The award-winning CarveWright System was first developed by NASA Robotics Engineers on a mission to create the first consumer level CNC carving system. To do this they had three goals in mind:

  • Be compact to fit in anyone’s garage, while providing a maximum output capacity.
  • Include software that is full-featured, yet easy enough for beginners to learn to use.
  • Make it available at a price that makes professional CNC fabricating affordable.

The CarveWright answered all of these, becoming a market sensation when it launched in 2006, and it remains the most affordable and by far the most capable desktop CNC system available.

The basic CarveWright System includes the CNC carving machine, the user friendly Project Designer software, a 1/16″ carving bit, memory card, and memory card programmer. Additional accessories and software upgrades, such as the scanning probe, full bit set, add-on apps, are also available. Online web support from includes tutorials, projects, user’s forum, FAQ’s, downloads and access to purchase or sell additional designs through the Pattern Depot

You can think of the CarveWright machine as a desktop publishing system for wood and other soft materials. The easy to use CarveWright Designer software lets the user create original designs without having to use complicated CAD software. Once the design is ready, the information is uploaded to the machine via a memory card and carved. The machine can carve, cut, surface, edge route, and miter a workpiece with a variety of bits and techniques. To see a sampling of what can be done with the machine, visit the CarveWright website (www.carvewright.com). Check out the Projects/The Results page, the Customer Gallery or the gallery in the Users Forum. The machine requires no prior knowledge of machine tools or the programming language G-Code. It does all of the setup with its sensors and prompts the user for information when required.

The machine can handle a workpiece up to 14.5″ wide x 5.0″ tall x 12′ long. The maximum length in most cases is dependent on the weight of the workpiece and is related to both quality of the carving and longevity of the drive mechanism. Any workpiece more than 20 lbs in weight places increased stress on the drive mechanism and will accelerate wear on the system. Although there is no physical limit to workpiece length, stand-alone support rollers should be used on any workpiece over 3′ long to achieve the best results.

The minimum acceptable size of a workpiece that can be inserted into the CarveWright is 1.5″ wide x 0.5″ thick x 7.0″ long. It will be necessary to mount the workpiece onto a jig, if any of the single dimension is smaller than the stated minimums.

A jig is a piece that is constructed and made for project pieces to be placed inside. The jig tricks the machine into thinking it has a piece that is of acceptable size and shape. Your CarveWright can be used to create a jig. Consult our Archived Tips & Tricks for more information on jigs: ISSUE 7 April 2008 – Carving Jigs – Carrier Boards, Sleds and Rails

We do sell a Rotary Jig for carving in the round. It is listed as an ACCESSORY.

The maximum depth for cut is 1.0″ with the 1/8″ cutting bit and 0.8″ with the 1/16″ carving bit.

Like a printer, projects can be configured to run in a DRAFT, NORMAL, BEST or OPTIMAL quality settings depending on the situation. Draft is the fastest and should be used on any first time “test” carves. BEST works great on tighter grain woods leaving little to no feathering or clean up required. OPTIMAL should be used for softer grained woods that will be final pieces and takes about 3 times longer than the BEST mode. The quality mode dictates the speed of the cut and amount of material removed per pass. On the best quality setting the spacing between passes is .006″. Lower quality setting means less time on the machine, but perhaps more elbow grease. Higher quality setting means more time on the machine, but less elbow grease.

The carving time of each project is determined by four main variables:

  1. The Size of the Project – (the most obvious of the four) the larger the project; the longer it takes to carve
  2. The Quality Setting Selected – like a printer, the user can select the output quality. The higher the quality setting selected, the longer the project will take to run.
  3. The Depth of the Cut – the deeper the cut and more wood being removed increases the carve time.
  4. The Cutting Mode – The CarveWright produces carvings by two different cut modes; raster carving and vector carving modes. Raster carvings are produced by making many small passes with the 1/16″ carving bit, building the image one line at a time. The path is similar to that of a dot matrix printer. A Vector carving is produced when the bit follows a 3-D path generated by the software. The path is similar to that of a plotter. Vector carvings are typically much faster than raster carvings.

The software will estimate total cut time when you upload the project to the memory card. For comparison, the top of the small jewelry box (8.5″ x 5.5″ x 3.5″) on the Projects/The Results page of the website took one hour to carve in NORMAL quality mode. The larger box (10″ x 13″ x 6″) took 5 hours at BEST quality mode.

The CarveWright software enables you to place designs on both sides fo the workpiece. Many times a two sided design will require a special jig because of the way the machine moves and measures the material. The machine does not currently have the capability to fully carve in the round.

The machine has the precision to output multiple pieces that will line up well when seamed together, if the project is laid out correctly in the software and appropriate steps are taken during the carving.

Yes, the drive belt configuration allows the machine to plunge any bit below the bottom surface of the workpiece. The machine is also configured so that the entire topside of the material can be carved (although to do this, the piece may have to be mounted into a jig).

The software automatically adds small tabs that bridge to any pieces that are cut out using the “Cut Out” function. These tabs keep the pieces from dropping out and binding the system or cutting bit. These tabs can be cut with a razor or snapped off after the piece is removed.

The CarveWright can currently do miter and bevel cuts and can be commanded to do dados and rabbets.

Yes, the machine can carve complex surfaces. A very accurate representation of an existing surface can be obtained by using the surface – scanning probe available for $299. Many times a jig will be required to index the material to be carved.

The core capability of the CarveWright is as a carving machine. The machine configuration and control software are quite different than a classic mill. As such, the terms resolution and accuracy are hard to correlate to what you expect from a classic milling machine. Our controllable resolution is .00025″ on the Y and Z-axes and .0015″ on the X-axis. The accuracy of any single raster carving line is on the order of .005″ – .010″ in the Y and Z and the step width is between .005″ and .010″ depending on the quality setting you choose. When you are talking accuracy of position of two elements across a 60″ board the value is even higher.

The CarveWright is designed as a light duty machine intended primarily for the hobby market and is priced accordingly. It is not suggested for continuous commercial or industrial use. The CarveWright is commonly used in commercial settings however, usually with multiple machines running to meet production demands.

No. At this time, we only sell one model of the machine. However, we are continually working to expand our product line to meet customer needs. Please continue to monitor the website to see press releases on new products and software.

The CarveWright is only available in the continental US. It is powered with 110V connectivity. Our customer support is not available 24/7, nor are we multilingual. Taking the machine outside of the US or Canada will also void the warranty on the machine. We will only ship the machine or parts to a continental US address and funds may only be accepted that are US funds (all major credit cards accepted). Any export of the machine outside of the US is the sole responsibility of the customer. Any items such as software, subscriptions, patterns, and projects are sent via email to customers.

Look through the users forum as well as our facebook page for more information not addressed on this website.
Where can I learn more about using the machine?

There are several educational materials available for learning to use your machine:

  1. CarveWright Instructional Video – this 45 minute video mostly covers the machine. One is shipped with every new machine. You can also order it online at the CarveWright Store. The video is free, but shipping and handling is $7.00
  2. The CarveWright Manual is available from our website under SUPPORT

The CarveWright can work in most soft materials including wood (even exotic hardwoods), suitable plastic and foam. Any materials outside these families are not to be used with the machine unless explicitly state by CarveWright. At present, the CarveWright does not carve in metal, ceramic tile, stone, glass or concrete. Wood The machine can carve the full range of wood types from soft pine to exotic hardwoods. While we have not tested every conceivable hardwood, we have yet to find one that cannot be used in the CarveWright machine. We have found that hard materials with tight grains produce the best finishes. In most cases, feathering and chip out will increase as the grain size increases. Also dry materials tend to produce a better quality finish then material with high moisture content. The CarveWright Designer Software has several tools to control chip out to help when working across all types of wood grain. Plastic Suitable carving plastics include polycarbonate (Lexan), cast acrylic (sign makers plastic), and acrylic base (Corian or Staron). Most other plastics such as Nylon, ABS and extruded acrylic (Plexiglas) tend to melt and gum up because the melting point of the material is lower than the temperature generated at the bit tip when carving. The great thing about cast acrylic and Corian is that they come in many different colors and opacities. Note that the machine is always expecting soft material like wood as the carving medium and will automatically set the speed and feed rates based on this expectation. Therefore it is very important to keep any carving in plastic to less than 1/8″ deep. Deeper carving will put excessive load on the machine by trying to push a bit through this hard material and can cause damage to the bit and/or machine. The only bit currently approved for plastic is the tapered 1/16″ carving bit. This means that some functions will not be available to you when using hard plastic. DO NOT use any machine function that employs a bit other than the tapered bit when using plastics. For example, do not use decorative bits or the cutout function on plastics. Also remember to clean the machine very thoroughly when using plastics. The “dust” and chips produced can damage drive components and belts. Foam Foam is a great medium for carving. Sign foam, such as HDU (Hish Density Urethane), is particularly suited for creating signs and molds. The denser the foam the better the surface finish. Other Materials Any materials outside of those stated above are not to be used in the machine. In fact, not that the CarveWright warranty is null and void if the machine is used to cut metals, stone or any other hard material not explicitly allowed. We encourage all of our customers to be creative with materials within the wood, plastic and foam familiies and to report successes and failures so that we can share this information with the entire CarveWright community.

The machine is wired for 110V only. Some customers are reporting using transformers to step up to 220V, but this generally means they are using the system outside of the US and their warranty is in this case voided.Is it possible to run the machine on 220V AC? The CarveWright can only be used with a 60 Hz 110V AC power supply. Using a transformer to convert to 220V will void your warranty.Can I use an extension cord with the machine?When using the CarveWright at an extended distance from the wall outlet, use an extension cord heavy enough to carry the current that the tool will draw without inducing a large resistance load. An undersized extension cord will cause a drop in line voltage, which can result in a momentary loss of power. This can cause damage to the machine and in some cases can cause the machine sensors to work intermittently. this may show itself in random machine stalls or even a full electronics reboot.

Additionally, only connect to a dedicated circuit. Circuits with other large loads (AC units, other tools, dust collection systems, etc.) can also cause a momentary voltage drop when operating at the same time (especially at startup).

Use the chart provided below to determine the minimum wire size required in an extension cord. Only jacketed cords listed by Underwriters Labrotories (UL) should be used.

Length of Extension Cord vs. Minimum Wire Size (American Wire Gauge – AWG)

  • Up to 10 feet – 14 AWG
  • 10 to 50 feet – 12 AWG
  • Over 50 feet – not recommended

When working with the tool outdoors, use an extension cord that is designed for outside use (indicated by the letters WA on the power cord’s outer jacket). Before using any extension cord, inspect it for loose or exposed wires and cut or worn insulation.

The machine has a standard library of approved bits that can be used. Because of the variations in bit geometry and size among different brands, only CarveWright brand bits can be used. Use of other bits may void the warranty. The majority of machine functionality is done with the included carving and cuttting bits. Please visit the CarveWright website sotre for a listing of bits and bit sets.

The 1/16″ carving bit is solid carbide and will last for many hours, if handled correctly. Lifetime is directly related to what materials are being cut. Cutting in materials with glue (such as plywood or particle board) will tend to wear the bit faster. The typical reason a carving bit needs to be replaced is that it is dropped and the tip has been damaged.

The software will allow the user to create projects that use as many of the CarveWright approved bits as desired. On projects that use more than one bit, the machine will prompt the user for each bit, as it is needed. The patented quick-change system makes changing bits fast and easy.

It depends on what functions are being commanded in the software. Some functions will automatically use certain bits, while others functions can use any one of the many user selectable bits. By default the machine will use the 1/16″ carving bit for any raster carvings.

The CarveWright CarveTight spindle system uses pressed on steel adapters for the cutting and carving bits. These cannot be changed, as removing them would damage the bits. The decorative bits when used with the CarveTight system will utilize a 1/4″ split collet for the 1/4″ shank bits, and the no collet is required for the 1/2″ shank bits. Stop collars are recommended for these bits to provide a consistent stopping point when changing bits. Older CarveWright’s utilize the quick release chuck system. To use this system the bits must first be installed into the tapered bit adapters. The cutting and carving bits use a 1/4″ bit adapter and they are not to be removed from one bit to use on another since the setscrews are required to be permanently thread cemented. Swapping adapters will lead to stripped setscrews and loose bits. The 1/2″ bit adapters can be reused on multiple bits.

The scanning probe allows 3‐D pieces to be scanned into the software and added to the library. The scanner creates a 3‐D surface map by tracing the surface with the needle probe. The maximum scan depth is 1.0″. Most objects will need to be placed on a special scanning jig so that they can be fed into the machine. The scanning probe is now available in the online store or by calling CarveWright directly.

The capacity of the memory card is large enough to hold a significant number of projects and scans. How many it will hold depends on the size of the individual projects. Typically, we get 30 to 40 projects on a card. if the card fills up, simply delete some of the files using the Flash Manager in the software. As long as you keep the project file saved to your computer, you can re-upload the project to the memory card at any time. Once on the memory card, the file is no longer in a format that can be brought back into the software and changed. Always save your projects to your hard drive. Backup your projects from time to time, so that you can retrieve them, if your computer crashes.

Additional memory cards and programmers can be purchased online at our web store.

There is no need or accommodation for connecting the machine directly to a computer. The CarveWright is configured this way so that your computer will not have to be exposed to the dirty shop environment. The machine comes with a memory card and a memory card programmer that plugs into a USB port on your computer. Once a project is downloaded from your computer to the card (via the programmer) you simply remove the card and insert it into the memory card slot in the machine. Also, the machine is not wireless compatible.

No, the CarveWright memory cards have special files on them that communite to the machine.

Most parts are now available from our online store. Other parts for your CarveWright machine can be ordered by calling 713-473-6572. Check our website for hours of operation.

Some more parts will be added; some parts will remain available only by phone.

An Expanded Parts List and instructions for repairing the machine are available on our website under SUPPORT > Browse Topic Search > “Part List”. This will assist you in determining which part you need to order.

  • Assistance is availabe at our website under SUPPORT
  • CW Community Forum
  • Call Customer Service at 713-473-6572. Check our website for hours of operation.

There is not a lot of maintenance required, but it is VERY IMPORTANT!

Detailed instructions for maintenance can be found under SUPPORT – MAINTENANCE, in the CW User Manual, on the CW Instructional Video and on our website under Support. Briefly, you should at minimum:

  • Keep it Clean
  • Check Head Pressure
  • Lubricate Regularly
  • Keep within 40 to 110º Fahrenheit
  • Avoid Static Discharge
  • Avoid Power Fluctuations
  • Properly Prepare Materials
  • bathroom scale for checking head pressure
  • flexshaft lubricant (available on our store)
  • white lithium grease
  • 3 in 1 oil
  • dust collection system (recommended)
  • dc insert (available on our store)

Make sure you follow instructions for proper use of these products to avoid damage to your CW System. Instructions for maintenance can be found in the CW User Manual and on the CW Instructional Video and in the Service Documentation area of our website. LHR Technologies is not responsible for the accuracy of suggestions and information found in the Community Forum.

There are several sources for finding out more information on how to run the machine:

  • CarveWright User Manual
  • CarveWright Instructional Video – DVD included with each machine sold after April 2009, you canview online or order a DVD (S&H Charges-$7) online now or by calling 713-473-6572
  • CW Community Forum – search for your topic or post your question
  • Archived Tips & Tricks
  • Service Documentation
  • Call Customer Support at 713-473-6572
  • Find a START U member near you or a Local Users Group under COMMUNITY
  • Check our Show Schedule to see when we will be in your area
  • Attend our annual Conference, a Training Class or Visit our Houston TX location any Wednesday afternoon, call ahead to schedule an appointment 713-473-6572
  • Look in at our Dealer Listing – call ahead to see if they have a live demo machine they can show you – then purchase it from them
  • Post on our Community Forum to see if there is anyone in your area that will show you their CW
  • Package Size: 28.5” x 20.25” x 18”
  • Package Weight: 78 lbs (35.4 kg)
  • Machine Weight: 70 lbs (31.8 kg)
  • Cut Motor Speed (No Load): 20,000 rpm<
  • Cut Motor Horsepower (Peak): 1.0 Hp
  • Electrical Rating: 110VAC at 8 A, 60 HZ
  • Power Cord Length: 6 feet
  • Maximum Workpiece Size: 14.5” wide x 5.0” tall x 12′ long (Limited by weight)
  • Minimum Workpiece Size: 1.5” wide x 0.5” tall x 7.0” long