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Shaper Origin.. again.

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paulrbarnard

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Having looked into these in depth as part of a potential Venture investment in the company early on, I said no, because the use case seemed extremely esoteric. If you have any shop space a CNC makes much more sense from a capability and flexibility standpoint. The only use case that I could come up with that made sense was for highly custom on-site (i.e. job site) work and given the words "highly custom" and "big market" don't really co-exist in the same universe it didn't really make it a high growth potential product in my mind.

It is very cool... don't get me wrong, and given your clear desire to buy it and small shop space it might make sense for your use case, but I would go one step further and get in contact with people who are using it for what your use would be (or something close) and find out if it was an investment that paid off for them... 4k is a lot for something that can't even be used for an assembly table if it doesn't work out... :)
Good points. It is a very niche product that specialises in complex cutting on site or in very large surfaces. I can see it finding a home in a small workshop for inlays and the like, especially if they are into larger sheet material. If the end products are small then a dedicated CNC router, possibly wall mounted, is going to be a whole lot more versatile. Add a third axis to the CNC and it then becomes possible to do reliefs as well.
If there was any way to find space I would go the CNC route but would jump at the Shaper as the next best alternative.
 

JJ.Newton

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I have one, I bought it a couple of years ago so didn’t pay anything like what they cost now. It’s great fun to use and I’ve used it on many projects replacing a traditional router, in particular ‘inlay’ work, the precision is brilliant. I really enjoy working with new technology and being able to design in programs like Fusion 360 and easily transfer the cutting templates from the computer to the Shaper is brilliant.
If you are considering it for a specific repeatable, precision process/job, it is a very capable machine and could well be worth the investment, if you’re looking to expand your horizons in the workshop and have fun using technology and the expense is secondary, you’ll love it.
 

Jeremy Nako

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then a dedicated CNC router, possibly wall mounted,
That's interesting... I didn't realise that CNC machines can be wall mounted.

Not that it makes any difference to me at the moment as wall space is in as short supply as floor space, but good to know nonetheless
 

Sporky McGuffin

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I think it looks a very interesting tool for the things it's intended to do. I'd be most interested to hear your thoughts after the demo. :)
 

peter-harrison

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I agree with a lot of what's been said. However, I have no free floorspace for a machine, especially one that takes up more space than the work you do on it. I am thinking about either the Shaper or the Yeti- or maybe neither!
One job the Shaper could do which no other machine could, is working on things which are too large or too well fixed to put on a conventional CNC. Boats, large floors? etc
 

xraymtb

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I want to preface this that I have no complaints with people spending their hard-earned as they see fit and doing their woodwork in their own way.

With that out of the way…I see this as a very expensive way of achieving a very niche set of tasks. With £4k to spend, my first question would be what do you already use and what do you build? Which specific tasks do you foresee this being useful for and how do you do those today?

By the time you design something in a CAD programme, work everything out to drive the CNC cutter, upload it to the Shaper, setup the workpiece with the sticker things then make the cut many other methods could potentially have done it quicker and just as well. There’s a lot of tools that £4k can buy too.
 

Jeremy Nako

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I *think* that that's actually one of the major strengths of the Origin.. the design / software side.

I will report back after my demo, but as I understand it the Origin will read USB sticks (or wireless transfer) of svg files as well as having its own large library of size-adjustable shapes built it.

Svg files are incredibly simple to create in just about any program, so there's no need for CAD, cutting profiles etc. As an aside, we have vinyl printing facilities in my office (used for printing t shirts) and therefore a massive ready-made library of svg files and elements.
 

shed9

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Having looked into these in depth as part of a potential Venture investment in the company early on, I said no, because the use case seemed extremely esoteric.
Given TTS Tooltechnic Systems purchased the company that would have been an astute investment. TTS clearly thought so ;)
 

Inspector

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I did see a thread on another forum where that op showed the dovetails he made with it. He felt it would always be limited to looking like ones from a basic dovetailing jig. Limited imagination holding him back. If he were to hold the work as one does with a WoodRat or Leigh jig then it could do variable spaced pins/tails and with bits like a Rat uses it could make similar joints. It looks like a machine that could be used in unconventional ways to replace traditional woodworking machines as long as the user can see the possibilities. It isn't a machine for me as I hate CAD work but do see it as a useful tool for some people. If they catch on then the price may come down.

Pete
 

Chunkytfg

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I've looked at the Shaper Origin as a possible method of avoiding needing to find a home for a full size 8x4 CNC machine(Yes I know about the Maslow system).

I came across the Goliath CNC while doing some research and for larger sheet goods projects seems like a good alternative if space is an issue. I have room to lay an 8x4 sheet onto a surface and clamp it down but not to dedicate that space to a specific tool.
 

Ollie78

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I quite fancy one of the shaper origins, just because I think it's cool. I can actually see quite a few use cases but it's not in the price range of "just get it for fun".
I just thought I would mention that if you are short of space had you considered a vertically mounted cnc machine. They are designed like a panel saw and take up much less floor area.

Note, I do not mean the maslow system but a proper machine with ballscrews and linear rails. Like this

Ollie
 
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Nelly111s

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One of my customers has a Shaper Origin and he demo’d it to me in my unit. Very easy to use. Easy system to register the edge of a board, then start a design at a defined point from the edge. Easy to produce good SVG files from Fusion (free plugin). Great for inlays and lettering straight out of the box. Would be great for machining joints or jig making with very little effort. I could see it being of lots of use for someone with a small workshop who does “one-offs”. Not as good as a normal CNC for repetitive work (but it isn’t really designed for that). I could see it being very useful for box-making.
The user interface is pretty good at first sight - can’t comment on long term.
 

Bristol_Rob

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I quite fancy one of the shaper origins, just because I think it's cool. I can actually see quite a few use cases but it's not in the price range of "just get it for fun".
I just thought I would mention that if you are short of space had you considered a vertically mounted cnc machine. They are designed like a panel saw and take up much less floor area.

Note, I do not mean the maslow system but a proper machine with ballscrews and linear rails. Like this

Ollie
'Oh dung' button 🤣
 

Jeremy Nako

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I'm updating this posting as this isn't a review as such, but several people asked for my thoughts on the Shaper once I'd had some hands-on time.

Firstly, thank you to Mark for giving up several hours of his time to answer my questions and demo the Shaper to me.

I'm leaving the cost out of this - that's a very personal viewpoint.

My thoughts are as follows..

It's a gob-smacking tool.

The accuracy is just mind blowing. For a tool that you have to move around yourself, it's accurate to within a 10th of a mm. I may have got that wrong – it might be more accurate than that in the specs.

The software is incredibly easy to use. You can import ready designs from the Shaper website, create your own in a variety of programs and import from a USB stick or create your own (more basic designs) very easily on the machine itself. The Shaper has built-in shapes, fonts etc which you can scale, rotate etc. The on-board tools and controls are very intuitive and easy.

For the demo, we selected a circle from the on-board shapes library to cut a perfect hole in a piece.

We set the diameter and cut it, simply following the on-screen guide path. This was done in two depth passes and produced a perfect cut-out.

What fascinated me most was that if you leave the ‘domino’ tape in place, you can return to the piece at any time in the future and still shave 10th of a millimetre off the design.

So.. what will I use it for..? Primarily for me it’ll start off by creating inlays. I have a tiny workshop and absolutely no space for even the smallest CNC machine. That alone will justify (to me !) the purchase but I’ve always had a ‘now I’ve bought this, what else can I use it for’ mentality and the Shaper hub is full of their own and user-contributed designs which you can freely (I believe) download and use.

What did I not like about it..?

Having said that I wont discuss it.. the price. Near enough £4k if you include the workstation.

Shaper no longer charge VAT on the purchase, but the VAT (and a small import duty) must be paid upon receipt.. usually to the courier. There is a link on the Shaper website to an HMRC page which gives an accurate final total, but there’s not much change for £4k.

Next, the price of the tape. It’s not the end of the world, and there are ways of getting around excessive tape usage. This is certainly helped by the workstation (which is an additional cost) which IMHO would be a necessity, especially for smaller work.


So.. will I buy one ?

Yes. Marks kind demo answered all the doubts and questions that I had.

I do think that Shaper are missing a trick in not having a presence in the UK (or any other country as far as I know) outside of Germany. There’s no substitute for hands on experience and being able to ask questions. If I hadn’t had the demo from Mark then I *probably* wouldn’t have decided to buy one.
 

Ollie78

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Thanks @Jeremy Nako for this information, it is nice to see a hands on review from someone who is actually paying for the product. I find it hard to trust youtube reviewers who got free stuff. Similar to when x carve came out and everyone loved it despite its obvious shortcomings.
I was sorely tempted by the Shaper origins but in the end invested in an upgraded static cnc setup.

I agree that they should have a UK agent of some kind (maybe festool dealers ?) As its the type of thing that hands on is needed.
I bought a domino machine after trying it out at a trade show for example.

I can see many uses for the origin and will maybe get one in the future.

Ollie
 

Distinterior

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I was contacted by my local Festool/TTS rep who offered me an invitation to go down to London for a hands-on Demonstration day of the Shaper.Origin.
I cant remember exactly when it was ( definitely pre Covid), but I'm pretty sure it was just after it became available to buy in GB/ EU.
The demonstration was going to be done by Shaper, not Festool from what I was told....... Not sure if that offer is still available or whether they are still running demonstration days.....I said I would go and I booked my place but never heard anything back from them...
 
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