[CNC] Anybody have experience with enclosed CNC systems such as the Nomad 883/Carvey?

I know we’ve discussed some CNC machines before, but there’s a “submarket” for enclosed CNC systems. I’d like to get started with CNC at home, but have the giant problem here in that it has to be as quiet as possible (NVH). It seems that the spindle-based CNCs have a bunch of tradeoffs in order to be quieter, and I’m not sure if it’s even worth it - or if after all that compromise it is even quiet enough. (This would include vibrating things off the counters at the neighbor’s house.)

Looking at the Nomad 883 Pro, that’s 8" x 8" x 3" of workspace… The Carvey has 11.6" x 8" x 2.5" but some of that is eaten by the clamping (allegedly). Each basic unit is $2500.00 USD, so the price for the size is really high… I’m not even sure that 8x8 is worth it. I’m also looking for something turnkey (or just an easy kit with enclosure, which doesn’t seem to exist ready-to-go.)

I am interested in working with some wood, Corian, machinable wax, and similar materials. Metals would be for some other space and time.


Ultimately, somebody tell me this is a horrible idea and that I should just get a Shapeoko 3 (500) and make a ham for the police when they show up with noise complaints.

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I HAVE heard really good thinks about the Carvey but you’re right, the price is pretty high. I trust Inventables a lot though, so that would be my choice.

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I have a Nomad and I also lose space for clamping though some folks just use something sticky like carpet tape or fixture wax. For me though, I usually use clamps. I’m happy I went with the Nomad because I’ve made stuff out of aluminum and while the Carvey can do it, the Nomad looked more rigid to me.

As far as noise goes, the machine itself is about as loud as the Glowforge, but my HEPA dust collector is unbearably loud.

I don’t think the Shapeoko is much louder TBH. The enclosure is mostly to catch the dust and swarf. Which is the important bit for me. That and it was small enough to fit where I had room.


Thanks, that was some valuable feedback. Sounds like there’s a market [albeit small] for ready-built CNC enclosures for dust/noise/vibration all-in-one. I want a small black hole to run one in.

Would you say people could hear/feel yours going outside the house?

I had an original Nomad for a while but shortly after switched to an X-Carve 1000. The Nomad was pretty quite but for me the biggest drawback was the table size. I needed to cut much larger projects so I switched over. I’ve since sold the Nomad.

So I recommend really understanding what you will want to carve before you make a decision.


You can definitely hear the dust collector outside, but it sounds like somebody is running a vacuum.

The Nomad alone (when cutting) is detectable outside, but I doubt if anybody would notice the next house over.

I have mine in the bottom floor and you can hear it on the next floor up, but not so much that it bothers anybody.


I have a Nomad and a Shapeoko… as others have mentioned, the Nomad is more quiet, especially since I don’t have a dust collection vac hooked up to it. When I run the Shapeoko, you get the router noise plus the vacuum noise. Both are in the garage, and I’ve not gotten any complaints from the neighbors, even when running with the garage door up.

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I guess I should say I’m in San Francisco in a “tight” but generally quiet neighborhood. Our house is three stories and I was planning on running it in the garage (lowest level). The only shared wall is with the house next door (by shared, I mean it’s two separate structures but butt up against each other so they’re touching.)

This is mainly for small projects and mostly a learning effort (that’s why the size works for now) but maybe it’s more practical to find a maker space with one. I’m just not good with learning on somebody else’s time.


I attended a social evening put on by Inventables during the last maker faire in San Mateo. They offered two carvey machines via a raffle. One was being used a demo machine cutting fidget spinners all evening. I guess I was sitting about 15 feet to the left of the Carvey. I could honestly say that the machine is very quiet. Did not interfere with conversations, and sometimes I had to ask if it was running. It performed flawlessly all evening. I would recommend going over to the Inventables forum and checking that out. Lots of great advice to be had there.

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Is the other side of the shared wall also a garage? If so, that prolly means you have less to worry about.

On the other hand, wood routers are really loud, and you’ll thank yourself for buying a “quiet” machine.

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I saw my first YouTube review of the Carvey recently and the reviewer pointed out how quiet it was. With my X-Carve 2 and shop vac running, I have to wear earplugs.


Yes, the other side of the wall is also a garage (good point). I’m skittish because a friend ran his CNC in a live/work loft but the cops said NO SIR because it was vibrating things off the countertops next door. I’m just expecting the worst. Leaning towards quietness over raw functionality. I feel like the right product doesn’t exist so it’s just tradeoff time. Now I wonder which is quieter, a Carvey or a Nomad (spindle alone)? :smiley:

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I have a Carvey. It’s astoundingly quiet for what it is. I have run it in an open office, and with some materials that’s obnoxious to the people nearby, but it’s not wall-shaking. I do not think you would get complaints from neighbors.


I can’t seem to find a Carvey vs. Nomad 883 Pro shootout but I’m definitely leaning that way. Wonder if it would pay to wait for Black Friday. :wink:

Thanks for the input, y’all!


I think if you’re not going to do metal, you’re better off with Carvey for the space.

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Hi Seaton,
I purchased the first version of the Nomad, and I used it in an office space. The machine is really quite. I purchased the version with the bamboo sides so it wouldn’t look so bad in the cube I used it in. The spindle was designed and built by the guys making the machine and really is done well. They have been more than willing to help newbies and experienced CNC’ers They are giving away there software now so that’s a plus. The machine steppers are louder than the spindle in my opinion others may disagree. The only thing I see as a limitation is it work size, but as you increase the workable area the repeat-ability gets worse unless you make accommodations. The 8x8x3 area is a nice start and if your going to do small things like jewelry it may be what you want, but If I was looking at organic shapes and I was doing small work pieces I would look at the pocket cnc 5 axis machine.
I don’t know about the Carvey so I can’t remark about its capabilities. If you have specific questions just ask…

Edit: if you use a 24x24 inch rubber floor mat below the Nomad it makes a difference in the noise level.


Yeah it’s really a draw since I like distinctive factors about each. The Carvey enclosure makes me think it’s going to be quieter but that’s just going by looks — it’s certainly the cooler looking one. But I then think the Nomad is a more appealing overall package and probably the better choice. Clearly I just need one of each!

What’s the hot take for buying these used, such as https://sfbay.craigslist.org/pen/tls/d/nomad-883-pro-desktop-cnc/6353733179.html ?? Too risky?

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If that’s in your area, and that’s the machine you want to buy, I’d jump on it if I were you!

I bet there a bunch of guides on the internet about buying used CNC machines, but I’ll just throw out some (very general) things to check…

CNC machines should be rigid, square/parallel, smooth, and consistent. Move the axes through their entire range (both using the motors and by hand) and look/feel for rough patches or areas that are “different” than the rest. If you find something that’s different somehow, see if you can find an explanation, then try to figure out if the problem is fixable without replacing parts. If replacement parts are needed, the price should be reduced considerably. If there’s a problem with the rails, like they’re bent or nicked or something, they’re basically garbage and likely need to be replaced.
The spindle should turn smoothly and I really don’t think it should make much sound, if any, when turned by hand. It should also have low runout (less than 0.0005" would be nice, I’d say lower than 0.0015" would be mandatory).
I’m not sure what kind of parallelism you can expect, but with 8" of travel I would say anything greater than 0.003" of deviation would be too much. If the seller says that it’s fixable/adjustable, ask him/her to show you how it’s done and then actually go through the process. It shouldn’t take more than… 5 minutes or so (per rail). Squareness can be checked by milling a rectangle out of MDF or something and then checked with a square gauge.

That’s prolly enough for this post…

OK, one more thing: the seller probably went to a “big machine” because they either weren’t able to do something with the Nomad or they built up their skills so much with the Nomad that they wanted more capabilities. Maybe asking the seller for examples of things they couldn’t do, or shining examples of what they did do with the Nomad would be enlightening.


I own a Nomad 883 Pro… IMHO this is not a risky proposition. Machine is excellent as is the support from Carbide3D. There is a large, established online resource available to you with respect to support also.