Shark H4 vs Shopbot Desktop

Shark H4 vs Shopbot Desktop

Postby LizaS » Thu Nov 10, 2016 9:09 pm

Appreciate input on what you think between the Shark H4 vs Shopbot Desktop. I guess my main concern is the ability for the technicians to be able to help me if I have an issue. Okay at teaching myself with good instructions- rather have written but okay with video tutorials. How easy it is to get help when you need it. On paper the Shark H4 looks perfect for me.

Thanks!
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Re: Shark H4 vs Shopbot Desktop

Postby Rcnewcomb » Fri Nov 11, 2016 12:46 am

ShopBot's support is top notch. They are patient, kind, and gentle on the phone. I've even had them call back after normal business hours. They have an excellent support forum. There are a lot of ShopBots out there so you may even find other ShopBot owners in your area.

http://shopbottools.com/support.htm
http://www.talkshopbot.com/forum/activity.php
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Re: Shark H4 vs Shopbot Desktop

Postby scottp55 » Fri Nov 11, 2016 11:29 am

+1 on what Randall said!
We bought our first one sight unseen....and Zero Regrets!!
Haven't had that many problems with our 2 Desktops, but have had callbacks on weekends and holidays as somebody in tech is always on call, and willing to walk you through stuff until the problem is solved(just make sure your machine is on, and your phone is fully charged before calling:)
Forum is Excellent for solving problems on almost everything and can feel almost like family like this forum after a while :)
Most Shopbotters are glad for a visit, and Shopbot Sales can connect you with someone for a demo if anyone is nearby.
If anywhere near Southern Maine, I'LL spend the day with you to run over basics :)
If you post on Shopbot forum, maybe somebody is closer to you.
Mine is 3 years old and running perfect and TIGHT:) And we've bought 3 of them with no problems.
Solid/tight/and rugged machines capable of VERY good repeatability and production work.
Good video tutorials and free online classes as well with Q&A sessions afterwards with TJ.
http://www.shopbottools.com/mSupport/tutorials.htm
Welcome
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Re: Shark H4 vs Shopbot Desktop

Postby ger21 » Fri Nov 11, 2016 1:11 pm

On paper the Shark H4 looks perfect for me.


The Shopbot is probably 10x the machine that the Shark is. There's really no comparison at all.

You can find a ton of people that started with a Shark and upgraded to a better machine.
Shopbot users don't typically need to upgrade their machines.
Gerry
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Re: Shark H4 vs Shopbot Desktop

Postby ohiococonut » Sat Nov 12, 2016 2:50 pm

I can't vouch for the Shopbot but I am one of those people who upgraded a short two years after my purchase of a Shark.
Initially I was happy, I got a machine, I was getting into the world of cnc carving. I was going to carve everything! Oh I was excited, but that excitement quickly faded. I spent the second year learning how they operate, what it takes to build a machine, learning Mach3 & G-Code and actually building one to my specs. and needs.
My first machine was a Shark Pro Plus HD and it has sat idle since my build.
I take my hobbies serious but didn't want to invest +10k for the machine I wanted after investing in the Shark so for about the same money I built an entire setup that's twice the size (50"x50") with NO plastic or proprietary software. I've been happy ever since!
Simply put, I was disappointed with my Shark after finding out what it "should" be capable of with being limited or confronted with constant problems. If I make a mistake now, it's my fault, not the machines.
In the near future I'm either going to convert the Shark to something useful, or just sell it.
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Re: Shark H4 vs Shopbot Desktop

Postby 4DThinker » Sat Nov 12, 2016 5:51 pm

I've got a Shark, and although the HD4 is far improved from my early model their insistence in using plastic for the router/Z axis mount and parts of the base/gantry has caused me to move on to a better/bigger CNC that has no plastic in any part of the build. My personal Pro and an HD2 I have at work just have too much flex in them with a heavy router mounted to cut reliably accurate parts/inlays/joinery. With no limit switches they have no way to know or warn you if your cut may cause the machine to hit the sides or ends of travel while cutting. This will ruin any cut in progress.

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Re: Shark H4 vs Shopbot Desktop

Postby COWBOY1296 » Sat Nov 12, 2016 6:43 pm

Not familiar with Shark but i have put hundreds of hours into my shopbot buddy. Its like a timex, takes a licking and keeps on ticking. The desk top was not available when i first bought. Rule of thumb is to always buy a little bigger than you think that you will need. The shotbot forum and customer service is top notch.
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Re: Shark H4 vs Shopbot Desktop

Postby Rcnewcomb » Sat Nov 12, 2016 10:38 pm

On the Shopbot forum you can sometimes find used machines.

For example, here is a link to a ShopBot desktop with a spindle for $5000. ->Link
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Re: Shark H4 vs Shopbot Desktop

Postby scottp55 » Sun Nov 13, 2016 1:26 pm

I HIGHLY recommend the spindle option for the Desktop!
Your ears and having the torque (and rpm control totally tweakable) is well worth it.
Haven't heard of anybody ever switching back to a router:)
scott
Oh, you should know that the VFD is manually adjusted on the Desktop, not software controlled. Not a problem though...think of it as a stick shift :)
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Re: Desktop MAX Package

Postby Tex_Lawrence » Sun Nov 13, 2016 1:47 pm

Configured package is still in the $10K+ range. There doesn't seem to be a financial reason to choose Shopbot.

I know everyone likes their own cnc, or they wouldn't have kept it. It just seems like a $10K+ cnc is hard to justify for hobby use, so one would have to do some production to help pay for it.

Is a Shopbot up to the production challenge?
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Re: Shark H4 vs Shopbot Desktop

Postby Adrian » Sun Nov 13, 2016 2:14 pm

My Shopbot is a pure production machine. It's been running and average of four hours a day five days a week since 2009 and all I've changed in that time is one set of gear pinions. I am meticulous about the maintenance schedules though.

With most things it all comes down to you get what you pay for. I know from reading many CNC forums that some machines have such basic design flaws it doesn't matter if they are half the price they are never going to produce work that a buyer will be happy with and they'll end up paying in the long run.
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Re: Shark H4 vs Shopbot Desktop

Postby scottp55 » Sun Nov 13, 2016 2:15 pm

When we were building inventory and training the new operator to meet the July first deadline this year to give them this business and the Desktop, we were running my Desktop 50 hours a week for months(and 30-60 hours a week for a year prototyping previous).
https://www.facebook.com/AlosadaMaine
The original operator up North is making a living on his router Desktop Dad financed doing crib boards and signs.
I know a mandolin maker with a 4 yr old Desktop who does an exceptional job keeping his busy:)
http://www.girouardmandolins.com/
And quite a few others.
so YES :)
LOVE having a machine where all the mistakes are Mine:)
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Re: Shark H4 vs Shopbot Desktop

Postby COWBOY1296 » Sun Nov 13, 2016 3:24 pm

PS I use a router and have never owned a spindle. I am not much more than a hobbyist myself, but do nothing but 3-d, well almost nothing. So my shopbot buddy is not cutting daily, but when i do cut its hours of cutting. Here is a random sample what the shopbot buddy can do. Again the forum and customer service are outstanding.
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Re: Shark H4 vs Shopbot Desktop

Postby Tex_Lawrence » Sun Nov 13, 2016 3:47 pm

From lots of reading and asking questions (like the OP), my opinion has hardened that the price point for a cnc that is relatively trouble-free is $10K+.

No one would ever make a rule like that, but that's what I've developed from my research.

Of course you can build one yourself, but if you add in a value for your time you will end up with that same $10K+ figure.
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Re: Shark H4 vs Shopbot Desktop

Postby Larry Stobbs » Sat Dec 31, 2016 5:16 am

I bought a Shark HD4 extended and at this point I am hoping that Rockler does something to make it right. I ordered mine in November and after more than a month I got it in the week of Christmas. I have yet to be able to cut anything with it. I bought it due to a few selling points that unfortunately didn't hold true. The first was that I was told that it had a pendant controller, which it does. What they don't tell you is that it is useless for jogging in increments. On my older shark you could jog the bit in any direction a 0.001 at a time by tapping the control panel button, the pendant will move it at least 0.006 per tap at its lowest setting and that is provided you don't hold the button too long. Simply stated it will not let you "step". I attempted to install the computer based controller with no luck at all and they actually have a utility that tries to walk your through the corrective steps as well except that after those steps don't work it then just becomes and irritation as they keep popping up after they didn't help you resolve the issue.

The sad part is that on the several times I have tried to call NWA support, I have only spoken with a human being once. One of my emails that I sent to tech support actually didn't get responded to for over three weeks and I have had quality problems with the dust collection attachment that I ordered for this machine as well (returned the first one because it was improperly machined) and ended up having to modify the second one in order to even get it mounted. In short, I loved the original white CNC Shark I have had for a umber of years but after spending well over five thousand for a new machine that I still don't have running I really wish I had spent more time looking at Axiom or one of the other companies out there, I am not a business so I thought the HD4 would be a good purchase but it ain't worth a dime if you cant get it to work and more importantly can't get tech support to help you.
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