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View Full Version : Which machines best for home use ???



Crafty Angel
20-08-2016, 06:00 PM
Hi all,

I'm new on here and looking for some guidance if anyone can help point me in the right direction.

Id like to develop my knowledge and skills and learn how to cut/make MDF crafts but don't have a clue where to start when it comes to purchasing the machinery. Can anyone suggest a good machine for beginners ??


Ive tried attaching a image of what I'd like to be able to cut/make.


Many thanks

A_Camera
23-08-2016, 10:45 AM
Hi all,

I'm new on here and looking for some guidance if anyone can help point me in the right direction.

Id like to develop my knowledge and skills and learn how to cut/make MDF crafts but don't have a clue where to start when it comes to purchasing the machinery. Can anyone suggest a good machine for beginners ??


Ive tried attaching a image of what I'd like to be able to cut/make.


Many thanksI would guess that almost any machine can cut similar objects, assuming the X, Y Z movement is covering the area. But the "best" CNC is the one you have, not necessarily THE best. Generally, I think any of them are good enough to learn, but it is best to aim at one which you can run "plug and play" unless you are willing to spend time and some extra money on fixing/upgrading the CNC before use. Ready made CNC which is "plug and play" can be more expensive than cheap ones which might need some fixing. MDF can be cut with almost any CNC, as long as the spindle motor can handle the bits and the working area is large enough. Remember that MDF generates a LOT of very unhealthy fine dust, so you have to consider dust extraction as well. I know many people don't bother, but it is really not recommended, not even on small jobs, to run without dust extraction.

So, start by describing your expectations, budget and skills. The learning curve is steeper if you have no machinist, electronic or electrical skills, and you are not a DIY or professional in those fields or any other engineering areas. What do you have in mind? Have you googled for any ideas?

komatias
23-08-2016, 11:05 AM
If it is letters and 2D stuff only, you would be better served with a cheap laser cutter. CNC has a steeper learning curve and can be messier.

have a look at the thread by "TheCEO" or something. Also go onto facebook and look up the group on laser engraving and cutting.

Fivetide
07-09-2016, 09:20 PM
I started with a an 2nd hand Chinese ebay CNC .. I've learned a lot and tbh I have enjoyed the learning, its frustrating sometimes ..but when u get it right (finally) it a great feeling.

Some basic mistakes I made ..

Set a budget
Bought a machine the size of the work that I was going to do.. shouldn't of done that. Now I want a bigger one.
Budget at least 25% or 400 for all the peripherals u are going to need.. clamps, water pumps + anti algae liquid + bucket , dust extractor.. stool so you can sit there staring at your masterpiece being created """Dust-Boot/Shoe"""" so you dont have to sit there and stare all day ..lol ear muffs glasses computer - monitor - keyboard -mouse operating system..
Software.. most don't have controller software check first by email, and make sure its a legit full copy not a trial.. or that's another 150, the design software ..ArtCam etc expensive.
And tips
Learn how to set your work area extents and test them ..
Do not put a bit in the spindle until you have dry run all your g-code several times or risk plunging through the bed in the first pass.
Put all your spindle spanners on long chains or paint them bright fooking orange .. :)

Hope this is of some help.

Clive S
07-09-2016, 10:26 PM
I started with a an 2nd hand Chinese ebay CNC .Welcome back long time no see etc.:beer:

Fivetide
07-09-2016, 11:00 PM
Hi Clive .. yeah been off doing stuff lol :)

JAZZCNC
07-09-2016, 11:18 PM
MDF can be cut with almost any CNC, as long as the spindle motor can handle the bits and the working area is large enough

I see this said all the time and it really annoys me to honest. It's wrong to say any machine can cut MDF because while they can physicly cut the material that doesn't mean they do it correctly or very well.!!! . . . . I could make Sawing machine nibble away MDF but it will give shite results.

I see all the time these cheap Slow machines being advertised for cutting MDF and the truth is they can't even reach the half the feed rates needed for cutting MDF correclty.

MDF is very abrasive. Cutting with wrong feedrates wears tools out very quickly and leaves poor or burnt finish. The whole point of CNC is to give superior result in shorter time than manual methods. Having to spend hours cleaning up after machine defeats the whole point.!!

Crafty: I can not answer your question correctly without knowing your budget and size requirements so won't try untill you can give this info.

What I can say thru plenty of experience building machines for people who cut exactly the kind of Craft products your wanting to make is that buying low quality cheap chinese type machines is mistake that gets quickly realised.! . . . Simply put.!! If you have any desire to sell these products or make business from them you need machine that is of resonable build quality and can provide the correct feedrates required to cut the materials to acceptable standard which doesn't require lots of manual labour after the CNC as cut them.
Also it needs to be reliable because nothing worse than chasing faults on machine and nothing worse for business than not being able to supply the product.!

Unfortunalty buying machine off the shelf with the correct requirements for relaible business don't come cheap so you'll need a healthy budget.

JAZZCNC
07-09-2016, 11:21 PM
Hi Clive .. yeah been off doing stuff lol :)

Ye he's been doing Porridge . . .:hysterical: . . . . Welcome Home... Mean back mate. . Lol

Fivetide
08-09-2016, 12:47 AM
Jazz is right about MDF ..to slow and it burns.. to fast and chips or can jam ..plus u need to balance spindle speed with feed rate, tool radius increases or decreases contact speed, I found 2 flute good but I heard 1 flue maybe better.
The way I worked out the best feed/spindle rate/speed I set up 20 8 inch parallel lines to 10% over min feed rate changing each one until you have the last one at 10% below max feed rate. Using a 2 flute 6mm end mill I set the cut depth to 50% of the diameter.. 3mm and ran the g-code. Spindle speed set at 50% max. That should give you a good indication of how well your machine copes with the MDF. If the say the middle 4 or 5 lines show no burning and u are getting a fine dust then you are heading for the right combination.. experiment.. increase spindle speeds until you reach a good balance between feed rate and cutting.
BTW I cant emphasis how important dust extraction on MDF is, both for you health and cutter life.

Fivetide
08-09-2016, 12:50 AM
Jazz always good to see you my friend.. its was an open prison with my own shower cubicle lol :P

JAZZCNC
08-09-2016, 02:09 AM
If the say the middle 4 or 5 lines show no burning and u are getting a fine dust then you are heading for the right combination.

No fine dust is exactly what you don't want.? You want a nice Big FAT chip. If your getting Fine dust then your probably not cutting deep enough and in your case with 6mm cutter (Carbide) you would have been better at 100% DOC provided you had the spindle power.
Also this high lights my point about Cheap low cost ie Chinese machines not being upto to cutting MDF correctly. I know you had chinese machine and that it coundn't cut at the correct feedrates for MDF with Carbide or HSS tooling.
Carbide would require feedrates in the 5mtr/min + region with 100% + DOC. HSS would require less DOC but still would need feedrates in excess of 5mtr/min.
Most low cost machines can't even Rapid at those speeds let alone cut.!!

In both cases Good Chip Vac would be required.

There's difference between managing to cut a material and cutting that material correctly to give best finish and tool life. In DIY arena this isn't so important but from money earning and Business point of few it's VERY important.

Fivetide
08-09-2016, 03:05 AM
Damn why did I put dust, its because I was thinking of the fact the dust is really bad for your lungs, yes chips ..as always JAZZ glad to know you are around to correct my goof's lol
Yeah like I said in another thread its about managing expectations with these machines. They are really hobbyist -semi pro at best, but if like me I use them to make the speaker box then cover them with nice veneer it works ok. Or like the mini rocking horse I did for a friend it did the tricky bulk work of building up the body panels but needed sanding and painting afterwards. thats where I would slot these machines in tbh
Yep the machine I'm looking at is only 4 mtrs /min @ rapid but I'll have to find a sweet spot :)

A_Camera
08-09-2016, 08:49 AM
I see this said all the time and it really annoys me to honest. It's wrong to say any machine can cut MDF because while they can physicly cut the material that doesn't mean they do it correctly or very well.!!! . . . . I could make Sawing machine nibble away MDF but it will give shite results.

I see all the time these cheap Slow machines being advertised for cutting MDF and the truth is they can't even reach the half the feed rates needed for cutting MDF correclty.

MDF is very abrasive. Cutting with wrong feedrates wears tools out very quickly and leaves poor or burnt finish. The whole point of CNC is to give superior result in shorter time than manual methods. Having to spend hours cleaning up after machine defeats the whole point.!!

Yes, you are right, but it also depends on the aim. If the aim is learning then almost any machine can be used, as long as the spindle can handle it. Speed may not be high and tool wear may be larger than you wish for, but the job will be done and the user will learn. But sure, some cheap machines may be far too weak for any decent job.


Crafty: I can not answer your question correctly without knowing your budget and size requirements so won't try untill you can give this info.

What I can say thru plenty of experience building machines for people who cut exactly the kind of Craft products your wanting to make is that buying low quality cheap chinese type machines is mistake that gets quickly realised.! . . . Simply put.!! If you have any desire to sell these products or make business from them you need machine that is of resonable build quality and can provide the correct feedrates required to cut the materials to acceptable standard which doesn't require lots of manual labour after the CNC as cut them.
Also it needs to be reliable because nothing worse than chasing faults on machine and nothing worse for business than not being able to supply the product.!

Unfortunalty buying machine off the shelf with the correct requirements for relaible business don't come cheap so you'll need a healthy budget.

Yes, definitely. If he aims at selling products it is wrong to start with a cheap and bad quality tool. But he said "I'd like to develop my knowledge and skills and learn how to cut/make MDF crafts" and for that, he may not need the very best and most expensive machine.

JAZZCNC
08-09-2016, 04:39 PM
Yep the machine I'm looking at is only 4 mtrs /min @ rapid but I'll have to find a sweet spot :)

This highlights another point I missed.? Your sweet spot will still be bitter sweet and the machine will be working flatout just to achive mediocre work/performance. Anything that is working at or above it's limits will fail or wear away much sooner than machine correctly designed and spec'd for the Job.



Yes, you are right, but it also depends on the aim. If the aim is learning then almost any machine can be used, as long as the spindle can handle it. Speed may not be high and tool wear may be larger than you wish for, but the job will be done and the user will learn. But sure, some cheap machines may be far too weak for any decent job.

100% agree for the purpose of learning. I've always said they are great learning tool.
However and again in my experience with dealing with others the learning curve isn't any where near that new users expect. IME People have lot more potential for learning than they realise, Esp the Older generation.

So what happens is they Buy the Cheap but Limited learning machine only to realise in just few months or even weeks they have out grown the machine. End result is wasted time and money.
Also this is just looking at the BEST OUTCOME scenario. Often because they have bought cheap machine it's riddled with inferior complexity's and plagued with break downs. This results in there first Cnc experience being nightmare or less than enjoyable when really it doesn't need to be.!




Yes, definitely. If he aims at selling products it is wrong to start with a cheap and bad quality tool. But he said "I'd like to develop my knowledge and skills and learn how to cut/make MDF crafts" and for that, he may not need the very best and most expensive machine.

I didn't Say best or expensive. I said buy machine with "Resonable Build Quality". Yes it will cost more but doesn't need to Most Expensive Machien.
On the Craft side of things it makes no difference. There's lower limit and which point the quality suffers and the correction work increases.
IME Cheap inferior machines CANNOT reach this lower limit and result the quality and work required for correction defeats the point of using CNC.
And that's without getting into Excess tool and machine wear.!!

Buying for learning is great but IMO the money is better spent on decent machine and just Commit to the task with being determined to make it work. It's not rocket science or difficult to operate CNC machine.! . . . There's enough Muppets on here manage it Ok and that Includes Me. . :encouragement: