View Full Version : Starting first machine, looking for advice.

01-17-2005, 06:54 PM
I've had this project half-started for about a year now. I have a HobbyCNC controller built up and a set of stepper motors. I also have a good idea what I'd like the machine to look like. However, that design includes mostly aluminum castings and due to a lack of ambition and the snow/ice on the ground (Molten Al and water don't mix, trust me! :eek: )

So, my question for all of you with lots of machine building experience: Should I build one out of MDF, maybe from some of the plans offered on this site and use that as a learning tool and to make parts and/or foam patterns for casting parts for the better aluminum version? Or... Should I step up and build my "dream machine" first? I know lots of folks on other types of DIY hobbies that have gone through several whole machines/things before settling on one they like. I'd hate to spend hours making castings only to find out the design has problems that I could have learned about playing with the easier MDF version! (At least the castings could be remelted! (flame2) )

Thanks for the advice!

01-17-2005, 09:11 PM
You could build an mdf machine then use it to machine foam parts and then cast them and make your bigger better machine. Thats kinda what i am doing. Refining and learning how to use the software and hardware before building the size of machine i would like in the end.

01-17-2005, 11:57 PM
Definitely, without question, absolutely build a smaller, more simple machine first.
You have already had this thing going on for a year, it will never get finished if you make it too complicated. Do a simple, solid, wood machine first, then in about a year, decide if you want to do your "dream machine" which, by the way, will have changed dramatically based on your new found experience.