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Anyone know about the Digital Wood Carver CNC Router?

by soccer2010
posted 08-13-2017 01:48 AM


32 replies so far

View DS's profile

DS

2964 posts in 2499 days


#1 posted 08-15-2017 08:59 PM

I’ve never heard of it before. It looks like a fairly basic machine.
For me, the software tools that it comes with would make all the difference.

If it has good software, even a rudimentary machine will shine bright.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View Desert_Woodworker's profile (online now)

Desert_Woodworker

1518 posts in 1293 days


#2 posted 08-15-2017 10:17 PM

I would suggest the Laguna IQ- more money but you get an “industrial grade machine”, it comes with a water cooled spindle and does not require a lap top to run the machine. I’ve had mine since 2014, I have run the machine for 20 hours in one continuous run, and the cutting bit was not even hot. Great customer support.
Regardless, compare your choices, with base price, router vs spindle, software, I would highly recommend Vectric V Carve to start out and you can always upgrade to Aspire later.
Best of luck

-- Desert_Woodworker

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DS

2964 posts in 2499 days


#3 posted 08-15-2017 10:56 PM

The last thing you want is a $3500.00 paper weight. Software is the difference.

DW: I know you are in love with your Laguna. However, as for Laguna = “industrial grade machine”, IMHO, Laguna produces high-end hobbyist machines at best. Stepper motors, no feedback, not much more than a home position switch, Mach 3 Windows software-based controller. 400 ipm max rapid traverse speed. 200-300 ipm typical cutting speed. $35-50k price range.

A true “industrial grade” CNC machine has Servos, not steppers. Encoders on each axis so if a motor stalls it can correct itself. Mutli-tool carousels that travel on the gantry for rapid tool changes, real vacuums (20hp oil-separator vacuums and Made in America, vs. the cheesy 5hp centripetal Chinese ones), dedicated Fanuc hardware controllers so Bill Gates and Microsoft can’t “Blue-Screen-of-Death” your project. (Windows is NOT a real-time OS)
And oh yes, aggregate-head options for gang drilling, horizontal boring, etc.
1200 ipm rapid traverse, 1000 ipm high-speed cutting in sheet goods.

Of course, you’re into $135k for an entry level “industrial grade machine”. Though the Onsruds, which have the servos, but use a home-grown handheld controller (I’m not a big fan of those either, but they are passable) can go around $85k.

But I digress, a lot of real good work gets done on a Laguna. At my work, I have to suffer through one everyday.
Oh, how I’d love to talk the boss into buying a SCMI, Biesse, or Komo – or even an Onsrud. It would save him lots of time and money IMHO.

Somehow, I suspect John is looking for something more in the speed of a solid hobbyist machine.

John: What kinds of things do you want to make with your CNC machine?

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

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Desert_Woodworker

1518 posts in 1293 days


#4 posted 08-16-2017 02:24 AM

DS- Software is an important factor, but only half of the equation. You have 2 parts to a CNC operation- “Jobber” the person who runs the machine and the “Designer” the person who creates the “program”- CAD/CAM. Then the type of CNC machine, which I will not debate on this forum- I only suggest Laguna.

Where OP should begin, Vectric V Carve is a very popular software for CNC users. They have an unlimited amount of “free trial” in which, you can create and learn, CAD/CAM, with video illustrations of your finished product. Also, there are free tutorials to assist you.

Conclusion, if you can’t design and produce an end product with the free trial period software, then you may own a “ $3,500 paper weight”

DS “Somehow, I suspect John is looking for something more in the speed of a solid hobbyist machine.
John: What kinds of things do you want to make with your CNC machine?”

Well stated, “ a solid Hobbyist (CNC) machine” ? I my 4 years of experience- I broke down entry level from $1,000 to approx. $15,000. These are the type of machines that many of us Lumber Jocks use
$1,500 range – Inventables or other “you build”-
$3,000 – 5,000 range – Rockler or Digital Wood Carver
I suggest caution: go to You Tube
$5,000 – 10,000 – Laguna, Shop Bot, Cam Master, Legecy, Shop Sabre……
$10,000 – 15,000 – same as the above, but larger
Again, if you can’t make it work in the software…

-- Desert_Woodworker

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soccer2010

125 posts in 2508 days


#5 posted 08-16-2017 12:47 PM

I am definitely looking for a solid hobbyist machine with $3500 my limit. I will be using carve software, making mainly signs, gears and such for clocks and other various items. Thanks for the feedback. I have also been looking at the shapeoko.

-- John

View Joe Andrews's profile

Joe Andrews

68 posts in 2078 days


#6 posted 08-16-2017 01:12 PM

If you’re not set on a ready to run machine, you might look into a Joe’s EVO or the CNCRouterParts machines. The Joe’s is a scratch build but it isn’t difficult and is easily customizable for whatever size you need. He is also beginning to ship the Titan, which is a very nice and solid machine that comes as a bolt together kit. CNCRouterParts makes some really nice kits that are easy to assemble and are very solid. Neither come with software, but I would definitely recommend Vectric VCarve Pro or Aspire. They are extremely easy to use and will get you going quickly. Either Mach 3 or UCCNC for control software.

joescnc.com
cncrouterparts.com

View DS's profile

DS

2964 posts in 2499 days


#7 posted 08-16-2017 03:37 PM

I’ve heard good things about the Shopbot setup.
Oldnovice, Hans, has one and loves it.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View ArtMann's profile

ArtMann

1005 posts in 895 days


#8 posted 08-16-2017 11:58 PM

I went on the “Digital Wood Carver” website page and the pictures I saw lead me to believe that the machine is flimsy and would have to be run very slowly to avoid gantry flex. It is definitely a hobby machine. There are many, many other machines in the same class to choose from. Some are made in the USA. I don’t think this particular machine has anything special going for it.

I am not very familiar with Laguna CNC routers but if you view the following website, it will be very hard to believe that all they make are hobby machines.

http://lagunatools.com/cnc/smartshop-series/

View oldnovice's profile (online now)

oldnovice

7014 posts in 3447 days


#9 posted 08-17-2017 03:36 AM

Yes, I love my Shopbot and I have yet to scratch the surface of it capabilty.
Shopbot now has some new model “starter” CNCs that look even better than my older machine.
Customer service was very important to me as I did not want to enter the CNC waters without a life preserver.
Shopbot and Legacy, one of my other top choices, both have a good reputation customer service and, while there are many others, with good CS, in my case it came down to one of these two.
On the other hand, at the time I was looking to buy, Laguna had one of the worst reputations for CS.

Since I have bought my Shopbot many new comers, mainly from China and India, have come to this market but I don’t trust off shore customer service and/or parts.

As far as software goes Vectrics Aspire is about as good as it gets for anything to do with CNC but it is not cheap.
Both my son, a CNC machinist by profession, and I have been playing around with Fusion 360 which looks like it has everything; CAD, CAM, tool path creation, 3D printing, sculpturing, carving, and rendering …. I might have missed something!
This Fusion 360 is not a cut down version but the complete package, and it’s FREE for students and hobbyists, as long as it does not provide income over $10K/year.
I have only had it for less than a month and I really like it ….. even better than the free version of the Creo Elements/Direct Modeling Express which I have been using since 2002!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

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Desert_Woodworker

1518 posts in 1293 days


#10 posted 08-17-2017 04:06 AM

Laguna Tools- good; Vetric software – good; Old Novice – bad

-- Desert_Woodworker

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oldnovice

7014 posts in 3447 days


#11 posted 08-17-2017 04:25 AM



Laguna Tools- good; Vetric software – good; Old Novice – bad

- Desert_Woodworker

What in the world have I done to you or written about you or do to inadvertently antagonize you?
I had to reply in this forum as you have chosen to block me too … what’s going on with you?

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

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soccer2010

125 posts in 2508 days


#12 posted 08-17-2017 10:10 AM

I usually find this website and its members so helpful. I have purchased the Digital Wood Carver and will pick it up in a few weeks. After a while using it, I will post a review on LJ.

-- John

View Desert_Woodworker's profile (online now)

Desert_Woodworker

1518 posts in 1293 days


#13 posted 08-17-2017 01:42 PM

Old Novice- I was unable to finish the post until now- Your post on Shop Bot and Fusion good, but to add a comment on Laguna Customer service was “bad”. You stated “On the other hand, at the time I was looking to buy, Laguna had one of the worst reputations for CS.” which is tantamount to saying American cars are crap. Maybe they were but are they “bad” today? Since 2014, Laguna customer service has given me exceptional support and excellant value on my purchases of their products. Thus, I highly recommend Laguna products.
On a side note, there is a company CNC Shop Sabre, that is touting “American made” and promoting it with the infamous “Router Bob”, who happens to have been the former pitch man for Laguna CNC.
These CNC machines are like cars and everybody has an opinion… Sincerly, I hope that you enjoy your machine.

-- Desert_Woodworker

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Desert_Woodworker

1518 posts in 1293 days


#14 posted 08-17-2017 02:00 PM

S2010- Welcome to the world of CNC. My only advice to you, from experience, is to remember- the machine does exactly what you program it to do. If you program a mistake it will attempt to follow your commands, including crashing you tool bit or machine- They aren’t Saw Stops….
Enjoy

-- Desert_Woodworker

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Desert_Woodworker

1518 posts in 1293 days


#15 posted 08-17-2017 02:24 PM

Old Novice – If it matters you are “UNBLOCKED”

-- Desert_Woodworker

View DS's profile

DS

2964 posts in 2499 days


#16 posted 08-17-2017 03:17 PM


I am not very familiar with Laguna CNC routers but if you view the following website, it will be very hard to believe that all they make are hobby machines.

http://lagunatools.com/cnc/smartshop-series/

- ArtMann

It’s been a while since I was on Laguna’s website. They have added some higher end machines since we last purchased from them. Servos begin at the $50k price range and Fanuc controllers begin at the $70k range. Maybe they are beginning to step out of the Hobbyist range with those machines.


Old Novice- I was unable to finish the post until now- Your post on Shop Bot and Fusion good, but to add a comment on Laguna Customer service was “bad”. You stated “On the other hand, at the time I was looking to buy, Laguna had one of the worst reputations for CS.” which is tantamount to saying American cars are crap. Maybe they were but are they “bad” today? Since 2014, Laguna customer service has given me exceptional support and excellant value on my purchases of their products. Thus, I highly recommend Laguna products.
On a side note, there is a company CNC Shop Sabre, that is touting “American made” and promoting it with the infamous “Router Bob”, who happens to have been the former pitch man for Laguna CNC.
These CNC machines are like cars and everybody has an opinion… Sincerly, I hope that you enjoy your machine.

- Desert_Woodworker

In my experience, initially, Laguna had excellent customer service. Our machine is now about 5 years old and we can hardly get a phone call returned from Laguna these days. Their customer service IS CRAP, IMHO. They no longer want to support the POS machines they used to make. (I’m not sure I blame them) Replacement parts have tripled in price in the last two years to where we shop on the open market rather than call Laguna for help anymore. ($19 tool holder fingers now cost $60, for example)

EVERY part on our machine is the cheapest, made-in-china parts you can get. The tolerances are crap, 0.031” measured mean-deviation versus typically 0.0008” on a Pro machine. (The main rail has a 0.063” sway back on the one side. No FEA was EVER done on the steel and the stresses moved it over time)

The drive motors are the same Long's stepper motors you can buy on ebay, with drivers, for $469 for a set of 4.
The machine constantly stalls and loses track of it’s location. We PLAN to lose one or two sheets of material on EVERY job due to controller failure on the CNC. (Can’t talk the boss into a new machine yet)

I see now that they are using Italian spindles and GE FANUC controllers on the “high-end” stuff, but, interestingly, among the “Industrial Grade” manufacturers those are the ENTRY level specifications. The top of the line (yes, even today) Laguna models aren’t quite as good as the base-model from other manufacturers. This is just my observation, having set up and used dozens of different machines in the biz, including the Lagunas.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

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Desert_Woodworker

1518 posts in 1293 days


#17 posted 08-17-2017 04:23 PM

DS-
You definitely seem to know your CNC and Re: the Laguna machine, it sounds fair and honest, to me. But at the time the machine was purchased as compared to other CNC companies that were considered competitive; what should have the company invested in? and why the “other” which is undisclosed and why it would be better?
Next question: What advice do you offer to LJocks who want to embrace the CNC in their woodworking projects (non commercial)? I ask, because from experience, from A to Z, people want the best; and from life experiences- It depends on your budget IMO
Again, John welcome to the world of CNC and I look forward to your review…

-- Desert_Woodworker

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Desert_Woodworker

1518 posts in 1293 days


#18 posted 08-17-2017 04:29 PM

Ooop! a repeat :(

-- Desert_Woodworker

View DS's profile

DS

2964 posts in 2499 days


#19 posted 08-17-2017 04:46 PM

DW, we are off topic from the OP, so I really wanted to avoid doing that. Clearly he is interested in a sub-$3500 machine and he has purchased one. I have no problem with that. I am building just such a machine myself at home, for my hobby.

For anyone looking for a hobby machine, there are a just a few fundamental things you need to examine. Additionally, your tolerance for DIY and troubleshooting without Customer Support may influence to what level your purchase gets. Make no mistake, the learning curve is steep. Be prepared to go “back to school” to figure it all out.

DW, Admittedly, I was irked when I saw you calling the Laguna machines Industrial grade machines. They clearly are heading in that direction, but are just starting to arrive there.

My employer had bought his Laguna CNC prior to my employment and having just committed $47k to it, wasn’t wanting to hear that he had better options. He saw no value in a $150k machine for his relatively small business venture. (<$2M annual gross)

My advice is to get the best machine you can afford. But that alone is not enough.
My introduction to CNC came when I saw a $500k machine sitting in the middle of a furniture factory and no one knew how to write code for it. They had a decades old program to make wooden drawer handles and that is all they used it for. What a waste of real estate and capital. (They went bankrupt about 6 months later)

When I bought my first machine, it was for a new shop we put together with $3.5M/year expected gross revenues. We spent $135k on a Komo machine. The post processor was another $19k and the Cabinetvision software was another $15k. (They now include the post with CV a few years later)

I was told that our operation was too small to need a machine like that. The capital outlay was going to sink us. We would never be profitable.

In short, it hadn’t been done before.

The math worked on paper and we proved that nested-based-manufacturing was indeed viable in a small to mid sized shop and not just viable, but highly successful. Withing 2 years we were at $5M gross.

Nowadays, it is hard to find a shop that DOESN’T use it around here.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

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Desert_Woodworker

1518 posts in 1293 days


#20 posted 08-17-2017 05:15 PM

DS we are off topic- but interesting info -

-- Desert_Woodworker

View DS's profile

DS

2964 posts in 2499 days


#21 posted 08-17-2017 05:38 PM

Our Laguna is lucky to spit out 20 to 22 sheets per day (8 hrs)
(Less, when it starts “picking daisies”)

I’ve spit out 55 sheets in 6 hrs on an Onsrud.

Even if it sits idle 4 out of 5 days, it will still pay for itself in short order. Just the 1 1/2 man-days saved per job (Laguna vs. Onsrud) makes a huge dent in the cost difference.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

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oldnovice

7014 posts in 3447 days


#22 posted 08-17-2017 06:44 PM

There are now a large number on CNCs out there you just have to do diligent research as to which one is the best fit for your needs.

I researched my purchase for almost a year before I committed and now, with more choices available, it would probably would take longer.

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

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soccer2010

125 posts in 2508 days


#23 posted 10-29-2017 04:30 PM

I went ahead and bought a Digital Wood Carver (DWC). I bought a slightly used machine from the manufacturer so it came with a warranty. Note that review is intended for those looking for a <$5000 machine so NO Iam not comparing it to a $20,000 or $50,000 unit.
The machine works wonderfully, probably similar to others in this price range. I got the 24×40 inch unit along with v-carve pro. I think that I got a good deal for the money when compared to other similar machines. You need your own computer and the software is sold separate. What separates this machine from others is the customer service. Usually once or twice a week, there is an online 1.5 hour class to work on a project that typically runs 2 plus hours since the instructor, Laney, answers any and all questions.
When you have a problem or need help, Laney is always available except maybe 4 hours a day when he sleeps or when he is at a show. He will spend the time needed to get you going … unlike any customer service that I have experienced.
If you are thinking of buying one, let them know that I sent you and prices are supposed to go up about $300 on November 1.

-- John

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DS

2964 posts in 2499 days


#24 posted 10-30-2017 02:57 PM

That is awesome that they will essentially walk you through a project like that. It’s a great way to learn things.
I’m glad you are getting support for your new machine.

I look forward to seeing some of your projects.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

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soccer2010

125 posts in 2508 days


#25 posted 10-31-2017 01:40 AM

Here’s a few examples of what I’ve made so far.

-- John

View BandsawJeff's profile

BandsawJeff

52 posts in 280 days


#26 posted 12-06-2017 03:32 AM

What you’ve made looks awesome John!!! I bought my DWc about 6 months ago…so far it has paid for itself double!
Also laney is a great guy! I hope you get as much use from yours as I have.
What software did you get? And did you buy the forth axis?

View snowbird's profile

snowbird

7 posts in 3574 days


#27 posted 01-03-2018 06:04 PM

I like the DWC, but have been waiting 2 years for them to update their unconventional 3/4”x16 TPI head stock spindled on the 4th axis to a standard 1”x8 TPI, when they do I’d be on board.

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soccer2010

125 posts in 2508 days


#28 posted 01-04-2018 05:40 PM

I do not have the 4th axis but I reaffirm that the service, training, etc from Laney is great. Have you talked to Laney or Burl about the 4th axis?

-- John

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BandsawJeff

52 posts in 280 days


#29 posted 01-04-2018 05:48 PM

I agree the headstock spindle size is a bit odd…but you can always get an adapter to 1” 8tpi.
I’ve talked some yes…next time I see them at a woodshow I plan to talk in more detail. I think its a really neat add on…but I just can’t see myself using that often.

View snowbird's profile

snowbird

7 posts in 3574 days


#30 posted 01-04-2018 05:56 PM

Multiple times have talked with both, “it’s what they make and sell” and have no interest beyond that other to offer and adapter from 3/4”X16TPI to 1”x8TPI, so if you want to take a piece off your lathe with a typical 1 1/4 ” x8TPI spindle to enhance on the DWC you’d need yet another adapter to do that;apparently neither Laney or Burl have ever turned.

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BandsawJeff

52 posts in 280 days


#31 posted 01-04-2018 06:01 PM

LOL you are probably right! Neither have turned a bowl in their life I bet.
But good news is they don’t sell lathes…They both know an awful lot about CNC’s!

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snowbird

7 posts in 3574 days


#32 posted 01-04-2018 06:29 PM

Agree but If I were in the business I’d do better research, the woodturning industry is hugh and DWC has the opportunity to take it to amazing levels. Will be seeing them next weekend at the Springfield Mass Woodworking Show, very nice people.

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