Hands-On with Shaper Origin Handheld CNC Router!

This is super cool: a handheld CNC router that uses computer vision to let you see exactly what you’re cutting through the bit, and compensates for any shaky hand movement with automatic stabilization. We visit Shaper to learn about the Origin and test out its features!

Comments (43)

43 thoughts on “Hands-On with Shaper Origin Handheld CNC Router!

  1. Its definitely interesting. I saw Jeremy in one of the shots, I’m guessing like me he’s thinking custom pinball. I think for that need a table version has some benefits, but I do like it as an option for limited space.

    I wonder if/how it would work on an uneven surface.

    I also wonder how well it handles edges, or if your always confined within the interior of a panel. I didn’t see anything different at the website to help answer.

  2. It’s a cool concept but I gotta say it’s priced at about double of what it seems it should be. And a trim router with a 1/4″ shank is a bit limiting. My biggest concern though is the proprietary “Shaper Tape”. If the company goes out of business you’re stuck with a $2,100 door stop once you run out of tape.

  3. Arts that’s the big negative that stuck out for me as well. but then, it should be doable to update the software on this, so i don’t see why this shouldn’t be expandable beyond the proprietary tape.

    either to other tapes/marker concepts, or more free-form, where it decides for itself whether it has enough discernable information for locating itself. strongly figured wood, for example, should be providing a lot of unique enough landmarks by itself.

  4. Arts

    My biggest concern though is the proprietary “Shaper Tape”.

    Honestly, that sounds like B.S. How hard can it be to generate a facsimile of that tape?

    I was just put off by the seeming “hackiness” of having to put strips of tape down in odd places. I get it, but honestly, how about instead a table that has RF tags or something embedded — get your X-Y from ranging those? Dial in the wood thickness and that is the only extra piece of info you need. Maybe it would’t have the fidelity of the optical?

    Of course computer mice have been optical for some time now — requiring only a more-or-less non-reflective surface to work. I think the sort of “dead reckoning” though that might work for a mouse would fail utterly on an extended cut…

    Can you tell I’m just thinking out loud?

    I actually do think this is a fantastically cool thing that clearly defines a new class of tools that is certain to have staying power. I’m not sure what the lawsuits will look like but Bosch and Porter Cable would be idiots not to be R&D’ing something like this right now. (And I saw on Shaper’s web page that Festool was somehow involved in their company.)

    Also on their web page — a wonderful parade of prototypes showing the brilliant process of iterating on an idea. Going from a rough concept to a practical consumer model in several iterations. I really hope the best for them.

    As was stated though, if it were just half the price … I would have ordered one by now.

  5. I wonder if they tried using laser tracking directly on the surface rather than relying on a camera and fiducial markers.

    Imagine an optical mouse duct taped to the base of this thing. Wouldn’t it be able to get 1:1 tracking on most surfaces? And have some sort of tape as a backup for materials where that wouldn’t work.

  6. and besides the dust, relative tracking (x amount this direction, y amount that direction) isn’t exactly the same as orientation (knowing where in a pre-established space you are)

  7. The tape seems to retro-reflective targets for photography. It is a measurement system used more commonly in modern manufacturing. Sort of a hybrid between the high accuracy but low speed of lasers and the low accuracy and high speed of RFID or magnet tracking. It should be able to be made by third parties fairly easily.

    That being said, they are on presale now. I just ordered mine. I you want, use my link to get both of us $100 off. (seems to work better in internet explorer) https://preorder.shapertools.com/ref/A8JX6BMBW

  8. they are on presale now for $1499. I just ordered mine. I you want, use my link to get both of us $100 off. (seems to work better in internet explorer) https://preorder.shapertools.com/ref/A8JX6BMBW

    Most importantly, if you order one, they have stated refunds are available in full until it ships. I figured Ill risk it and get a refund if they don’t impress me later on.

  9. The tape means you can cut anywhere, on anything – you could cut in the center of a 8×12 sheet if you wanted, just with a couple of strips of tape. You could cut a perfect outlet hole in drywall, on a ceiling.

    If you’re only cutting small things, a table with tape around the edges and a cutout for a blank would work, and you’d never use more tape.

  10. Again a thing for the maker space not my workshop at that price. The tape stuff is not very elegant and you will need miles of it. Routing out these small things could be done on a laser cutter more efficiently. Not sure about the applications if for each little piece you have to do another setup and calibration. Anyway would like to try one for sure.

  11. I went hands-on with it at Maker Faire. Really intuitive design. And the camera has a pretty wide field of view for the tape, so I think you won’t need endless rolls of it, if you can position on your workbench. I describe it as the gamers router, given how it feels more like a game controller than a router in your hand.

    I was most impressed with the stabilization. Very effective at keeping you on track of the design.

  12. This thing is completely awesome! I want one so bad, but it seems Canada isn’t lucky once again…

    You guys complaining about the tape are acting like little princesses. There are several practical reasons why they use this system that I don’t even have to get into! The main reason is simply to ensure precision that’s for sure. Looking at how precise it is just for those little US states they were engraving you need to a lot of photographic information to ensure the router corrects properly! And they can’t use mouse tracking! That would take forever to scan, also they want to allow you to hand draw details onto the material so laser scan just won’t do it.

    It’s probably not very hard to reverse engineer and make your own tape solution, you could probably just print them on paper and tape them yourself (or use adhesive paper on your printer). Regardless some of you getting hung up specifically on this aspect of the product is … weird. Unlike other solutions like the Glowforge you can use your own materials as long as you put the tape on it, it’s a great compromise in my book.

    As for the price, one could argue it’s a bit high but they have a unique product that works in a precise way with a lot of software/hardware working together, touchscreen, computer and camera. I think it’s a very viable price.

    I want one for sure and I’ll start saving the money to get one once it’s available for canada (unless someone living near quebec wants to set something up with me ^_^)

  13. Saw this before somewhere and thought it was awesome, while I think the innovation is plaudable I also can’t imagine that the large power tool manufacturers could be too far behind in launching something similar at a more consumer friendly pricepoint.

  14. Don’t hold your breath, this is a niche product. The price and precision here is way higher than needed or wanted by anyone in the trades, and a benchtop CNC or laser is more practical for most professional shops. There are certainly places this will catch on, but it’s not going to get massive.

    Compare this to something like the Festool Domino (a hand-held mortiser). It has a very well defined use case, and is actually fairly popular with small furniture shops, but it’s still enough of a niche that there are no competitors for it.

  15. I wonder if they tried using laser tracking directly on the surface rather than relying on a camera and fiducial markers.

    Imagine an optical mouse duct taped to the base of this thing. Wouldn’t it be able to get 1:1 tracking on most surfaces? And have some sort of tape as a backup for materials where that wouldn’t work.

    But when you lift up a laser tracking mouse, it doesn’t track the surface until you set it back down. This views the entire workspace at all times, so you can lift it and move it without losing track of your placed file(s).

    Also, sawdust would make that impossible.

  16. First, can we all stop spamming the thread with the “I just ordered one! Use this link for $100 off” comments?

    Second, for this price I can get a CNC machine with higher precision that doesn’t require me to physically manipulate to work.

  17. First, can we all stop spamming the thread with the “I just ordered one! Use this link for $100 off” comments?

    Second, for this price I can get a CNC machine with higher precision that doesn’t require me to physically manipulate to work.

    Agree, strange that so many of these come from relatively quiet posters. All the hallmarks of engineered interest and a big red flag IMO.

    I googled the phrase and its all over maker sites. A shame.

    I also agree, hard to beat a full CNC. This is more of a space saver, carry-all tool.

    You can X-Carve all day at this price.

  18. This is one of the most innovative ideas I have seen in woodworking in a long time. Whether you are new to woodworking or tired of having to use an over sized and cumbersome CNC machine shaper can get you making projects in no time. I have already ordered one and cannot wait to get started. I am already collecting ideas and plans for projects I can’t wait to make. Everything from home-improvement projects to Christmas gifts for the family. Check it out and I guarantee you’ll be excited by what you see. Also if you use a link you can save $100 on your pre-order.

    https://preorder.shapertools.com/ref/GLR8R2508

  19. MakerMan … imagine if this thing was “connected” to a DIY waterjet cutter in place of the router 0__0 … Then you can cut anything to your hearts content and fill your pool 😉 I am already thinking of a way to do just this but will likely require having the product in hand to do it right without damaging it … it will be interesting for sure.

    Side note, there are now 14 uses left to save $100 using this link https://preorder.shapertools.com/ref/0GF25GX6P, thanks to one of you lucky people who previously used it.

  20. I just ordered mine. I want to use it for some specialty acrylic work along with wood working. I’ve done a lot of router work with acrylic (and PVC) to build aquarium sumps and filters. This tool will let me get away from building templates and also simplify my tool flow.

    If you use my referral code, you will save $100 and so will I. My referral code is fresh! Please follow the link below which will remain valid until end of September 2017.

    https://preorder.shapertools.com/ref/AM8GNCMB9

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