Nomad 883 Pro - any pictures or specs for this machine yet?

got a pretty quick reply from Carbide with some new info…

Hi Tony,

The Nomad 883 Pro is actually a direct replacement for the Nomad 883. The original design had roots in our kickstarter campaign and was a very good machine - but we’ve learned some things over the last 2 years and decided it was time for a change.

The biggest difference in the machine is it’s rigidity - thanks to both the increased linear rail size (was 16mm now 20mm) and the fact that we’re no longer driving the machine from GT2 belting on the X and Y axis. instead, we’ve changed both of those to be lead screws. Compared to the belts, the lead screws give the machine more torque and smoother cutting. We’ll have some pictures of the Pro soon. Right now the parts for the first batch are out being anodized. once they’re back we’ll take some glamor shots and share them.

Yes, a license of meshcam still comes with the machine - along with the new software Carbide Create.

The Shapeoko is a kit that is meant to be assembled and then used in a shop environment where it’s noise (from the trim router) and mess (from no enclosure) wouldn’t be a problem. The Nomad is turn key - take it out of the box and begin using it within an hour. The shapeoko has a larger work area (2x compared to Nomad) but compared to Nomad isn’t as accurate (0.005" vs 0.001"). We really see the Shapeoko as a machine you’d put in your shop and the nomad as a machine you’d put in your office or studio.

We’ll begin shipping the machine next week. Due to our backlog and getting ‘spun up’ our lead times to date have been pretty terrible, with some customers waiting as many as 12 weeks. However, one of the changes we’re really proud of is that we’re not machining the majority of the nomad machined parts in house on our own Industrial CNC machine. This will reduce the lead time dramatically once we get everything switched over. As it stands, we’re telling people 10 weeks for the lead time - but are planning to beat that time once we begin full scale production.

If you have any more questions, let me know. We’re here to help.

Out of curiosity - which laser did you buy?

Edward Ford

I have to ask the obvious question. If the machine is better with 20mm rails, more mass, and leadscrews, then why were they not incorporated into the design before release? I imagine there will be a lot of disappointed 883 owners on this forum.

If the lead screws are not ball screws I would be very dubious of the life time of the nuts that run on them. They can wear out rapidly creating bad backlash. On the 883 they get away with it as the Z axis moves quite slowly and has a short travel. However on the x&z axis it will be a different story.

@1st_Kiwi_Nomad, impressive as the Pro sounds, I’m not sure I’d say “better”, rather “different”. Remember the Nomad 883 “Classic” is actually spindle-limited in terms of cutting oomph. As I’ve said elsewhere, I have a Tormach 1100 with which I can snap 1/2" endmills at will (though I really don’t have the will after the first time) but I think that the 883 has actually a perfecly balanced design working from the spindle outwards. It has belt drives, but with realistic cuts within the torque limit of the spindle the belts will not flex that much. Linear rails, yes, stiffer is always better but I was still surprised and impressed how stiff the existing rails are. Workpieces and tooling (aluminum vise, flip jig) are lightweight and the span of the rails is not that great. I’ll be interested to see what the marketing thrust of the “Pro” machine is.

Here’s the backstory:

Two months ago, Jorge send me a text, “You’d better come down here”, which, because it had no bad puns or inside jokes, seemed bad. Turns out that our linear rail vendor changed the order for 16mm rails to 20mm rails and we didn’t notice it on the invoice until they arrived. We now had $10k of unusable rails (1000 LBS or so).

Not even knowing how to get rid of them, we decided to change over to 20mm rails. We also had also been keeping a list of things we’d like to change, so we figured now would be the time:

  • The old electronics were solid, but took too long to wire up.
  • The old back panel worked well but waterjet parts cost a lot and we now had a mill of our own.
  • Belts worked fine but there was too much assembly time and there were a couple of extra waterjet and machined parts that we could eliminate if we switched to lead screws.
  • The frames were very rigid but we were paying a lot for machining and assembly. We were also dependent on a shop that could not meet our demand for frames We can make all but 4 parts in our own shop now.
  • The old electronics cover was Dibond, and while it worked, we never really liked it. Sheet metal is almost equal in cost and less trouble. After spending lots and lots of money on Shapeoko parts, we now had a great sheet metal vendor to call.
  • Use a custom extrusion for the frame to eliminate a number of machined parts.
  • We’d also learned that shipping was not a big deal. We could add weight without affecting shipping in a big way.

One thing led to another and it’s a totally different machine on the inside. We can also make more of it in-house and not depend on other people.

If not for the $10k mistake we’d probably not have changed anything yet.

Production cost is in the same ballpark but we now have a machine we can build more quickly, and is better for the customer. Better is:

  • More rigidity when pushing the limits of the machine (subject to spindle power)
  • Better positioning accuracy
  • Faster tool changes because of some of the assumptions we can make and because we changed the probe position.

@1st_Kiwi_Nomad- regarding lead screws, we’re using an anti-backlash nut, the same kind we’ve used on the Z for the last year. We’ve not seen any wear on the units we’ve been abusing here, so we feel good about using them for the X and Y now. If something weird came up with a customer unit, we’d have no problem sending out replacements.

@Randy is right that the 883 and 883 Pro are spindle-limited. The Pro is a solid upgrade but it’s not going to tear through material at 2x the rate. If we were Apple, we’d be better off calling this the “Nomad 883S”. If I remember right, I think my vote was for the “Nomad 883+”

FWIW, Jorge has been spending a lot of time with the spindle code in the last week to tighten it up for the next release. If we’re able to get any better performance from it, that’s something we can provide (somehow) to existing users. It’s gotten “smoother”, but it isn’t clear than mean anything when cutting parts yet.



Hey Rob… thanks for the honest reply. It’s refreshing to have a company rep be straight forward and not spin a story. That only increases my confidence in you guys.

About 883 owners being upset… how can you be upset at someone who is offering a bonus to others when they deliever everything they promised to you. As long as they still support it I don’t see any issue.

Rob… when does the price go up for the 883 Pro? To order one do we just order an 883 and expect to get the Pro version?

Is a more powerful spindle in the works as a later drop in upgrade?

Thanks again,

@Tshulthise - Right now, the the machine is priced a little too low but we probably won’t increase the price until we’re close to being “in stock”. We’ll make an announcement before we bump it up.

And you’re right about 883 support continuing. We have a shelf of spare parts that should last us for years and the next Carbide Motion release, probably in about a week, will have some nice features for the 883 as well.

We’ve experimented with the next spindle motor up from what we have, which is about 40% more powerful, but it wasn’t a big improvement. I think we’ll continue to do spindle R&D but at this point, it isn’t clear that we have anything that would be worth the upgrade.

I can’t promise that we’d be able to do a drop-in replacement but I think we’d go out of our way to try. The new Z-axis design in the Pro is a more user-serviceable than the “Classic” version so we’d want to take advantage of that. Again, this is theoretical since we don’t have anything on the drawing board right now.


When I last visited the mother-ship, I noticed a prototype for the new pro. Looked like a logical step forward in terms of design for manufacturing and quality improvements for known issues. Not much chance for an upgrade given so few common parts or holes.

I actually sent the Carbide folks an email after I heard about the pro, seeing if there was any way I could finagle a pro via some sort of creative trade :smile:

After receiving an email response similar to the one above, I realized that - my nomad does what I want it to do, it does it reliably, I know the machine well and most importantly, it’s right here on my desk.

I think that, personally, my next step would be up to a much more advanced Nomad (the 993?) :smile: so even though I love having the latest and greatest gadgets, I’m perfectly happy with my “Classic”


AWESOME! This makes the machine an even better one!

This means that machine on order but not yet build get the upgrade by default, correct?

In particular, my machine order is only a month old. Will I get a version 1 or a version 2?

If you have not received your machine yet, it’ll be a “Pro”.


1 Like



Would it be possible to add in ball nuts and ball screws to replace the lead screws and anti-backlash nuts?

I get the feeling I should get a gauge block and check regularly, right? Or will the problem only be apparent during cuts?

There’s not room in the current layout for a ball screw.

Here’s a pic of the first frame we’ve put together with parts back from the anodizer:


Does running drag chain on its side like that work out okay for lots of cycles?

As fas as we can tell, no problem at all. It’s a short span and we’re moving at a relatively slow speed (compared to any industrial CNC machine).


1 Like

@robgrz, :+1: on the energy chain. That is one of the enhancements I’m planning for my own machine.

@WillAdams, (EDITED) here is the Igus page for side-mounted applications and figuring Igus is typical of energy chains, even the smallest size is good for half a meter length with any conceivable wire loading.

@frank26080115, ballscrews are not a “silver bullet”. You’d probably need to go to at least a C7 grade ($$) to get as low a backlash as a good non-backlash leadscrew. Where ballscrews shine is in lifetime with large loads, which is not the environment the Nomad produces. Non-backlash leadscrews will give a very good performance and long life in this application.


Ordered one tonight. Rob being honest in his post about the reason for the “Pro” change gave me a lot of confidence in the integrity of this team.

I think I’m becoming a maker addict. I’ve been through six 3D printers in three years, just ordered a laser earlier this week and now a desktop CNC. The technology getting to the point where we can focus on the projects and not on the machines which has made creating so much cheaper, easier and more enjoyable than it was just 3 years ago.

I have a knee mill that I bought and paid for with some plastic machining/assembly work I did about 10 years ago. Its come in handy many times but there’s just nothing like a CNC mill that can machine 2d profiles without sucking my time and 3D profiles that can’t be made accurately any other way. I’m really looking forward to putting this little mill through its paces.


Thanks for the vote of confidence @Tshulthise, we hope you like it.

Before starting Carbide 3D, Jorge and I did product development work and had a shop with a CNC mill, light-industrial 3D printer, and Epilog laser. With those three, there’s nothing you can’t build. You’ll enjoy the combination.


1 Like

given how many of my spindle carriage wires have failed due to carriage movement, that cable carrier seems like a good upgrade. is that retrofittable to non-pro nomads?

It’s not retrofittable, we had to move things around to make it fit, but it’s mainly there to cut down on the wire prep we’ve been doing. To reduce wire failure, and we’ve been doing this for a few months now, we tie the wires down with a zip tie to the metal plate so the solder joints in the motors are no longer the failure points.

For the “Classic” machines, we were just using an adhesive zip tip mount to do this. If you’re interested, shoot Jorge and email and he might have a photo to share. I’d post a photo but we’ve loaned out every working Nomad we have so I don’t have anything to take a picture of.


1 Like