Shop Bot link work with other routers?

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Tim Kulin
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Shop Bot link work with other routers?

Postby Tim Kulin » Tue, Apr 06 2010, 5:42PM

I'm a long time ecabs user, and it's time for my business to buy its first router. A Thermwood router would be ideal, but is out of our price range for this first of (hopefully) many machines. I've looked at the Shop Bot and have found it to be inferior to another router that is actually priced a bit less. I'd love to stay on the eCabs/Thermwood path, but as it stands, the router I'd like to buy won't work with eCabs, so I may be forced to another software package if there is no way to get them to communicate.

Is it possible to buy the Shop Bot link without buying a shop bot, and is there any chance it could be made to work?

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Re: Shop Bot link work with other routers?

Postby Gary Campbell » Tue, Apr 06 2010, 5:53PM

No
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Re: Shop Bot link work with other routers?

Postby Roger Kirkpatrick » Tue, Apr 06 2010, 8:38PM

WoW!

Gary usually has more to say than that. :D

But yes, the short answer is NO, can't be done. No way, no how.
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Neville Bastian
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Re: Shop Bot link work with other routers?

Postby Neville Bastian » Tue, Apr 06 2010, 8:45PM

Tim, Have you thought about buying second hand either a Thermwood or shop-bot?
I know thermwood do have refurbished units they sell.
I know it is tempting to buy a cheaper entry machine but the cost is not always at the beginning of the journey. If you intend to sell and upgrade in the future selling a used Thermwood would be easier than a shop-bot or equivalent. Its always easier to trade a Thermwood on a Thermwood or a shop bot on a shop-bot if you get my drift. Also the cost to buy software and relearn it also comes at a cost especially if its inferior.

My 10 cents worth.

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Neville
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Kerry Fullington
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Re: Shop Bot link work with other routers?

Postby Kerry Fullington » Wed, Apr 07 2010, 7:43AM

Tim,

The software to run a router is as important as the router. If you don't have software that is capable of designing what you build then the router becomes another employee standing around with a broom in it's hand waiting for instructions from you. Many router manufacturers include software but you will be entering your cabinets one part at a time.

Another thing to look at is any software that is comparable to eCabinets is going to have a steep learning curve (and probably a big price tag) so I would locate software to run my new router before I pay out the money for the router.

I personally wouldn't consider anything but a Thermwood because of the time I have invested in eCabinets. I know that I can draw anything I want to build.

If you are shopping routers strictly on price point, that is a big mistake. I could probably afford the router you are looking at on the WoodWeb but what I can't afford would be the software I would need to do what eCabinets does and the time to learn it as well as I know eCabinets.

Kerry

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Re: Shop Bot link work with other routers?

Postby JohnLashuay » Wed, Apr 07 2010, 9:27AM

Hi Tim!

I was where you are currently. 2 years ago we started the process of looking into purchasing a cnc router and after a year of research we came to the conclusion that that Thermwood was by far the best way to go.

As Kerry mentioned, the software is a huge part of the purchase. With ecabinets, it is free, but not necessarily. You need to put a price tag on it as you compare it with others. When I looked into other software, I found that a comparable software would be about $30,000 to start with and then add in all the additional fees that go with it. Also, keep in mind that having your machine manufacturer and software manufacturer being one and the same is invaluable. When you have a problem you are not passed off to another company. It is in their best interest to get to the bottom of it.

That leads to the customer service end of things...Thermwood is big on this area. Any problem that we had was always met with prompt, professional service and they were more than willing to get to the bottom of it.

The Super Control is hands down a huge plus for a Thermwood. It's capabilities are quite extensive and again, I can't say it enough, they build it in house and therefore you will NOT be passed to another company as if it is their problem and good luck in the process!!! We had a part go bad. I called them around 3pm and by 11am the next morning I had the replacement part and we are up and running. You can't put a price tag on that!!!

We purchased the CS43 and it is a really great machine. And the price is great considering it's capabilities.

I would urge you to look long and hard into this decision. There are many things to consider. I am confident that when you add in the cost of software and all the additional fees, the machine cost, and all the peripheral costs such as down time and the like (these will be difficult to measure), as well as customer service and finally the controller, you will find that Thermwood is head and shoulders above the rest.

I don't regret our decision one bit! It has opened new doors for us and our future is so much more promising than ever before.

Sincerely,
-John
Rylex Custom Cabinetry & Closets
http://www.rylexonline.com
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Re: Shop Bot link work with other routers?

Postby Tim Kulin » Wed, Apr 07 2010, 9:46AM

Thanks for all the good input. As stated, I'd love to stay with Thermwood since I've been using the software for so long, but even a used machine is considerably out of our price range, and there don't seem to be many available. Outside the Thermwood community, the Shop Bot does not have a great reputation, so I'm also reluctant to go that route.

There is no easy answer, I guess. We'll continue to research and analyze and hopefully come to the right conclusion.

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Re: Shop Bot link work with other routers?

Postby Dean Fehribach » Wed, Apr 07 2010, 10:46AM

JohnLashuay wrote:<snip>The Super Control is hands down a huge plus for a Thermwood. It's capabilities are quite extensive and again, I can't say it enough, they build it in house and therefore you will NOT be passed to another company as if it is their problem and good luck in the process!!!<snip>

John, I want to add to your comment about the Supercontrol because I believe there is some confusion out there about it being a homegrown controller. Thermwood, because of its leading position in the market, actually worked with Siemens Research and Development in Germany to develop the latest control system from the ground-up. Thermwood's software development team paired with Siemens' Research and Development in Germany to come up with this remarkable and superior machine control. For the price, performance, software integration, motion control, and capabilities, it cannot be beat.
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Re: Shop Bot link work with other routers?

Postby JohnLashuay » Wed, Apr 07 2010, 10:49AM

Thanks Dean! I was unaware of this info. Thanks for clarifying!
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Re: Shop Bot link work with other routers?

Postby Ben Blackmar » Wed, Apr 07 2010, 11:54AM

I dont own a router, but i outsource a good bit and have never heard one bad thing about the thermwood routers, and i have heard nothing but great raving reviews about their customer service. especially from router owners. that expense of buying, upgrading, and training for new software seems like a added expense in there,(not to mention all the time and traveling involved) while the thermwood routers seem to require much less learning and when you switch to cutout on a router. you may try contacting the Cabinet Makers Association, as i am a member and in these times i often hear about folks putting routers up for sale going out of business. there may be other similar resources like that also. disregard all this if you are already ahead of me, but the CMA is not a bad place to start and inquire though. maybe woodweb and ebay or craiglist?

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Re: Shop Bot link work with other routers?

Postby Gary Campbell » Wed, Apr 07 2010, 1:31PM

Tim...
My other post was obviously brief, by design. I wished to let this thread steep a little before I did give a reply.

As an experienced ShopBot owner, and a ShopBot Link trainer, I wonder who it was that told you that SB was "inferior". I doubt it was one of the 5000 plus owners using them every day. I also doubt it was anyone in the Thermwood organization, as I feel that Thermwood's selection of ShopBot to partner with and allow eCabinets cutting is an endorsement to some level. Please dont think that I dont know that the ShopBot is a much less robust solution than a Thermwood. Thermwood is top of the line, as good as you can get, and ShopBot is much closer to entry level.

I might guess that you heard this from a competitor. Most of the machines in the <$35K range are very similar. Some have better than others in mechanicals, some in control. Very few, if any are better in all. There are around 35 eCabs users cutting on a ShopBot. Why not ask one of them for a demo or opinion? Dont ask a Ford dealer or owner to give an opinion of a Chevy.

Personally we are extremely fortunate to have the SB Link and cut eCabs files. It's like having the advanced control features of a Thermwood on our machines. We also have legendary Thermwood support. We are able to cut wholesale parts for a number of shops, all of which have been very happy with the cut quality. We average 3-4 sheets per hour cutting eCabs files. Not Thermwood speeds, but plenty OK for a small machine. Well enough that I am on the last couple weeks of my 2007 machine and am upgrading to an ATC PRSalpha machine.

There are very few, if any, replacements for eCabs under $20K. None with equal or better design or cutting abilities. That $20K in software makes most other small routers almost double in price. And factor in an additional year of learning curve as stated above by others above.

As an eCabs user I can only wish for a Thermwood, but I am more than happy to cut parts for ourselves and others on a ShopBot til that can happen.
Gary Campbell
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Re: Shop Bot link work with other routers?

Postby Roger Kirkpatrick » Wed, Apr 07 2010, 4:42PM

Now that's the Gary I know. :wink:

Well said Gary as usual.
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Re: Shop Bot link work with other routers?

Postby Neville Bastian » Wed, Apr 07 2010, 7:19PM

Hi Tim,
I don't know your finances and what you can afford but one thing most do not factor in is the increased work you pull in simply because you have a cnc. This means if you are concerned about making the payments it won't be as tight as you think. The other area some people factor in is the transferring a cabinetmaker over to the Thermwood. In real life this doesn't happen as they don't need any trade background just the ability to know what the computer is telling them. Once you experience a few emergency stops you realise what is causing this. Could be a simple low air pressure or missing tool in tool holder etc. In fact if you could have a family member help you out at low cost until you get established. We all have semi retired or school leavers to keep costs down as Thermwood operators.

The other area could be helpful is obtaining a 5 year lease with a 50% residual. This keeps the payments right down and can be cancelled any time in that 5 years if you wish to upgrade. That 50% can be refinanced if you wish to keep the Thermwood. The payments are the same over a 3 year period with no residual.

Kerry's point about the software is true. I doubt any software under $30K with yearly maintenance & support of $1500 a year would equal Ecabinets that you are familiar with. From day one you could be operational with a cnc producing cabinets. A few years back the software I was using was in Beta and told it was usable, so the guy made a sale. 6 months latter and a Multicam clone table full of dust hadn't fired a shot in anger. That cost me about $2000 a month in payments. No compensation was paid. The moral of the story is go with the software you know will work and hardware you know will talk with the software.

All the best Tim

Regards

Neville
Neville Australia

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Re: Shop Bot link work with other routers?

Postby Josh Rayburn » Thu, Apr 08 2010, 12:34PM

Where are you located Tim?
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