Let me begin by saying this…
I honestly believe that this product, The DIY Smart Saw, is exactly what I will use myself to eventually break into CNC router woodworking.
I have in fact purchased this product. I’ve extensively reviewed all the material, including the instructional pdf guide, the parts-details pdf files, the 3d interactive viewer of the machine, and the tutorial videos.
The following is my honest review of what I’ve seen, and of the quality I believe this product offers, and in a few cases, lacks.
Full disclosure, my links to the course are affiliate links. This does not affect my opinion or my review, as I do not wish to promote something I do not believe in myself.
So with that out of the way, lets jump right in!
The Sales Video
Click the image to watch if you haven’t seen it yet, will open in a new window:
Initially, I was hesitant to support his product because in my opinion, the sales video reminds me of Teds plans… ……
But if you watch the video, and can stand the phony voice actor narrating it, then you’ll see some really cool projects and possibilities with CNC router milling.
But like I said before, it kind of smells like Ted…
But after browsing some big woodworking forums, I was able to find a few honest reviews that were really positive.
So I went ahead and purchased the DIY Smart Saw product.
After the initial purchase, you’ll be offered an upgrade to get the XXL version, which I believe is basically the plans for a larger CNC machine. I skipped that option.
Then after that, you’re offered a library of plans, which I did pay for.
The purchase is through a company called ClickBank, who specializes in transactions and product delivery for digital products like these.
I used PayPal to purchase, but you can also use a credit card.
The Members Download Area
I was immediately given access to the member’s area, where I downloaded the PDF manual, the specifications for the parts used, and all the additional plans I bought (at the time I purchased, the ‘Library’ contains 12 sets of project plans).
These additional plans come as a bundle of files, since each contain machine code for CNC software, as well as pdf plans, and extra photos.
So these bundles of files are downloaded as .rar, which means I had to download software to extract them. WinZip did the job, and you get a few weeks for free so you don’t have to pay for it to get these files extracted.
The members area also includes the instructional videos. These videos can be downloaded, which is helpful if you can’t stream video content.
Then you’ll find the interactive viewer.
Using the app requires flash support. For me, that just meant opening the viewer (which is web-based), in a Mozilla Firefox browser. Internet Explorer or Edge should work too. Safari and Chrome have flash turned off by default, but they do support it (for now).
You can also download the interactive viewer, but it’s nearly 1gig, so be aware.
And finally, there’s a FAQ section, which was surprisingly helpful and worth reading over a few times, especially AFTER you’ve gone through the pdf and videos. At that point, the questions in the FAQ section make a lot more sense.
My Thoughts Overall On DIY Smart Saw
First of all, the members area is simple and easy to navigate.
The PDF Plans for the smart saw are really good quality. The creator used 3d software to build each component and shows you details of them, as in all dimensions, cutout details, how things fit together, and even specifications for types of screws to use.
Everything is laid out in a step by step fashion, with clear images, imperial and metric measurements, and easy to read instructions.
And the videos in the member’s area actually show the guy building the entire project, I was pleasantly surprised.
A few notes on the build: He actually uses a CNC machine on a few parts – this can be done with a chisel or a handheld router though instead.
Also, he builds the legs with steel, and uses a welder in the process. I do not have a welder, and you may not either. I’m sure a base can be built just as well using wood, or an existing table.
Now keep in mind, this will only teach you how to build your own CNC machine, you will still have to make an investment to actually buy all the parts.
And unfortunately, the creator did a mediocre job of sourcing his parts. On its face, it would seem he did a great job at this, as he has all the parts listed with links to buy. But the problem is that some of those links go to products that are ‘no longer listed’.
But here’s what you do – go through the project, get an understanding of what each piece does, then that makes it easier to source the parts yourself. I spent an hour and was able to source everything on either Amazon, McMaster Carr, or Ebay.
What is extremely helpful is that in the plans, he shows an image and description of each part, and includes it’s specifications. So you can easily search out these parts from other suppliers (if his link is no good).
But as far as what these parts are, and how they go together, he does a really good job of showing exactly that in the plans, the simulator, and videos.
There are 8 videos, each being almost 20 minutes long.
A lot of it is just background music and watching him work. But he comes in as needed to narrate what he’s doing. And the editor does an OK job of fast forwarding at least some of the redundant parts.
I found out though that this will take some investment in time as well. Just really understanding the project and getting prepared to take it on, there’s quite a bit to it.
But after about 2 hours of going through the material, and playing around on the interactive viewer, I started to really see how this thing works and how each part works with the others.
It’s not overly difficult to grasp, it’s just sort of complex.
So I think the trick is to start slow and don’t let yourself get overwhelmed if you don’t get it or understand the project right away.
For example, after watching the videos, and skimming the plans, I found myself kind of confused on a few parts. But that was easily cleared up by diving into the interactive viewer and locating each part as it exists on the final product.
This helps you to see where that piece fits overall, what it connects to, and why. In fact, you can select a part and it will give you the specifications for it right there on the screen, as well as a ‘download resources’ button for that one part.
And to help you understand how to use the interactive viewer, he even made a video showing it off and explaining how to navigate and use it. It’s really as easy as using your mouse buttons to zoom, pan, and rotate.
Software For CNC Router Woodworking
If you want to get into CNC’ing, you’ll need a computer and some special software, which takes designs and turns it into something your CNC machine will understand.
Basically, you’ll use a CAD software to make DXF files (which are basically image files), then you’ll use a CAM software to convert that DXF file into G Code. And finally, G Code is sent to your CNC machine.
How’d you like that big bite of ABC soup…
But it really isn’t all that complicated once you start reading into it.
You can end up spending several hundred on CNC software, but don’t worry, there’s free stuff available too.
Is It Worth It? (My Final Thoughts)
After purchasing and going through all the material, I’ve decided that it is definitely worth it.
In fact, the content actually got me excited about the idea of CNC router woodworking, seriously.
So when I do eventually get into CNC’ing, I’ll build my own machine. It may or may not be exactly like this one, but what I learned by going through this course is how a CNC machine is put together.
And therefore I have an understanding of how it all works, and so now I have confidence in taking on a project like this when I’m ready.
If nothing else, that makes this one time investment well worth it even if just to get an understanding of CNC router woodworking.
And who knows, you may be like me and go through the material, just to find out you would probably really enjoy CNC’ing, even though before, the thought had never crossed my mind!
So is the DIY Smart Saw course right for you?
Do you have a desire to get into CNC router woodworking? If so, the answer is yes.
Do you prefer projects that go together easily, using less tools and taking less time? If so, the answer is Yes, it’s right for you.
Do you like the idea of building projects that are unique and truly impressive to anyone who sees them? If so, then the answer is yes.
Do you want to build projects quickly and efficiently to mass produce and sell online? Then CNC’ing is probably the best option for you.
Do you want to add intricate, decorative detail to your table tops, aprons, legs, or anything else you’re building? Then this product is for you.
I could probably go on and on and find more reasons to join this, but honestly, I think it’s worth the investment regardless if you’re going to get into CNC’ing or not.
Like I said, I’m not even getting into it myself (yet), but I’m glad I bought the course because it was a real eye-opener and now I understand CNC routing at a level I never did before.