September 30, 2021

Next Wave – SHARK SD100 CNC Machine Review

Next Wave Shark SD100

The Next Wave® SHARK SD100 is a CNC carving machine. It is a small format model that packs the same punch as the larger units. The multi-material tool works on wood, soft metals, plastics, and other solid surface materials. It is an excellent value in the carving industry, allowing you to make 3-D carvings or machined parts in mediums. Below is a detailed review of the product. 

Review

SHARK SD100 CNC Machine

Make a design in VCarve Desktop or other design software for carving and save it as a toolpath. Load and run the toolpath on the SHARK SD100 using the proprietary Ready2Control software. The package includes a SHARK SD100 CNC machine, hold-down clamps, V-groove bit, AB-USB cord, power supply, VCarve Desktop software, and Vector Art 3-D Sampler pack. 

The SD100 comes fully assembled, and that saves you time. It is a compact and full-function CNC machine. The MDF bed has t-slots that give multiple clamping positions. 

The Ready2control software allows your computer to run your CNC machine. Since the CNC machine is assembled, it only requires a palm router and a router bracket. For operation, you need a laptop, computer, or pendant controller. 

There are no specifics, meaning you can use the one you already have. That makes the project affordable. The plug-and-play design of the SHARK SD100 accepts any of Next Wave’s full line of accessories, including a 2W laser, mini 4th axis, or touch plate. The black finish makes it beautiful.

Some users prefer AutoCad for their design work. It is user-friendly for an average computer user. Master both using and setting up the CNC machine. Although the CNC machine is small, it is worth the price. 

The machine is made of non-metallic main plate parts, and plastic parts do not compromise the quality of the CNC machine. It comes with high-quality linear bearings and raceways, and leadscrews. The linear bearings include a seal. The leadscrew nut assemblies use a spring to take up the backlash, and the technique leads back to the 40s. 

Setting up the CNC machine

Set up the laptop and follow the steps in downloading the Ready2Control software. It requires you to verify your email address, and you need to enter a 72-character Key Code sent via email, as you copy and paste or enter it manually. 

There is no step-by-step process when downloading the VCarve software. The SD100 user manual is well-written, and the VCarve tutorials are easy to follow. Take your time as you read instructions. 

What makes the Shark SD100 a starting point is an affordability. You still have exceptional quality wood carving from the low-budget machine, and the lightweight and compact design make it easy and comfortable to use. 

The CNC machine works as well as a full-sized CNC machine. The woodworking operations require you to control and design the project, where the software comes in. The trade-in program makes you feel confident in your project.

The CNC machine requires a PC Computer with a USB port and a Bosch, DeWalt, Porter-Cable, or similar Palm Router, which come separately. You do not spend much when you want to expand the working area. 

The CNC machine has a small working area, a limitation of some projects. The base area is small, which determines the type of projects to run. 

The machine has versatile software and a great support system. It is easier to start with complex projects right away on the first day. These include 3D carvings, and the Z-setting fixture allows you to set in home locations. 

The starter kit requires mounting the router. Markings on the mounts help you select the proper mounting system since you are getting started. V-carve is quite responsive in problem-solving. Unlike the SD100, which is limited, the Shark SD100 is flexible. 

The tutorials that come with the software are easy to follow. The machine gives you an excellent CNC experience, although the clamping system needs augmentation. Flatten or surface the wasteboard before projects with small depth cuts.

If you want to use the machine to cut material, set the depth to slightly greater than the thickness of the material. Use a spoiler board between the CNC surface and the material to avoid cutting into the CNC surface.

Pros

  • Beautiful.
  • Multiple accessories.
  • Ready to control essential software.
  • Pre-assembled.
  • Variety of clamping positions.
  • It comes with a trade-in program.
  • Offers high-quality 3D wood carving.
  • Lightweight and compact designs.

Cons

  • The software could have been more helpful.
  • The clamping system included needs augmentation.

Safety precautions 

  • Read safety and operating instructions before using your Shark SD100 
  • Understand the operation system.
  • Follow the instructions for the setup.
  • Always wear appropriate eye and hearing protection when operating your Shark SD100.
  • Do not adjust the workpiece or move the Shark SD100 while running. 
  • Use the Cancel or Pause buttons to Stop or Pause your Shark SD100 (Barracuda) in the middle of an operation.
  • Never leave your Shark SD100 (Barracuda) unattended while it is running. 
  • Keep a multipurpose dry chemical fire extinguisher nearby.

Features

Install Vectric VCarve Desktop software

The VCarve desktop designs projects and creates cutting files that makes the CNC machine move. The Shark SD100 comes with a thumb drive that has the software. Insert the drive into your computer and follow the steps to install it. 

Machine control panel

The control panel comes with settings that help you control the CNC machine. There is an icon to click for updates. When the software Update Icon appears, a Ready2Control-Basic software update is available. It glows in yellow to grab your attention. Clicking on the icon starts the update process. 

Warranty 

The CNC machine has a two-year warranty. The first year covers all defects in material from the date of purchase. The warranty covers parts and labor used to correct the machine defects. However, it does not cover the shipping costs of the machine or CNC parts sent for repair. 

The warranty does not cover defects resulting from wear and tear, misuse, negligence, and lack of maintenance. For more information do not hesitate to call the company. Next Wave CNC does not cover death, injuries, or damages arising from using the product. 

Verdict

The Next Wave – SHARK SD100 CNC machine is a compact machine that allows projects to get started quickly. Its affordability does not come at the expense of its quality. It is an ideal machine for beginners because it is easy to operate. Follow the instructions in the manual for easy operation.

David D. Hughes
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