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I have been researching CNC machines as I want one play around with, maybe make a few speakers etc, or just have some fun with it. I keep comming accross the CAMaster Cobra series, they seem like a great quality product and I am currently thinking of getting one of them. But, just want to know if anyone here uses a CNC or if you have any suggestions for one?


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Hey Dave,


I made a thread about a month or so back regarding CNC users but didn't get any interest.



Are you looking for a full sized table - 4x8 or larger? I've done about a year's worth of research and playing/tinkering to date. I started with a small desktop probotix unit to learn the CAD and CAM software. I've since moved on to a Shopbot Alpha 48x96 table and couldn't be happier. I had considered MANY options from building my own to various commercial setups. The support on the shopbot forum ( http://www.talkshopbot.com/forum/index.php ) and even their own customer service is second to none if that is of value to you. I also learned a whole bunch from the great bunch of guys at CNCzone.


The CAMaster series are also very nice and popular and seem to have great support. Are you looking to buy a new unit or hoping to pick up a nice used machine?


If you are thinking of building your own I'd recommend going with a kit unless you've got a lot of engineering background. I've found some VERY nice kits from the guys at CNCrouterparts. They were more than willing to chat and answer any questions I had on several occasions.


Some options and choices to consider:


-Cutting/Table area - What are the largest items you plan to build? How much space do you have available?

-Table/Gantry construction type - aluminum vs. metal vs wood (hobbyist)

-Requirements for cutting speed - this will drive the motor/stepper/servo choices you will use

-Use of a standard router or industrial spindle - How often will you be cutting and at what speeds?

-hold down setup - VERY important. Clamps vs. screws vs vacuum hold down

-Electrical requirements - Do you have 120/240V available? 1 or 3 phase?


I'd be happy to help so post any questions you may have.




Andrew
 

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Have you guys done any research on renting or paying for cnc cut parts? And what about 3-axis machines for making complicated horns?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by MBentz  /t/1526534/cnc-router-suggestions/0_100#post_24587068


Have you guys done any research on renting or paying for cnc cut parts? And what about 3-axis machines for making complicated horns?

Mike,


Your typical CNC router for cutting wood/aluminum will be 3 or 4 axis in an X/Y/Z configuration. This gives you direction control in the left/right, forward//back, and up/down planes. Many of the larger routers will have 2 X motors (otherwise known as A or X') to help speeds and control the gantry. What you are describing is tilting of the Z car to perform angled cuts and is quite rare to find on a configuration like this. Many simply make jigs to cut the angles or just set up a table saw to run the pieces through. Another option is to use an angled bit (such a 45 degree v-bit) to accomplish this as well.


Admittedly I haven't done a lot of research on renting/paying but I would gladly rent out my machine for a day or weekend to anyone interested in doing so. Typically you will find there would be fees to cover 1) Design of a particular part or assembly as well as the toolpaths involved, 2) Machining costs (which would include labor and machine usage) and 3) Raw materials.


Hope this helps.


Andrew
 

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I've been looking at the General iCarver and the Rockler CNC Shark. Any experience with those Gorilla? Are they good value. I've also considered just going with a manual router copy carver.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by tuxedocivic  /t/1526534/cnc-router-suggestions/0_100#post_24587477


I've been looking at the General iCarver and the Rockler CNC Shark. Any experience with those Gorilla? Are they good value. I've also considered just going with a manual router copy carver.

Both of those are popular options, but IMO there are better values out there. Of course the most inexpensive method is to build your own, but short of that someone like Probotix offers some awesome value. In the sizes of the machines you mentioned, check out the Meteor and the comet. The guy I sold mine to uses it for production duty so they aren't toys.


http://probotix.com/FireBall_Meteor_cnc_router/
http://probotix.com/FireBall_Comet_cnc_router/


I chose probotix for my first machine because of the user community and unlimited support by the vendor. I wound up buying mine used on craigslist but was still entitled to the same support. On that note - there are often machines that come up for same on ebay and CL so you can save quite a bit of coin by searching.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Stogie  /t/1526534/cnc-router-suggestions/0_100#post_24587495


MBentz I see you are near Chicago check out www.techshop.ws you can use some pretty high tech gear there there is a few of them around the country

Very cool, thanks for posting! Looks like they use shopbots as well.
Depending on how much it would get used, this may be the cheapest option for many.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gorilla83  /t/1526534/cnc-router-suggestions#post_24587024


Hey Dave,


I made a thread about a month or so back regarding CNC users but didn't get any interest.



I'd be happy to help so post any questions you may have.




Andrew

Link to thread??
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by tuxedocivic  /t/1526534/cnc-router-suggestions/0_100#post_24587601


You're right, those look like good value.

Many of their units (including those linked) even come with a PC and the router/cutting tool, and some software. I started with the Fireball V90 which is their smallest unit (and cheapest) but it will still cut the same items, just a little slower and with smaller pieces. It was plenty to get me to learn the software though and it even uses the same cutter as the larger units.
I was able to buy, use for 3-4 months, and sell at only about a ~100 dollar loss.
Quote:
Originally Posted by awedio  /t/1526534/cnc-router-suggestions/0_100#post_24587606


Link to thread??
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1521400/any-cnc-users-owners-out-there/0_100
 

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BTW for anyone seriously considering something like this, here are the main items you will need to budget/plan for:


1) The machine itself (duh!)
including table, stand(s), motor/electronics, and router/spindle

2) CAD software for drawing - I use and love sketchup and it's free (optional)

3) CAM software for creating toolpaths - I HIGHLY recommend the vectric products like Cut2d or Vcarve Pro. You can download these for free in trial form and access tutorials.

4) Bits/Collets depending on what materials you would like to cut

5) Some of the larger machines require 240V so if you're going full size this is likely to require electrical upgrades in your space (optional)

6) Control software - Ranges from free for units like EMC2 to not too expensive like Mach3 (175 per license). Some units have their own proprietary control software which is normally included.

7) A PC with basic functionality for control software.
 

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Gorilla I think that Hurco scared everyone off. I just sold my 2 Hurco 3 axis mills and plan to build some kind of router. I am doing a drawing no of a sub box and plan to go to the local tech shop to try it out to see if I really want to go down this road.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Stogie  /t/1526534/cnc-router-suggestions/0_100#post_24587689


Gorilla I think that Hurco scared everyone off. I just sold my 2 Hurco 3 axis mills and plan to build some kind of router. I am doing a drawing no of a sub box and plan to go to the local tech shop to try it out to see if I really want to go down this road.

If you decide you might be interested in buying or building a CNC wood router, my advise is to learn all you can about modeling and CAM/control software to make sure you will enjoy the type of work required. See my list above.
 

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I have owned a few CNC machines so I have an understanding of the software I made lots of things from metal for my business. I have not done wood and really don't know if I will get the return on my investment, I will likely only make speaker boxes with it but I do want to make some fancy shapes like facets, waveguides and curved things that a CNC router would be great at.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by tuxedocivic  /t/1526534/cnc-router-suggestions/0_100#post_24588272


Gorilla, for 2 and 3 doesn't the icarver come with this? How much does that save?

It does appear to come with ArtCAM express (150 dollars), but almost no units will come with a true CAD package. With that said, a LOT of drawing can be done directly in the toolpathing software (like artcam) but I find drawing in something like Solidworks or sketchup to be a lot faster. At 7999 for a relatively small table, as a hobbyist or small production I think you could save a bit more elsewhere.


If you're getting serious about this stuff, download a trial for either artcam or vectric v-carve. There are also tons of tutorials out there that will let you get your hands dirty very quickly.
 

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Have you looked at Digirout? http://www.digirout.com/dr1500.html I've been happy with mine but I will say it was a bit of an ordeal getting it. Rick is pretty much a one man show and there was a time (after receiving my down payment) that he wasn't returning phone calls or e-mails to the point I thought I had been scammed but he really came through in the end. When he finally started communicating he kept me up to date pretty well and frequently wrote about some new lead screw or bearing or gear... I think he was re-designing the thing as he built it and improving it. I had ordered and paid the price of a kit but got a fully assembled gantry so all I had to do was to assemble the table and slide the thing onto it.


During setup Rick always either answered my call or called back within an hour or two so despite the initial appearance of being a scam I have to say I got really good after sale/delivery support. I opted for the high speed (3-phase) spindle over the options using a regular hand router mounted on it. I'm not sure how well the hand router option works but it might be ok.


mk
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by tuxedocivic  /t/1526534/cnc-router-suggestions/0_100#post_24588619


$8k? The big icarver is only $4500 last I checked. Still, sounds like a $150 doesn't make it worth it. The meteor looks like much better value.

I was looking at the 24x36 model here:
http://www.generalcnc.ca/40_946_icarver


Is there another or smaller version maybe?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Montekay  /t/1526534/cnc-router-suggestions/0_100#post_24588909


Have you looked at Digirout? http://www.digirout.com/dr1500.html I've been happy with mine but I will say it was a bit of an ordeal getting it. Rick is pretty much a one man show and there was a time (after receiving my down payment) that he wasn't returning phone calls or e-mails to the point I thought I had been scammed but he really came through in the end. When he finally started communicating he kept me up to date pretty well and frequently wrote about some new lead screw or bearing or gear... I think he was re-designing the thing as he built it and improving it. I had ordered and paid the price of a kit but got a fully assembled gantry so all I had to do was to assemble the table and slide the thing onto it.


During setup Rick always either answered my call or called back within an hour or two so despite the initial appearance of being a scam I have to say I got really good after sale/delivery support. I opted for the high speed (3-phase) spindle over the options using a regular hand router mounted on it. I'm not sure how well the hand router option works but it might be ok.


mk

I always liked the looks and features of the digirout stuff, but I had heard the same in terms of customer service, etc. Maybe it was your post I was reading over at CNCzone? Glad it worked out for you! And definitely +1 on the 3 phase spindle if you have a choice.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gorilla83  /t/1526534/cnc-router-suggestions#post_24587024


Hey Dave,


I made a thread about a month or so back regarding CNC users but didn't get any interest.



Are you looking for a full sized table - 4x8 or larger? I've done about a year's worth of research and playing/tinkering to date. I started with a small desktop probotix unit to learn the CAD and CAM software. I've since moved on to a Shopbot Alpha 48x96 table and couldn't be happier. I had considered MANY options from building my own to various commercial setups. The support on the shopbot forum ( http://www.talkshopbot.com/forum/index.php ) and even their own customer service is second to none if that is of value to you. I also learned a whole bunch from the great bunch of guys at CNCzone.


The CAMaster series are also very nice and popular and seem to have great support. Are you looking to buy a new unit or hoping to pick up a nice used machine?


If you are thinking of building your own I'd recommend going with a kit unless you've got a lot of engineering background. I've found some VERY nice kits from the guys at CNCrouterparts. They were more than willing to chat and answer any questions I had on several occasions.


Some options and choices to consider:


-Cutting/Table area - What are the largest items you plan to build? How much space do you have available?

-Table/Gantry construction type - aluminum vs. metal vs wood (hobbyist)

-Requirements for cutting speed - this will drive the motor/stepper/servo choices you will use

-Use of a standard router or industrial spindle - How often will you be cutting and at what speeds?

-hold down setup - VERY important. Clamps vs. screws vs vacuum hold down

-Electrical requirements - Do you have 120/240V available? 1 or 3 phase?


I'd be happy to help so post any questions you may have.




Andrew
Hey Andrew,


Probably not looking full sized, but I do want to stay away from the hobby machines like Rockler etc, they are just not up to the task IMO. Power is a non issue, I have both 1 and 3 phase for 240. I just bought a a vacuum press setup with bags and accesories, plus vacuum clamps for about $3K. So clamping is all good. I prefer to have quality constructed machines and new is preferred (After service is essential). Speed really does not concern me as it is only for me to play around with, I am not planning on making a business out of this, but if some one wants something done I will be happy to help.


Well that is about it, I think.


Is there a link to the ShopBot machine?


I was looking at the Cobra CR-408 or the Stinger III.




 
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