They say that the addition of CNC in woodworking unlocks a ton of potential projects with deeper complexity. People who have been exposed to working in the field of woodcraft may have encountered CNC-type machines, and some may even have used such in their woodworks. If you’re one of those who already know the basics of CNC routers, you might want to skip to the part where we give our CNC Piranha reviews. But if you’re new to the industry of woodcraft and wood routing machines, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, we’re going to discuss what a CNC machine is and how it works. Towards the end, we have a section where we share our CNC Piranha XL and CNC Piranha FX reviews. Let’s get started!
What is a CNC Machine?
A CNC machine, also referred to as a Computer Numerically Controlled machine, takes material cutting and crafting into the next level. This device utilizes the help of computer software, like CAD and CAM, to design and manipulate the cut to be made on the medium. Additionally, this machine can cut in three directions: X, Y, and Z axes. The X-axis is the longest among the three and runs its direction from the front and back end. The Y-axis is directed from left to right, and the Z-axis runs vertically.
A CNC router is pretty much the same as the other machines that use the technology; the only difference is that this device is more focused on working with wood. This kind of unit scores higher in accuracy and precision, compared with the manually-held wood routers. It’s also efficient and convenient to use because the user can leave the device running after confirming the necessary adjustments like the design and the starting point of the cut.
How does it Work?
The cutting process of a CNC router is straightforward. You just need a computer with CAD software to draw and design what you want the machine to cut. You also have to select the cutters that you’d use for the project from the toolpath program that the router comes with. From your input, the program will then measure the instructions and produce a file, which you can save in your computer. The last step requires you to place your chosen wood material on the machine, and attach the appropriate bit for the project. After that process, you can leave the CNC router to work.
CNC Router Review
Next Wave Automation has built its reputation in the industry as the manufacture of the CNC Shark and Piranha machine series. For now, we’re going to give you our reviews on CNC Piranha FX and XL. What’s the difference between the two? What should you buy? Read on to find out!
CNC Piranha FX Review
The Piranha FX is considered to be a go-to CNC router for most professionals, and there’s a reason why. To start, the FX is one of the premium models that New Wave Automation released. One thing that puts this machine on top of the list is its Laser Engraver Module, which few of the ones in the market have. Because of this, the abilities that this device can offer are beyond expectations.
What’s more impressive is that this unit comes with three more features that increase its functionality among the other products. The Piranha FX can carve, 3D paint, and engrave using a laser. It also has a touch screen interface, where you can control the machine; another way to control it is by using your computer with a USB drive to make file transfers. Generally, this unit is more applicable for smaller projects because of its 12x18x3-inch table size.
The Piranha FX has mounting hardware and an interlocking table track. It’s also compatible for palm router models from brands such as DeWalt and Bosch. As mentioned, this unit has a 3D painting feature, and it has a library of 3D models that you can use and choose from its Vector Art Sampler Pack. You can access this function through the VCarve Desktop V8 Design software. The downside in this is the software is not compatible with Mac, so you’ll need a Windows PC for this machine.
Additionally, you can use the New Wave Automation’s Touch Probe to get more features from its 3D processes. With this, you’ll be able to scan and copy a given image into the wood with high accuracy; however, you’ll need the VCarve program to complete this.
CNC Piranha XL Review
From our CNC Piranha FX review, it’s like the FX has everything that you’ll need for wood projects; however, the XL model can be considered as the upgraded version of it. Starting with its table size that’s 12x24x4 inches, the XL can tackle more extensive and complicated projects. It uses the same VCarve Desktop V8 Design program to get your image input, and it also comes with a pack of a 3D model library; take note that the software is only applicable for Windows users. It has a USB 2.0 port, so you can use a cable that’s compatible with it to transfer and save image files.
What we liked about this unit, aside from the VCarve program, is the Virtual Zero software that it’s incorporated with. The system provides a map-like interface that serves as the reference point of your project – this is useful for the reduction of effects that are brought by deformed pieces. Another plus factor is its touchscreen module interface called Pendant, which has a colored graphics feature; with this, you can design an image in different available colors.
Like the Piranha FX, the XL is also compatible with external accessories to maximize its 3D features. You can use the Touch Probe to recreate, restore, or copy the patterns from a reference workpiece.
The Piranha XL has a steep price, and is more expensive than Piranha FX, which costs about two-thirds the amount. The apparent reason for the huge price difference is that the XL offers more feature than the FX. To simply put it, The Piranha XL is like the upgraded version of the Piranha FX.
If you’re just starting in the woodworking industry and are new to the concept of using a CNC machine, we recommend you to use the Piranha FX as it’s less expensive but still offers enough features to cater on different projects. If you’re taking on larger projects and you want to upgrade your current CNC machine, we recommend you to choose Piranha XL as it’s designed to tackle larger and longer woodworks. It also provides more features to help you work on complicated projects with ease.