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September 21, 2020

Take your CNC precision to the next level with a PCI controller

By scribe


CNC shop owners and hobbyists alike are always striving for new ways to simplify the production process without sacrificing quality or precision. And while there are many different ways to achieve this, perhaps none are more cost-effective and user-friendly than the use of a PCI controller.

Here are several of the key ways a PCI controller can streamline your CNC work by combining the power of industrial technology with the usability of a PC.

Easy to learn and operate

ShopSabre’s PCI controller is the easiest industrial controller on the market to operate, providing complete control over all aspects of your CNC system through simple point-and-click technology. It is easy to learn and requires no special training, making it an especially invaluable addition to the shop for more novice operators.

High-definition connection

The PCI controller doesn’t connect to the machine via a cheap printer port or USB cable. A USB connection, in particular, can cause communication issues as it is designed for one-way communication (such as plugging a cell phone into a computer). But CNC machines need to be able to communicate back and forth to relay information from the computer to the cut and vice versa.

This is why the PCI controller uses a high-definition 37-pin industrial connection, allowing for a flawless transfer of information that eliminates the “saw blade” look from cuts as well as any other un-programmed movements that may occur.

The PCI controller also comes with ethernet and network capabilities.

At-machine storage

Certain CNC systems with “tunnel vision” can prohibit you from being able to alter drawings or store files at the machine, creating more work and additional steps during production. ShopSabre’s PCI controller has 250 GB of at-machine storage via a solid-state hard drive, allowing you to load CAD software directly onto the machine computer for instantaneous file changes.

The CNC controller also has available USB drives so you can plug in flash drives, external hard drives, and USB wireless cards.


Many cheaper controls can often cause long-term compatibility issues because they don’t have the technology needed to stay up-to-date. ShopSabre’s PCI controller is designed to remain current and updated at all times.

The CNC controller has a built-in microprocessor (PCI card) that only drives the machine while the PC processor runs the PC and any programs you may have running. This means Windows does not operate your CNC system but is present for those programs that require it.

With the PCI controller, you are able to network your machine, perform at-machine diagnoses, and operate various Windows-compatible programs without compromising machine control capabilities.


ShopSabre doesn’t use cheap hobby controllers or something that can cause programming issues – but that’s not to say our PCI controller is overly expensive. It is designed to be as easy to use as those cheaper controllers but to also have the capability of more expensive machines (that can often cost around $100,000).

The elite industrial machine features of the PCI controller include:

  • Part/job preview
  • At-machine CAD
  • On-board diagnosis
  • Bit offsets/compensations
  • Tracing
  • Direct import
  • And more

From the outside, it looks merely like a normal PC. Behind the scenes, however, there is an industrial CNC-grade PCI controller with an integrated microprocessor and the same hardware you’d find in a standalone control tower – but at a much more affordable price.

Step up your CNC capabilities with ShopSabre

Our world-leading CNC routers and CNC plasmas provide precision, efficiency, and total versatility to help aspiring hobbyists and full-time commercial shop owners alike produce truly outstanding results with a fraction of the labor.

Here are a few of the primary reasons ShopSabre is able to develop and produce such revolutionary technology:

  1. Experienced in-house engineering talent
  2. The ability to totally fabricate and test designs onsite
  3. The ability to place the designs into production in-house

These are just a few of the advantages of being an American machine tool manufacturer. Shop our unmatched collection of CNC routers and CNC plasmas in Minneapolis today to experience CNC the way it was meant to be.

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