For how much I searched, they just seemed to look and feel more polished all around. At the time 4 years ago, they were almost the only one available that seemed to fit in a more “industrial” category. They also beat everyone with z/gantry height. I’ve had a basic 2x3 first and I put it through a industrial pace.
Easy answer! For the price, I don't think you can find a better machine. If you want a more heavy duty machine, you're looking at more than 4 times toe price of the Axiom. Also their customer support is fantastic!! I have the AR4 basic and after about a year, I put a spindle on it. Not that its that hard of a project and it works just great. When I bought the machine, it was all the money I could afford. I wish I had bought the AR6, but I just didn't have the funds. You may want to think real hard on what you intend to do with the machine and buy the most machine you can afford
After 3 1/2 years of operating my AR8, I wouldn't have done any thing else. Very durable machine to supplement my woodworking shop. Very few problems. All but one was self-inflicted issues by the operator which Axiom Support has walked me through the issue at the time. An AR6 would do 85% of the projects I do, but to do some furniture pieces, the AR8 is was a better choice. Like Stevem stated; what do you intend to do and costs.
Rich1, Not sure if you are still wanting answers, but I just joined the forum and haven't cut anything with the new AR8 Pro V that just come in this week. (Still trying to get it off the floor and onto the stand). But, I have used a Nextwave Automation CNC Shark for 9 years, which was as much as I could afford at the time. (Axiom didn't come into play until a year or two later) I still stand by my original Shark purchase as the best for me... at that time. But I also feel that I bought a machine that was early in its evolution and geared to be a "hobby" machine at a hobby price. I suffered a lot of problems that were design related that they fixed OR the forum users fixed on their own as they found DIY solutions. I have talked to people that have gone from NextWave to Axiom, used X-Carve and others who speak highly of Axiom. One of the final straws was to talk with Chad at Axiom for probably and hour or two (which I think is rare to accomplish talking to reasonably high level people at a company like this) And he was candid about telling me about Axioms machines without running down my previous choices, which is respectable in my book. I know that NextWave has improved by leaps and bounds the quality of the HD5 over the last 4 generations since mine but one of the major problems for their machines is what I perceive to be the over use of HDPE material in their machines which to me is the downfall of their design. I have successfully used it for 9 years and probably will keep it, BUT what I have seen with the construction of the Axiom machine, I would easily say I got 10 times the machine for less than 2 times the price. I was able to put a little more into my new machine than I could the first time, but trust me, you NEED to or you will likely be out of the CNC world in less than a year if you have to go through what me and many Shark owners went through until we worked out the flaws and quirks. Again, I came close to going Shark again and feel it is better than it used to be, but better, does not always equal good. Adjust the model to what you can afford (and think of future growth always) but I feel like I made a sound decision to go with Axiom. And if you happen to think you can build a stand yourself (which is my tendency also)don't be stupid. I'm as fugal as the next guy, and probably more so, but I feel that's the best value of the money I spent. It will pay for itself in having the machine firmly supported... and I'm talking "tank" firm! ... worth every dime! One person I talked to likened it to getting a machine that you have to baby and learn a lot of quirks or work-around in you designs VS getting a machine that all you have to work on is your designs. I'm excited to get started.
Roger eaglecarver4.com Axiom AR8 Pro V5 Vectric VCarve 10.5 12 year w/ Shark HD (original version)