Allright i want to build a cnc router but i have a couple of questions. Can you create wax molds with a router or is it just better to do with a mill? Is it better to engrave with a mill or a cnc router? Basically i want to create jewelry molds but i want to do other things too like make furniture and stuff and a cnc mill would not have enough space for what i want to do and i dont really want to build two different machines. So one machine would be much better for me. So tell me what you think.
Thanks i appreciate you answering my questions and look foward to some good answers.
Yeah i knew about the 4th axis that is no problem well actually i was thinking about buying a router one like the shopbot router. So the accuracy on that should be cool right? And i would be able to engrave right? I want to make jewelry molds but i dont want to be limited to just that, thats why i want a router so i can do more than one thing.
Whatever you choose, you're going to need a device capable of at least 3 axis of simultaneous motion. Herein lies the challenge.
Effectively, you're trying to make a mold. To get the detail you'll ultimately seek sooner or later, you'll need 3 axis motion that is also vibration/chatter free.
If you're making lost wax castings (AKA investment castings), most molds are made of either aluminum or heat resistant plastic - both will require a rigid device to machine them precisely to preserve/generate detail.
I'm not familiar with the Shopbot. However, most routers are esentially light duty 2D mills. They'll rip thru plastic or wood and some thin aluminum but milling steel may ultimately prove to be a challenge - even when it comes to simple tasks like drilling of a simple hole.
Being more of a metalsmith than a wood or plastic worker, I'd be more inclined to the purchase of a mill.
We've used our mill to mill wood, steel, plastic, soap bars - just about anything. Our limits are our table size and our creativity.
Just remember that unless the machine is RIGID and preferrably ball screw driven in all moving axis, it will not be easy to make precision molds.
It is understood that you might not be able to afford or fit all the machines you SHOULD have to do a job. However, whichever way you do go (router or mill), my experience would suggest that a CNC mill can do what a router can do. But a router can not do the more robust things that mills CAN do with ease. Therefore, I'd contend the mill is the more versatile tool...
jewellery molds that I've seen have been rubber. they are cast/vulcanized around a master then carefully slit with a razor (that is the part requiring lots of skill!). intricate shapes can be cast in was this way then mounted on stem, tree, whatever its called for casting. I'd be using the mill the make the master, not the mold. If you make the mold out of something rigid, you have to have draft to everything to make - severally limited for the intricate shapes found in jewellery. check out the catalogues of some jewelry supply co's and you'll see all the stuff you need to make rubber was molds
Ok thanks for the input everyone. Here is the link to the shopbot cnc routers i was talking about http://www.shopbottools.com/prtstandard.htm the price is kind of high but that is okay because i am looking into creating my own business. I really want to do a engraving business, but i dont want to be limited to just engraving. And i want to use the same cnc machine to create other peices of work. O and i almost forgot to add i am looking in to the benchtop shopbot cnc router. Now that i provided you with the link do you think that is would be suitable for my applications?
I use to make jewlery with cnc vertical mill.
We made molds, wax models and machined the gold too.
We had a good machine, 4 axis control and a lot of diferent fixtures.
Very importent we uded a 30,000 rpm head-that had a seperate control. We used only endmills,
usually 1/32 dia or smaller. You can get a 0.020 carbide end mill from rob-jack.