First off if this isnt in the right section I appologize.
I'm looking to go into production and this is a part of it. I've never worked with CNC machining ever. Below are the cad drawings I drew up and I have a few questions. If i'm going to be manufacturing say between 200-400 and possibly more in the future.
1. Would I be better off buying a relatively cheap CNC router for like $8-10k? Or would I be better off subcontracting this out.
2. If I actually did buy a cheaper CNC machine, would it beable to handle this type of job accurately. The initial dip in the picture is for a 'seat' for plastic acrylic pieces that have to fit in flush.
3. Can it cut acrylic smoothly?
4. Can plywood be cut to tolerance like this? I've been worried about chipping since afterall the wood is glued together.
Thanks a lot... these questions really effect how i'm going to pursue my business.
I'd sub it out. Otherwise you'll be in for a steep, and possible costly, learning curve.
Cutting plywood without splintering can ve tricky, depending on the type of plywood.
Mach3 2010 Screenset
(Note: The opinions expressed in this post are my own and are not necessarily those of CNCzone and its management)
First of all, what is the profit margin for the 200 - 400 peices? is it enough to cover the 8 - 10 k that you are thinking of spending on the router? If so, I still would sub out the work. The learning curve can be quite high. Some folks get it easily, some dont. Also, a machine in the price range that you are talking about may or may not hold the tolerances that need. IF not, you just blew the money. Subbing it out, can get it cut on a GOOD machine, with tight tolerances.
Certain types of plywood will respond better than others for this type of work. Don't expect to use some OSB and get good results. Look into some Baltic Birch Plywood or perhaps some appleply (brand name) plywood. Decent tolerances can be had form each as they are relatively stable materials.
Subbing out projects like this to me are a lot more than dollars and cents. Vendor dependability, quality, leadtimes, are all very important. The old saying is "speed, price, quality - pick 2" (the vendor usually gets to name the 3rd) is often very true. Often times doing work in house is not a matter of cost, but control over the product. Perhaps that is a better place to start asking yourself questions. Do you need to control every aspect of this project?
On the other hand, if you outsource it should leave you with more time to do other things such as assembly of finished products, marketing, design new products, etc. Outsoucing usually will give you a better "fixed cost" as well.
Sorry for the ramblings, but I've been there done that and have always believed in "doing what you do best and let others do the rest" is a good rule for making stuff more efficiently.
Check out what I am working on at www.routerbitz.com!