This is a clone of a Zen Toolworks machine.
Hi folks, this is my 1st build of a cnc although I have spent quite a few years around them; I just couldn't resist having a go at something as an evening project.
I've been looking at this forum for a few years and decided to jump in at last. There's been no shortcuts on this build as a quality kit is what I was looking for.
I've assembled the whole machine in 3 hours; just need to wire it up and off I go. All PVC parts are cnc made for accuracy.
The kit was made in china by a contact I have here. We're planning a few more models but this is the basic one they offer.
I'm quite fortunate as I live in china and work in the music industry so my specific area of interest are machines that are of interest to luthiers; on top of that prices are pretty good and I can find everything I need very easily.
I'll pop few more details & pics up as it gets finished and then run some abalone shell to see how sweet she cuts.
I have another larger hobby machine almost ready to build but i'll get this one finished 1st.
This one is using mach 3 through a TB6560. Spec to follow shortly.
I think the full cost of the kit, with additional case for the PSU & motor controller, safety switch etc etc will be close to $275, that includes the router too.
Let me know what you think?
Last edited by Marc L; 09-11-2011 at 09:38 AM. Reason: Update.
This is a clone of a Zen Toolworks machine.
Not only is it a clone, but the attachments he's using are the design of Zen Toolwork's customers that they post online as open-source in their forums: Zen Compatible Project Archive
Another weak, cheap attempt from scam artists in China who pretend they are someone else. They have done the same with IBM and a few other well-known names. Thankfully, most of the world already knows about it, so they are isolating themselves quickly.
I may be in a biased position, but you certainly picked the wrong product to clone and the wrong community to advertise it in, my friend. It doesn't matter, real people know where to go to get the "real thing": Zen Toolworks
Besides, ZTW is already on the front-line and cutting-edge of cool developments and they show up at the famous Maker Fair. Top it all off, you just can't beat their support. They'll talk you through anything and everything.
As far as I'm aware, ALL of these kits originate in China, I know exactly where its made. The guy that makes them does not export so it's domestic sales normally and has been making these kits since 2005, so I suspect that ZTW did not expect their source to be discovered. The kit here is advertised as the cheapest in China; which it is.
Seeing that I live here I am quite fortunate to see Chinese goods re-branded as American made; in the music industry it's rife; the NC industry is not any different.
I'm not 100% sure but I think ZTW buy their kit from the same guy I do as EVERYTHING on his kit is 100% identical to what I have here. If the ZTW is a original and all USA made, why is it ALL Chinese hardware? Something doesn't add up.
Considering that the full kit is approx $160 USD with step motors, controller and PSU...and the router, I can't see how an american company can make this. The kit here is 100% for the domestic market, they don't really export and no one is trying to sell this kit besides ZTW.
Are you sure ZTW make everything in USA? .... I don't think so. I think you'll find that maybe, just maybe, the US models ARE actually chinese made and they are doing nothing more than selling Chinese made product and passing off as home grown.
The only reason it will cost me more is because of the addition parts I am adding to it.
I don't see why I can't just enjoy posting what I'm doing the same as everyone else does!
I do believe that most of the machines on this forum are copies of other peoples work too so why the issues with me assembling a kit and sharing it?
I'm not trying to pass off a kit as my own, I'm just making it for fun because I found the kit over here, quite legitimately, probably the same way ZTW did.
As for support for these kits; all they have done is translate the chinese docs and kept them locked in a members forum.
Also there's not a lot to walk through with a kit like this; as for cutting edge...I can't see a kit like this being used for NASA
If I'm wrong and ZTW's machine is 100% USA made then I apologise.
Maybe this was the wrong forum to try and be part of if just having fun making a machine is a crime!
Where did you read that ZTW was completely USA made?
As far as everyone being a clone of someone else's design - if you take a look around, you'll find that builds are vastly different from each other. They all specialize in or feature different components. Most of the time, the frame size, gantry style and support guides are what is the most obvious difference. The model that you show is every piece of the ZTW machine. The only thing that is different is the driver card used.
So, maybe you're an honest person who is just getting stuck in the middle. If that's true, then it's really unfair to you. My thoughts are for the company that sells this kit as an authentic build of their own. You might know that there has been a number of impersonations on a business level from Chinese companies who were pretending to be a well-known name brand. So now, when something comes from a Chinese business which looks to take advantage of another business's good name and their well-known product, it qualifies for hard responses. The next step for them is to advertise the same name and get a website address that comes very close to the original.
A good example is those few shops that looked like they were authentic Apple stores, selling the products, wearing the support shirts and everything. They were finally shut down by trade officials, but only because they did not have a business license. They didn't care about the impersonation tactic.
Anyway, this obviously is the right forum(s) to build and have fun with CNC. Hopefully, that build you have is well balanced and the assembly builds a strong load path so the frame doesn't stress or crack under constant pressure. No matter who built it, as an end user I really hope you have a ton of fun with it and make all kinds of custom stuff ( Authentic! ). We all encourage open-source as much as possible. If you can, post and offer the designs you create with it (source files - gcode, etc) to others in the field, especially if they are just starting out - they need to learn by example.
Good luck with it and Happy CNC'ing...
Your right, there is an awful lot of copies out here.
I suppose at the cheap end of the spectrum most basic cnc's will look and operate more or less similarly.
To be honest when I saw this kit I thought it would be useful to do basic inlays etc. It was a bit of evening fun as light relief away from guitars etc all day.
On the horizon my projects are dedicated for the music industry as this is where my passion is.
I'll complete this little cnc and see where it's shortfalls are regards precision inlays etc and see what mods can apply to improve it.
Then on with the good stuff
I personally find it hard to agree that any particular cnc design is "owned" by anyone. Almost all moving and fixed gantry machines are at heart just variations of basic, and very generic design and engineering principles.
The differences that count to me though are in the implimentation, aesthetic, or performance criteria of each particular design. The microcarve MDF machines are a great example of this, they are based on simple engineering design principles, but John has done an absolutely fantastic job of using a cookie cutter approach (and I DON'T mean that at all derogatively) to design and create a modular machine made easily from low cost materials that performs well. Copying the machine exactly would be just tacky and not be very popular, but building a similar machine based on common parts would just be your particular implimentation.
Having said that Marc, along with many other people I'm sure, I'd be very interested in seeing your machine, and especially videos of it in action. You can never, ever, have too many cnc pics or videos!
It's rumoured that everytime someone buys a TB6560 based board, an engineer cries!
The machine is nice looking but its small size really is impractical for use in instrument building unless you are making miniature instruments or as you said, inlay. I have a Maxnc 10 here that is collecting dust for 4 years. I used it to make some aluminum parts for my bigger homebuilt machine. People would be better off putting their cash into something a bit bigger. That's just my 2 cents from my own experiences. I have a K2 25-14 and I can just get by with it for necks and bodies. Really a 36 length would be ideal.
I was at the Maker Faire so I replying late...
I really agree with you, "aarrgh". No one really owns a design for CNC DIY kit. How many ways can you assemble a frame with three axis, right?
I overreacted a little and probably lead the idea in an unintentional direction. I identified the possibility of imitating someone's name as well as product. There has been a lot of that going around apparently and its very rare to see that material on anything other than the Zen brand kit. When someone who knows Zen Toolworks runs across that, the immediate assumption is that it belongs to Zen because of it.
The structure of this CNC is different than what ZTW has online. I like the Y movement, it opens up a lot of opportunities. I too hope to see it in action, carving some of the "music industry" stuff; like control panels for sound knobs and switches.
Staying tuned for updates!
It looks nice.
Maybe people don't realize how many things are not only manufactured in asia, but also designed there. And chinese/taiwan would increasingly not just copy western products (there is less and less of them) they copy their own designs as well.
My friend does something similar in europe for kitchen appliances under one brand name. They just go to all those big fairs in china, look what they like then tell them to make it in this color and with this logo and make it look a bit unique and here you go R&D done. Their whole factory in europe is a storage room.
So it is not that chinese would copy things (they do) but what is far more prevalent is that western companies don't do any more of their R&D. Often they would not even bother to write a proper manual, just copy whatever the chinese translation would be given to them. A total laziness. Sorry just a rant.
I've got to agree with you there Oscar, I can't tolerate the way some distributors infer they are actually design houses or manufacturers with high quality control, delivering similar machines to others but with a claimed much higher degree of quality, workmanship, or assembly, but they still ship them with the same almost completely useless Chinese info sheet!
If you're going to pretend you aren't delivering the exact same imported product as all the rest from China, at least personalise the manual and make it useful if it's your product line! Optimum actually seem to do this at least, but many others claiming to be "unique" and "delivering quality" don't.
It's rumoured that everytime someone buys a TB6560 based board, an engineer cries!
Yes, exactly and for tools and machines, the situation is pretty transparent, most manufacturers are pretending they have the tools build in taiwan to their specs, only to find out that it is the other way around, it is that the Taiwanese would offer them the whole thing with their logo on them as a complete wrapped package. And also selling the exact same stuff to others under other names.
Then they would send apologists saying, "but you want low prices, right", it is just laziness, pretending they do it for "us" for low prices while it is a simple shortcut how to make money by reselling other people made stuff. It easier than make it.
And if that doesn't work then we have this "china copying everything" vision, like they just sit on their fat lazy asses, eat junkfood, browse internet and steal our superior ingenuity.
It was the western manufacturers that brought everything there so they can have legalized slave labor and give "us" better deal by using "workers" who get paid in peanuts.
I just want to see any worker over here who will get a buck a day, making stuff he can never afford for some rich people over few thousands miles away, how he will uphold to intellectual property right or the quality or anything at all. Our biggest problem seems to camp in front of apple store to get latest ipad.
Enough of the rant, it is depressing back to woodworking.