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Reviews, Gripes, ETC.

Posted: Tue Oct 13, 2015 8:03 am
by justallan17
I'm trying to find more opinions on the Probotix machines and am having a heck of a time of it. I like these machines and from what I can see they offer more bang for your buck than most. I can say that the only gripe that I've read sounded like it very well could have been more operator error than anything, problem is that it's just hard to find very much said at all.
I'm looking at the Nebula machine, but from what I can see all of the bigger ones are built alike, so some reviews on any of these would certainly be welcome.
The one gripe that I've read stated that person was using a Nebula and getting vibrations while in the center of the gantry. I'm just smart enough to know that you could create that problem many ways, mainly being to aggressive would be my guess.
Any help and links would be great.

Re: Reviews, Gripes, ETC.

Posted: Tue Oct 13, 2015 8:12 am
by pete
I have the nebula and I am really happy I got it. I can do so much more with it then the meteor I had. I don't get much vibration out of mine. But I also put a board under my work so I don't cut into the spoil board. Probotix are great machines.

Re: Reviews, Gripes, ETC.

Posted: Tue Oct 13, 2015 4:22 pm
by justallan17
Thanks Pete.
I'm about finished up paying for my sawmill and this looks like the next step towards supplementing my retirement. :D I have to spend the money now rather than hoping I have it later. ;)
Have a great day.

Re: Reviews, Gripes, ETC.

Posted: Tue Oct 13, 2015 4:55 pm
by pete
This is so true. That is what I tell my wife

Re: Reviews, Gripes, ETC.

Posted: Tue Oct 13, 2015 8:51 pm
by beltramidave
I have been involved in purchasing, setup and modifications of several models of the Probotix machines, including a Comet, 3 Meteors and an Asteroid. These machines are used in a cabinet manufacturing facility for specific machining operations. If I had to choose, my favorite would be the Asteroid, but just because of it's size. One thing I would highly recommend is buying the spindle, whether it be the air or water cooled (I have the air cooled). Another cool option would be the 4th axis, lathe. I don't have any experience with it, though.

Len and the people at Probotix are constantly coming up with improvements and new features. I really like the tool sensor too and my latest Meteor has the remote push buttons (start, pause, etc)! Haven't got this one setup yet to try. You will not be disappointed with a Probotix machine and you can be guaranteed that if you have any problems or questions, Len and his staff will take care of you!

If you haven't looked at any design software, definitely look at the Vectric products. VCarve is great for a lot of your needs, but if 3d modeling is what you want to create, then you may want Aspire. Vectric offers free demos of their software.

Hope this helps to sway you into a Probotix machine!


Re: Reviews, Gripes, ETC.

Posted: Wed Oct 14, 2015 3:23 am
by probotixmissy
As to protect our customers privacy I cannot provide personal information but would be happy to put some testimonials I have personally received via email if it's helpful to you. There are also reviews on our Facebook page and feel free to post on it an open question for reviews our customers are very vocal about the good the bad and ugly but it's rarely bad so we primarily rely on word of mouth instead of marketing.

Date: Tue, 13 Oct 2015 12:36:37 -0400
From: xxxxxx
To: 'Len Shelton' <>

Thank you very much. By the way the Comet is a great machine. No comparison to my previous.

-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: Re: Offline Message from Tom: Interested in getting a cnc router. I noticed a me...
Date: Thu, 8 Oct 2015 15:36:32 -0500

Thank you very much for your time today. I can see why you get compliments on router forums from your customers. You have a very obvious passion for what you do, and a high regard for your customers as evidenced by your desire to share what you know. These traits are harder and harder to find in individuals. The only thing missing from your website is a page on coaching woodworkers on how to convince the spouse that this is really a great idea or investment. I will need to get her to look at some of the products your customers make.

Thanks again,



Len has done an amazing job at answering all of my questions. In fact, he has gone out of his way to give enough detail to cover future questions. Len has been a great point of contact from a potential customer’s perspective. My team and I, are currently in the initial phase of our project and have not been able to fully justify the cost of the machine for our purposes just yet. We can definitely agree that the CNC router market has grown rapidly and various options exist within the same price range as a fully loaded Fireball Nebula. For the sake of full disclosure, we are in contact with a local CNC router manufacturer ( that designs and manufactures their units about 2 miles from my home. While their product is approximately equal in quality, their prices are yet to be disclosed. My goal is to learn as much as I can from a local source in order to make a well informed decision on which CNC router platform is best for our application.

I’ve made myself familiar with the Probotix Wiki and the associated forum. Though the majority of reviews are stellar, there have been some know issues with shipping, and the aforementioned mechanical problems related to ball bearings and such. To be honest, I would be fully confident that there would be no issues if I were to purchase a machine from Probotix due to the level of customer service that Len has provided. But I have a wife, work, school and what little time remains, I dedicate to coming up with the next great American product. The expense of a system like this can be offset through various means, but the fact remains that other options remain like the Stinger I from CAMaster, the IMAVX from Blurry Customs, or the Swift from Laguna Tools. While all of these are excellent options, the FireBall Nebula offers the largest X,Y work envelope for the price. On the other hand, these other options offer steel gantry systems (except for the IMAVX) and more rigid mechanical drives for their X,Y,Z axis.

I apologize for the long email, but I truly appreciate the level of customer service that Len and Probotix has provided. I hope to do business with your company within the next few months.

Thank you for your time,


Had a "Oh shoot" moment today. I turned machine on and raised the Z axis all the way up to get ready to home and tripped a limit switch. Couldn't figure it out myself. Called Probotixs and the guy knew exactly what I did and how to get it going in less than a 20 second phone call. And thats why you deal with Probotixs vs a cheap Chinese machine company or other companys that don't answer their phones or emails in a timely manner. After spending more and more time on other forums now, I have to say "man am I glad I bought a Probotixs". Guys are sharing ways for compensating for the short comings or mis-engineered machines that bought elsewhere. Buy a Probotixs and worry more about what to create vs how to make machine work.

Hi Len and Melissa:

I came across a source for a fairly inexpensive laser that I would like to play with. The website for the laser is: ... accessory/ I assume you have probably seen it or been aware of it. In as much as the name of the laser is “L-Cheapo” (a unique way to market a product for sure) the name hopefully does not extend to the quality! My research on various sites and blogs have reported pretty good results.

I am interested in using the laser for mostly engraving work on wood and am not looking to use it for cutting. I want to expand my line of lithophanes and other visual art products that require a laser.

As a side note, my Comet just hums along in my shop. I recently produced 50 plaques (trophies) of various sizes and designs for a golf course who was hosting an event. At one point I ran the machine continuously for 10 hours straight. Between the external cooling fans I installed in a cabinet that houses the controller and computer, a 4” 2 HP dust collection system I have using a Kent CNC boot, none of the electronics exceeded 90 F including the router. Vacuum is simultaneously pulled through the router, keeping it cool. The steppers hit a max of 125 F.

Thanks for making a great machine and I look forward to your response.

These are just copied from some recent emails this month, soon when I get some time I plan on compiling all from the last year or so into a testimonials page. We NEVER delete any negative experiences from the web actually until this forum we have not been moderating any boards to be able to do that. We will respond to every customer service, product concern, or complaint and gladly post it for anyone to see.

We love our customers and take care of them, in turn they are our biggest asset - they are very vocal about their experiences out on CNC Zone (as well as helpful) and other similar online communities and it always helps our reputation. I think some of the most common accolades we get are the precision of the machine, the big bang for the buck (our pricing), our excellent response and warranty policy, and probably our best trait is that we don't let our robots answer the phone. You can call during business hours and an actual human will answer - no automated machine and someone that can help you too no answering service. My husband and I are the owners and we answer many of the calls because we like to have a relationship with our customers especially when getting started. This should help with your concern about mechanical issues - we take great pride in building these machines and advise everyone who gets a large machine to call us when they get it to make sure everything functions perfectly - any rattles or things you feel are off we will figure out and if needed fix ASAP. I can tell you we have lots of customers using these in high production industrial environments for years so we are proud of the craftsmanship and give a 2 year warranty which is pretty rare in our industry.

We will even go over all the CNC controls with you and can cover everything you will ever need to know in about 10 minutes eliminating your need to parse the mountains of data on LinuxCNC. Our machines are 100% American Made (not just re-branded Chinese machines) in our Peoria facility so we know every nut and bolt in the build process - so if you ever have a problem WE CAN SOLVE IT.

Thanks so much for your interest in our machines and our company!

Re: Reviews, Gripes, ETC.

Posted: Wed Oct 14, 2015 3:30 am
by probotixmissy
And to address the 'known' issues with shipping, we used to have on average 2 damaged machines per year due to the freight company we used to use and those experiences are still out there on the web I'm sure. That may not seem like a lot but it's 2 too many. We have changed companies and have had ZERO CLAIMS in 16 months (knock on wood). What is different about how we handle the shipping issues vs our competitors is that we send a new machine right away and arrange a return THEN we take the burden of filing the damage claim with the shipping courier. Most if not ALL companies as you know will require you to work the shipping claim. So I think it's a positive - if your machine IS damaged in shipping we take care if it like nobody else and absorb the cost of a new machine while it's being worked with the freight company - but you get a new undamaged replacement asap! Our customers come first and we insure every crate that leaves our dock. :D

Re: Reviews, Gripes, ETC.

Posted: Wed Oct 14, 2015 7:40 am
by justallan17
Thanks for the replies Dave and Melissa.
I sure looks like I'm buying a new toy! :D
Melissa, I certainly appreciate the speedy help I've received from Len and yourself, that alone says a lot about your company and how it's ran.
Your response about your shipping policies sure sets one at ease also. A couple months ago I had shipped a $2,500 crate of burls to Michigan only to have it disappear for 2 months and end up in Texas. Before it was found the shipping broker had the nerve to offer me 10 cents a pound for the crate, but wanted to keep the money they had charged for shipping, OUCH! I got a few grey hairs out of that deal.
More question for you all:
If I do get the 4th axis at this time can it be ran using V-carve Pro or do I have to have Aspire?
What's the general opinion on the Porter Cable 892 and are the collets available from Probotix compatible with it?
What is the height of the Nebula machine? I'll have to tilt it sideways to get through a doorway. I can tilt this machine sideways, correct?
Okay, this one may sound cheap and cheesy, but can I use a shop vac with this machine or do I need a real dust collection system?
I'm sure that I'll think of more, I just need to get to work.
Thanks in advance for any help.

Re: Reviews, Gripes, ETC.

Posted: Wed Oct 14, 2015 7:45 am
by pete
I will try to answer a few of your question. Yes you should be able to turn your sideways I did mine and it works great. If you have a 32 to 36 inch door it should go tru just fine. Look at the dust system that they sell I have one and it works great.

Re: Reviews, Gripes, ETC.

Posted: Wed Oct 14, 2015 8:19 am
by beltramidave
[quote]More question for you all:
If I do get the 4th axis at this time can it be ran using V-carve Pro or do I have to have Aspire?
What's the general opinion on the Porter Cable 892 and are the collets available from Probotix compatible with it?
What is the height of the Nebula machine? I'll have to tilt it sideways to get through a doorway. I can tilt this machine sideways, correct?
Okay, this one may sound cheap and cheesy, but can I use a shop vac with this machine or do I need a real dust collection system?

Rotary Wrapping is included in VCarve Pro, not VCarve Desktop [url]
Not sure on the collets that Probotix offers - Melissa?
I have taken several machines through a 36" door on edge without any problems, just make sure you watch the Z axis motor
I haven't used Probotix's cyclone attachment, but I believe that it is designed to be used with a shop vac