Dedicated computer for CNC Shark

Vectric Craftsman
Posts: 112
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2011 12:02 am
Model of CNC Machine: DIY 80/20 ~18"x48", Mach 3
Location: Moore, OK, USA

Re: Dedicated computer for CNC Shark

Post by roy_okc »


Carefully consider how low you go. If you're buying used, you might be able to spend just a few dollars more to get a computer capable of running Vectric apps well enough for touch-ups in your shop.

Also, before you buy, make sure you know the recommended specs for whichever control software (LinuxCNC or Mach 3 are the two most used for hobbyists). I was running LinuxCNC on an old P3, but it was frustratingly slow when loading highly complex jobs (e.g., lithophanes) and was running at 100% CPU utilization when cutting. I upgraded to a dual-core Atom board and it is so much nicer.

Good luck,

Posts: 24
Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2012 4:22 pm
Model of CNC Machine: Shark

Re: Dedicated computer for CNC Shark

Post by mikede1025 »

Thanks for the info, Roy.

But hey, you know what? I got to thinking and since I do a lot of other woodwork too, and I recall so many times being in the shop when I wished that I had a computer out there and I wanted or needed to jump on the internet. So, I went ahead and bought a typical laptop. You know, about 2 gig of ram and 500 gig hard drive. I'll dedicate that to the shop for the cnc programming but I'll also have it there for other things. But I already know to leave it alone when there is carving going on. I've heard some guys here talking about it not being such a great idea to multi-task while the program is running and I have no problem doing that. So, ya, I guess I won't have that as a worry at all. When it arrives I will get it set up then download the software for the control and get busy with the tutorials and see how much trouble I can get myself into. haha. Hopefully the instructions and the tutorials will be more easily understood than the setup literature was. Don't people hire tech-writers anymore? I'll bet that once I get fairly good with this whole thing that I could sit and write a set of instructions that could have a 12 year old follow and setup the machine, computer, software, where to put it, how to put it, and how to feel after you put it. Why can't they do that? I'll bet that almost no one here bought their cnc because they already knew all about how to operate it so I have to think that we all had the same sort of troubles in the beginning.
Well, anyway, onward we go.

Thanks to everyone who has been helping me to get this thing out of the box and into the shop and what needs to go with it. I'll see how it goes from here.


Vectric Wizard
Posts: 1408
Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2012 12:14 pm
Model of CNC Machine: CNC Shark Pro, Probotix Meteor 25" x 50"

Re: Dedicated computer for CNC Shark

Post by 4DThinker »

Just for some perspective... I have a CNC Shark in my attached garage shop. I have an older pentium-based Dell PC connected to it and initially ran both VCarve and the Controller software only there.

That garage isn't heated, and so my use of the Shark meant shivering in the cold through winter months. I would bring the Dell inside on the colder days when I HAD to spend time developing a drawing to cut, but then had to drag it back out to set up and run the job on the Shark.

This year I updated to version 6.5 of Vcarve Pro, and with that download noticed in the licensing details that I could install it on two PCs so long as only one was being used at a time. Now I have Vcarve Pro on an indoor i5 PC with a large monitor, and save any CRV or TAP files I create on a networked storage drive. I can access this drive from any PC in the house or garage.

The newer PC does a much quicker job at calculating and rendering complex drawings. The older Dell in the Garage is easily fast enough to run the controller as I cut jobs on the Shark. I use my shop vac to clean the dust from the Dell and it's keyboard/monitor/mouse periodically. So far no problems, and life indoors is far more comfortable while I work on projects in VCarve.

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