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CarveWright?

Discussion in 'CNC Routers & Engravers' started by Circleville Signs, Feb 29, 2012.

  1. Circleville Signs

    Circleville Signs Very Active Member

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    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
     
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  2. zmatalucci

    zmatalucci Very Active Member

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

    wedosigns Member

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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. ProWraps

    ProWraps Very Active Member

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    cnc cricut?
     
  5. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Merchant Member

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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.
     
  6. signmeup

    signmeup Major Contributor

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    I'm interesting in hearing what you plan on making. Do you have a product in mind?
     
  7. signmeup

    signmeup Major Contributor

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    Told ya!
     
  8. Just Another Sign Guy

    Just Another Sign Guy Very Active Member

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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. Circleville Signs

    Circleville Signs Very Active Member

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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. martingraphics

    martingraphics Member

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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. Just Another Sign Guy

    Just Another Sign Guy Very Active Member

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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. signmeup

    signmeup Major Contributor

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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. letterman7

    letterman7 Active Member

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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. Circleville Signs

    Circleville Signs Very Active Member

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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. grampa dan

    grampa dan Member

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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: Mar 2, 2012
  16. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Merchant Member

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    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.
     
  17. Techman

    Techman Major Contributor

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    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. Circleville Signs

    Circleville Signs Very Active Member

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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. skyhigh

    skyhigh Major Contributor

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    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
     
  20. Techman

    Techman Major Contributor

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    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.
     

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