Shaper Tools router catches eyes at AWFS

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The Shaper Origin, a hand-held CNC router from Shaper Tools, was a hit at the AWFS fair. The small portable machine, about the size of a plunge router, is capable of tackling projects of various complexities and sizes including everything from detailed inlay work to large off-site projects.

“Shaper Origin is able to go with you to the material rather than require you to bring your material to a big fix-based machine, so there are many advantages for both professionals and even home hobbyists,” Shaper Tools CEO Joe Hebenstreit said in an interview with Woodshop News. “The machine gives anyone the ability to cut, build and create with many different materials such as wood, soft metals, plastics and composites.”

Small-shop pros were particularly intrigued, Hebenstreit says, because the Shaper Origin doesn’t take up permanent shop space or require a large capital expenditure.

“Another interesting thing is we’ve started getting a lot of orders from big production shops that have production CNC equipment and are reluctant to take those machines out of the production workload to prototype a new cabinet. So large shops are really finding value in this, too.”

The Origin uses a visual marking system, called ShaperTape, to map and track its position relative to the workpiece. The Origin detects when the operator has strayed from an intended cutting path and either automatically corrects or retracts the cutter bit. Operation does not require any specialized knowledge of CAD/CAN software or previous experience with CNC machinery, according to Hebenstreit.

“We don’t produce any kind of design software separate from the tool or require any type of program to use the tool. We very intentionally stay away from that. We say that any design software tools that you’re already using will automatically work with what we require. At the end of the day, what we require is a 2-D scalable vector file. We prefer what is called an SVG (scalable vector graphics) file.”

Festool manufactures the Origin’s router spindle.

“We didn’t want to create the router spindle ourselves and we knew they knew they had the competency and were unwilling to compromise on quality, performance and safety,” Hebenstreit adds.

The Shaper Origin is available at pre-order pricing of $1,699 for a limited time. For more, visit

This article originally appeared in the September 2017 issue.

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