveWright and love them. I make a mix of small signs with the CW and a line of Fire Department Safety Products. I use the CW to cut Accountability Tag blanks from sheet stock and make wood handles for my line of Accountability Boards. If you search "Accountability Tag" in any search engine you will see my sites and images on page 1 with the Big Boys... I have 2 sites. Last year I had $20K in Gross Sales using the CW to make my products.

    I too had a Shop Bot on my Wish List but in 2007 I saw the TV Ad and jumped on it that night. Someday I might buy a Shop bot but as it is, I am SO Busy being a 1 man shop I have not used my Vinyl Cutter or Laser Engraver in over 6 months... Just too many toys and too many orders... I post on the CW Forum under Digitalwoodshop as I do here.

    I recommend spending some time to read about the CW on the Forum. YES, it is a Hobby Machine and YES, it has had some growing pains getting to where the "C" Model is today.

    If you look at the Troubleshooting Threads you will see normal wear and tear failures. When Sears bought the big block of machines to sell, I got one and later 3 others used. They all had problems that were addressed.

    I am very proud of my "A" models and with 2 machines over 1000 carving hours.

    The machine is a GREAT gateway into the CNC world.

    A Dust Collector is pretty much a MUST... A guy sells a Metal Collector Hood called the "Ringneck Blues" collector and I Highly Recommend it...

    A 1 HP Dust Collector and the Hood is a GREAT Combo..

    As for the Quality of the Work done on the machine, the Quality of the Pattern really makes a difference... Like Printing a photo from a Internet jpg or High Quality Version of the same picture... The Internet Grainy version will never look as good as the High Quality Version. And with Gray scale DEPTH, "NOISE" in the jpg picture used to make a pattern results in SPIKES in the final carved board. SO the Pattern Making Process is something that I have NOT mastered yet... I BUY all my Patterns.

    So when looking at the output of the machine you must look at Apples and Apples.... Start with a GOOD Source.

    As for the CNC Vector Cut part of the machine, I LOVE IT.... Cuts my FRP Tags with smooth accurate edges. The machine is designed for WOOD and vector cutting FRP was a challenge at first. The Feed Rate is set for WOOD and it was cutting TOO FAST for the .060 End Mill. The work around and it works GREAT, is to select the 1/4 inch bit in the software BUT use the 1/16th End Mill. This locks the Feed Rate into what I call 1st Gear. Normally the Feed Rate and a 1/16th End Mill in WOOD would cut at 2 speeds... 1st Gear on curves and 2nd gear on long runs... It was the 2nd gear that was too fast... So the Work Around works.... A Wish List item for LHR Software Guys is for a selection of feed rates selectable like we now have Depth of Cuts and number of passes.

    The machine is not for everyone, but if your just starting out, the CW is worth a look.

    My Phone Number is on my web page and I welcome calls and questions about the machine and even repair questions.

    AL

  28. #28
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    De Pere, Wisconsin
    Posts
    2,674
    Post Thanks / Like
    Maybe Sears still sells them? Saw them there before.

  29. #29
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Wylie
    Posts
    2
    Post Thanks / Like
    I agree on the Carvewright. I've got 2 myself (both A models), but I've upgrade some parts. To me, they're great and I can carve just about anything out there. I've been using mine for about 4 years and there's always something new to learn and do. We also have guys on the forum that have great ideas and have even implemented them on the CW which makes it even able to do more than what it originally started. The guy at Rockler that pushes/demos their machine was saying everything this his can do and I think he got frustrated when I told him that the CW can do it as well. He was "ill informed" on some of the things he "thought" it couldn't do until I showed him. I won't put down his machine, I'm just saying the CW is great, cheaper and can do just as much (IMO) as the Shark?? (not sure if that's what Rockler promotes).

  30. #30
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Red Deer, AB CANADA
    Posts
    225
    Post Thanks / Like
    Quote Originally Posted by signmeup View Post
    When I carve a sign, I carve through a mask so I can paint the lettering with reckless abandon. (the panel is pre-painted before the mask goes on) I doubt you will be able to do that with this machine due to the roller feed system. This means I can paint my lettering 3 coats and then gild it way faster, and with less skill, than you could.
    That's exactly the same way I do it! Most folks tend to do it the hard way and continue to do so even after they've seen how I do it. I can finish a carved sign in about a quarter of the time it takes using the carve first and paint/gild later method.

    Dan

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