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View Full Version : Deep Z CNC Machines... Who's Got them?



BlueRealm
10-02-2011, 11:36 AM
I think I may have reached the end of the internet as a search for the perfect cnc for my needs. I've come to the conclusion that 6 inches of z clearance is about the deepest z cnc manufacturer’s offer. I’m looking for a CNC router that is around 24x48x12 I’d even be ok with a 10 inch stroke if I could find one. I’ll be milling large blocks of foam for 3d prototypes. My z axis will have to account for the large block plus a long bit with some room for clearance and travel. I would also like to do some small detail work so the resolution needs to be high and the backlash needs to super low. I would also like to do the occasional soft aluminum mills for things like key chains and small parts. My quest of finding such a machine has left me with very few options. I’m a small shop so I can’t break the bank on this purchase, but I was hoping maybe someone would be able to provide me with some additional options.

Finding 1: K2CNC offers a 24x39x12
This one is at the top of my list for purchase at the moment. The price is good it has all the features I want. Little concerned about the (.001” or .0254mm Backlash) but I maybe more misinformed if this is an acceptable amount for high detail work. I'm also a little concerned about some of the issues people are having with these machines over in the K2CNC forum. Any thoughts?

Finding 2: EZ CNC not to be confused with EZ Router
I found these guys because they’re here in Texas as well. They pretty much make custom size CNC machines. Their prices seem to be reasonable I like that they’re local and can help me find a machine that will fit my needs. I’m a little concerned about custom building a machine that could potentially have bugs and kinks to be worked out. I also have a feeling it’s going to be more expensive then the K2 model when everything is said and done. Which is understandable considering they are custom making it.

Finding 3: Techno CNC offers a 24x30x16
This one is for sure a heavy duty machine it’s a little less working space on the x slide, but I could work with that. It’s about double the price of the K2CNC which isn’t too appealing to me. But I know they’re good machines, and I have a guy that’s local to work with.

Finding 4: Ice Bulldog Pro 20x40x16
I don’t have much information on this one other than it has the measurements that would work. I sent a request for a quote, but my guess is its going to be more than I want to spend as well.

Finding 5: Everyone else
It seems everyone else either offers a 6 inch z or can’t upgrade to a deeper z. If they can they are usually very large machines and wouldn’t even fit in my shop and have price tags that are completely out of my range.

So is this truly the end of the internet when it comes to deep z machines? In a perfect world CAMaster would have an upgrade option for a 12 inch z… Man that would be nice.
If anyone knows of a company that provides such a machine please post it or give me your insight and or guidance.

Dennis Rech
10-02-2011, 03:35 PM
I think I may have reached the end of the internet as a search for the perfect cnc for my needs. I've come to the conclusion that 6 inches of z clearance is about the deepest z cnc manufacturer’s offer. I’m looking for a CNC router that is around 24x48x12 I’d even be ok with a 10 inch stroke if I could find one. I’ll be milling large blocks of foam for 3d prototypes.
If anyone knows of a company that provides such a machine please post it or give me your insight and or guidance.


ShopBot has a 48 inch wide Buddy that has an extended Z axis.
It also can be had with an 8 foot x axis.
They even have a 5 axis unit for cutting light materials such as foam.
ShopBots come with 3d software that will let you "plank and stack" your project into manageable pieces.
Dennis

BlueRealm
10-02-2011, 07:07 PM
Dennis,

Thanks for the suggestion. I did notice the buddy had a extended z option. That machine is pushing the max of my budget especially with the upgrade. Unfortunately I won't be getting the 5 axis anytime soon. The 38k is definitely out of my price range even though I'd love to have one. I have a buddy that has a buddy and loves it but I guess they have increased their prices since he bought his.

Does anyone have an opinion on the k2 or should I hold out for the techno or shopbot?


Devin

Butterknife
10-03-2011, 10:59 AM
Devin,

You mentioned CAMaster. Do you currently have one of thier machines? If so, have you contacted them to see if they can do an upgrade? From all I read, they are a great company to work with and they produce a fine machine.

I saw recently on CAMheads that they had produced a machine for a company in South Africa with what looked like a ton of Z travel, and it looked very nice.

I think many companys are a little hesitant to do a deep Z machine because it's harder to control tollerances. You have to figure you're hanging a lot of metal out there without much support.

Just my opinion.

BlueRealm
10-03-2011, 11:18 AM
Butterknife,

No I don't have one, but everyone that does seem to be super happy with them. I've contacted them on the website and haven't received a reply back on the upgrade options. I didn't follow up with it just because I figure most companies that have a fixed sled like that don't usually want to make custom parts for an individual.

Yes I understand deflection can be an issue, but it will be plenty accurate for foam. I can always plank and stack for thinner harder materials to help with deflection.

I just sold my little machine from pcnc yesterday, so now I'm really ready to find a new one that's going to work better for my needs.

Devin

zool
10-06-2011, 10:47 PM
Rather than focusing on any particular machine, look at 3D software like Cut 3D and Cam Bam and MeshCAM.

Cam Bam and Cut 3d have the capacity to do model slicing, which layers the object into pieces of a height that can fit under any axis.

I do not know if MeshCAM has the capacity.

ger21
10-06-2011, 11:08 PM
Cam Bam and Cut 3d have the capacity to do model slicing, which layers the object into pieces of a height that can fit under any axis.

I do not know if MeshCAM has the capacity.

Yes, MeshCAM has slicing.

BlueRealm
10-07-2011, 09:31 AM
Rather than focusing on any particular machine, look at 3D software like Cut 3D and Cam Bam and MeshCAM.

Cam Bam and Cut 3d have the capacity to do model slicing, which layers the object into pieces of a height that can fit under any axis.

I do not know if MeshCAM has the capacity.

And that's exactly what I've been doing the past 4 years. I'll mill it out in slices glue it back together and then have to fill the seams then sand, and repeat. Some of the pieces I end up making are 30 inches high. Milling 2.5 inch foam one at a time. So the hope is finding a higher z for bigger blocks of foam to slice up. Cut 3d is a great tool for the quick jobs. I usually end up slicing the model in SolidWorks and just milling it with visual cam so I can control the deep cuts without ramming my spindle into the stock. But I need to check out mesh cam and cam bam. Never heard of those tools.

I did end up buying a K2CNC. I had them upgrade the bearings and rails for a more sturdy frame. It was just way more cost effective to go with them. I ended up with an HSD spindle and the 12Inch z without going over my budget. Those guys are offering great support over the phone and have answered all my questions.. So I think I'm going to be happy. Plus they have a 15 day return policy if something isn't up to snuff. But I have a feeling its going to exceed and I'm going to have a long happy life with it : )

Devin

fixtureman1
10-07-2011, 09:55 AM
Have you contacted Shopbot about the buddy. They will work with you on special orders

BlueRealm
10-07-2011, 10:21 AM
Have you contacted Shopbot about the buddy. They will work with you on special orders


I did and it was well above my budget in comparison to the K2CNC setup. I'd love to own one, but its just out of my price range for the time being.

Devin

zool
10-07-2011, 01:28 PM
This machine has LOTS of room on all axes!

Tarus Linear Motor High Speed 5 Axis Mill - YouTube

If yer gonna dream, dream BIG!!

BlueRealm
10-07-2011, 02:36 PM
This machine has LOTS of room on all axes!

Tarus Linear Motor High Speed 5 Axis Mill - YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TqokK03BJsM)

If yer gonna dream, dream BIG!!

DROOOOOOOLLLLL Man that would be nice!

Mavyryk
11-06-2011, 11:04 AM
While a little late on this thread.....I'm a big fan of "Big Z". To that end the approach our IronMan XE systems take to maximize "Z" is to, with dual X axis ball screws (optional or standard depending on system) allow the table surface the machine sits on act as the work surface. See picture for example of table we make to accomodate this and illustrate what I'm describing.

This adds either 6" or 8" (again, depending on system) of additional Z axis clearance inside the frame, without having to increase the height of the gantry risers....which we all know increases vibration/decreases rigidity and is to be avoid all costs.

Add to that our Z axis upgrade that has 12" travel and you have a extremely stable Z axis with over 12" clearance and the ability for reaching the entire 12" range with bits of your choice.

For more info check out..... Max Z Clearance (blurrycustoms.com)

parsson
04-28-2015, 05:11 PM
It may be well after the fact now, but I thought I'd mention that the High-Z machines from CNC-STEP can be had with a 19.5" Z travel. The T-slot table can be removed to accomodate large blocks of material. The longer Z travel is only suitable for soft material such as your foam though. That being said, if you work with the T-slot table in place and within the first 4 inches of your Z axis, you can process a mill a range of materials - metal, softer stones, wood, hard plastic. Just a tip in case you didn't buy or make a CNC yet...