Author Topic: CNC Information request  (Read 2479 times)

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Offline travisj

  • Posts: 363
CNC Information request
« on: December 28, 2018, 02:27 AM »
I am contemplating getting a small cnc router for the shop.  I am a hobbyist and I do not have a need, but I am sure it would prove itself useful.  I am not the most savvy when it comes to computers, so simplicity to start would be a preference.  I would also prefer a turnkey bench top / desktop type of machine to start with.  Budget is open ended at this point, I want to understand what’s out there first.  As far as space, I don’t have a lot, 4’ x 4’ would be the maximum, smaller would be better.  Google has me somewhat frustrated, so I figured I would post my request here.  Are there any recommendations for where to begin researching both the machines and the software options?


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Offline infer

  • Posts: 68
Re: CNC Information request
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2018, 02:54 AM »
You need to know what the requirements are for a cnc router. If say you only need it for wood and some soft metals? What bed size you need? Is speed important? And all cnc machines need some computer skills.
I own a Xzero Raptor for a few years that I build from parts that I believe are now available only as used. My impression is that most available turnkey sub 10k cnc are overpriced toys. I would look for linear bearings 20mm (SBC), a solid Y axis (avoid extrusions), quality ball screws on all axis and a decent motor-driver-power supply with back emf protection. Vectric vcarve or aspire for CAM and UCCNC with ethernet for running the cnc. A quality water cooled spindle (2kw) and inverter. A t slot table is very handy.

Offline Peter Parfitt

  • Magazine/Blog Author
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  • Posts: 4196
    • New Brit Workshop on YouTube
Re: CNC Information request
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2018, 07:01 AM »
I am on my second X-Carve. The first was the original large 1000 mm machine and the current one is the new model but the 750 mm size. Both machines were provided to me free of charge by the manufacturer, Inventables.

Take a look at the videos in the New X-Carve (2017) group by following this link:

http://www.youtube.com/user/StoneMessage/playlists?view_as=public&disable_polymer=1

You should find all the information about building the machine and get to understand some of the terminology and technical background of simple CNC work.

Peter

Offline blaszcsj

  • Posts: 463
  • I like building stuff with my hands.
Re: CNC Information request
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2018, 08:24 AM »
I have the 1000mm xcarve. I did the original shapeoko Kickstarter deal then went and updated it to the current version of xcarve with xcontroller. For intermittent hobby use it is a great tool. I have about a grand into the mechanical setup and I think they go for 1200-1400 now + software. Another option is the shaper origin but you loose the ability to set it and walk away. And I’m not sure how much Zaxis contouring it can do.

 IMO if you want a CNC it is hard to justify spending much more than this unless you are making a lot of something or doing complex things all the time. I finished mine to make party favors for my wedding (I actually saved money) and the did a few odds and ends + a little aluminum work. Otherwise it has just sat. It is a lot of times easier to just make a quick jig than go thru the setup of the machine for a single par run. But is is a sweet tool to have in your tool bag.

As far as software inventables easel software is pretty good to get started before you take a plunge on other options. I have carve pro and it is nice when you get used to it and it can import/interface with other cad software.

OF1010 EQ Router | MFT/3 | DF500Q | Carvex 420 | ETS EC 150/3 | CT 36 Auto Clean | TSC55 | LR32 | OF1400 EQ Router | ZOBO Metric Set | CXS Li 2.6 - 90 Limited Edition | Universal Cleaning Set | HKC55 | Centrotec CE-SORT | RO150 FEQ | DTS 400 | RO90 DX | CTSYS | C18 Drill | SysLite KALII | Syslite STL 450 | RAS 115 E | OF2200 EB

Online deepcreek

  • Posts: 849
    • TimberFire Studio
Re: CNC Information request
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2018, 09:50 AM »
I would love to add a 24x48 CNC to my shop but the price for a quality machine and the required accessories has stopped that notion in its tracks.

I just don't see how you could ever recover the investment.
Joe Adams
TimberFire Studio
Houston, Texas

http://www.facebook.com/timberfire

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 6539
Re: CNC Information request
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2018, 10:05 AM »
I would love to add a 24x48 CNC to my shop but the price for a quality machine and the required accessories has stopped that notion in its tracks.

I just don't see how you could ever recover the investment.

I agree on all of the above.  [big grin]  Plus I just don't have the space for something that large to just "sit around". I already have that problem with an old Dewalt radial arm saw.

For all of those reasons, I just purchased a Shaper Origin for $2400. It lives in the footprint of a Sys 4.  [big grin]

Offline HMR

  • Posts: 78
Re: CNC Information request
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2018, 10:47 AM »
I bought an Asteroid by Probotix (25”x37” bench top model) in 2015.  Best investment in my shop I’ve ever made.  It paid for itself within the first few months of ownership.  Love that machine.  I upgraded to a larger model by CNC Routerparts earlier this year.  The new machine is great but the Probotix still cuts smoother due to having ball screws on all 3 axis.  My Probotix is for sale if anybody is looking for one in the San Diego area.  $2500 and it comes with a nice assortment of accessories.  I can’t say enough good things about adding the CNC to my shop.  Total game changer for creativity, productivity and shop income.

Here’s an example of the work I do with the CNC.  This is an original design I sketched on paper and then transferred into the computer.  Every single part was cut on the machine including the joinery and the shaping of the seat and backrest.


Offline paulc75

  • Posts: 71

Offline jaguar36

  • Posts: 203
    • Toolamanjaro.com
Re: CNC Information request
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2019, 01:42 PM »
I'd think about what you want to use it for, and if you really want it just to play with or if you want it to make money for you.  Most of the small cheap ones are great for playing with, but aren't really useful for production work.

Beyond playing with it, I've not found many uses for my cnc.  If I was doing production work where I wanted to make multiple parts that are all the same I think it would be great, but for just doing one or two pieces its easier to just cut it on the bandsaw.

I also thought I would use it for carving more, but I found it to time consuming to generate the models.

Offline neilc

  • Posts: 2758
Re: CNC Information request
« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2019, 02:01 PM »
Not sure what you are considering, but I have the Shaper Origin (www.shapertools.com) that I purchased because it has a minimal footprint.  Might give it a look.  I looked at several of the 'table-based' units but the complexity and space considerations kept me from pulling the trigger on them.


Offline blaszcsj

  • Posts: 463
  • I like building stuff with my hands.
Re: CNC Information request
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2019, 07:15 PM »
@neilc can the shaper origin actually contour in the z direction or does it only follow single z depth?
OF1010 EQ Router | MFT/3 | DF500Q | Carvex 420 | ETS EC 150/3 | CT 36 Auto Clean | TSC55 | LR32 | OF1400 EQ Router | ZOBO Metric Set | CXS Li 2.6 - 90 Limited Edition | Universal Cleaning Set | HKC55 | Centrotec CE-SORT | RO150 FEQ | DTS 400 | RO90 DX | CTSYS | C18 Drill | SysLite KALII | Syslite STL 450 | RAS 115 E | OF2200 EB

Offline neilc

  • Posts: 2758
Re: CNC Information request
« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2019, 08:20 PM »
No contouring - since the x/y is controlled by your hands it would be next to impossible for reliable z contouring.  Sorry.  Z depth is set manually.

@neilc can the shaper origin actually contour in the z direction or does it only follow single z depth?

Offline Worktoplay

  • Posts: 1
Re: CNC Information request
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2019, 11:05 PM »
For software, Vectric LTD. (VCarve, Aspire, etc.) has a very large following and excellent tutorials online.  They also have free demo versions of their various programs, which are fully functional except for exporting the G Code.  You can purchase a lower level program and upgrade later at the delta retail price.  Their customer service is excellent.  The have a good forum, just Google Vectric Forum.

As far as machines, Axiom and the Laguna IQ offer a number of models and options.  Axiom has a good forum with a lot of information,  Laguna has a few good videos on YouTube.

Offline JeremyFXDWG

  • Posts: 5
Re: CNC Information request
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2019, 11:24 PM »
You need to know what the requirements are for a cnc router. If say you only need it for wood and some soft metals? What bed size you need? Is speed important? And all cnc machines need some computer skills.
I own a Xzero Raptor for a few years that I build from parts that I believe are now available only as used. My impression is that most available turnkey sub 10k cnc are overpriced toys. I would look for linear bearings 20mm (SBC), a solid Y axis (avoid extrusions), quality ball screws on all axis and a decent motor-driver-power supply with back emf protection. Vectric vcarve or aspire for CAM and UCCNC with ethernet for running the cnc. A quality water cooled spindle (2kw) and inverter. A t slot table is very handy.

I built my own using a 4x4 fine line automation Saturn machine, built the control box and electronics and am running Servo motors with a 3hp spindle. I would put it up against most $15-20k machines. I have about $6k into it.

I am working on publishing the build to the community so it could be easily replicated. My biggest struggle building it was piecing it all together so it would work. I would be happy to shre what  have if you want to venture down the build it yourself route.

Offline Mario Turcot

  • Posts: 958
Re: CNC Information request
« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2019, 08:33 AM »
I was in the same boat two years ago. I read a lot about all the DIY CNC packages. At the time only two models were a viable option for me. The X-carve and the Shapeoko3. I did an in depth comparison based on people input from both machines. I went for the shapeoko3 XXl. Cut capability of ~38" x ~38". The benefit of the Shapeoko3 at the time.

- Stiffer intrusion
- 200$ less than X-Carve
- Free router (Makita or Dewalt)
- Free shipping to Canada
- Free beginner software

Took me 3.5 hours to put the kit together and run the first test. I use Inventables Easel (free) as design software and import the svg file to run it through Carbide 3D motion software. VCarve is my next step for design. I had a look at fusion 360 and unless I get a more capable CNC I will stick with free software.

Mario

Offline Gregor

  • Posts: 1459
Re: CNC Information request
« Reply #15 on: January 03, 2019, 04:51 PM »
@neilc can the shaper origin actually contour in the z direction or does it only follow single z depth?
No contouring - since the x/y is controlled by your hands it would be next to impossible for reliable z contouring.  Sorry.  Z depth is set manually.
As the shaper is able to detect your accuracy to the intended path (and compensate for you being human, in case you don't move too fast) and is able to adjust the height of the spindle... why should't it be able to do contour in z direction (as long as you have enough flat space for it to ride on)?

Offline neilc

  • Posts: 2758
Re: CNC Information request
« Reply #16 on: January 03, 2019, 07:34 PM »
Gregor -

I'd say 'reliably' is the key.  Some on the Shaper forum have indicated that Z depth is optionally included in the files that Shaper reads.  But to date, there has been no indication from the company that they have plans to support contouring or true 3D.  Their primary file support is SVG files, so very different than G-code used by most CNC's which support 3, 4 and even 5 axis in some cases.  Shaper is far easier, but there are compromises.

Let's see how the software updates proceed with new funding and deeper engineering investments with Tanos acquisition.

neil

@neilc can the shaper origin actually contour in the z direction or does it only follow single z depth?
No contouring - since the x/y is controlled by your hands it would be next to impossible for reliable z contouring.  Sorry.  Z depth is set manually.
As the shaper is able to detect your accuracy to the intended path (and compensate for you being human, in case you don't move too fast) and is able to adjust the height of the spindle... why should't it be able to do contour in z direction (as long as you have enough flat space for it to ride on)?

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 6539
Re: CNC Information request
« Reply #17 on: January 03, 2019, 10:10 PM »
Let's see how the software updates proceed with new funding and deeper engineering investments with Tanos acquisition.

Personally, I feel that continuous Z axis motion will the next major product improvement Shaper will target. It’s certainly not an impossible task and it could all be controlled through software.

At this point, the most difficult task has been conquered...CNC machining accuracy while being driven not by a stepper motor, but only by human hands. That’s pretty impressive.

Offline infer

  • Posts: 68
Re: CNC Information request
« Reply #18 on: January 04, 2019, 01:23 AM »
Even if Shaper adds 3d contouring who is going to hold the router for 1-2-3 hours needed to complete the design? It does not make sense to add this feature on a handheld device.