Advance sales begin as Shaper Origin hand-held CNC nears market

LEBANON, Ind. - The Shaper Origin, a hand-held router steered by a smart-phone sized guidance system, has begun taking pre-orders. Developed by an MIT student when he had trouble building picture frames with an ordinary router, the Origin is expected to begin shipping in a year.

The Origin was being demonstrated September 10 at Festool Connect, the toolmakers' annual extravaganza and new product introduction party. Festool this week launched its new HK track saws

Along with This Old House star Tom Silva and displays and demos of Festool's newest power tools and project aids, the Shaper Origin was on display, affording hundreds of visitors the chance to see and use it.

The original more primitive version used an adaptation of Smart Phone GPS to guide the router cutting head. The sleekly designed Shaper Origin operates similarly. The user guides the router's cursor within a general guide shown on the display, and the system keeps the cutting head precisely on track, cutting even and consistent curves, engraving patterns and logos, and executing other cuts. 

Shaper Origin is being sold for $1,499 (plus $99 shipping) in a limited quantity. After that supply is gone, the price will rise to $1,699. It is listed at $2,099 retail, and is expected to become available in a year, according to pricing at  

The Shaper Origin started out as a development by Ilan Moyers, and MIT grad student who was said to be trying to cut picture frame components and found the hand-held router difficult to control consistently. He spliced a smart phone to a DeWalt router and created a solution. This became the basis for a paper delivered at the 2012 SIGGRAPH conference, " Position-Correcting Tools for 2D Digital Fabrication, by Alec Rivers, Ilan E. Moyer and Fredo Durand.

The paper is available here:  Moyer was at the Festool Connect event, demonstrating the Origin. 



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Bill Esler | ConfSenior Editor

Bill wrote for, FDMC and Closets & Organized Storage magazines. 

Bill's background includes more than 10 years in print manufacturing management, followed by more than 30 years in business reporting on industrial manufacturing in the forest products industries, including printing and packaging at American Printer (Features Editor) and Graphic Arts Monthly (Editor in Chief) magazines; and in secondary wood manufacturing for

Bill was deeply involved with the launches of the Woodworking Network Leadership Forum, and the 40 Under 40 Awards programs. He currently reports on technology and business trends and develops conference programs.

In addition to his work as a journalist, Bill supports efforts to expand and improve educational opportunities in the manufacturing sectors, including 10 years on the Print & Graphics Scholarship Foundation; six years with the U.S. WoodLinks; and currently on the Woodwork Career Alliance Education Committee. He is also supports the Greater West Town Training Partnership Woodworking Program, which has trained more than 950 adults for industrial wood manufacturing careers. 

Bill volunteers for Foinse Research Station, a biological field station staddling the border of Ireland and Northern Ireland, one of more than 200 members of the Organization of Biological Field Stations.