I am new to the forum. I have been researching cnc machines for months. Quite frankly, I'm still lost! Thought I had it narrowed down, but after reading some posts here, I'm not so sure. I realize that as with any piece of machinery, there are going to be problems, either mechanical, electronic, software or user inexperience or a combination of all. Hopefully some of you more experienced users can help with a few questions:
We are General Contractors building rustic cabins and timber frame homes. Our specialty is making our own cabinets and we add our own touch with rustic hardware, gussets for timber joining and anything else we or our customers can think of to add a rustic look. The look of wrought iron and metal mixed with wood and rock gives a stunning finish look to most rustic projects. More and more our clients are asking for personalized signage, entrance gates, etc., which has sparked my interest in the cnc machines. We need a machine that can do both metal cutting and routing. I have heard conflicting stories on using a combo machine. It would appear that taking into consideration that when cutting metal the torch never touches the material and therefore can glide along it's tracks freely, while when routing material the spindle blade is actually being pushed through the material.
1. Will this create inaccuracies or slack in the machine as wear takes it's toll?
As most of us are, we are on a budget and can not afford two machines to perform seperate tasks at this time.
2. Metal frames vs. extruded aluminum. Obviously metal is stronger and more rigid than aluminum. Different companies build with different material. Any opinions here?
3. Some companies are offering the option of building your own frame and just buying the motors, gantry and controller/software from them. What kind of headaches are involved here? Obviously you could save money on shipping as well as material, but the drawback is that they could not test the machine on your table! It also gives the manufacturer a scapegoat in that potential problems would more than likely be blamed on your table! (Just a thought)
Any input on these issues is greatly appreciated as this will be our first experience with cnc. And also any suggestions as to which manufacturer might fit our needs best. I had pretty much narrowed it down to Dynatorch, Dynacnc, and Torchmate. Dynatorch does not offer a router configuration with their machines, but they seem to be the most knowledgeable when it comes to plasma cutting. Plus they are within a reasonable driving distance from our shop even though it would be an overnight trip.
Thanks in advance for any help!