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Another step into the future

Companies are redefining the future of CNC machinery by providing the market with a host of smaller, easier-to-use machines, giving woodworkers a number of new options. Whether shops are purchasing an entry-level CNC or simply want to save money, these new machines address affordability, ease-of-use and space issues without compromising speed and precision.

The Klever G FT, from Biesse America.

A number of these new products were launched at AWFS in July, while others made their debut prior to the show, illustrating an ongoing trend in CNC machining preferences for the small- to mid-sized woodworking shop.

AXYZ International offers a variety of CNC machines featuring robust designs and a simplicity of use for a range of applications, including cabinetmaking, fixture fabrication, boatbuilding and furniture manufacturing. All AXYZ machines are fitted with the next-generation A2MC controller and can be outfitted with multiple heads and auto tool-changer options. They can also be connected to a network for instant fault diagnostics and file transfer, according to the company.

Contact: AXYZ International. Tel: 800-361-3408.

Biesse America launched the new Klever line of compact CNC routers at AWFS. Designed for small- to mid-sized shops, the Klever features a monolithic steel bridge frame that offers the user rigidity, reliability and accuracy, according to the company. The Klever line is PC-based and features dual helical rack and pinion (X and Y axis) and double Yaskawa drives. Its aluminum tables offer flexibility with both vacuum and mechanical clamping capability.

Contact: Biesse America. Tel: 877-824-3773.

CAMaster has the Stinger, Stinger II and Cobra Series in its stable.

The company’s flagship Cobra Series features an industrial router with a welded steel frame, suitable for nested-based manufacturing of cabinets, sign making, fabrication of solid surface materials, 3-D machining and prototyping. “Cobra CNC routers are easy to operate with a Windows-based human/machine interface allowing even the least experienced person to start cutting parts in under an hour,” says the company.

The Stinger is a tabletop router that has many of the same features found in the Cobra Series, while the Stinger II has a stand-alone steel base.

Contact: CAMaster. Tel: 866-405-7688.

C.R. Onsrud Inc. offers the G-Series Panel Pro moving gantry machine, which saves floor space and allows for useful options such as tool changers and multi-spindle drilling heads. The machine is ideal for cutting full sheets of 1-1/2” thick plywood, laminates or veneers under continuous working conditions and can handle solid wood applications on a limited basis, according to the company.

Contact: C.R. Onsrud. Tel: 800-638-8185.

Freedom Machine Tool introduced a lathe attachment for its Patriot 4x8 CNC router at AWFS. The unit can process stock 10” in diameter over center, up to 7” off center, and lengths up to 84”.

The Patriot with lathe attachment, from Freedom Machine Tool.

“The cycloidal gear head used by FMT is far superior to typical worm or planetary gear mechanisms used by other builders. It is a simultaneous four-axis machine, includes an upgrade to the Fagor 8055 CNC control and is made in the U.S.A.” says the company.

Contact: Freedom Machine Tool. Tel: 888-436-8768.

General International has introduced its new i-Carver CNC carving machines with 13” x 18” and 15” x 20” tables. Both machines can produce decorative 3-D carving work, such as small signs, plaques and carvings for furniture, fireplace mantles and trim work. With an optional software upgrade, the 15” x 20” machine can be expanded to perform light production work, geometric shapes and 3-D objects such as guitar bodies.

“CNC carving machines make woodworkers’ lives easier by dramatically reducing labor costs for doing decorative and carving work as compared to doing it by hand. Ease of use is the key feature on both of the units. No CAD or programming skills are needed and weeks of specialized training are not required,” says General product manager Norm Frampton.

i-Carver, from General International.

The 3-D modeling capacity of the included i-Picture software allows the user to import virtually any image file, scale it to size and automatically create the tool path. The 13” x 18” machine, model 40-913, sells for about $2,000 and will be available in November. The 15” x 18” machine, model 40-915X, will retail for $4,370 and hit the market in early 2012.

Contact: General International. Tel: 888-949-1161.

Holz-Her introduced the new Lynx series machine in August, an entry-level CNC router for nested-based manufacturing. The machine is built on the company’s base frame with either 4’ x 8’ or 5’ x 10’ tables. Its features include a phenolic table, 250 c/m vacuum pump, 12-position linear tool changer, 15-hp air-cooled spindle, and 10-position vertical drill block. It’s sold with Holz-Her’s Campus CAD/CAM software system that will accept any third-party dxf-formatted file.

Holz-Her also introduced the new Dynestic CNC router, suited for cabinet and case goods manufacturing. The machine is available with a 4’ x 8’, 5’ x 10’ or 5’ x 12’ table and features an 8-hp air-cooled HSK spindle, and 10 vertical and four horizontal drills. It also includes an eight-position “ride-a-long” tool changer allowing the machine to complete a wide range of functions such as sizing, grooving, beveling, vertical and horizontal drilling in one setup. Safety features included light beam barriers, three-sided galvanized fencing and a safe environment for unmanned machining, according to the company.

Contact: Holz-Her US Inc. Tel: 704-587-3400.

Laguna's IQ.

Laguna Tools introduced the new IQ CNC router series in July, a smaller version of the company’s SmartShop D-series CNC router with the same level of technology. The IQ has a smaller footprint, but with the same accuracy and cut quality of much larger machines, according to Laguna.

Two models in the line are available for immediate delivery, the IQ HHC and IQ Pro with touch-screen interface. Each has a 36” x 24” x 4” working envelope, 2-hp liquid-cooled spindles for quiet operation and cast-iron table bases, and they run industry-standard G-code to interface with any CAM software package. The HHC starts at $4,995, while the Pro with touch controller starts at $6,495.

Contact: Laguna Tools. Tel: 800-234-1976.

Oliver Machinery has added the new 1013 intelliCarve, a scaled-down version of its model 1015, but with the same capabilities. It’s a 13” x 18” capacity carving machine capable of producing 2-D and 3-D carvings, which retails for about $2,100, according to the company. It’s sold with I-picture software that allows the user to get started by carving from the library of designs included with the package.

Perhaps the neatest feature of the I-picture software is its ability to import photographs or other JPG images to produce carvings and 3-D lithophanes. Servo motors give an accuracy of 0.004”, ensuring picture-perfect results with only minor sanding. Also included with the machine is a 15,000-rpm DC brushless spindle motor.

Oliver Machinery's intelliCarve.

Contact: Oliver Machinery. Tel: 800-559-5065.

Rockler Woodworking and Hardware offers the new CNC Shark Pro Plus HD. While previous models of the CNC Shark were designed for use with palm routers, the Pro Plus works with 1-1/2- to 2-1/2-hp routers, increasing its range of applications and suitability for the small-shop environment, according to the company.

The Pro Plus has a 28-1/2” x 36” table, large enough to carve cabinet doors, signs and more. The machine is fully compatible with certain Bosch, Porter-Cable and DeWalt routers.

Contact: Rockler Woodworking and Hardware. Tel: 800-279-4441.

SCM Group offers three new CNC router options for small shops:

The Busellato Easy Jet features a new gantry construction, designed to bridge the financial and technical divide faced by many first-time buyers of CNC technology, according to the company. It’s available with a 4’x8’ and 5’x12’ work table, linear 10-position tool changer, HSK F63 electrospindle, multi-spindle boring head and a tool presetting device for automatic tool length measurement.

The Routech Accord 40 FX is a “heavy duty” CNC machining equipped with three-, four or five-axis electrospindles that hold HSK 63F or E tool holders.

The Pratix S CNC Router is ideal for companies with limited space that require the flexibility and performance from a CNC router, according to the company. Available in either 4’x 8’ or 5’x12’ table sizes, the Pratix S features a seven-vertical-spindle drilling head equipped with horizontal drills and grooving saw, an electrospindle with HSK F63 tool fittings and up to 10-position tool changer. It comes with Maestro CAD/CAM software, but is also compatible with most major design software packages.

Contact: SCM Group. Tel: 800-292-1850.

ShopBot Tools offers the PRS standard CNC, an entry-level tool for smaller shops ready to venture into CNC productivity that doesn’t require high production speeds. Priced below $20,000, it is ideal for CNC cutting, drilling, carving and machining, according to the company.

The control system is the same found on other ShopBot machines, though an upgrade to the company’s PRS alpha control system, drives and motors is available.

“PRS alpha CNCs are ideal for professional environments where production speed is important, delivering the rapid transit speeds of 1,800 inches per minute and cutting speeds of up to 600 inches per minute,” says the company.

Contact: ShopBot Tools Inc. Tel: 888-680-4466.

Stiles Machinery introduced Weeke BHX 050 earlier this year. It’s a compact machining center with vertical part feeding to save space. The machine occupies just 48 square feet of floor space (9’-6” long by 5’ wide) with drilling, grooving and routing capabilities.

Stiles has also introduced the Weeke ABD 050 CNC drilling and dowel insertion machine to complement a nested-based CNC machining center. It provides superior horizontal drilling, gluing and dowel insertion and increases efficiency by minimizing setup times and maximizing production times, according to the company.

Contact: Stiles Machinery Inc. Tel: 616-698-7500.

Thermwood introduced its new QCore SuperControl system, which operates with Windows 7 Pro and features a 19” LCD wide-screen monitor and 1 TB hard drive storage.

“This new control is light years beyond what anyone else can offer and allows us to fully use the power of multicore processing. With QCore, operators can run a program on the machine while simultaneously running other applications such as Thermwood’s Control Nesting on the control,” says Scott Vaal, Thermwood’s lead tester.

The QCore also has an optional hand-held remote programmer, which features a color LCD touch-screen display. It allows the operator to perform a wide variety of tasks that were previously only available through the machine control, according to the company.

Contact: Thermwood Corp. Tel: 800-533-6901.

This article originally appeared in the October 2011 issue.

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