Nomad 883 vs Carvey

As I continue my research, I came across the Inventables Carvey. I know they won’t ship until Fall of 2015 but the specs seem very close to the Nomad’s. 8x12x2.75 work area and similar workflow. Somewhat cheaper price. Any opinions out there?. It also looks beautiful as far as a unit you could keep in your workplace. Don’t mean to start a comparison war. Just trying to make an informed purchase.

Understand and agreed. I’m trying to understand how they compare as machines and in functionality and longevity. This is a big investement for me and I need to make an educated desicion. I understand the small company/large company comparison and for the most part agree with you but there are also some decisions where going with a bigger company make better sense. I’m not cancelling my order. I just discovered there is another option out there. Just trying to get an unbiased view. I really don’t want to start a comparison war here or get into moral issues.

Fair enough.

Hard to compare based on one machine shipping and the other only existing in prototypes which aren’t available to the public or reviewed by an independent third-party.

The Nomad spindle looks to be a big advantage, while the Carvey seems to be using one of the Quiet Cut spindles which are used w/ the X-Carve and the ShapeOko 2.

Also, the cost difference is ameliorated somewhat by the Nomad including MeshCAM (which Inventables sells for $250).

Good points. Thank you WillAdams.

I haven’t seen a Carvey but I’m sure it’s a machine that will do what they claim. I’ve met a few of their people in real life and traded email with others and they all seem like good people.

Take the following as a comparison to any one of our competitors, not Inventables specifically.

Will’s right- we’re a self-funded company and we’re intent on building a company that can stand on it’s own feet without outside money. This is not to say that taking funding is bad but we put a priority on building a sustainable company first. The last thing we want to do is build a company that can only exist with additional investments.

We’re product development people at the core. We continually improve our products so a Nomad today is a different machine than the first 10 we shipped. This is what we enjoy doing more than anything. We’re not people that live for PR or press coverage, we love making a new and better product.

We invest heavily on bringing production in house so we can make rapid improvements that cannot be made if we’re working only with an outside shop. In particular, we dropped a lot of money on a Haas machining center to be able to make our own parts and the results have been great. It’s likely that we’ll get another before the end of the year.

The outside vendors that we do use are top notch. The machine shop we use primarily works on aerospace parts but we were able, after a long ramp up, to get them making our frame parts. All of our manufactured aluminum parts are made locally so we can control the process and quality.

The whole frame of the Nomad is precision machined. There is no 80/20 extrusion or sheet metal used in the machine. Everything that needs proper alignment is pinned together and then the whole frame is assembled on a granite table to ensure nothing is tweaked.

This makes the Nomad a rigid machine given it’s small size. In the Kickstarter video for other machines, you can look at the stepover/stepdown values that they’re using and see that they are not taking very aggressive cuts. Our frame lets us do more.

Then we have the spindle and the associated drive system that we developed from scratch. We did the mechanical, electrical and firmware all in house. It’s quiet, powerful, and brushless so it should last a very long time. We are, to my knowledge, the only desktop machine with anything like it. We do buy the brushless motor from China ( they aren’t available here) but we go so far as to ship them the shaft bearings that we want used since they’re the only wear item in that motor. We pay attention to the details.

Everything that we can buy or make here, we buy or make here. The only things that come from China are unavailable here in the US. For a machine of this complexity, that’s a real achievement.

If you have any questions, let me know.



I saw the Carvey shortly after I made the decision to purchase a Nomad, and while it looked really neat, I stuck with the Nomad. In fairness, I don’t think most consumers can do any sort of accurate comparison b/c there isn’t enough information about the Carvey… but nonetheless, my decision was based on:

  • Carvey launch date was Fall 2015 - this was far off for me and wasn’t definite, and I wanted to get started ASAP
  • The Carvey spindal appears to be the relatively basic Shapeoko quiet cut spindal, which you can purchase on Ebay for $80 or so. When I was researching CNC machines, I read a blog article about the Nomad having a “real” cutter - i.e. a brushless spindal. This was a big selling point for me since I knew I wanted to do small production runs cutting wood with my machine, and needed a high performing spindal.
  • I wanted maximum Z travel (this is an issue that I’ve read about people having with every single CNC on the market) - so even though it’s small difference (3" nomad vs 2.75" carvey), I felt better about the 3" giving me more room to grow. (And now with the Nomad Vise, having maximum Z travel is even more important) Just go over to the Shopbot desktop forum and you’ll see everyone complaining about wanting more Z, and they already have ~5 inches (!!)
  • When I saw the Carbide3d team in various videos, I thought they looked really genuine - a team of people who knew CNC and wanted to make a fantastic product. I also emailed them during their busy Kickstarter campaign, and they got back to me pretty quick. As well, recently my spindal started acting weird and Jorge hopped on Skype with me to diagnose the problem. He expressed a replacement wiring harness to me and I was back up and running in just a few days.

I’m happy with my decision, but I’m also interested to see what Carvey turns out to be. I think the Carvey, and perhaps other affordable desktop machines like it and the Nomad, are really going to advance the maker space. And you’ve got to assume that companies like Roland will want to play in this affordable space as well in the future. So far however, nothing has made me second guess my Nomad purchase.


Thank you very much Rob and Darren. I am following a gut feeling going into CNC. For a long time I have been fascinated with building things. I am going somewhat blindly into this field and having people like you answer questions with such candor makes me feel great about taking a step into the unknown. Always good to feel you are in good company. I have finished going through all the tutorials for Onshape and feel really good about modeling things for machining. Have started looking at various online videos and reading some blogs. I’m starting to get a clearer image of what it takes to own a CNC. Waiting impatiently for mine to arrive later on this summer. Again, thank you very much for your time and advice. Sure I’ll have more questions as I continue learning more.



It is tough to compare a real shipping product to one that might be shipping ‘this fall’.

I have started a couple of companies, done some turnarounds, and designed a lot of products for several different companies from Bell Labs to Tektronix. Based on my experience the Nomad is a solid design, much better than what you get from the typical small company.

I recommend it because it is here, it works, and it is well designed. To be fair, the documentation needs work, but you can get most of the info you need on this board.

I bought a Makerbot Replicator2 three years ago. Great marketing from that company. However, the design quality was what I would expect from a college freshman. To get it working all I had to do was replace the firmware, install a new hot end, replace the print bed, get different slicing software, Re-design the spool holders, write my own calibration routine… The Nomad is different, it works and is reasonably well thought out.


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