Yes, it’s revolutionary. When Shaper Origin was introduced to the market, it brought handheld CNC capabilities to woodshops at an affordable price and did so with easy to understand operation. Its precision cutting offered many applications that improved the workflows of traditional woodworking. So, how could anyone possibly improve on that?
Meet… Shaper Workstation.
This all-in-one fixturing and work-holding solution turns the portable Origin into a complete package that opens up all kinds of possibilities for joinery, prototyping and other creative tasks. Its precise and simple holding and alignment functions combine perfectly with the alacrity and flexibility of Origin. Workstation provides access to parts, while Origin machines them. Together, they are the complete cutting system.
Workstation can be temporarily clamped or permanently screwed to a workbench. Once in place, the first thing you’ll notice is that the top is a flat plane with Shaper tape already applied with a durable adhesive. Shaper scans this tape to create a map of the work area, and this guides the router. The motor in the tool can move up, down and side-to-side as the base is hand-guided across parts, so it can make small adjustments to deliver absolutely perfect results.
With Workstation, most of the work is done at the front. The clamping mechanisms on the fixture are very flexible, and very easy to adjust. Workstation also accommodates small spoil-boards that allow the bit to exit a part cleanly. These shop-made, disposable waste strips (a couple are factory supplied to get you started) support the edges of the cut and prevent tear-out. There are a couple of size options to accommodate longer router bits and deeper work. Everything can be tightened or removed using a single 4mm hex wrench (included).
Also included are a couple of clamps that slide into industry-standard T-slots in the front of Workstation. Those slots mean that woodshops can use most of the T-slot fixturing that they already own, too. What’s special here is that Workstation’s front vertical plane is set up with extremely accurate vertical alignment pins that deliver unprecedented repeatability. Set the pins, slide the work against them and then tighten the clamps to create exactly the same set-up time after time. And the pins can be extended or retarded as needed. Parts can be locked at 90° or at interim angles using the supplied angle fences.
Workstation comes with a couple of removable support arms that let the user add a cantilevered fence at the front to support Origin as it travels. This is especially handy when making large tenons or doing dovetail joinery, as the fence eliminates any tilting. Workstation also comes with a quick-lock support shelf that is incredibly easy to set up and use.
As if the combination of Origin and Workstation wasn’t reason enough to re-tool with this system for 2021, the company has also introduced a powerful new software update called Humboldt. It includes a complete overhaul of Origin’s on-board Grid tool, along with Workspace management and improved processing for large scans and complex files. The Humboldt update also helps to differentiate Origin in that with each software update, unlike other tools, Origin only gets better with age.
Humboldt, Workstation and Shaper Origin combine to provide the most comprehensive suite of software and hardware that lets woodworkers re-tool with next generation CNC technology for 2021. If you want to add precision cutting and efficient work-holding to your shop, order the full Shaper System for just $2,899 at shapertools.com or from one of their 150+ authorized North American retailers.