View Full Version : What do you think of

04-23-2003, 10:28 PM
Cheap CNC's router tables?

04-23-2003, 11:07 PM
I will be the first to jump in on this new forum. I have one of these machines on order right now, so I can not give a first hand comment on how it runs, but I will as soon as possible...hopefully in two weeks or so!

I was attracted to the machine because of its name! Actually not really. What I was looking for was an inexpensive way to find out if I really wanted to buy/build a larger CNC for home use. I don't think you can build a unit any cheaper than this one and use it to find out if CNC is for you.

A completely assembled unit with everything but a PC for under $2000 was just to good to pass up.

The companies web site is: www.cheapcnc.com (http://www.cheapcnc.com)

Here is a picture of the machine for those of you who find it too difficult to click on the link! :p

Paul Riedlinger

05-19-2003, 10:39 PM
paulried did you get your machine yet?

05-19-2003, 11:10 PM
I sure did. Unfortunately the UPS man thought that dropping it off the back of the truck on its side would be fine even though it said fragile. I have a great picture of the crate sitting by my workshop on its side with a big UP sign painted on it pointing towards the wall.

Steve at Cheap CNC has been great in helping me get things sorted out. I am 90% there. I had to fix the gantry where one of the support rods was pushed through the upright.

I thought I had it all worked out until this weekend where I loaded a large program and found the X-axis to bind in one area. Turns out the threaded drive rod was bent into a "U" during the UPS Drop. The rod was removed from the machine for shipping and was attached to the crate side. Steve is sending a replacement so I should be back in business by the weekend.

The machine uses the MaxNC drive system and software. So far I have been very pleased with it. I downloaded turbocnc but was not nearly as happy with the interface. However, I loved the jog feature on turbocnc!

Overall, for the price I think it is a great deal. The Porter-Cable laminate router is first rate with very little runout.

I have been able to run some parts, and I will post some pictures tomorrow ( I am currently sitting in bed with a sore back...but loving the joys of a WiFi home network!)

Now I am working on the CAD/CAM part. It has certainly been a challenge. I am learning DesignCAD from CD tutorials and just bought DeskCNC for the CAM part and to do some engraving and STL work (we have a laser scanner at work I can get access to).

How is that for a brief answer! :)

05-20-2003, 12:07 AM
Well, my back kept me from falling asleep so I decided to head down to the basement to post these pictures of my machine!

I will post a running commentary over the next few messages so the pictures relate to the text.

The machine arrived early last week and the first thing that greeted me was this. A testiment to the reading skills of my UPS man.

05-20-2003, 12:09 AM
I later learned that the driver had dropped it off the back of the truck as it "was heavy". I always thought that the yellow tape with "warning over 80 LBS" on it was a good hint.

Anyways, I opened the crate and on first look everything looked find. Cheap-CNC Inc did a great job of packing.....

05-20-2003, 12:14 AM
However, once I got it out of the crate the damage became evident. The drop had pushed one of the Y-axis rods through the gantry. That was easy enough to fix. Later a nagging stall problem on the X-axis was traced to a bent drive screw that was also damaged during the drop. It was attached to the same side of the crate where the rod pushed through the gantry. I am currently waiting for the replacement.

05-20-2003, 12:17 AM

With all of that out of the way, I love the machine. Even with the flakey X-axis I was able to have some fun. Steve from Cheap-CNC Inc (www.cheapcnc.com) has been great in dealing with me making the repairs.

The drive and control system is a MaxNC system with the motors as shown below

05-20-2003, 12:20 AM

The machine was easy to put together. All you had to do was put the drive screws in place, mount the stepper motors, hook up the wiring, install the laminating router and install the software.

The machine control software is DOS based MaxNC and it is really great. They sell drives, software, milling machine, and routers at MaxNC (http://www,maxnc.com)

05-20-2003, 12:23 AM
And finally, the most important thing....a happy customer. This is my youngest daughter and she loves to hang out in the workshop!

Sign was cut in Southern Pine with a 1/4" end mill.

Well, that is it. I am waiting for a new x-axis drive screw and I am back to making dust. During the lull I am trying to teach myself DesignCad and DeskCNC. :p

05-20-2003, 12:33 AM

A word of advice. Actually two words. DUST COLLECTOR. Trust me...:)

Don't use a shop vac. Get an old dryer blower and a pillow case. Quiet and works like a charm.

Oh and latex paint works like a charm on MDF. If you don't paint it a drop of oild will soak in and make a very laaaaarge spot.

Grey works..as do other light colors. Dark colors don't look as nice on cnc machine IMHO.


05-20-2003, 12:40 AM
Man, what an eye for details......OSHA would have a job for you! I had to look back at the photo's to find out which one had the dust in it.

One of my first drawings I am working on is a dust shoe for the machine. Should be easy enough to do since the router had 4 bolt holes in the bottom.

My workshop is currently in a bit of a shambles since we are getting ready to move over the summer. I have a dust system ready to be installed in the new shop that is hooked up to all my machines. Actually, my dad was the big push on this. He has his shop in his basement and he has about 10-12 machines hooked up to a small cyclone and bag filter system. He has a remote control unit on it that hangs around his neck, so he pushed the button and it turns on/off without having to walk across the shop.

05-20-2003, 12:47 AM
There is no dust in your pictures, but I saw you were cutting MDF. I have cut MDF, so I know about dust..:)

Have a look at a BDC (before dust collector) shot. I get 99% of the dust now. My wife is much happier..:)


05-27-2003, 09:06 PM
Nice! I like the dust collector Idea, I will have to try that.

Graham S
05-28-2003, 07:57 AM

What are those dryer blowers normally used for?

Yes, don't say drying and blowing :)



05-28-2003, 08:24 AM
Out of a clothes dryer. Go to your local appliance dealer. Sometimes they have old stuff out back...and will let you have the blower out of a dryer for free.


Graham S
05-28-2003, 08:46 AM


05-28-2003, 10:00 PM
Looks to me like a funace fan. If it is, I am not a fan of using a furnace fan...... I have worked in the woodworking industry my whole life ( from 13 yrs old on) and I have seen more than my share of dust related explosions. We had a 1/4" solid steel explosion door wrap itself around a steel railing due to a spark getting into a dust silo. I would not run dust through anything other than a sealed motor fan, or a fan unit with an external motor.

05-29-2003, 08:20 AM
I'm impressed by the simplicity of the cheapcnc design but I was wonderiing whether there's must flex in the linear shafting along the long axis seeing as it's only supported at each end. Also I gather that the nuts are not preloaded - Is there any discernable backlash? From the sample pic you posted the finish looks pretty good. I was wondering how quiet the PC laminate trimmer is and what weight router the machine could take before overloading it.

05-29-2003, 09:40 AM
Sorry, I didn't mean to hijack this thread, so last post about the fan. It's a dryer fan, and the motor is external, so no dust goes where the motor is. The router makes 500% more sparks then the fan motor.


05-29-2003, 10:59 PM

The lineal shaft is very stiff. It is large enought that I have not seen a flex at all.

The laminate trimmer is quiter than a standard Porter-Cable router, but that also means it doesn't put out the same umph as a 3 hp router! I have not come close to stalling the router but then again, the largest bit I have used is a 1/4" end mill cutting at a depth of 0.2"

I would ask questions directly to the owner of Cheap CNC. His name is Steve Thompson


08-11-2003, 07:07 PM

I am interested in this type of machine for making model 'master patterns' to build fibreglass molds off of.

What is the longest approximate length of a typical available router bit... If you are cutting a relatively soft material (dense Foam? Soft wood).

What is the approximate maximum depth of the part you could cut if the side was angled about 60 degrees from the table??


12-27-2003, 03:59 AM
I'm all for saving money ,but not when safety is at stake
I am a long time woodworker also. dust collector blowers have impellers made of aluminum or plastic so that a nail or metal part sucked in wont cause a spark when it gets to the impeller.

It pays to play it safe