A little about myself: I've been interested in machining (or at least, working with my hands) since I was a kid..always tinkering with things or having a hare-brained idea that I wanted to create..
Got laid off from a major cabinet manufacturing plant and as a result, was able to go back to school for a 2 year degree on a free ride - so I decided to become a machinist.
Fast forward 2 years and a graduation later, and here I be!
I work at a machinist shop here in town, and have always had a fascination with CNC machines so I have decided to throw myself into a new hobby and make a home CNC machine.
Bought some plans online, went through the parts list etc and thought it would make a good machine (although, made of hardwood) and I've been rethinking the machine and its assembly. A machine made of wood would be fine for wood cutting, but I want to build something that can cut wood, plastic, soft metals (brass, bronze etc) and some aluminum with light cuts and hold decent tolerances.
Now I'm at that dilemma where I'm not sure to continue with the plans that I've got (I've bought 1/2 the materials or so for it) or should I adapt the plans into something framed in aluminum instead?
I'm working on a budget of "work overtime pays for the materials" so I want to do this the right way the first time.
My idea is to use:
*3/8-8 4 start acme thread for all 3 axis
*a grizzly 3" rotary table for a 4th axis (Although I have found an interesting idea using a gear reducer and a smaller 3 jaw chuck..)
*as stated above, be able to use a 4th axis
*a large work envelope - I want to be able to make some things such as carved hope chests etc, so I want that large work envelope to make large carvings (the plans I bought have a 25x25 cutting area)
I have already picked up my controller/stepper set off of ebay: A 4 axis kit with 290oz steppers, power supply etc...and for giggles picked up a dual shaft nema 23 off of MPJ that was on sale for the 4th axis control. (I can save one of the nema's in the original set to replace a failed drive if it occurs)
As a beginner question - should I stick with the all wood machine, or try to adapt it to make the entire thing out of aluminum?
The dimensions are in standard wood sizes, and I think that the 8020 site might have some things that are close, but I'm unsure.
Just hoping to get a push/slap/kick/shove in the right direction that doesn't incur too much scrap
Thanks for any input, and I look forward to doing more than lurking in the future!