SO3 vs. Shaper vs. Crossfire?

Alright, there are many past threads on … aspects … of this question, but I also know several of you have an SO3, at least a couple have the Shaper, and I only found out that the Crossfire exists at all because of this forum.

So: given roughly $2K, which of these tools would you buy: Shapeoko 3, Shaper Origin, or Crossfire?

(For those of you not familiar with Crossfire: )

I’m essentially aiming for maximum flexibility and dollar-per-unit-of-work-envelope, not any specific task (except that metal > wood).

I used to work in the structural steel industry, so I’m familiar with plasma systems and their manifold complexities. I was all geared up to get an SO3 (because it can do profiled [eg: topo map] surfaces, whereas the Shaper won’t), but then y’all pointed out that the Crossfire will soon exist.

But it also can’t profile a surface. Then again, it’ll work in steel; those of you with an SO3, have any of you used it frequently in metals? Will I burn out a motor by using it on 6061 more or less all the time?

Those of you with a Shaper, is the small-and-portable nature of the device as convenient as it seems? Does it outweigh being more or less stuck with wood/plastic? Even if you’ve got a garage to do things in?

In a perfect world I’d have a full size Mazak industrial mill, but that world also involves me discovering the winning lottery ticket on the sidewalk tomorrow morning, so…

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Shapeoko has a discourse of its own, I got a buddy who has one. I think you can probably read it as a guest? Might be a good source.

If you are using us as a rubber ducky then I think you answered your question right there.

There’s a fellow on the discourse site that almost exclusively uses it to cut 6061, but he went to more than your average rigor to make his machine rigid. There are also a fair number of people who burn through dewalt routers at a pretty good clip.

If you’re exclusively going to cut metal the Crossfire will give you more options and since you’re already familiar with the plasma cutter process it seems like you’re already familiar with the downsides. One thing to keep in mind is that I suspect their delivery estimate is optimistic.

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Uh oh. I never heard of Crossfire before either. Now I have one in my cart…

But, I know exactly nothing, maybe even less than nothing, about plasma cutting. So I’m thinking it’s not for me. I took a brief look through their FAQ and it didn’t really cover the stuff I feel like I want to know about, mainly safety.

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Yeah, a plasma cutter looks intimidating as hell. I don’t even know how to weld. Plasma tools look like dangerous science fiction.

Do want. :slight_smile:

It seems obvious to me that these are very different toys …ehr… tools, with little overlap.
-SO3 is not ideal for metal: it will work, but for short periods and very slow.
-shaper: I’m not a believer. I’m super impressed that they managed to actually pull it off and produced it, and that it works in the real world and people are using it, but to me it is still a gimmicky gadget with lots of limitations only suitable for someone who absolutely has no room or access to a table CNC.
-crossfire: looks cool, but nowhere in the same category as the other machines: if you have a plasma cutter you already have a full shop of metal fabricating machines. you can probably easily build one yourself.

oh, and just to throw some more confusion, what about the WAZER?
I actually pledged for 1 unit during an evening of drunken stupor… I have no idea what to do wiht it once it shows up at the door…!


Funny how different people react differently to different projects. I’m a Shaper owner and believer. Wanted to be a Wazer believer but just couldn’t after I found out that it won’t cut 1/4" mild steel and consumables will be very expensive.

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Ugh. I was the same about the Wazer when I first saw it on the webs. Then I saw one at Makerfaire @ NYC and CA. So wait.

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…actually, that’s precisely why I wanted to ask folks here; I figured I’d get quite different views that’d help me refine my own thinking!

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I think my problem with this (well, the primary problem) is ventilation. The only place I would have to use it is a small attached garage, so any fumes generated would need to be decisively removed. I don’t think I can make that happen in the space I have in any practical way.

Beyond that, I don’t have any other metalwork tools, so if I went down this route, I’d need to find budget and room for a grinder and a welder and a band saw and…

I think I’ll devote my scarce free time to getting better at using the tools I have, as much as a machine that cuts metal would be a pretty awesome addition to my home hobby capabilities.


While the water table would help (substantially) with that I think you’d probably still have an issue unless you could run it with the garage door partially open and a fan blowing.

That’s what I do. The garage door open one row of door and a floor blower pointed outside.
Just sucks in the winter. But it gets the job done.

@karaelena Yes but if you are slicing metal, you almost certainly are grinding, sanding, welding… you have oil and cutting oil and grease… it’s the difference between jimmy diresta’s shop and Christian Becksvoort’s!!

Yeah wazer was DOA with me on consumable cost, too.

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I built my CNCs starting with the OpenBuilds OX design, before moving on to custom builds, which are functionally not much different than the SO3. I use one specifically for aluminum (primarily 6061), and it meets my needs, since I’m not doing anything at scale. I’ve been considering a version that I can put a plasma head on, but the Crossfire looks interesting. I would have to run it with the garage door open and blowers running, but it would probably work for me.

The other two CNCs that I build are specifically for wood. I like that I can extend, expand and improve them over time. The SO3 would provide some level of flexibility but not to the same degree that I currently have. The Shaper is really interesting, and I would love to have one, but couldn’t swing it after also having to buy a new house. It’s still on my list of future tech. I think the Shaper would be the priority for me over the Crossfire, but the Crossfire is damn tempting.


Curses! I’ve got $2K of new toy sitting in my cart. I think I’ll sleep on it before pressing the go button. Maybe I’ll decide I won’t really use it and I will just move on.

Right. :slightly_smiling_face:

No idea what I would use it for but they had me at “CNC” :grin:

Didn’t really know what I’d use a laser for years ago when I got started with those.


Psst just do it.



if you already have 2 wood cncs, that you can expand, why would you want the shaper?

to be honest I have no idea why I pledged for the WAZER. I think at the time I had a few small projects in mind, but I already have some table top cnc machnie and a full size table router, and I had already pledged for the GF. I tried cancelling it later but they didn’t accept it (as per kickstarter guidelines). I might try selling it as soon as it is ready to ship, but I don’t think it has the popularoty of something like the GF.