Time for a new machine; CAMaster vs Axiom Precision

Time for a new machine; CAMaster vs Axiom Precision

Postby CanisLupus » Tue May 28, 2019 3:19 am

I'm in the midst of researching a new CNC router. After considering what I wanted to do with the machine, I was almost certain the Axiom Precision AR8 Pro with a spindle would be the machine for me. But after more research, checking out the various forums, and asking more questions, I found people recommending CAMaster, specifically the Stinger I or Stinger II lines. So here I am.

For now, and always subject to change until the machine arrives in my shop, I've narrowed my search to the following: Axiom Precision AR8 Pro, CAMaster Stinger I SR24, CAMaster String II SR34. My question, why would I choose one model over the others?

I'm looking for a minimum 2' x 4' cutting area with a 5-6" Z capability. Yes, the SR34 has a 3' x 4' area.

The CAMaster machines are faster. The SR34 is 500 IPM and the SR24 is 350 IPM vs the AR8+ at 200 IPM. All things equal, is the SR34 really going to cut out my parts in less than half the time? Sure, the machine might be capable of cutting at 500 IPM but if solid wood and Baltic Birch plywood can only be cut at a maximum 250 IPM, the speed is much less impressive.

The CAMaster machines appear to be more accurate but I'm still looking into the practical side of that measurement. 0.001" vs 0.00393" (0.10mm)

Pendant controller vs PC with WinCNC - what are the considerations here?

Yes, the CAMasters are also more money. But is it money well spent? Is the quality, support, reputation, the "CAMaster brand" really worth the added cost? Does the machine hold its value for possible resale / future upgrade?

I will likely be running Vectric vCarve Pro and an AutoCAD-clone (DraftSight or BricsCAD).

The machine will be used for prototyping and concept validation, commercial household items (quality components but not high-volume production), toys and education products.
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Re: Time for a new machine; CAMaster vs Axiom Precision

Postby usLEDsupply » Tue May 28, 2019 4:10 am

You should check out ShopSabre they build a solid ball screw machine in USA and Price is good:-) that is what i got after looking at a ton of machines a year or two ago and love it. going from Mach 3 to Win CNC was a bit of a change (no 3rd party plugins like JoyPad or Cameras) but if you aren't used to them anyway you should be fine (it's better for shop use as is simple but if you want to change anything plan on giving support a call as it is a bit complicated. (ShopSabre has the best free lifetime support you can ask for. I have called them several times to add buttons for dust collector and stuff and they just login and do everything for you)
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Re: Time for a new machine; CAMaster vs Axiom Precision

Postby WNC_Ed » Tue May 28, 2019 1:50 pm

Welcome, a few questions answered might help with suggestions.

Is this commercial or hobby?
What power do you have in your shop? Single phase / 3 phase
What do you expect your main focus to be - what type of jobs/projects do you expect to be doing? Signs, cabinets, ...
Will the CNC get daily use or as needed?
What material will you be using most often?
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Re: Time for a new machine; CAMaster vs Axiom Precision

Postby TReischl » Tue May 28, 2019 1:52 pm

It is always a tradeoff. Only you can determine what is going to be best for you.

Cutting speeds and rapid feeds. If you are cutting small parts those become less important to a certain extent. If I were cutting 2 X 4 sheets of plywood that had long distances between cuts on a production basis I would be looking for fast rapid travel times. Same holds true if I were cutting large features, think big circles, I would want the higher cutting feedrates.

That spec you provided as to accuracy is a bit worrisome to me. .004 is a LOT! Are you sure you have that right? Yup, you do, I just checked it. That is really weird, because they also state they use "precision ball screws".

The lower feedrates and lack of accuracy would cause me to lean towards the Camaster machines.

I run what is essentially a CNCRouter Parts machine and it does way better than the Axiom in terms of speed and accuracy. I built it for about half the cost of an Axiom and I have a 3x4 machine with 10" of Z. Is it the best machine for everyone? Nope.
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Re: Time for a new machine; CAMaster vs Axiom Precision

Postby ger21 » Tue May 28, 2019 3:00 pm

Just my opinion, but 200ipm is pretty poor performance when you are paying $7000+ for a 2x4 machine.

The Camaster uses WinCNC, and comes with a PC, monitor, and V Carve PRO. This is probably $2500-$3000 of the price difference.
The Axiom is a table top machine, where the Camaster is a full floor standing machine. Axiom charges $650 for a stand, which is not needed with the Camaster.
The Axiom uses a Chinese spindle and VFD, which can be purchased for as little as $325, about the same price as the Milwaukee router the Camaster comes with.

If you actually compare apples to apples, the cost is not that much different, and you get a lot more performance from the Camaster.


The CAMaster machines are faster. The SR34 is 500 IPM and the SR24 is 350 IPM vs the AR8+ at 200 IPM. All things equal, is the SR34 really going to cut out my parts in less than half the time? Sure, the machine might be capable of cutting at 500 IPM but if solid wood and Baltic Birch plywood can only be cut at a maximum 250 IPM, the speed is much less impressive.


As Ted mentioned, it really depends on what you are doing. You should be able to easily cut baltic birch at 300-400ipm, depending on depth of cut and tool size.
Doubling the rapid speeds can save considerable time for some jobs.
As I said, 200ipm is very slow. My 15 year old MDF and skate bearing machine can cut at 180ipm. It cost me $700, and is bigger than the Axiom. :D
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Re: Time for a new machine; CAMaster vs Axiom Precision

Postby Leo » Tue May 28, 2019 5:53 pm

Based on your description of the 3 machines and the inputs from the other guys here, I will say it this way.

It sounds like the CAMMASTER is by far the better machine in the selections.

I have always said.

You will eventually FORGET the painful purchase price for the better machine, BUT, you will have a CONSTANT reminder of the money saved on the cheaper model.

There are just SSOOOOOO many reasons and rationalizations for the better machine, we could make a LOOOOONG post to list the reasons.

The is ONLY ONE reason to go for the lesser machine --- ***save money on the purchase price***

For my opinion - the Cammaster is the better choice..

Sooo - the REAL question is:

Make a long list of the reasons to go for the better machine.
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Re: Time for a new machine; CAMaster vs Axiom Precision

Postby scottp55 » Tue May 28, 2019 6:20 pm

+1 to Leo.
We were Lucky, and was able to talk Dad into "Buying his Second machine FIRST!"
SOO nice to have a machine accurate enough that virtually every single mistake is MY fault!
Accurate repeatability is probably my highest need for the kind of stuff I do.
Running a toolpath twice saves me a TON of sanding....and Most people here Know I HATE sanding anything more than a flat board while prepping.
Camaster was in the running for being our two machines, But Desktop, and me being able to actually get my wheelchair Under the machine due to unasked for modifications Shopbot made to my stand (At NO Charge) was the deal maker for us!
Tech support and a helpful Forum came a close second.

AFTER the initial $Ouch! You'll never regret having a better machine!
IF hardwoods, then you'll never need sheet good speeds.
My 2cents
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Re: Time for a new machine; CAMaster vs Axiom Precision

Postby rscrawford » Wed May 29, 2019 2:05 pm

Always go for the sturdier machine, if you have the choice. Go for a welded frame over a bolt together frame. Go for the heavier machine rather than the lighter machine.

200ipm seems really slow to me. There must be a reason for that. Maybe the motors are under powered? Maybe too much flex for higher cut speeds?

I regularly cut 3/4" plywood at 600ipm in a single pass with a 3/8" compression bit, so its definitely possible (depends mostly on how sturdy your machine is, how much power your spindle has, and how well your workpiece is held down).

You can also buy excellent used CAMaster Stingers if you are looking to spend less. But if all other factors were equal, I'd choose CAMaster JUST for the WinCNC control.
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Re: Time for a new machine; CAMaster vs Axiom Precision

Postby Ken Rychlik » Wed May 29, 2019 4:21 pm

I have had Shopsabre AND camaster. I think camaster provides better support, having a user forum, but shopsabre is a good machine. I would not do the Axiom, as it is just a china rebranded machine like laguna.
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Re: Time for a new machine; CAMaster vs Axiom Precision

Postby armbrusterco » Wed May 29, 2019 4:34 pm

Go with CAMaster and WinCNC. I agree with the reasons others have stated above.

I have had 5 cnc machines for different purposes over the years. WinCNC running a rigid machine with a spindle has been my favorite combination for the kind of work you describe.

Enjoy
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Re: Time for a new machine; CAMaster vs Axiom Precision

Postby SteveNelson46 » Wed May 29, 2019 5:47 pm

I was at the same crossroads about six months ago. I did the research as best as I could and went with a Camaster. WinCNC was a major factor in the decision. Each machine is custom made so there is a bit of a waiting period after ordering. The tech support people are very good and willing to help but the down side is that they only work five days a week eight hours a day. Their documentation and training videos are a bit sparse also. Especially when compared to other manufacturers like Shopbot. As with anything else, some will have add-on features that the others don't have and that is what makes the decision tough. One of these options is the deck. The Camaster has a sealed MDF or an optional phenolic deck. Others have corrugated aluminum. Another option is the built-in ornamental lathe. All in all it is a great machine and I am very happy with my decision. If the need should arise I would buy another one.
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Re: Time for a new machine; CAMaster vs Axiom Precision

Postby Leo » Wed May 29, 2019 6:38 pm

I chose a different route. I imported a chinese machine. It has a welded steel frame, steel gantry and heavy duty NEMA-34 drive system with the same drive rails as in a Cammaster, and a rack and pinion drive, and italian made z-axis ball screw. It is not as eloquent as a Cammaster doesn't have as nice a paint job, comes with about zero documentation and pretty close to zero support. If you can do your own repairs and fix yourself, have background in machinery, proficient at computers, and controllers it can be a decent option. Dealing with the Chinese is NOT the same as dealing with a USA manufacturer. The plus side is that the cost of my machine was less than half of what a comparable US made machine would cost. There IS a price to pay, but it is not in dollars. I did this to save dollars, but I know the bones are SOLID.

If you are NOT proficient in any of the above and need support and documentation - the good US manufacturers are the way to go.
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Re: Time for a new machine; CAMaster vs Axiom Precision

Postby wmgeorge » Sat Jun 15, 2019 2:09 pm

I did the same thinking a year ago. The CAMaster is a good machine and at the time I looked for a good used one and missed out as they sold so fast.

I ended up with a welded frame 4x4 Saturn 2 from Fineline Automation and installed a 2.2 kw VFD and Spindle plus upgraded the control system from Warp9 ESS Mach3 to Mach4 and it works great. Fineline QC has been hit and miss since but I was lucky and ended up with a good one. They for the most part are USA sourced, and I have no complaints. It will run 400 ipm cutting all day and without issues.

In retrospect I Should have spent the extra $5k and got the CAMaster, just for the resale value.
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