Buying advice for CNC noob - CNC router
Folks, I have been researching CNC routers but the choice and features are a bit bewildering to a complete noob like me.
my application will be creating replacement / custom guitar bodies from a variety of woods - probably the most difficult to machine will be Ash.
the wood will start off at around 50mm thick so I imagine that I will need something with some reasonable power.
Ive looked at Trend, Torchmate, PRT, Wadkin, AXYZ and Pacer.
all offer good systems - if expensive.
What I dont want to do is lay out a wad of cash only to discover that I destroy one per month or something.
I have not looked at the self build route but - considering my application - mostly guitar bodies and necks with some thin ic and aluminium machining thrown in... does anyone have any suggestions.
Im looking to make the purchase in May '07.
many thanks in advance.
You should definately look at building yourself, I am finishing my first machine (my excuse is to make timber fishing lures) with a cutting area of 550mm wide by 650 long and vertical travel of 120mm. Total cost so far is about AU $1000.00 which converts to about 2 pounds .... lol. That is all the steel, router, electronics, cable, thingamajigs, doovalackeys etc.
My machine will be capable of machining aluminium, though I probably wont use it for that very often.
The upside will be (apart from a fraction of the cost) that you will KNOW your machine, every nut, bolt ...
But do your research, read read read. There are heaps of people doing exactly what you want to do and I think all of them are registered on this site, certainly seems that way. Lots of people will help you along the way, although if you spent a couple of hours a day for the next month looking through this site, things would be a lot clearer and you would be a lot better off even if you decide to buy a machine outright.
Two machines to look for would be JGRO's router and Joe2000che's router, both free plan downloads. Great place to start, don't know if they will have a large enough work area for you, but they are very helpful guys that will certainly give you pointers if you need help.
My build log is here by the way :
http://www.cnczone.com/forums/showthread.php?t=22101 (My Steel Frame Router)
Prior to visiting this site, I had no real knowledge of CNC. (probably still don't have much of a clue hehe)
wow, thats certainly a lot cheaper than I would pay for a turnkey solution and its great if you have the time to do it !
however, I just dont have that time
I have seen another company called K2 CNC - it all looks ideal for me but the software is expensive and there are three softwares to buy
I will take your advice and spend a lot of time reading these forums.....
I'm working in woodworking over 15 years and i'm intersted in CNC router machine .Therefore , i self studying program sofware to control CNC.
After all, i suscess after 1 year .
With my software ,i can control ShinX CNC router and Heian CNC router(from Japan ) by old computer (PII/PIII with 128 RAM, 4GB disk,Win98/2000 ,CAD sofware release 14).It stable
Total cost about 2500USD include motion control card,cable,PLC,..
I think you can make as me , buy an old CNC router (of course cheap price and mechanic structure also good) and use EMC free sofware to control CNC machine ,I think you can save many money with this
I ended up getting a Fadal VMC4020 but, for what it's worth, after months of looking around I decided on a company called CNT Motion. The things that led me there were helical rack/ball screw driving, AC brushless servo motors, a good toolchanger system, and better rigidity than some of the other systems. In the running were Techno-Isel and Larken before that. If you're just doing bodies, Larken and Techno both have smaller table systems and maybe manual tool changes might not bother you too much to justify buying an ATC.
Hi - I am at about the same stage of this journey. I have looked at a number of the commercially available machines but find that thay are all too big or too small for what I need. They are also fiercely expensive, often because they have capabilities beyond what I need.
Originally Posted by Geetar-ist
I am pretty well resolved on building my own but not, like some of the skilled folks here, with personal involvement with every engineering decision and action. As I see it if you can apply cash to problems they take a lot less time and effort and I am applying my time and effort to what makes me cash. I have spoken to a couple of suppliers already and believe that I can get a reasonable (this is for woodworking) X/Y/Z setup with controllers and motors for a couple of grand ( maybe 3?) I expect to sub the table out to an experienced steel fabricator and the whole thing then starts to get a bit closer to mecano (I was good at mecano when I was 8!) I know that it is not as simple as that and suspect that I have a lot to learn yet but I hope that by diluting my time with my money I can get a build in weeks of work rather than months. With the cheapest machine that I have found in the UK to fit my specs running closer to £30K than £20K it cetainly seems worth some investigation.
Whereabouts in UK are you? It might be interesting to compare notes?
I just bought a small table top router from K2cnc had it deliverd yesterday.
I will need something bigger for my business but decided to try an affordable test version before lashing out on lease etc. I need to know cnc is the way to go.
I have also looked at trend xyz etc.
It cost me about £2250 with delivery import tax etc. and will rout an area 14 x 25 inches and up to 5 inches thick, although not in 1 pass I don't think.
The build quality is very good and the price included a portacable router, high torque steppers cutters control box with gecko drives and a transformer to power the 110 volt porta cable router. It should be plug and play and I am sure most of them are BUT. I can' get the dam thing to work. I am using the hugely popular Mach2 software and have tried evrything that a novice can think of including different computers.
You can imagine then that I am deeply dissapointed not being able to play with my new toy.
I spent a lot of last night on the phone to K2 (at great expense I imagine )trying to resolve the issue but to no avail.
I emailed them today without reply although they might reply later on today.
I intend one day if I get this going and it does what I expect to, have a go at self build using retro parts mainly because I can make it to fit my workspace which is limited due to excess woodworking machnery all in daily use.
You can make very rigid structures using the aluminium sections and as everything will bolt together you don't have to be good at welding etc.
try merchant dice on Ebay if you go this rout (no pun intended)
not sure if I'd import again although K2's bigger machines are attractivly priced and I think i've just been unlucky.
did you get that K2 going yet ?
Im burying my head into all this CNC stuff and coming up with the result that its best to build your own and then pay the money for good software !
currently I can get hold of aluminium extrusion (6x2) and THK rails and bearings from work... if im lucky I may be able to snag a cellbond vacuum table but... we'll see !!!
good luck man..
Didn't get it going yet, seems there is a problem with the controller because the step and direction signals get lost in the input board. K2 are building me a new controller and sending it over when it's ready. I,m also getting a mate (cnc geru) to look at this controller to see if he can fix it and I've bought a cheap controller board of Ebay, "CAUSE I CAN'T WAIT TO GET IT GOING"!!!!
Originally Posted by Geetar-ist
If you can get all of those parts from work get building, just buy a very large lunch box!! and make full length french stick sandwiches then no one will become suspicious!
You say the most difficult timber you will machine is Ash? Ash is great to work with and believe me one of the easier hardwoods. Even though it is very strong it cuts superb you will have no problem. Watch out for Maple it can be as hard as hell and if you try Sycamore (maple family) which I use mountains of every month beware, it don't like machining sometimes (irregular grain)
Not sure about software I am probably going to use Vcarve pro which is sort of 2D but is simple (I need simple) and should do all I need. when I get more advanced I might consider something that will do 3D but I have looked at loads of trial versions and they just confuse me.
Software that you need comes down to:
Machine controller - Mach 1/2/3 ~ $150
Gcode generator - Sheetcam will work well and/or Meshcam ~ $175 each
Drawing program like Visio 2000 or Turbocad Deluxe (check ebay well under $50, new) for 2D drawings, you add the cut depths to the 2D drawing in sheetcam, or an older version of Turbocad 3D for 3D drawings.
Do a search on K2 for some reviews, I have one, it has served me well but took some tuning.
WooHoo!!! looks like another CNC addict !!!
Originally Posted by Geetar-ist
Have a look at the VCarve gallery on this site, might give you an idea on what it can do.
my names is bo from the u.s
I also purchased a new K2CNC 25" x 25" wuth all the upgrades
and a colombo spindle.
I had several problems getting mine going but it works fine now !
I all the issues are fresh in my mind...
so if i can be of help give me a reply,
I am running "vcarve" and "mach 2" also
good luck !