Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

At Shaper, we fuse robotics with handheld tools to simplify the process of making. We think everyone can create with better tools, so we’re working to make tools smarter, more intuitive, and easier to use.
Shaper Origin combines robotic precision with hand tool simplicity to create a first-of-its-kind machine: a handheld CNC that only cuts what you tell it to. This portable, intuitive, and powerful tool is capable of handling a wide variety of materials and projects.
Origin uses computer vision to understand its location relative to a workpiece. Its precision motors fine-tune the router spindle’s position in real time using sophisticated sensing and control algorithms that keep you accurate to within 1/100th of an inch of your intended path. If you stray outside of Origin’s correction range, the blade automatically retracts, protecting your workpiece. Think of Origin as auto-correct for your hands.
You can make nearly anything you can dream up. We’ve made skateboards, jewelry, large desks, gift boxes, chairs, radios, guitars, a carbon-fiber quadcopter body, baby toys, furniture, speaker cabinets, clamp fixtures, soapstone signs, a chicken coop, and much more. Visit our instagram for more #shapermade projects.
Origin tackles projects of any size. Unlike traditional CNC machines, there are no bed-size restrictions.
A limited number of Origin are available now for pre-sale. Batch 1 pre-orders (taken prior to Feb 1, 2017) will begin to ship September, 2017. Batch 2 pre-orders (taken after Feb 1, 2017) will begin to ship January, 2018.
We have spent the past five years developing, validating, and beta-testing Origin prototypes. Now our team is focused on performance refinements and delivering a high quality and reliable product that is mass producible. By doing this pre-sale, we can confidently commit to our manufacturers regarding the number of units to be produced.
Origin will retail for $2,099 but for buyers who purchase early during the pre-sale, Origin is offered at a discounted rate.
Simply sign up on our mailing list at the bottom of this page.
Sign up for our mailing list or follow us on Twitter/Facebook to be notified when we’ll be demoing. Or see demo videos here.
Origin is currently designed to work on flat surfaces. In actual practice, we have found Origin capable of accommodating a moderate amount of board warpage with no problem.
Absolutely. This is an excellent way to produce undercut features; e.g. for nail hangers in picture frames.
The short answer is “yes”, varying material densities and irregularities can contribute to inferior cuts - we are not inherently changing any laws of cutting physics. We’ve found that one of the nice things about being involved in the cutting process, though, is that you’re able to see and/or feel anomalies and are therefore able to make adjustments (to speed, bit offset, etc) if you are aiming for ultimate cut quality.
The limitations to what Origin can correct are based on depth of cut and the speed at which you go out of bounds of the corrective range. If you are cutting a reasonably shallow depth and you do not fly out of bounds, the bit can retract quickly enough to not leave a mark. If you are drilling a 1-inch deep hole and push aggressively out of the corrective range, the bit will almost certainly leave a mark as it retracts out of the material. We are continuously making improvements to bit retraction speed and also our algorithms to help improve cut quality, for example via predictive motion path compensation. But if cut/finish quality is the paramount concern, we recommend performing bulk material removal at an offset from the final intended path, and a finish pass where only a small amount a material needs to be removed by the cutter. The ability to return to the workpiece to shave off just a hair more of material is really one of the magic qualities of Origin that change the way you’re able to create.
This is highly dependent on the material you are cutting and the cutter you choose. It is not uncommon for us to perform light sanding operations on pieces to remove fuzz before fitting them together.
It’s difficult to compare specs directly with other CNC routers since a human is involved in the cutting process with Origin. Experienced Origin users are able to achieve cut quality and precision very comparable to a gantry-based CNC. With a small amount of practice, you are actually able to achieve cuts far greater than within 1/100th of an inch using Origin. But we’ve decided to state that number as a more generally achievable range to help bound the conversation. It should also be noted that even a total newbie is able to take Origin and start making precise cuts much more quickly and easily compared with a more typical CNC router. With features like on-tool path modification, we’re really focused on making the entire experience more intuitive. We strive to be the tool in your workshop you reach for first when you want to get something done.
Origin comes with a 12-month limited warranty. Any major issues encountered will be addressed by authorized return and Shaper will either repair or replace your Origin. We aim to stand behind our tools and our reputation.
The answer to this depends on who is doing the cutting, what their level of experience is, and what kinds of fixtures or tools they have access to as an alternative to Origin. Origin doesn’t do anything on its own, but it provides capabilities for traditional joinery and newer digital joinery techniques to nearly anyone. And beyond specific joint designs: the most important takeaway is the fact that Origin enables you to perform complex cutting operations in ways that you would not be able to with a traditional bed router; for example, cutting feature into the end grain of a long board clamped to the side of a workbench.

Using Shaper Origin

Setting up for a new project with Origin only takes a few minutes. Clamp or tape your workpiece down, apply ShaperTape to the surface, scan it with Origin, place your design with the touchscreen, and start cutting.
Designs can be transferred to the tool either via a USB thumb drive or wirelessly. ShaperHub, our web-based collection of designs, can also send ready-to-cut designs directly to your tool. Although Origin is greatly enhanced by its internet connectivity, it is still fully functional as an offline tool.
Yes. We will never require you to maintain an internet connection to use Origin, and Origin does not need to communicate with Shaper servers to function. You will always be able to transfer your design files to Origin using a USB flash drive. Connecting Origin to your Wi-Fi enables you to download updates that improve Origin, and to get new features as we develop them.
With Origin, your workpiece becomes your canvas. Use a comprehensive set of built-in drawing tools to intuitively design directly on your workpiece - no computer required.
You can send 2-D, vector designs (SVG files) to Origin from your iOS, Mac, Windows, Android, or Linux device. The tool supports a variety of files created from software like Inkscape, Illustrator, Sketchup, Solidworks, and AutoCAD. Additionally, ShaperHub provides a collection of projects, designs, and templates that are ready to be made.
ShaperHub is an online resource where you’ll find a collection of projects, downloadable designs, tricks, tips, and templates. It’s also an online community where designers, creatives, builders, and makers connect.

Technical Questions

Origin is capable of cutting to within 1/100 of an inch of its intended path. As with any tool, accuracy and precision depends on a number of factors, including: material, size of pattern, and practical matters, such as workbench and clamping.
Origin enables more precise cuts by automatically correcting or retracting the tool’s cutting bit if the machine strays from the designated cutting path.
Origin can cut materials such as wood, soft metals, plastics, and composites. These are the ones we’ve tested ourselves:
  • Acetate
  • Acrylic
  • Aluminum
  • Brass
  • Carbon Fiber Sheets
  • Copper
  • Corian
  • Cork
  • Delrin
  • Hardwood
  • HDPE
  • Linoleum
  • MDF
  • Plywood
  • Polycarbonate
  • PVC
  • PVC foam
  • Soapstone
  • Softwood
Note: To ensure the best cut quality, it’s important to use the right cutting bit and speed for your chosen material.
Not yet. It is technically possible, but only practical in small areas or in conjunction with accessory bases or fixtures.
Origin will ship with a variable-speed spindle with a quarter-inch collet.
Origin’s capabilities are similar to that of a large CNC router, but at a fraction of the size and cost. It can do both contour and pocket cutting as well as engraving. Origin can also accomplish things a large CNC can’t, like working on something that is already installed.
Yes, you can engrave, pocket, and cut with Origin.
As with any hand tool, it depends on a variety of factors, including the type of material and level of detail.
Weighing in under 14 lbs, Origin can be brought to the work rather than the other way around.
If you use standard router bits with a ¼ quarter-inch shank, Origin automatically offsets the outline of your digital template to correctly guide the tool regardless of bit diameter.
Origin lets you dial in fits with precision finish passes, adjustable to within thousandths of an inch.
Origin automatically recognizes the unique fingerprint created when you lay ShaperTape on your workpiece, allowing you to return to a job days or months later without losing the alignment of your digital templates.
Yes. We’re constantly improving Origin’s software. Using your feedback, and our continued testing, we’ll be able to push software updates that improve Origin’s feature set and performance. You are always in control; though we strongly encourage users to update Origin when we release software improvements, we will never require you to connect Origin to Wi-Fi or to accept an update.


ShaperTape is a uniquely patterned tape that allows Origin to very precisely know its position. Apply it randomly to your workpiece around the area you wish to cut. When you’re done, just peel it off and recycle it.
Two rolls of ShaperTape will be included with your pre-order purchase and additional tape will be made available on our website.
No. The dimensional accuracy of the fiducial marker is critical to Origin's performance. ShaperTape is printed using specialized production equipment designed to ensure extremely high dimensional accuracy. This level of accuracy cannot be replicated on a standard printer.
Our intention is to provide ShaperTape at near-cost. Based on current production costs, we anticipate being able to offer ShaperTape directly to consumers for between $10 and $15 per 150-foot roll.
ShaperTape can be laid out on your workpiece or any adjoining fixtures in any orientation. The only requirement is that Origin’s downward-facing camera is able to see a sufficient number of markers.
It depends on how large a project you’re working on. We usually space tape strips a few inches apart across the relevant work surface. Origin will tell you if it doesn’t see enough tape while you're cutting, and you can easily add more.
Yes, ShaperTape works on all materials that Origin can cut.
ShaperTape is easy to remove and has quick release adhesive, so it won’t leave any marks.
Each roll is 150ft in length. This is enough to cover approximately one and a half standard 4' x 8' sheets of plywood.

Getting Shaper Origin

Origin is currently only available in the United States via our website; we will offer it internationally at a later date.
We haven’t tested Origin at 50hz. We can’t support using Origin in this configuration. Also, please note that we only ship within the U.S.
Your order includes: Shaper Origin, 2 rolls of ShaperTape (150-ft each), Quickstart Guide, one quarter-inch upcut spiral bit, one eighth-inch upcut spiral bit, one engraving bit, and tool change accessories. Additionally, a one-year free subscription to Autodesk Fusion 360 ($300 value) is included.
Batch 1 pre-orders (taken prior to Feb 1, 2017) will begin shipping September 2017. Batch 2 pre-orders (taken after Feb 1, 2017) will begin shipping January 2018. For specific information about our terms and conditions click here.
Pre-orders will be shipped directly to your door.
Origin is only available for pre-sale within the US; but we will make it available internationally at a later date.
Differing electrical systems and regulations require us to develop multiple versions of Origin’s power electronics before taking it overseas. Designing, certifying, and Internationalizing products for various locales takes time, and we want to ensure that Origin works perfectly here in the US first.
Yes, you will be responsible for all applicable taxes, tariffs and customs.
We don’t offer alternative shipping methods at this time.
We offer a refund policy up until 14 days after Origin ships, where you receive a refund, minus the shipping fee. Once Origin ships, a limited, one-year warranty applies.
Until our pre-orders have been fulfilled, we only accept credit/debit card payments through our website.
Your credit card will be charged when you place your pre-order.
Unfortunately, we can’t change the credit card used after your pre-order processes.
An invoice will be provided when you place your pre-order and again when you receive Origin.
At this time, Origin does not have the certifications necessary to be sold outside the US. Nor is it designed for non-US electrical system. Therefore, we will not be entertaining any official international reseller deals at this time.