ShopBot debuts its smallest CNC router

18_tools_techShopBot Tools has introduced a small-format CNC machine with a work area of 18" x 24" x 4". It's described by the company as a small-footprint prototyping and production center.

"It has the power and precision to do engraving, work plastics and to do some aluminum machining," says Ted Hall, president of ShopBot Tools. "While we will be hitting the woodworking market, we actually see it as more of a platform, rather than a specific application tool. And that probably is the reason that the pricing [$4,995] is going to look a little different in comparison to the other desktop kinds of tools. And that doesn't include the router or the spindle that we'll make available with it. Some people will be buying this little .8-hp spindle that makes it a really great little engraving tool. We already have people that are already puttering with it, doing printed circuit boards and things like that."

The ShopBot Desktop, model D2418, is the smallest addition to the ShopBot line of CNC routers. The company says it has had requests for a smaller ShopBot for many years, but resisted because it wanted to produce a "real tool and not a compromised or toy-like stand-in." The Desktop runs off a single 110-volt circuit connection (20 amps) and ships with the full ShopBot Control Software as well as the PathWorks CAD/CAM package designed for the company by Vetric Ltd.

"We've actually modified our software so that the software that comes with the tool will be the full ShopBot software that you could have on a $40,000 tool. But you will able to run it what we call ShopBotEasy mode, which almost basically makes it click-to-print," says Hall.

"I see it as an accessory in a woodworking shop that is already doing some production. It's small, but it is a very heavy-duty precision desktop tool. With a spindle on it, it weighs about 130 lbs."

The frame is made from welded aluminum and the removable deck is an aluminum T-slot extrusion. It has fully supported linear guides and blocks on each axis, a lead screw motor drive system and cut speed of 4" per minute. The company says the cutting resolution is 0.00025".

It sells with a Porter-Cable 2-1/4-hp router for $5,290 and with the .8-hp spindle for $6,590. A seven-carbide bit set from Onsrud Cutter adds $175 to the final price. Additional starter project materials and jigs are also available.

Contact: ShopBot Tools, Tel: 888-680-4466. www.shopbottools.com

This article originally appeared in the December 2010 issue.