We get a lot of email asking if we’ve got a new Shapeoko 4 about to come out- often enough that we decided that it’s a question that’s worth answering publicly.
For the foreseeable future, there will not be a Shapeoko 4. Instead, we’ll keep evolving the current Shapeoko and rolling out incremental improvements as fast as we can. This has a couple of benefits for you and us.
First, with iterative improvements, anytime you choose to buy you’re getting the latest Shapeoko available at that time. There’s not another machine sitting in the background that’s going to be massively better in another week. There are always going to be more improvements coming out, but the machine you can buy today will be better than the machine you could have bought a couple of months ago. If we can reasonably offer the upgrades as separate add-ons, we will.
The other reason for incremental updates is that it’s tough for us to work on something and not be able to share it. This is a full-time job for us and we really like what we do. To work on a machine that nobody will see for 6-12 months reminds us of our soul-crushing corporate jobs from the past. We want to work on something and show it off as soon as possible.
So, how’s it going?
This has been our strategy for a few months now and we’ve gotten through enough of these running changes to show some kind track record:
- Upgrade to steel core belts
- Upgrade to our HD eccentric nuts
- Extrusions are now machined to length on a machining center to be more square, not cut by the extruder
- Sweepy dust boot
- Leadscrew / linear rail Z axis ( Z-Plus option )
- Inductive homing switches ( Z-Plus option )
We’ve got more upgrades in the works and they’ll be rolled out as soon as possible.
When will the next update be out?
We can’t tell you because we don’t know. As soon as we give a change or upgrade the internal “OK”, we’ll release it or roll it into production. Any time before that “OK”, we don’t know when or if an upgrade will go into production. ( We’ve got boxes and boxes of cancelled products and upgrades that made it really far before we decided to pass on them )
Why is everything new “Out of Stock” for so long after launch?
When we launch a new product we’ve got two options, build inventory and then launch when we have enough to meet expected demand or launch with limited quantity to ship with new machines while we build inventory.
We choose the latter because it’s a more transparent approach. It gives customers more notice about what’s coming up in the near future so they can make better purchasing decisions. It also cuts down on the number of people who got the prior version of a machine.
For upgrades that are not going to be included with a new Shapeoko, like BitSetter, we’ll always build inventory before launching.
As always, thanks for your support. We’ll keep doing everything we can to make Carbide 3D products perform better while remaing the best value available.