During last summer’s AWFS fair in Las Vegas, Woodworker’s Journal had the opportunity to interview Joe Hebenstreit, CEO of Shaper Tools, Inc., and see the company’s revolutionary Origin tool for the first time. If you didn’t catch our video of that experience, you can watch it now by clicking here.
Origin is the first routing tool that combines an onboard camera, touchscreen and three-axis positioning engine to add precision to handheld routing operations. Once a user applies adhesive-backed “ShaperTape” to a workpiece and allows Origin to scan the workspace, the tool effectively knows where the limits of its routing area are. It will cut complex joinery, intricate inlays or shapes in any size in wood, soft metals, plastics and composites with a high degree of accuracy and repeatability. Origin can be programmed with common CAD or 2D vector software. Or, the user can design the cutting path with the tool’s built-in drawing program. Shaper Tools even has pre-formatted project designs in its ShaperHub library on the company website.
When Origin knows what you intend to cut, making that cut involves steering the 15-lb. tool along a path shown on its top viewing screen while the router spindle cuts side to side, front to back and up and down automatically. If you happen to veer off course, Origin will sense the change and retract its 1/4-in.-shank router bit to prevent you from making a mistake. So, even novices to routing can experience a higher degree of success with the