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Honest reviews on the Shark HD

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  • Honest reviews on the Shark HD

    Hello all! I currently own a CarveWright and I have to say that it is a pretty impressive machine, but I am looking to expand and have been looking at the Shark HD and would love to get some honest feedback from people who have it before I drop $5000 down. Can you please share your experiences with the HD. Pro's and Con's. Would you buy it again? I appreciate your time in advance and there is no better opinion to get then from those who are using the machine. Thanks!

  • #2
    I started with a Pro, then went to an extended bed ProPlus. I recently upgraded to an HD4 extended bed. So I guess you could say I'm in the buy it again group. I've always been impressed and satisfied with the overall capability given the cost. The HD4 takes this to a very far point in my opinion - and I can see how some users are using their HD4 to carve metal and other materials as well. The VCarve software is powerful as well (although I chose to upgrade to Aspire as I do a lot of 3D work). As you're most likely using a router, it does take some 'art' to choose the best feed rates and depth of cuts/pass. You can download and install VCarve as a trial version. It is fully functional - and work through the tutorials. I've found that anything I can create in Aspire/VCarve, the Shark will carve it well.


    • #3
      kbfarms, thank you for the post. I really do appreciate the insight of people currently using the machine. I have been working on teaching myself Fusion 360 and since it does have a CAM component I was wondering if you had any experience comparing it with Aspire. I do a lot of 3D things on my CarveWright now so either upgrading to the full Aspire or working through Fusion is a must. Since the Shark comes with VCarve did you have to pay the full price for Aspire or just a smaller upgrade fee? Thanks!


      • #4
        I don't have any experience with Fusion 360. You can do a number of '3D' type projects with VCarve. However, you can't do any 3D creation or sculpting in VCarve. That is only available with Aspire. I encourage you to go to Vectric's web site, even if all you do is thumb through the tutorial video topics for VCarve and Aspire - without even downloading the software. This would give you a sense of what is possible with VCarve only, and what you can do with Aspire. If you choose to migrate to Aspire, it is an upgrade charge as you are a VCarve owner. That cost is also available from their web site. You may find that you can create the 3D component in Fusion 360, and import that model into your VCarve project and you have what you need. I'd be surprised if you found VCarve gave you less design capability than you have today with the CarveWright software. You can 'see' some of the work folks have done at the 'other' Shark forum - (this link is sponsored by Rockler). Also welcome to look through our photo gallery on facebook - KB Farms. I primarily work with wood and HDU, and again, for the cost and functionality, this is the tool for me.


        • #5
          Thanks! Very helpful. I will go look at Vectric's web site and the other places you mentioned.


          • #6
            I just purchased the HD4 with extended bed and have been doing a lot of laser engraving, There is a lot to learn but it seems to be a great machine. I have 2 other cnc machines, one from Legacy their web site is and its the best but cost around 15,000 its a 5 axis machine and is the best cnc I have ever been around. They have live on-line classes every week that are free and the greatest support I have ever had. NextWave also has outstanding support but i really love my Legacy. I think in order of preference i would chose the Legacy first, the shark second and Carveright third. The legacy will soon be coming out with a laser attachment for their machines, or you can buy just the laser from NextWave and put it on a Legacy.
            Hope this helps. LWMCNC has a live class every Wednesday night that anyone can join in on if you want to learn all the Vectric tricks newbees are always welcome. The owners name is Tracy Anderson and he teaches the Vectric classes. Very valuable no matter what cnc you own. Hope this helps Roy


            • #7
              Roy thanks for you input. Legacy sounds great, but a little out of the range I'd like to spend right now. I do like my CarveWright and am amazed at what that machine can do, but there are some limitations. I'm going to go ahead and buy the Shard HD4 Extended Bed. I think the classes you mentioned would be great especially since I will need to learn Vectric's software. I will check those out. Thanks again for the info! Charlie


              • #8
                I want to make sure you and any other person considering using Vectric software know that:

                1 - you can download a fully functional trial version of their software from their website

                2 - they have the most comprehensive and useful (in my opinion) set of video tutorials available online

                3 - the software has the most useful help manual I've run into

                4 - they have a very active and supportive forum

                Even several years ago, before investing a dime, I was able to determine what I could do with the software before making any investment.


                • #9
                  Thanks! I will be downloading the trial version.