2022 CNC Shark HD4 REVIEW

The CNC Shark HD4 replaces the popular Shark Pro Plus. It's made by Next Wave Automation Designs of Ohio. Next Wave is an industry leader in inexpensive yet high-quality CNC machines.

The CNC Shark HD4 is part of the company's Shark line, and it has a few fantastic features that advanced users will love. The initial improvements are the stronger gantry and the robust aluminum table.

A new touch-screen pendant controller, auto-alignment, and XY homing are also included. Many customers liked the machine's ability to operate with commercial routers and carve metal and other materials. It also has a huge workstation for various tasks.


The Shark HD4's overall stiffness and stability are excellent. The gantry is built of thick aluminum plates and polyethylene, while the bed is extruded aluminum with many clamping grooves.
In particular, it reduces wobbling and backlashing, which were issues with prior Shark models while cutting metal and other hard materials.
The heavy-duty stepper motors drive the thick and sturdy threaded lead screws, and the movement is guided by adjustable linear bearings on strong steel shafts.

We found the HD4's overall build to be robust and stable while cutting. Some users reported it shaking when grinding metals such as aluminum, but many claimed it rarely flexes during operation or severe cutting.
The equipment has a Next Wave Automation T30506 water-cooled spindle with an ER11 collet framework that accepts either 18-inch or 14-inch shank bits. It's a big, 2 HP brushless spindle that runs quietly.
When the power is switched off, the spindle's weight tends to overcome the drive screws' tension, causing it to drift or fall until its collar rests on the table. After a while, it stops moving down and stays still.
It is also compatible with Porter-Cable 890, Bosch 1617 and 1618, and Dewalt 610, 616, and 618 series routers. For the Porter-Cable 690 series, the 6902VS must be manually initiated.

The Shark HD4 is not a small machine. Its total size is enormous for a desktop table at 24.25 x 36 x 24.5 inches. You'll need enough room in your garage or workshop. To be fair, it is heavier than prior Shark versions. Once completed, it will require two people to move.

Efficacy and Quickness

Like the NWA Shark versions, the Piranha FX works with Porte-Cable, Dewalt, Bosch, and other palm routers. It has a 14-inch V-router bit and is strong enough to give precise results for most applications.

Especially with the 3D carving module, its precision is superb. It uses the NWA 3D digital touch probe, a 3D duplicator that can scan and trace a 3D picture and duplicate or reproduce an item down to 0.001-inch resolution.
Its precision makes it suitable for cutting delicate forms or carving and engraving difficult tasks like bespoke circuit boards.

It can also carve inlays and corbels from plastic, wood, or soft metals. It can carve and engrave whatever design you choose. The module is useful for refurbishing furniture or replacing broken sections. It's perfect for plaques and precise pieces.

The laser engraver module also performs well. Only a few CNC machines currently have this functionality. The equipment can engrave practically any picture or sketch into a perfect match. As a fully variable laser, you can also regulate the amount of power used.
The machine's cutting and carving speed are quite rapid. For example, a 7 x 7-inch piece of wood, 16,000 RPM spindle, 30 inch/min plunge rate (with a 34-inch thickness), and 7200 inch/min feed rate took around 57 seconds to finish, which is rather quick compared to many similar machines, and the results were good.
The Workspace

The CNC Shark HD4's work surface is 25x25x7 inches, about four times larger than the company's regular X-Carve model. That's a huge workplace that opens up a lot of options for projects. Full-size signs and even carved panels can be constructed in one session from bigger workpieces.

The machine's bed mapping function examines the surface and makes suitable changes to cancel out flaws.

It's also a T-slot aluminum table with interlocking clamping channels and slots. Especially for workpieces with odd forms or that are difficult to fix, you have virtually endless clamping options.

If you're milling a large workpiece, there may not be enough room on the table for clamps. Worse, the clamps might obstruct the spindle's x-axis movement.

The equipment has auto-edge and auto-sensing functions (known as virtual zero programming) that find and measure the workpiece before determining the tool path start point in the bed. It maps the exterior of the workpiece or table to prevent difficulties caused by bent or deformed workpieces. In addition to the strong steel shafts, lead screws, and adjustable bearings, the Shark HD4 has an interlocking aluminum table and a durable gantry.

Because of its strong overall structure, it may be used with big commercial or heavy-duty routers like the Porter-Cable 890 or the Bosch 1617 and 1618. It can therefore carve and machine a broad range of materials, including hardwood, laminate, soft metals like aluminum, and plastics.

The CNC Shark HD4 has a touch-screen pendant control, which saves space and eliminates the need to connect to a computer.
Using it is straightforward thanks to its basic user interface. The pendant has all the machine controls. Manually move the machine up, down, away, near, or left. You may also configure X and Y homing. If something goes wrong, the pendant can stop the gantry and the spindle from moving.
Despite its simplicity, some users have reported that the pendant can malfunction, entering "touch screen calibration mode," jogging the wrong axes, and failing to respond to touch.
The equipment additionally has a spindle controller that does not connect to the CNC controller. It has an LCD screen and controls to modify the spindle speed and alter the speed format and measuring unit.
When the machine completes the first tool path after the pocket tool path, it returns the spindle to the home position. The spindle continues to operate after it has returned to its home position. The spindle controller must be manually switched off.


This Shark HD4 includes VCarve Pro design software and the Vector Art 3D sampler set, so you won't need a separate CAM program.
It has more functionality than most other CAM software and far more than the ordinary user would ever need. It includes powerful drawing tools as well as hundreds of clip art files that you can use to create the part or project you want from scratch.
The program also has a virtual zero feature to correct for workpiece and table twists and warps. Another important function, especially for large projects, is automated tiling, which divides a workpiece into portions to fit on the machine.

The program does require some learning, but there are instructional videos and tutorials available to help. It works with 3D modeling applications like Sketchup. It's also totally customizable—you may change the router bit profiles or design your own.
The main drawback is that it requires Windows 7 or above, 300MB of storage space, 4GB of RAM, and a 2 GHz multi-core CPU. It doesn't work on Linux or Mac/iOS.

As previously stated, this model is computer-free, making it ideal for repetitive runs. The pendant has a USB connector for your project file.
You create the g-code in VCarve Pro, save it to a USB device, then connect it to the pendant controller to start milling. The program lacks a preview function, so you must check the g-code before sending it to the machine.


Many people found it simple to set up. You only need to attach the gantry to the base, mount the router, attach the pendant, and calibrate the bed to be flat.

The final step is to register the machine on the company's website. Also, upkeep is easy. The only maintenance required is a pail of water for the liquid-cooled spindle.

The machine is quite quiet when working but occasionally howls when rotating the spindle along the Z-axis. Some say it howls in all three dimensions, but the Z-axis is the worst.


It can accurately cut most materials.
You can remove a lot of stuff in a
It finishes jobs quickly and provides an adequate workspace for huge projects.
It can cut a variety of materials.
Overall, a strong and sturdy structure.
It's easy to set up and has a 2-year warranty.

It's bulky and hefty.
The VCarve program is only compatible with Windows.
When moving on all three axes, the spindle tends to howl.


The CNC Shark HD4 is a high-performance CNC machine. It's built to last, cuts materials accurately, and has an adequate workspace for huge jobs. This is a great alternative to heavy milling or a sturdy machine capable of practically professional-level work.
06.01.2022 16:48:33

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