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Thread: 2 years of CNC woodworking with my Carvewright - huge # of pics and vids

  1. 2 years of CNC woodworking with my Carvewright - huge # of pics and vids

    Carvewright- a review of what it has done for me - after 2 years of use.

    I hope y'all don't mind me posting a bulk post here-- I have posted a few of these projects here on the 'creek and elsewhere, but other than one sparsely visited forum, all this has not been shown until this week. I know that for many of you your CNCs are built for production. Most of my jobs are not bulk production but are of one or two projects. This is where the ease of the Carvewright has really helped me. At any rate, I would love to hear any advice/words of wisdom that those of you here with so much more experience have to offer-- the knowledge on this site is second to none and the 'creek is a richer forum for it.
    LDR

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    On August 15 2009- 2 years ago I entered the world of CNC. I did quite a bit of research, and decided to take a chance on the oft-maligned Carvewright machine. This is the same machine as the Craftsman Compucarve that some of you may have seen in your local Sears.

    After purchasing the machine, I continued to research before ever starting it up. I was very aware that people seemed to do permanent damage to their machines by using it the wrong way on the first couple of carves. I was bound and determined not to do that. One of the most important things to know about this machine is that in addition to the bit moving back and forth and up and down (Y and Z azis), the wood moves back and forth for the “X” axis. This means it is very important to either use square and flat stock or use a square and flat sled to hold the stock that you are caving. I think this is one of the things that catches many people up- they do not use perfectly square and flat stock and it binds in the machine and causes damage. I have used my machine for two years now and (knock on wood) have never had any problems other than one small sandpaper roller bind which cost me a little time and wood but did not cost me any money to repair.

    At any rate, I used square and flat stock for my first (very simple) carve


    This type of carve was done in what is known as a “raster” type carving. This is where the machine bit goes back and forth and up and down and the wood slowly moves through the machine until the carve is done. To picture this, think of a dot matrix printer. (or just watch this video)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZyk2tDcY04

    The other type of carve that the Carvewright does is knows as a “vector” carve. During a vector carve the bit and wood move like a pencil on a piece of paper.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1splDQy5aI
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    This is a good point to explain something about LHR’s business model. They sell you the machine- and it comes with the designer software for free. In addition, any software updates are free as well. For me, this is a significant advantage over many of the CW’s competitors. This software will allow you to import pictures etc. or purchased/downloaded patterns and carve them on your machine. It will also allow you do use any TTF (true type font) you have installed on your computer and you can carve it as a raster (like my first pic) or outline carve. If you wish to do any vector (pencil on paper) type carvings of your fonts with 90 degree or 60 degree sign bits, you must purchase the “centerline text” add on. This is a $99 software add-on, and I consider it essential for signmaking.

    Since I purchased my machine 2 years ago, there have been many free software upgrades. These are usually to fix any bugs or glitches (rare) but have also served to add many features to the software that did not already exist. When there is a major function addition or the addition of an “import action” LHR usually sells it as an “add-on” rather than creating new higher-cost versions of the basic software. This allows you to choose or not choose to have these features without paying for features you wouldn’t use. Examples of this are the STL import add on and the DXF import add on, I have purchased the centerline text add on, the DXF import add on, and the conforming vectors add on (this lets you take raster type patterns and add vector carves onto them and the vector will follow the contour of the carve—think of writing your name on a baseball. Some folks complain about the additional cost, but I really like the option to only buy the features that I need- this really empowers me as a consumer and gives the guys at LHR additional incentive to innovate.

    The one major accessory you can buy for the Carvewright is the scanning probe. I bought one fairly early on and have used it several times. Here is a video of the probe in action
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23XKs3Idf-4


    Basically, the probe allows you to scan a 3D object and create a carve of it. My first project that I used this for was a sign for my shop- the carve of the plane was done with the scan and the lettering was done using the “centerline text” function I mentioned earlier. The probe will allow you to do things like copy moldings and even wax impressions so that you can carve just about anything. There are even a couple of amazing artists that do carvings with hand tools, scan them with a probe, and then sell the patterns online. I have not purchased any of these patterns, but they look amazing.

    Even more valuable than the probe is the software that is packaged with it—the “pattern editor” software is a carvewright-specific software kit that allows you to adjust 3D models and clean them up. Though you can use 3rd party software to do this (coreldraw, 3d modelers, etc) oftentimes the pattern editor will end up being the simplest and easiest choice (in my experience)

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Very soon after buying the Carvewright I came to understand that the Achilles heel of the machine was the chuck that allows you to put bits into the machine. The standard chuck (the “quick change chuck”) had a lot of moving parts and was finicky, requiring frequent cleaning and maintenance. I very quickly bought an aftermarket chuck named the ROCK chuck which used a more standardized “pawl type” gripping mechanism to hold the bits. The new chuck also seems to reduce the sound quite a bit (though the machine is still very loud) The ROCK chuck cost about $200 with all the bells and whistles (allowing me to use a wide variety of differently sized shanked bits in my carvewright) I LOVE this chuck and since I purchased my machine LHR has come out with their own new chuck which is in many ways similar to the ROCK chuck, and in some ways improves the machine in other ways (the spindle and truck specifically). This new chuck and spindle is standard on the newest “C” versions of the carvewright. If you are buying a new machine now I would recommend you go with a C model, though if you would like you can purchase an upgrade package to add the new truck and spindle onto an older model Carvewright.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6Q0hB4MdxA



    The Carvewright forum is a very active forum and there are many folks there to assist with problems, give advice, or just help share success (and horror) stories with. I’m an active member and really enjoy it there. The range of experience and abilities located on the forum is amazing—from hobbyists, to professional instrument makers, to professional sign makers and set makers. By far, the majority of the users of this machine are hobbyists, but it is amazing how much professional CNC work gets done. One of the guys there came up with a design for a dust collection hood that you carve out on your machine—and he gave the pattern away for free.

    I made one right away (and owe him big time)



    Using a dust collector (obviously) cuts down drastically on the clean-up time required to keep the machine running well. I believe that keeping the machine clean is one of the keys to keeping it running.

    I’ve gotten much faster at performing maintenance on my machine. I have lubricated my flex shaft twice (you use chain lube with moly) and have used other various lubricants as dictated by LHR and spelled out in one of the free tips and tricks newsletters—another great free feature LHR supports.

    Because you can import any TTF fonts into the machine (as I mentioned earlier) one neat technique is to make your own fonts from pictures or line art (called dingbats) in an aftermarket program and then import/carve them. This can be a very simple/quick way to create a sign or design and I have used it quite often. The biggest limiting factor for doing this, however, is that the software does not allow you to change depths for centerline vector carves. It uses the heaviness of the lines to determine bit depth. This is usually fine, but can be a bit limiting. This is where the DXF importer comes in—in stead of creating dingbat fonts to create vector carves, if you create the art in coreldraw you can export it as a DXF and then you can change the depth of design in the software and carve. This is just one example of how a $200 add on can completely change the usefulness of the machine and also allow you to carve industry-standard files (DXF files are used throughout the CNC and laser-engraving world and many free files can be found online)
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I quickly began to stretch my legs on the Carvewright and started making things—one of the first projects I did was an awards board for my work—

    I also started making quick going away gifts for people at work.


    These projects actually got me some more requests for work… usually I did them for free, but using work time- which got me valuable experience and saved the Air Force significant money in professional sign costs. Actual material costs can be miniscule on this machine, especially for interior signs. The sign below for example, is ½ inch MDF carved and then painted with the “stone effect” paint, painted with latex paint, and then finally lacquer. My total material costs was less than $10

    Last edited by Lawrence Richards; 08-14-2011 at 12:25 AM.

  2. About 6 months after buying the machine, I began to want to make some lightbox carves, called lithophanes (or lithopanes depending on who you talk to). These carves are done in ¼ translucent Corian and the effect can be quite stunning. I bought some corian and gave it a go. I liked the effect right away


    After some research, I found that you can heat corian up and bend it around a form. When it cools, it hardens again. I did a carve, painted it, and then bent it to make another lightbox that sits on my desk at work


    I also made a video showing how it is lit. I have since added a wired light and it works even better
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4V3EDQAFPGw
    I have made a few other lightboxes, but the best so far has been a 12x18 lightbox with carvings of all the patches in the group on the sides and a shadowbox underneath that I did as a commission.



    In addition to that shadowbox/lightbox I have gotten several other shadow box commissions that I used my carvewright on




    I’ve even done some parts making for a friend that needed some bearing mounts and parts for an antenna array. He had very specific tolerances and curvature settings and the CNC aspect made sure everything was dead on. Here he is with the mount.

    I was also able to make a pattern to accurately recreate a Stanley handplane tote—I was dubious of the value of using a CNC for such a simple project, but because I used a sled, there was less waste than I would have had if I had done it by hand on a bandsaw (I leave myself a bit more finger room) and the cuts were perfectly smooth and ready for rounding over


    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    One of my favorite projects in recent times was a hand-chiseled Roubo-type bookstand. I took my experiences from doing it by hand and made a pattern to allow me to make them on the carvewright. These went to a silent auction fundraiser for my school.


  3. The Carvewright has been great for gifts as well- I’ve made gifts for the kids’ teachers

    As well as gifts for friends and family

















  4. Funny enough, I can trace my love of hand tools- especially planes, to the Carvewright. Because the stock you put in has to be flat and square I quickly discovered that my 6 inch jointer (and sometimes my 13 inch planer) was not going to be large enough to flatten the stock I needed. Rather than just buying a bigger jointer or messing with sleds/etc, I learned to flatten stock with hand planes. This necessity has blossomed into a love for hand saws, planes, and other “cordless” tools that will last for the rest of my life… and I can thank my CNC router for that! (Mr. Lee should send my Carvewright a thank you note…)

    The next thing I can see doing is adding a “signature” onto pieces. I’m trying to come up with my carved signature which will be a 2x2 circle. I want to add the circle “boss” onto the furniture I make. I (and others) weren’t sure if the CW would carve something that small with any accuracy, so I gave it a try. Here’s the video of the idea—obviously the future carvings will be done is thinner stock
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQ5U_sf6L6M

    (in case you are curious, here are the other videos of the above piece being carved) This was done in my second machine which I recently bought and am reselling. These videos were taken today as a “proof of function” for the machine.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-HX41x5htco
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ad76EStouLM
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1WRDXBNgQIc

    Anyway- to make a long story even longer—I have had a GREAT two years with my Carvewright. I truly do not feel like it has limited me; it has been a wonderful addition to my woodworking and has expanded my abilities in many unexpected ways. At the very least I have been able to make gifts (and a little $$) that would have otherwise not been made. Heck, sometimes I even just add a carve to a piece just for the fun of it- it can really spice up an otherwise dull piece


    Thanks for looking guys-
    Lawrence


    Ps- Here’s some more videos I’ve made showing the designer software at work in case you are REALLY bored
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K77lzmAzKAY
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=efC-2kPMoo4
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihh8dUgwuq0

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Yorktown, VA
    Posts
    2,062
    Mighty impressive. As a retired military guy, the shadow boxes really stood out. Outstanding!!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Shohola, PA Pocono Mountains
    Posts
    1,188
    Mighty Impressive TOO!!! As a retired Navy Chief and owner of 4 CarveWrights, Lawrence's Projects sure stand out. Excellent Designs, Great Workmanship, Excellent Finish. Thinking outside the box with many projects. I use my machines for Wood Signs of which I am in the process of painting about 25 for a local development. I use my CW to cut handles for my successful Fire Dept Products including using the CW to cut FRP Two Sided Tags for Accountability Tags, the bulk of my business. Just search images of Accountability Tags and I show up about a dozen places in the first dozen pages... Without the CW my business would be Ho Hum... With it I am working 7 days a week...

    I post on the CW Forum as Digitalwoodshop. My post about this post was # 5999 Blabber Poster...

    Really Great Machine....

    AL
    Last edited by AL Ursich; 08-14-2011 at 3:21 PM.
    1 Laser, 4 CarveWrights, Star 912 Rotary, CLTT, Sublimation, FC7000 Vinyl, 911 Signs, Street Signs, Tourist Products and more.
    Home of the Fire Department "Epoxy Dome Accountability Tag and Accountability Boards".

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    San Jose del Cabo, Mexico
    Posts
    329
    Nice work! Thanks for posting.
    Creative Woodwork and Design
    Vector Studio 22

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    New Mexico
    Posts
    257
    Quote Originally Posted by Lawrence Richards View Post

    How about that, Kevin's an old friend of mine.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Shohola, PA Pocono Mountains
    Posts
    1,188
    Tonight LHR let the Cat out of the Bag about a user designed 4th Axis Jig... I saw pictures of the Prototype months ago but MUM was the word until LHR Blessed it.... A Pretty COOL Idea.....

    When I sent a PM to the maker tonight on the CW Forum and mentioned that now people would be removing the center jacking screws and pushing the keypad aside.... He came back.... Been there done that.... used AIR lift...... He is doing long stuff....

    Pretty COOL for a Hobby Machine.... Check out the CW Forum....

    AL
    1 Laser, 4 CarveWrights, Star 912 Rotary, CLTT, Sublimation, FC7000 Vinyl, 911 Signs, Street Signs, Tourist Products and more.
    Home of the Fire Department "Epoxy Dome Accountability Tag and Accountability Boards".

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    297
    Very nice Lawrence a lot of information and pictures .... well done, I hope you have many more carving years. Thank you for posting.
    Hardware:
    CAMaster 508 ATC + Recoil
    2013 Trotec Speedy 100, 60 watt, rotary attachment, vector grid.
    Software:
    CoralDraw - Aspire 4.0 - EnRoute

    Custom Architectural Signage
    Mick Martin Woodworking

  11. My youngest had a request for a wall sign with some of his favorite characters on it and with a very specific color scheme... He helped design the sign and LOML even pitched in a bit.

    I carved it yesterday on my Carvewright (Compucarve) and finished it today. As it was being painted, I used pi.. pi..
    ...domestic conifer :smirk:

    Thanks for looking and as always, any constructive critique or comments are always appreciated.
    Lawrence





  12. #12
    Cool stuff Lawrence. Thanks for posting. I'm envious of your little machine in your own shop, even if I do have a KOMO at work...

    Have you tried any engraving? It adds a little more pop to signs than those 2D V-Bit programs...
    CarveWright Model C
    Jet 1642 EVS, Jet 1014
    Half-a-Brain

  13. Quote Originally Posted by Lawrence Richards View Post
    Carvewright- a review of what it has done for me - after 2 years of use.

    I hope y'all don't mind me posting a bulk post here-- I have posted a few of these projects here on the 'creek and elsewhere, but other than one sparsely visited forum, all this has not been shown until this week. I know that for many of you your CNCs are built for production. Most of my jobs are not bulk production but are of one or two projects. This is where the ease of the Carvewright has really helped me. At any rate, I would love to hear any advice/words of wisdom that those of you here with so much more experience have to offer-- the knowledge on this site is second to none and the 'creek is a richer forum for it.
    LDR

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    On August 15 2009- 2 years ago I entered the world of CNC. I did quite a bit of research, and decided to take a chance on the oft-maligned Carvewright machine. This is the same machine as the Craftsman Compucarve that some of you may have seen in your local Sears.

    After purchasing the machine, I continued to research before ever starting it up. I was very aware that people seemed to do permanent damage to their machines by using it the wrong way on the first couple of carves. I was bound and determined not to do that. One of the most important things to know about this machine is that in addition to the bit moving back and forth and up and down (Y and Z azis), the wood moves back and forth for the “X” axis. This means it is very important to either use square and flat stock or use a square and flat sled to hold the stock that you are caving. I think this is one of the things that catches many people up- they do not use perfectly square and flat stock and it binds in the machine and causes damage. I have used my machine for two years now and (knock on wood) have never had any problems other than one small sandpaper roller bind which cost me a little time and wood but did not cost me any money to repair.

    At any rate, I used square and flat stock for my first (very simple) carve


    This type of carve was done in what is known as a “raster” type carving. This is where the machine bit goes back and forth and up and down and the wood slowly moves through the machine until the carve is done. To picture this, think of a dot matrix printer. (or just watch this video)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZyk2tDcY04

    The other type of carve that the Carvewright does is knows as a “vector” carve. During a vector carve the bit and wood move like a pencil on a piece of paper.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1splDQy5aI
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    This is a good point to explain something about LHR’s business model. They sell you the machine- and it comes with the designer software for free. In addition, any software updates are free as well. For me, this is a significant advantage over many of the CW’s competitors. This software will allow you to import pictures etc. or purchased/downloaded patterns and carve them on your machine. It will also allow you do use any TTF (true type font) you have installed on your computer and you can carve it as a raster (like my first pic) or outline carve. If you wish to do any vector (pencil on paper) type carvings of your fonts with 90 degree or 60 degree sign bits, you must purchase the “centerline text” add on. This is a $99 software add-on, and I consider it essential for signmaking.

    Since I purchased my machine 2 years ago, there have been many free software upgrades. These are usually to fix any bugs or glitches (rare) but have also served to add many features to the software that did not already exist. When there is a major function addition or the addition of an “import action” LHR usually sells it as an “add-on” rather than creating new higher-cost versions of the basic software. This allows you to choose or not choose to have these features without paying for features you wouldn’t use. Examples of this are the STL import add on and the DXF import add on, I have purchased the centerline text add on, the DXF import add on, and the conforming vectors add on (this lets you take raster type patterns and add vector carves onto them and the vector will follow the contour of the carve—think of writing your name on a baseball. Some folks complain about the additional cost, but I really like the option to only buy the features that I need- this really empowers me as a consumer and gives the guys at LHR additional incentive to innovate.

    The one major accessory you can buy for the Carvewright is the scanning probe. I bought one fairly early on and have used it several times. Here is a video of the probe in action
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23XKs3Idf-4


    Basically, the probe allows you to scan a 3D object and create a carve of it. My first project that I used this for was a sign for my shop- the carve of the plane was done with the scan and the lettering was done using the “centerline text” function I mentioned earlier. The probe will allow you to do things like copy moldings and even wax impressions so that you can carve just about anything. There are even a couple of amazing artists that do carvings with hand tools, scan them with a probe, and then sell the patterns online. I have not purchased any of these patterns, but they look amazing.

    Even more valuable than the probe is the software that is packaged with it—the “pattern editor” software is a carvewright-specific software kit that allows you to adjust 3D models and clean them up. Though you can use 3rd party software to do this (coreldraw, 3d modelers, etc) oftentimes the pattern editor will end up being the simplest and easiest choice (in my experience)

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Very soon after buying the Carvewright I came to understand that the Achilles heel of the machine was the chuck that allows you to put bits into the machine. The standard chuck (the “quick change chuck”) had a lot of moving parts and was finicky, requiring frequent cleaning and maintenance. I very quickly bought an aftermarket chuck named the ROCK chuck which used a more standardized “pawl type” gripping mechanism to hold the bits. The new chuck also seems to reduce the sound quite a bit (though the machine is still very loud) The ROCK chuck cost about $200 with all the bells and whistles (allowing me to use a wide variety of differently sized shanked bits in my carvewright) I LOVE this chuck and since I purchased my machine LHR has come out with their own new chuck which is in many ways similar to the ROCK chuck, and in some ways improves the machine in other ways (the spindle and truck specifically). This new chuck and spindle is standard on the newest “C” versions of the carvewright. If you are buying a new machine now I would recommend you go with a C model, though if you would like you can purchase an upgrade package to add the new truck and spindle onto an older model Carvewright.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6Q0hB4MdxA



    The Carvewright forum is a very active forum and there are many folks there to assist with problems, give advice, or just help share success (and horror) stories with. I’m an active member and really enjoy it there. The range of experience and abilities located on the forum is amazing—from hobbyists, to professional instrument makers, to professional sign makers and set makers. By far, the majority of the users of this machine are hobbyists, but it is amazing how much professional CNC work gets done. One of the guys there came up with a design for a dust collection hood that you carve out on your machine—and he gave the pattern away for free.

    I made one right away (and owe him big time)



    Using a dust collector (obviously) cuts down drastically on the clean-up time required to keep the machine running well. I believe that keeping the machine clean is one of the keys to keeping it running.

    I’ve gotten much faster at performing maintenance on my machine. I have lubricated my flex shaft twice (you use chain lube with moly) and have used other various lubricants as dictated by LHR and spelled out in one of the free tips and tricks newsletters—another great free feature LHR supports.

    Because you can import any TTF fonts into the machine (as I mentioned earlier) one neat technique is to make your own fonts from pictures or line art (called dingbats) in an aftermarket program and then import/carve them. This can be a very simple/quick way to create a sign or design and I have used it quite often. The biggest limiting factor for doing this, however, is that the software does not allow you to change depths for centerline vector carves. It uses the heaviness of the lines to determine bit depth. This is usually fine, but can be a bit limiting. This is where the DXF importer comes in—in stead of creating dingbat fonts to create vector carves, if you create the art in coreldraw you can export it as a DXF and then you can change the depth of design in the software and carve. This is just one example of how a $200 add on can completely change the usefulness of the machine and also allow you to carve industry-standard files (DXF files are used throughout the CNC and laser-engraving world and many free files can be found online)
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I quickly began to stretch my legs on the Carvewright and started making things—one of the first projects I did was an awards board for my work—

    I also started making quick going away gifts for people at work.


    These projects actually got me some more requests for work… usually I did them for free, but using work time- which got me valuable experience and saved the Air Force significant money in professional sign costs. Actual material costs can be miniscule on this machine, especially for interior signs. The sign below for example, is ½ inch MDF carved and then painted with the “stone effect” paint, painted with latex paint, and then finally lacquer. My total material costs was less than $10

    Mr. Richards,

    I've just recently join Saw Mill Creek. Reading your article on the Carvewright, I was very impressed. I have been researching different CNC Routers along with the Carvewright. To be completely honest with you, I have read more negative reviews then positive on this machine. Your article was written 3 years ago, are you still using the machine and still as satisfied? With a fixed income I research a lot, maybe more than I should. So cost, performance and stability in a machine is important. Any additional feedback would be greatly appreciated. Do you know of anyone that has a used machine they would be willing to sale?
    Thank you
    Robert

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Shohola, PA Pocono Mountains
    Posts
    1,188
    Robert,

    I won't comment on Mr. Richards as it is not my place. The answers to that question can be found on the CW Forum. I hold Mr. Richards in very high reguard in his many skills and abilities. I am also Retired Military.

    I have had the CW machine since 2007 and just today ran one of my machines in my 10 degree Wood Shop cutting 2 sheets of plastic tags for the fire side of my business. It is better to run the machine in a warmer envioriment but I am careful and know the limitations and have been lucky.

    So back to your questions... The Carvewright machine is divided into two areas of discussion.... Software and Hardware. The Designer Software, a Hobby Grade Program that has been in Continious Improvement Mode from the start. Free updates have been the Norm for a very long time for the basic Designer with some of the more complicated functions released as a "Pay" Option. This gets a lot of press time in the forums. For me I have a few of the "Add On's" and since I use it for my Business it has been a easy decision to buy them. Others I would like but have not seen the need yet.

    "THEN"... Things changed in the Designer Software where a Complete Rewrite happened to aid in future Designer Developments. This was the 2.xx Series with the old Designer being the 1.xx versions. The 2.xx versions started out as a "PAY" option leaving the 1.xx being still free but with no future updates. This has been a very active topic and one that has tainted a few long time users. I am still using 1.184 a pretty old version as for me, "It Works" and does very nice work for me. I use the CW in my business and really depend on it.... So I have always been very slow in loading the latest update.... Updates that I have not loaded in the 1.xx series give me the ability to do things like test the machine and motors from the keypad. But Comma.... I use a ROCK Chuck that was the first after market chuck and have been very happy with it. Later versions have made some changes that tighten up the length of the bit loaded into the machine that is slowely being Customized to the LHR Carvetite Bit length. The CT Bits have a Sleeve and Flange and LHR controls the length and closed the window of bit length and if I install a bit in my ROCK Chuck at slightly TOO LONG bad things happen.... The work around is simple... Just find the correct bit length for a bit with my ROCK by trial and error and use a locking ring. Done... Works every time... with 1.184 my current version.... IF I upgrade... I am not sure.... I have seen postings where ROCK users were frustrated... So for me... It works... Don't fix it... The Down Side.... Many projects have been posted on the Forum in a 1.xx version higher than I am running that I would like to open but at 1.184 I cannot.... So I can't offer advice on a problem... I like to offer fix it advice.. And any project in 2.xx I can not look at either... And if someone opens a 1.184 project in 2.xx, it WILL open but it will save in 2.xx and I am locked out... So this thread here and many on the CW Forum post the frustration over the question of a Hobby Machine with Pay Software and limitations.... I have choose to stay out of the mix and just be happy with what I can do....

    Next is the Machine.... You will need to spend time and actually read many of the Troubleshooting Posts on the CW Forum.... The Machine HAS gotten more reliable over time and the proof is in the forum.... The machine DOES have a few weak areas like the Bearings in the Y Gearbox but if you follow simple recommendations like changing the 2 little 685ZZ Bearings at the same time as you change the Cut Motor Brushes at 250 Cut Hours you will be FINE.... The Maintenance list is small but the trick is to actually do Preventive Maintenance every 250 Cut Hours and you will have many troublefree hours of carving.... AND have a Properly Grounded Dust Collection System to remove the Sawdust that causes binding.

    Honestly... I still support the machine 100% and the Company. As far as used machines.... I always recomend a used machine as a 2nd machine after you learn the limitations and maintenance required. The Warranty of a new machine helps...

    I post over on the CW Forum as Digitalwoodshop and I give repair advice from time to time... The machine has many common faults and likely any problem you have it has been posted and answered and FIXED on the Forum. The Tips and Tricks written by many users is things you need to know to run the machine like the 7 inch rule of wood. A funny term because it is about 7 inches between the two rubber rollers that hold the board FLAT to the Sand Paper OR Rubber Belts. IF a board is held by only one roller the board can tip up and cause problems. You will need to understand the question the LCD asks and what each response will do like Scalling the artwork down real small..... A Common first post next to I cranked the head up and now it only clicks and won't go down.... The answer for the Clicking is actually in the Operators Manual.... Many toss it aside.... and never open it....

    MANY options.... The CW is just ONE..... It could be a Stepping Stone to a bigger machine.... One year I made about $20K using the machine in my business.... Last year... $3.5K... So it depends on everything including the Economy.... The Month of January is almost over and I have already past last year's total.... so things are looking up and Firemen got "Grant Money to Spend"....

    Too bad Designer didn't do it like Corel Draw where I am still happy using VERY OLD CD 12 and many users of the latest can save a
    project in Corel 10, 11, or 12 and I can use it..... Done Right.... Corel Draw...

    AL
    Last edited by AL Ursich; 01-29-2014 at 7:30 PM.
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  15. Al,

    Your insight has been greatly appreciated! Have you used your CW on acrylics? What were your results? If I don't purchase a CW now, I'll be attending a woodworkers expo here in Tampa this coming March. Carvewright has it on the schedule to attend. That way I can see a demo of the machine.

    Robert

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