cnc machines: aps3000 vs kkl

as a hand shaper dreaming of finding $60,000, i am wondering which would be the way to go. the aps3000 looked real easy to scan masters using digital pics, but it seems most socal guys use kkl. give me some info, opinions, etc.

Are you talking about buying one? Just using one? Software or the machine itself? My advice is to just find someone with a machine in your area, ask them what software their machine supports, and then design your board with whatever software package that may be (ask them for a copy of the design software if it’s not freely available). My guess is that for $30-$40, you can send them your design and they’ll machine it for you. No $60,000 overhead and you’ve got yourself your preshape.

as a hand shaper dreaming of finding $60,000, i am wondering which would be the way to go. the aps3000 looked real easy to scan masters using digital pics, but it seems most socal guys use kkl. give me some info, opinions, etc.

kkl is a USA company, APS3000 is aussie, there’ll be more of them in Cow-li-fornia (govnor pronunciation) soon, the Bay Area is getting one AFAIK.

Going rate is closer to $28 per machining run.


the bay area is getting a KKL machine? can you give us more details?


I have spoken to many (and I mean many, not 2 or 3) users of both machines extensively Nelmo and all I can say that is the users of both seem to both sware by their choice. From what I can make out though, the APS 3000 is better suited to a shaper that is more interested in working with a customer 1 on 1 and designing custom boards that can be modified incrementally over a number of shapes. It also seems to be able to handle more extreme design features that can be changed or kept by the shaper. Most I know actually have the program and design from it, for custom shapes they will actually have their laptop in the bay and modify the files for team etc as they come back to be finished. Its a direct process, no middle man.

The KKL seems to have its advantage for a shaper that doesnt want to be involved in the pre shape process as none of the people that I know that use it have the design program and/or design their files used for the pre shapes. It kind of seems to depend on the KKL operator to a large degree to interpret their designs. Possibly best suited for reliable pre shape stock for a manufacturer making alot of the same kind of board. If you want experiments with that get the planer back out, hopefully it still works!

But on that note the two largest surfboard manufacturers in Australia use neither… They both still use a router/rail profiler. The only way you can decide is to try both and use an objective mind…

Feel free to shoot me down on these opinions as well!

thanks for the info. i am interested in the APS machine because of the shaper interaction with the machine. i am not intersted in doing “pop outs”, but in doing the “perfect” one at a time board. might be looking to refi the house and step up!!

I chose the 3DM cutter by John Yow over the aps and the KKL. The 3dm cutter is better built and will run very fast and smooth for many, many years. it can be run as a high production machine or as a high definition custom board machine. I do all my customs on mine. You have complete control of the boards definition/cutting speed. cuts wings, tucks rail under, concaves. very easy to use. It’s even dust free and quiet. best thing I ever invested in.

contact John

Do machine retailers offer comissions to existing owners who help sell more machines?

This may be one reason why it’s hard to find an unbiased opinion.



edit: nevermind…

Even if it’s a small amount, I think they should. Getting someone a sale for a $60,000 machine is worth some sort of pat on the back.

I once advised some friends to look at an apartment in my parents town, they ended up buying one, and the agent gave me a box of chocolates. Big Deal!

Nah, sorry, you’re right - it’s no big deal…

I only mentioned it because it can be frustrating sifting through the sales pitch for the technical merits - but I suppose this is true with any puchase.

CNC machines are especially hard to compare because the specs of each machine are so closely guarded… also for a good reason - but if you have an understanding of CNC it’s like trying to buy a car without knowing what’s under the hood.

On that note, I would like to see a comparison of the 3dm vs the cnt900… very different, yes, but how different?



APS is simply the Macintosh of Cad machines. Well thought out, built by the actual designer, a commitment to constant innovation and support, no cheese ball sales guy trying to jam the machine in every shaping bay/factory within a rocks pitching distance of each other. Since the APS press release it seems as if there is a sense of urgency by other’s to sell there machines at the same price. Some have even dropped there price close to 25%. Hahaha somebody must be feeling some heat! I wonder why?