How hard is it to get into CNC Machining small aluminum parts?
I am looking for information on how hard it is to start machining small
aluminum parts for my R/C Helicopter. Im looking to get into CNC'ing as
a hobby and trying to find out all the information i can get. What are
the costs involved in the machines and are there any inexpensive small
units i could get?
ok key word here is hobby.
if you don't have the blueprints mic the parts and make them close enough to work, tweak if you need after prototypes.
most parts can be cut with simple 2d profiles at various depths. many programs available for cheap dxf drawing generation.
there are also many cam programs which will give you the cutting files for a few hundred USD.
jigs, fixtures, endmills. probly less than 100 USD to get you started.
buy older nice machine and upgrade/convert around 1-2000 USD plus a decent amount of your time, the hobb time you have.
All told you could be cutting parts for under a few thousand bucks.
You just need to research what you require and what amount of money it will take.
You aren't starting a machine shop here so you can start with the bare minimum and buy more cool toys as the budget allows/ project requires.
Look around here and you will find a wealth of information on finding a decent machine and how to get it running.
One of the little Sieg mills looks to me like a nice starting point for small parts like an R/C helicopter. I'd get a small lathe too. Try something like a Lathemaster 8x14.
I would also highly recommend learning to use the mill and lathe before you try to CNC them. You probably won't get as far as making fancy helo parts manually, but you need to understand how your machines should sound and feel and what they can do, as well as learning some machining basics.
And yes, hobby is the operative word. There is a lot of range there though. You can have a lot of fun and take on some real ambitious projects over time.
You might find some of my pages helpful for your learning process: