The ShopBot Desktop MAX retains the precision and software package that made its smaller cousin, the ShopBot Desktop, a great entry-level machine while doubling the cutting area. Although you can fit a ¼ sheet of plywood (48” x 24”) on the bed, the MAX only cuts into the first 36” of the work piece. However, a clever layout of parts means you can flip the sheet end-to-end and use the whole sheet in two steps.
Like ShopBot’s (@ShopBotTools) other mills, the MAX uses VCarve Pro to generate toolpaths. It’s expensive, but a license is included with the machine. It’s easy enough for beginners and powerful enough for most CNC tasks. The MAX’s control software is Shopbot3, which is free to download and ran perfectly on our 10-year-old netbook computer.
A Good Value
If you can afford its $9,000+ price tag, the ShopBot Desktop MAX is a worthwhile upgrade from the smaller Desktop and Buddy 32 models without breaking into five figures.
Base Price $9,340
Price as Tested $9,285 (including the Mini Enclosure)
Accessories Included at Base Price 1/4″ and 1/2″ collets, collet wrenches, wasteboard, and Z-zero assembly
Additional Accessories Provided for Testing Mini Enclosure
Build Volume 965×635×140mm
Materials Handled Wood, plastic (ABS, acrylic, Delrin, HDPE), foam, possibly soft sheet metals such as aluminum
Work Untethered? No
Onboard Controls? E-stop and spindle speed control
Design Software VCarve Pro from Vectric can be used for some designing and generating the needed G-code. Compatible with numerous other pieces of design software.
Cutting Software ShopBot Control Software
Open Software? No
Open Hardware? No
The waste-board that comes with the machine can shift during shipping. Make sure it is centered on the bed before running the surfacing and rabbet scripts prescribed by the user manual.