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Cnc talk

I've been considering getting a cnc machine. I'm interested in peoples oppinions on them and what they would go with. I saved up for a drum sander and ended up not buying one. I also planned to get a bigger bandsaw and drill press but im wondering if i should take that money and just go with a cnc machine instead? Ive been researching for a month or so on them and still dont understand everything but have a good understanding of what is needed. Here is a bunch of options i have found for anyone interested in discussing them. There are others from probotix (higher end over budget), cnc shark (overbudget for the size and the z axis gantry is not ridgid upon inspection at rockler). 

My speaker building is tailoring off but some other projects are starting to enter my mind for home imrpovement stuff. However people always ask for baffles so thats a possibility on the side. Im teying to find a machine that is stiffer than a hobby machine and cut at a reasonable rate. Ive saw some videos of the xcarve with stock spindle take 30-40 minutes to cut a few small parts and that seems kind of silly to take that long. 

One machine not mentioned is the new handheld cnc machine that is aboit to come out the "shaper origin" its $1700 but you have to drive it by hand which again i think not right for a cnc i dont want to babysit it. I just want to check it while im working on other things (after its setup and tuned properly).

NONE OF THESE OPTIONS COME WITH A STAND

Gryphon  http://www.gryphoncnc.com/machine-and-electronics/

$2100-$4000

Assembled, 18x18  to 4x8  (and tons of sizes inbetween), gear driven, need to upgrade spindle to router (it’s a dremel stock)

X-Carve https://www.inventables.com/technologies/x-carve/customize#1000mm

1000mm(x)  1000mm(y)  65mm(z)  (actual cutting at 750mm x 750mm (29.5 inches)

$1474 use their free EASEL (very basic) for cam/cad, wasteboard and clamps  dewalt router

$2052 with v-carve pro – 11 bits , wasteboard and clamps

Pro’s

Huge community base, well documented kits, free content, single box control unit (psu, stepper motor drivers and controller, nema 23 steppers

Cons

Belt driven, Need to fully assemble kit but comes with full kit everything needed. hobbyist grade

Shapeoko 3 https://shop.carbide3d.com/collections/machines/products/shapeoko-xl-kit?variant=29273233798

$1830  (dewalt router)  (XXL): 33"(X) x 33"(Y) x 3"(Z) , nema 23 steppers

Pro’s

Huge community base, well documented kits, single box control unit (psu, stepper motor drivers and controller, nema 23 steppers, appears more ridged than xcarve, its partially assembled

Cons

Belt driven, hobbyist grade

SMW3D Big OX CNC  https://www.smw3d.com/ox-diy-cnc-kit/

$1480  22” x 30” Seems significantly more ridgid than xcarve and shapeoko 3, 400watt spindle better belts, mechanical and motors only no electronics included. $1581.45 with TinyG controller which is a cnc controller

Con’s this is a complete diy build and not knowing what is needed for the electronics can cause some headaches and wasted time.

 

 

R7 SMW3D

$2223  https://www.smw3d.com/r7-cnc-diy-kit/

800mmX800mm cut area, acme screw driven, tiny g controller, 800w spinle (water cooled), nema 23 stepper motors, ridgid machine,  no software included.

Con’s this is a complete diy build and not knowing what is needed for the electronics can cause some headaches and wasted time.

OPEN BUILDS C-Beam $1059

http://openbuildspartstore.com/c-beam-machine-xlarge-mechanical-bundle/  

13”x29.5” cut area. About 1” to 1-1/4” deep cuts, acme screw driven. No electronics what so ever aside from nema 23 motors. Probably my least favorite option of the bunch.

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Comments

  • Great thread. I too am interested in getting/assembling a cnc machine and have been looking at options too. The gryphon looks like the cheapest one to get started on (for a full size cnc or grow as you go), but reviews were mixed. cncrouterparts makes some great kits, but looking at 6-7k all in.

    I am looking at starting on a smaller scale - say 4x2 or 4x3 and then expanding on to 4x8 down the line. So, ability to extend later on would be good.
    D1PP1N4thtry
  • Ive been looking as well. Just cant quite justify the cost yet. The inventables xcarve is the one I am most interested in at this point mainly due to its huge community support. Lots of makers/woodworkers using it. 

    A friend has a 3 axis cnc available for sale, but at $6k including the prograde software, its way beyond my budget.
    D1PP1N
  • I have the 1000 mm x 1000 mm x-carve that I am using with Easel at the moment (may upgrade SW at some point in the future).  As you correctly indicated, it is hobby grade - but the upside is that it is pretty easy to use.  The main reason it is a hobby machine is that speed vs. accuracy/reliability is an either or proposition.  The upside is that the easel version is pretty affordable for a cnc big enough to handle most speaker projects and you can incrementally upgrade its weak points as your skill level and aspirations increase.  

    Both of my teenage sons use it for other purposes and even their friends can quickly whip up designs on Easel without any training.  I sometimes have to clean up their designs before we carve (we need to leave some place to put the clamps, etc...), but the corrections are usually minor.
    D1PP1N
  • Found this $588 probaby not as accurate for my liking https://www.bobscnc.com/products/e3-cnc-engraving-kit

    X-carve is chicago based so you could save on shipping by pickojg it up. It also appears its upgradeable from the smaller one to the larger one thats a nice feature.

    There are also the china 3020 and 6040 size machines with somewhat mixed reviews but they are the most bought i think. 

    For speaker stuff 24 wide by 48 is atleast enough to get towers made up unless they are 2 pieces. Im still reaearching the trapezoidal, lead screw, ball screw, acme threaded, belt options to see what they are all about next. Upgradability to a larger model is very important to me i plan to move within lime 3-5 years and get a bigger workspace. 
  • ScottS said:
    I have the 1000 mm x 1000 mm x-carve that I am using with Easel at the moment (may upgrade SW at some point in the future).  As you correctly indicated, it is hobby grade - but the upside is that it is pretty easy to use.  The main reason it is a hobby machine is that speed vs. accuracy/reliability is an either or proposition.  The upside is that the easel version is pretty affordable for a cnc big enough to handle most speaker projects and you can incrementally upgrade its weak points as your skill level and aspirations increase.  

    Both of my teenage sons use it for other purposes and even their friends can quickly whip up designs on Easel without any training.  I sometimes have to clean up their designs before we carve (we need to leave some place to put the clamps, etc...), but the corrections are usually minor.
    Thats great to hear scott. I was worried because all my woodworking youtube guys i subscribe to have one and gave it great reviews but they got them for free so i am skeptical of them. However $1500 for a decent sized cnc with a few side jobs can help offset it quickly.

    What is  the actual cut size of it 750x750? Also does it cut 3/4" mdf and 3/4" ply fairly quickly? Like how long would it take to cut our your small builds? 
  • Also, how is the accuracy of the xcarve? The machine at my workshop ended up getting a bit of a play and I got holes that wouldn't line up, it was less than half an mm, but visibly you could see the circle is not round and in the full circle when it came back to complete it, there was the discrepancy. I'll look into it a bit more. The CNC and the Lazer cutter is all I use at the workshop.... Pretty expensive tools if you need cut area and accuracy!!!
  • I bought my machine a little over a year ago, so it has the 2 piece x axis (less rigid) and a more bare bones controller.  This year I am upgrading to the x-controller.  As a result I try to baby the machine by running settings that don't stress it too much:
    1/8" bits, 1/16" depth per pass, 30" per minute feed rate.  Also, I don't have good jigs set up for homing the machine or aligning workpieces, so I usually cut all 4 sides of a panel if I want precise dimensions and angles (i.e. square).  With that methodology, simple rectangular panels for small speakers tend to take about 10 minutes - so a couple of hours for a pair.  Countersinks and dados can double or triple the time for affected panels, so you might be up to 4-5 hours overall.  I would estimate you could get back to a couple of hours by setting up a cut sheet although to do that right, you really should make sure you have a good measurement of your bit diameter and expect you may have to tweak once before everything comes out as well as you want dimensionally.  I think the x carve will comfortably be able to double its cutting speed with the combination of the x controller, stiffening up the x axis, and upgrading the z axis based on what I have read.  If you buy one now, you would have 2 of those 3 things (controller and x-axis) covered.  I do have dust collection set up and wires routed well enough that I don't have to watch the machine all the time, so it still has value to me for the one-off projects I do.

    The advertised working area is 31" x 31", which seems about right.  I lose a few inches on the x axis due to the dust collection shoe.  For floorstanding speakers, I might have to cut the panels with a circular saw and straight edge or get the store to do it for me - but I can still manage to get driver cutouts and shelf brace dados cut with the x-carve.  

    To address Ani's question, Accuracy seems to be in the .005" to .010" range once everything is dialed in.

    D1PP1N said:
    ScottS said:
    I have the 1000 mm x 1000 mm x-carve that I am using with Easel at the moment (may upgrade SW at some point in the future).  As you correctly indicated, it is hobby grade - but the upside is that it is pretty easy to use.  The main reason it is a hobby machine is that speed vs. accuracy/reliability is an either or proposition.  The upside is that the easel version is pretty affordable for a cnc big enough to handle most speaker projects and you can incrementally upgrade its weak points as your skill level and aspirations increase.  

    Both of my teenage sons use it for other purposes and even their friends can quickly whip up designs on Easel without any training.  I sometimes have to clean up their designs before we carve (we need to leave some place to put the clamps, etc...), but the corrections are usually minor.
    Thats great to hear scott. I was worried because all my woodworking youtube guys i subscribe to have one and gave it great reviews but they got them for free so i am skeptical of them. However $1500 for a decent sized cnc with a few side jobs can help offset it quickly.

    What is  the actual cut size of it 750x750? Also does it cut 3/4" mdf and 3/4" ply fairly quickly? Like how long would it take to cut our your small builds? 

  • I'm starting to compile upgrades/ ridgidity upgrades for the x-carve

    X-axis quick mod of joining the 2 maker rails
    https://discuss.inventables.com/t/a-30-minute-x-axis-mod-to-reduce-chatter/15775/19

    Mod pack 1 - Another xaxis mod and a few other nice to have changes
    https://discuss.inventables.com/t/x-carve-mod-pack-1/21321

    Mod pack 2 -
    https://discuss.inventables.com/t/x-carve-mod-pack-2/31430

    Y-axis expansion info
    https://discuss.inventables.com/t/expanding-the-x-carve-size-bigger-then-1000x1000mm/14816/33
  • edited February 2017
    I have CNC  Router parts 4'x8'. Using Rhino5 as modeler and RhinoCam15 as toolpath.

    I'll chime in on the disadvantages of the smaller machines and feed/speed related issues in a bit.

  • I have CNC  Router parts 4'x8'. Using Rhino5 as modeler and RhinoCam15 as toolpath.

    I'll chime in on the disadvantages of the smaller machines and feed/speed related issues in a bit.

    Oh goody... that's a nice machine you have. I am seriously looking into getting a 2x4 and then extend it later on to full size. But even that is around 6k.... so it's not happening in a hurry... maybe i can buy stuff in stages  :s
  • I am go to go backwards with the explanations so it makes more sense.
    Most of you heard the feed and speed mentioned in connection with operating CNC router.

    Feed is how fast the spindle moves in XYZ and speed is how fast your tool rotates.

    As the tool touches the material, every revolution cutting edge takes a slice off and the tool moves forward. Every slice of the removed material caries away heat so the tool stays cool. If you spinning too fast, tool gets overheated because there's not enough material taken away and the cutting edge gets dull very quickly. If you spinning too slow, tool breaks because you simply pushing it against uncut material. There's always a perfect pair then you can run your tool for literally a day and it'll stay sharp.

    This ideal combination is calculated based on the tool geometry. Most manufacturers will provide the formulas or plug and play online calculators.


    Here's the issue with low powered routers. XYZ motors cannot maintain needed torque to stay within the “Perfect pair” range. The results are either increased use of router bits (because you running too slow and overheating) or the router bogs down and breaks the bit.


    Most people will choose to feed slower at the expense of router bits. Here's the difference. Proper feed and speed will give you 20 hours + routing MDF if the machine has enough torque. You can also kill the same bit in an hour from overheating.


    I have NEMA34 and 2.2 kwt spindle. This is barely enough to fly through MDF if you planing on doing any sort of commercial work.


    PWRRYD
  • Next is the rigidity of the frame.

    Do whatever you like. Bolt or weld your XY rails to a metal frame. Bolt some 1.5” MDF to it. Make sure it is as solid and heavy as it can be. Ideally, your frame, housing CNC rails should be bolted to the concrete floor and leveled with engineer’s level. There's no such thing as a CNC router that's too sturdy.


    PWRRYD
  • Z travel.


    Majority of the work you will be doing is profiling .75 MDF or Ply. Not much Z travel needed for that.

    But if and then you will get in to 2.5D work, actuall Z capability is formed from the thickness of your material and the length of the bit. For example, if your Z travel is 5” then you can machine materiel of 2.5” thick with a bit of 2.5” lengths.


  • Tramming the spindle.


    Super important! There's a video or two on youtube.

    Do not skip this if you want to have any sort of accuracy. If you slammed your spindle in to the material, you will have to redo tramming.


  • As far as hand held CNC router, my recommendation is to stay away. Price is high and capability is low. It would probably work well for onsite installers but not for fabricators.


    I don't want to plug CNCRP but there's nothing bad to say about them. I did buy parts in stages. They did help me with troubleshooting. Customer service is superb. Their new linear rail machines should be a step up from previous gen. They will work with you on custom size machines.


  • I am go to go backwards with the explanations so it makes more sense.
    Most of you heard the feed and speed mentioned in connection with operating CNC router.

    Feed is how fast the spindle moves in XYZ and speed is how fast your tool rotates.

    As the tool touches the material, every revolution cutting edge takes a slice off and the tool moves forward. Every slice of the removed material caries away heat so the tool stays cool. If you spinning too fast, tool gets overheated because there's not enough material taken away and the cutting edge gets dull very quickly. If you spinning too slow, tool breaks because you simply pushing it against uncut material. There's always a perfect pair then you can run your tool for literally a day and it'll stay sharp.

    This ideal combination is calculated based on the tool geometry. Most manufacturers will provide the formulas or plug and play online calculators.


    Here's the issue with low powered routers. XYZ motors cannot maintain needed torque to stay within the “Perfect pair” range. The results are either increased use of router bits (because you running too slow and overheating) or the router bogs down and breaks the bit.


    Most people will choose to feed slower at the expense of router bits. Here's the difference. Proper feed and speed will give you 20 hours + routing MDF if the machine has enough torque. You can also kill the same bit in an hour from overheating.


    I have NEMA34 and 2.2 kwt spindle. This is barely enough to fly through MDF if you planing on doing any sort of commercial work.


    Do you mean to cut through 3/4 in a single pass? I dont plan to start a business with this machine but doing some small jobs to earn a few bucks here and there would be nice. Im looking at their 2x4 pro machines its like 6k that seems kinda crazy. Im not even sure if that includes everything. No way i could get my money back out of that id need to do like 100 or 200 jobs. If the desktop version is expandable in the future maybe thats an option but it may be to small to do anything useful with. 
  • edited February 2017
    "Do you mean to cut through 3/4 in a single pass? "
    Not at all. I cut through 3/4" IN .2 steps with .25" BIT AT 220 IPM AND 14000RPM.
    My neighbor cuts .75 in a single pass at 600ipm. His CNC is well over $125k.

    "Im looking at their 2x4 pro machines its like 6k that seems kinda crazy. Im not even sure if that includes everything. No way i could get my money back out of that id need to do like 100 or 200 jobs"

    You could make $20k on one job, cutting parts all day long. Depends on your customer base. Making speakers for $ is certainly not the best rout. People will chisel and dime you all the way.
    Sign making is more likely to make $ if that's the purpose of your CNC build.

    "If the desktop version is expandable in the future maybe thats an option but it may be to small to do anything useful with.  "
    You could do desktop as a learning project. Forget about making $ with the desktop, just look at it as a college course investment. Learn the software. Crash the machine. Damage cheap MDF. It may be worth it. By the time you done, you will know exactly how big of a machine you need.


    D1PP1Nbrek81
  • Thx for your input. I have alot to think about now. I really dont know what to do. I want one but once it gets over 3k i dont think im willing to fork that much over on one. What do you primarily do with your machine? Cabinet work? It would be nice to have some side jobs i just assumed the small units cant produce much. 
  • The CNC parts 2x4 pro is expandable to 4x8. Unless you are talking about the bench top machine which is 2x2. The 2x4 pro is around 6-7 all in and is about 2k less than the 4x8. The difference is extra rails, longer wires, etc. 
  • Yeh the benchtop non pro one is about the max i can spend at the moment. The spindle on it is just a trim router too. This is endeavor is probably a bust i guess. Seems like you need to spend minimum 6k to get anything worth while that doesnt require a ton of maintenence and babysitting. 
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