View Full Version : WANTED: WANTED - CNC Milling Machine, complete plug and play solution

26-10-2016, 10:58 AM
On the off chance one of you guys is getting a shiny new CNC mill for xmas and is looking to make space early, I thought I'd post up.

I am a complete novice, and looking for a CNC Mill (as good a brand as possible) running mach 3 or similar.

I'd like the full package that can be unplugged from one workshop, and plugged into mine and be in a fully working state - so no projects please, as I'd be out of my depth before I start. :emmersed:

As with all these sorts of purchases, I'd like a massive one, but probably don't have room for much bigger than a Denford Triac, but I am ideally after a reasonable size working area, I'm thinking 200mm x 150mm x 150mm as a rough idea of the sort of size parts I'm looking to work with (motorcycle parts, mostly aluminium but some steel too perhaps).

I have nothing mill or CNC related, so tooling/vice etc would be best included.

I am based in the north west of England, but can travel and I have a van.

Budget is flexible, but I have a ceiling of 3kish

Thanks in advance

26-10-2016, 08:56 PM
What CAD/CAM are you planning to use?
I ask because I bought a CNC mill, fixed a few issues, stood back, admired my work and thought.....

How the hell do I make the code to make it make things ;-)

= Nick

26-10-2016, 10:26 PM
Now that is an excellent question. I have my eye on a Dunford Novamill which runs VR, but I think that turns G code into something the machine understands, but how that g code gets made, and how that is based on some sort of computer model I "draw" is a complete mystery to me. I was hoping something mad like, "it's a generic file type and any package works fine with VR" might be a bit optimistic...

27-10-2016, 12:02 AM
If the machine still runs VR milling, then it takes a pretty generic Fanuc style G-code.
A Mach 3 post-processor normally works, but it may need a little bit tweaking of certain codes to work without flagging any errors.
Now you're probably wondering what a post-processor is, but it's the final part of the CAM process.
In a nutshell, you go CAD -> CAM -> Machine code.
CAD can be whatever you want to draw/model in, but it has to output a file format that your chosen CAM will load.
CAM (computer aided machining) is what generates the toolpaths for machining the part. There are lots of options (I'd probably suggest CamBam as it's only demo limitation is you can only load it 40 times before having to buy a license), and most come with some form of CAD element, although some vary from mediocre hair removal aids, to well featured CAD.
Once you have generated the toolpaths in CAM, the CAM package then runs those toolpaths through the post-processor, which is what creates the machine code suitable/specific for your machine.

27-10-2016, 09:45 AM
Thanks MC, so to check my understanding.

1.Draw something, maybe sketchup or similar?
2.Pass file to cambam, process
3 pass cambam output to VR
4 VR runs the mill

Is there a second part to stage 3 involving post processing I have missed? You mention mach3, but I thought VR did the same job?

This is really helpful for me btw! So thank you

27-10-2016, 09:55 AM
Fusion 360 is free, does CAD, CAM, and post for VR (ive never used that bit)...
Mach3 would be used in place of VR. i believe it was suggested as most likely compatible...

i'd recommend getting hold of fusion 360.... and running with that.

Clive S
27-10-2016, 10:11 AM
Fusion is free for hobby use and does have a learning curve but it is well worth learning and is very powerful.
There are plenty of tutorials like;- https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL9tn9rGywKUUGyeBWX5Alt9yzBIp84sD8
and on the website.
Generally it is a full 3D Cad and CAM

27-10-2016, 12:21 PM
I'm meant to be working Clive - you can't post links like that during office hours :glee:

Managed to drag myself away after 20 mins.

Must resist.....

Cheers for the pointer guys :D

Clive S
27-10-2016, 12:32 PM
I'm meant to be working Clive - you can't post links like that during office hours :glee:

Managed to drag myself away after 20 mins.

Must resist.....

Cheers for the pointer guys :DI see that you have the right type of humour for this forum. That will help when you get the piss taken as it often does but only ever in jest.:thumsup:

27-10-2016, 12:41 PM
I'm happy for newbie ribbing, a small price for access to free knowledge. :)

27-10-2016, 07:09 PM
I'm happy for newbie ribbing, a small price for access to free knowledge. :)

The good folks of this forum wouldn't do that to Newbie.!! . . . . But with you being from wrong side of pennines the Bad one will Rip the shite out of you. . .:devilish:

Welcome and don't mess up or else Ripppppppppppppppppppppppppp.! :joker:

27-10-2016, 07:45 PM
Ever the optimist, when I bought CAD/CAM I cheerfully imagined that using a solid model which had been given to me I could just point the CAM at it and press a button ;-)
12 months after that I finally reached the point where I was rarely stuck with anything 2D, 2.5D or 3-Axis 3D

When you buy CAD/CAM it's worth looking at what learning resources and user group support is available, good tutorials and a good support forum are invaluable resources for a new user,

- Nick

27-10-2016, 08:08 PM
I started out trying to cut corners on the CAD/CAM software. Brought me no end of grief and wasted a lot of time using various open-source and similar "products". I then switched to Vectric vCarve. Certainly not cheap, but deceptively simple. That is, when you first look at it, it looks as if there is hardly anything there to do all the fancy things you might want to do. Then you start using it and find out that they have very carefully selected the bits you actually need and left out a lot of the fancy stuff that no-one ever uses. It's great for routers and people doing mainly woodwork, that is, 2.5D work. That means things like cutting profiles of parts, cutting pockets and similar to depth, and it is excellent for lettering (signboards and so on). I use it still, especially if I'm just drawing a single part with no 3D elements, just because it is so quick.

However, for engineering-type parts, like an increasing number of people here, I am using Fusion 360 which is a professional level application which is free for home and hobby use. Great for building 3D designs with multiple components, and also for producing engineering drawings to take into the workshop for use at a manual machine (mill, lathe, whatever). It also has a CAM package built in, as already mentioned, so you can go from design to gcode in one package. Learning curve is a bit steep but it's well worth it, and not that difficult once you have grasped a few basic concepts. Lots of tutorials available. Don't know about forum support - I'm fortunate to have not needed it yet.

I wouldn't go back to anything less now, although I'm sure that there are some better options available. But at a cost...

28-10-2016, 09:47 AM
I like this channel for fusion learning..


it does give me machine envy though...

28-10-2016, 11:07 AM
Even the most basic equipment gives me machine envy as currently apart from a hacksaw, angle grinder, cordless drill and files by ability to hack at metal is zero.

Downloaded Fusion 360, watched a few videos and had a very short play - I like it! Loads to learn, as pretty pictures alone are not the whole story - I have huge gaps in anything but the very basics. Youtube videos about the software give me information I can transfer to my projects, but that assumes I know what I am trying to make.

For example I am trying to model a clamp for a set of motorcycle forks - easy...until I realised it would be a clamp which would fit perfectly round the fork, but not tighten onto it... its these sorts of practical bits that I imagine a forum and trial and error will help with. - SO very happy I have found this resource.

28-10-2016, 11:15 AM
I have for sale full package Step Four 760 Precise.

Clive S
28-10-2016, 12:22 PM
I have for sale full package Step Four 760 Precise.What sort of cakes do you ice with it, as it certainly not suitable for the OP's applications.

30-10-2016, 12:31 PM
I am in Lancashire and I have a Denford Novamill available.