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thinfourth
15-08-2017, 07:45 PM
I am looking at taking an adventure into the world of CnC routers with me eventually building a 5 by 10 foot machine.

But first i need to extend the workshop to fit it in

I am considering the X-carve as a stop gap as it will fit in the shed

Why?

It is a one stop package
It has support
I gives me lessons to learn

What are folks thoughts on it

Diysurgeon
15-08-2017, 09:54 PM
I have an X carve. I found it fiddly to set up but once the little niggles were sorted it is a great introductory machine. There is a lot of online support and the inventables forum is great for support. I have used it to V carve House signs. You can use the free online software "Easel", I use the desk top version of V Carve.

22573

I also have a boxford machine which is a bit more robust. Currently up grading the spindle on that.

Desertboy
16-08-2017, 09:48 AM
I am looking at taking an adventure into the world of CnC routers with me eventually building a 5 by 10 foot machine.

But first i need to extend the workshop to fit it in

I am considering the X-carve as a stop gap as it will fit in the shed

Why?

It is a one stop package
It has support
I gives me lessons to learn

What are folks thoughts on it

I looked at the Xcarve and shapeoko seriously before I started to build my own, I came to the conclusion it's overpriced for what it is and a bit too toy like. Reviews are skewed on youtube because they gave them away for free and the few reviews you see where people actually bought it are no where near as complimentary. You can do a lot with an xcarve seen one working in real life they're not atrocious but they are toys you build a lot better for not a lot more. V wheels make poor linear slides aluminium is softer than the wheels and ballscrews are better than belt drives. Xcarves have a lot of flex they can be strengthened but better to build properly in the first place.

We support each other here and I've found it very educational.

If possible find a member local to you with a working router they built themselves and go see them first before you decide on buying Xcarve you might just decide to build your own it's really not that hard if you outsource all the work like I did.

KJN aluminium will supply, cut and drill the extrusion making the frame child's play. Design is not that hard, plenty of people will help you on here. You can get your aluminium mounting plates made by fellow members, Hiwin's & ballscrews from Alixpress.

I managed to recover some of the parts I'm using but if I bought everything new I could build a router like the one I am building for 2-2.5k depending on if I used an arduino or proper steppers and how lucky I was with import tax from China. I have been real lucky and paid 15 in import tax on everything I bought should have been about 80. My work space is just over 1.22m*0.85m Z travel is ~15cm but you can easily get 1.22m*1.22m for 200 more.

Where are you in the UK?

On the 10*5 it's just not worth building yourself if you have the space for it to go as you can buy working ones (Or spares and repairs) cheaper on ebay even with fixing them than you can build yourself and often better quality. 8*4+ routers just don't seem to hold their value probably because they're too big for home users and most people haven't got 3 phase although you can get 1 phase to 3 phase converters it's normally easier to swap electronics over to single phase.

thinfourth
16-08-2017, 12:49 PM
I am near aberdeen in scotland.

I'd love to go have a look at a machine.

However

The Xcarve is attractive as it will turn up 90% ready to roll as someone will of done the bit of spacing stuff already and it comes with a support line.

It is under 2k and once i have used it i can either sell it on fleabay for not much less than i paid for it if it turns out to be not for me.

If it does turn out to be what i am looking for then i can learn from running it and then build something better.

I am not expecting it to be faultless and it looks about as stiff as lightly cooked spaghetti.

I am not looking for it to do anything too heavy as for metals etc I have a ton of manual Bridgeport which can power through all manners of heavy stuff

Diysurgeon
16-08-2017, 02:44 PM
I have seen a couple of second hand Xcarve on EBay for under 1000. Mine has been a great starter machine. It has its limits a lot depends on what you want to use it for. I have had no problems machining hardwoods, MDF etc. I know some owners have made modifications to strengthen theirs and have the capability to machine aluminium. A must is to add or make a dust extraction for it. I made a dust boot for mine (on the xcarve) connected to the extraction system for my bench saw, belt sander etc. Also it can be very noisy as it uses either a dewalt or makita router. I haven't but again some have created elaborate housings to reduce the noise and collect dust. Might be worth looking on the inventibles forum/website.

thinfourth
16-08-2017, 07:29 PM
Noise is not an issue

I live in the middle of nowhere and have an air compressor that can wake the dead ( but not the wife)

Dust will be an issue no matter what i buy.

interested in what they go on fleabay but the issue is getting it from englandshire to the wilds of scotland as most folk shy away from getting stuff ready to ship.

Desertboy
16-08-2017, 07:37 PM
Dust will be an issue no matter what i buy.

Make a cyclone and dust shoe pair with a cheap vacuum cleaner, you can use the X carve to make a dust shoe or 3d print one.

Dewalt router will have more run off than a Chinese spindle I would definitely look into a spindle I know shapeoko's can be modified easily not so sure about Xcarves. Price is not a lot different between the Dewalt router and Chinese spindle but with a spindle you have speed control via the VFD.

Desertboy
16-08-2017, 08:41 PM
An Xcarve would cost you around 1500 specced with a dewalt router I'd consider doubling the budget and going for this instead if you really don't want to build one yourself.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/3-axis-cnc-woodwork-router-engraving-machine-1mx1m/182705914406

This would be a far far more capable machine and turnkey.

thinfourth
16-08-2017, 09:25 PM
Saw that on eBay.

The only way it could look more lashed together was if it featured duct tape and sticky back plastic. I have distinct feelings that is someone's abandoned project

And it is double the cost of an xcarve for 100mm extra room.

I don't see any advantage

thinfourth
16-08-2017, 09:28 PM
Make a cyclone and dust shoe pair with a cheap vacuum cleaner, you can use the X carve to make a dust shoe or 3d print one.

Dewalt router will have more run off than a Chinese spindle I would definitely look into a spindle I know shapeoko's can be modified easily not so sure about Xcarves. Price is not a lot different between the Dewalt router and Chinese spindle but with a spindle you have speed control via the VFD.

Is runout a major issue with wood?

If can see it being an issue with metal and tight tolerances.

Desertboy
16-08-2017, 10:38 PM
Saw that on eBay.

The only way it could look more lashed together was if it featured duct tape and sticky back plastic. I have distinct feelings that is someone's abandoned project

And it is double the cost of an xcarve for 100mm extra room.

I don't see any advantage

There's 10 available it's not a project lol, with a proper Mach 3 license and PC, supported rails, 2010 ballscrews and a welded steel frame. This is like 20 times more rigid for a start.

And you don't see the advantage!

Admittedly they didn't picture it properly lol but I think your misunderstanding the differences between both machines they are a world apart.

If I didn't build my own I would have bought one of these but not too hot on supported rail instead of Hiwin's but supported rail is still a hell of a lot better than makerslide style linear rails.

The difference is staggering obvious to me ones made of steel with proper linear slides, ballscrew drives and a real spindle the other is belt driven, has skateboard bearings for a linear slide very weak 20mm aluminium frame and a home router bolted onto it.

22583

22584

paulus.v
17-08-2017, 01:15 AM
That 3k CNC does not look good to me. I see a lot of design mistakes that could have been improved with little or no additional costs. This lead me to the conclusion that the builders are not professionals or not even truly passionate hobbyists.

What about the description of the machine? "nema34 motors with stepper drivers and power supply" Wow! Where's the model of the drives, steppers working voltage, type and size of the power supply, etc, etc. What about endstops, homing sensors, control voltage, maximum speed, etc.

I cannot see any of the above in the pictures, nor in the description. So what are you going to buy? ..."EBay rules apply"


There's 10 available it's not a project lol, with a proper Mach 3 license and PC.

You found the important part, a mach3 licence (110) on a computer (70), and you are ready to give them 3000, not knowing exactly what you are paying for.

thinfourth
17-08-2017, 07:16 AM
There's 10 available it's not a project lol, with a proper Mach 3 license and PC, supported rails, 2010 ballscrews and a welded steel frame. This is like 20 times more rigid for a start.

And you don't see the advantage!

Admittedly they didn't picture it properly lol but I think your misunderstanding the differences between both machines they are a world apart.

If I didn't build my own I would have bought one of these but not too hot on supported rail instead of Hiwin's but supported rail is still a hell of a lot better than makerslide style linear rails.

The difference is staggering obvious to me ones made of steel with proper linear slides, ballscrew drives and a real spindle the other is belt driven, has skateboard bearings for a linear slide very weak 20mm aluminium frame and a home router bolted onto it.

22583

22584

Zooming into the metal work on the eBay bargain machine I must say and this is being 100% honest

My wife can weld better than that

And i am being serious. Look at the welds under the box section.

And looking at the other machines he has for sale they look just as lashed together

I stand by it being an abandoned project

And the clincher for me

Every description sayes

"all cnc are bench tested with multiple profiles any alterations in setting will effect running operations and we will not be held responsible"

It has alarms bells for me

But i have no idea what the parts are worth.

I am well aware the Xcarve is not a brilliant deal on parts alone but they appear to have first class support which could be worth every penny.

Desertboy
19-08-2017, 03:00 PM
Zooming into the metal work on the eBay bargain machine I must say and this is being 100% honest

My wife can weld better than that

And i am being serious. Look at the welds under the box section.

And looking at the other machines he has for sale they look just as lashed together

I stand by it being an abandoned project

And the clincher for me

Every description sayes

"all cnc are bench tested with multiple profiles any alterations in setting will effect running operations and we will not be held responsible"

It has alarms bells for me

But i have no idea what the parts are worth.

I am well aware the Xcarve is not a brilliant deal on parts alone but they appear to have first class support which could be worth every penny.

Welding is poor if I bought this I would have to reweld lol and my welding is like your wifes. But real slides, ballscrews, mach3 license with PC & real stepper drivers, decent PSU for the motors are the value here.

Have you checked out Shapeoko's yet? A friend of mine bought one and rates it much better than an xcarve and in the same price range.

Not seen a shapeoko but having spent some time on this forum I would now never buy (More likely build) anything that did not have Hiwin style rails and ballscrews or R&P in a zero backlash setup but you'll find most people on here want to make money from their CNC.

magicniner
19-08-2017, 03:54 PM
So we're comparing Shonky with Very Shonky and saying that merely Shonky is therefore worth buying for thousands and then repairing to correct basic engineering shortcomings, which the contraptor (I can't call it manufacture) was too inexperienced/ignorant/inadequate or more likely simply not arsed to address?
Come on, Reality Check Time! I wouldn't give tuppence and a balloon for any of them :D

Desertboy
19-08-2017, 03:57 PM
So we're comparing Shonky with Very Shonky and saying that merely Shonky is therefore worth buying for thousands and then repairing to correct basic engineering shortcomings, which the contraptor (I can't call it manufacture) was too inexperienced/ignorant/inadequate or more likely simply not arsed to address?
Come on, Reality Check Time! I wouldn't give tuppence and a balloon for any of them :D

Ha ha ha, there was a nail and Magicniner hit it on the head ;)

thinfourth
19-08-2017, 05:42 PM
So how much should i be spending and what should i build

And how long will it take to build?

Desertboy
19-08-2017, 05:48 PM
So how much should i be spending and what should i build

And how long will it take to build?

What size Travel do you want?

What woods do you want to process?

thinfourth
19-08-2017, 05:51 PM
Welding is poor if I bought this I would have to reweld lol and my welding is like your wifes. But real slides, ballscrews, mach3 license with PC & real stepper drivers, decent PSU for the motors are the value here.


So i should buy that machine and replace the frame, the slides, the ball screws, the computer, the steppers, the power supply.

Mmmmmmm

Not the best start as a first machine




Have you checked out Shapeoko's yet? A friend of mine bought one and rates it much better than an xcarve and in the same price range.

Not seen a shapeoko but having spent some time on this forum I would now never buy (More likely build) anything that did not have Hiwin style rails and ballscrews or R&P in a zero backlash setup but you'll find most people on here want to make money from their CNC.

Not had a deep look at the Shapeoko yet.

Not too sure what the support is like and i want to find a UK seller that can offer what is basically a turnkey kit.

I have vaguely tempted by the chinesium ones on fleabay but they look like garbage and i guess you get a chinglish manual at best.

thinfourth
19-08-2017, 05:54 PM
What size Travel do you want?

What woods do you want to process?

This machine some birch ply, some pine and MDF

And size

Well it has to fit in the 1mtr square area in the corner of the shed

And i want to have a play with hanging the plasma cutter off it.


It will be a toy not a business

If this machine is good then machine 2 will be something that can take full sized sheets of plywood and then some.

Diysurgeon
26-08-2017, 01:13 PM
As I have said before I have the Xcarve which I bought a few years ago off eBay. As a starter machine for a hobbiest I have been pleased with it. If you look on the inventables forum you can see some of the impressive things people have made. Using has given me an insight to gcodes and using CNC machines. Given it is not a professional machine it has been good value for me. I also have bought recently a boxford A3HSRi. Got this second hand from a school, hardly used but a very robust semi professional machine. New cost around 12k! I got it for 600 and it was only 6 years old and had little use.

If you are starting out and on a limited budget the Xcarve IMHO is a good starter machine. I should add that I don't use these machines professionally, only as a hobby making signs and personalised gifts.

Desertboy
02-09-2017, 03:40 PM
22704

See the little bit of 2020 extrusion on the side of my machine (I'm in the process of building her up at moment) that's what the frame of the Xcarve is made of, that and MDF.

When people say build your own it's not because we're cocky it's because you really can get more bang for buck.

My whole build cost less than an Xcarve but I worked hard to recover parts and buy 2nd hand it was a lot of effort. You could though build something very similar for around 2.5K using new bits and doing no manufacturing yourself (I outsourced everything) just assembly.

I had absolutely no clue at all what I was doing when I got here 4 months ago this site has been my support and between the great members who know have forgot more than I will ever know lol and great thread content I've muddled through.

It did help that I could CAD before I came here.

I can point you in the right direction for getting stuff made if you fancy it.

Also you wouldn't make the gantry the longest axis (Long story why I did it but I am going to change it)

And in comparison to most peoples machines on here I built a toy.

thinfourth
03-09-2017, 08:35 AM
My whole build cost less than an Xcarve but I worked hard to recover parts and buy 2nd hand it was a lot of effort. You could though build something very similar for around 2.5K using new bits and doing no manufacturing yourself (I outsourced everything) just assembly.

I had absolutely no clue at all what I was doing when I got here 4 months ago this site has been my support and between the great members who know have forgot more than I will ever know lol and great thread content I've muddled through.



That is reason 1

It is alot of effort and also time

Due to my job and its commute i have precious little time





It did help that I could CAD before I came here.



I have been spending ages trying to learn CAD but the problem is most of the stuff i want to build it is just as easy to design stuff as i go.

Yesterday while trying to fix the cement mixer i needed a coupling.

You would probably pic up your laptop and start doing a CAD drawing

I picked up a lump of steel and chucked it in the lathe and started making it. Designing as i went.


yes there is loads of online tutorials for fusion 360 BUT seeing nothing comes out the end it gets boring very quickly





I can point you in the right direction for getting stuff made if you fancy it.

Also you wouldn't make the gantry the longest axis (Long story why I did it but I am going to change it)

And in comparison to most peoples machines on here I built a toy.

Which is sort of why i want an X-carve

I want a toy before i build something larger.

But if you can give us a rough list of parts to throw together for 2.5K i would be intrested

Neale
03-09-2017, 10:00 AM
Well, sticking my neck out and risking being laughed out of the forum, if you think you would be happy with a toy, why not build one? I say this in all seriousness - my first router was built in a hurry because I had promised someone that I would make a presentation plaque and then needed to make a machine to make it.

That machine was to the JGRO design. There's plenty of information and build logs available on the internet, and the design is available free. Basic structure comes from 8x4 sheets of MDF, one 3/4 and one 1/2 (or as I had to, metric equivalents). Leadscrews and guide rails are cheap and crude but easy to make. I bought motors, drivers, and a spindle that were a bit OTT for the job but I had the intention of carrying them forwards to a later machine (which, more or less, has happened).

The machine was crap. MDF has all the structural integrity of cold-rolled cow dung; it moves with temperature change, humidity change, if there's an R in the month, and whenever it feels like it. The guide rails needed frequent adjustment and I ended up shimming the Z plate to try to keep the spindle vertical on a warping MDF panel. On the other hand, I used that machine for a whole range of jobs for about 3 years - the original plaque, now on display in a French village, it cut 25mm teak curved profiles for some bits for my boat (slowly, but it did the job) and a heap of intersecting ply panels for my son's architecture degree project. And a bunch of other things in between. It has been replaced with a steel-frame machine of greater capacity, speed, and accuracy, but that first machine cost me relatively little and taught me a lot.

Just a thought, and somewhat against the usual, "do it once, do it right" approach.

Desertboy
03-09-2017, 10:35 AM
You first cnc sounds like my first 3d printer Neale lol.

Thinfourth I'll finish my assembly in the next 2 days then I'll take a moment to break down the costs with links to where I got stuff.

Desertboy
03-09-2017, 11:44 AM
Yesterday while trying to fix the cement mixer i needed a coupling.

You would probably pic up your laptop and start doing a CAD drawing

Actually I'd use a prop shaft repair guy I know (No lathe) but there's something to be said about the suck and see approach, was going to try and build my router without CAD but in the end I had to cad out about 80% of the router just to make sure everything fit.

As for CAD all I can say is don't give up one day something clicks and it starts to make sense, there's an initial high learning curve but get over that curve and it gets a lot easier. It took me 3 attempts at learning before I started to get it.

If you do build it yourself it's worth trying to source a local suppliers of aluminium extrusion so you can get it cut and drilled as you need it, I live next to KJN and it was invaluable being able to actually drive there to have the parts processed.

Neale
03-09-2017, 12:10 PM
...and there is also the point that the first C in CNC stands for computer! To do anything with a CNC machine, you are going to have to get your design into the machine, and that means CAD in some form or other. You could just write gcode directly - the way it used to be done - but it's easier to learn a CAD package! Plenty of choices, but don't want to make any recommendations as a lot depends on what you want to do (2D/3D) and how happy you feel with complicated-but-powerful versus easy-but-limited.

Desertboy
03-09-2017, 01:16 PM
...and there is also the point that the first C in CNC stands for computer! To do anything with a CNC machine, you are going to have to get your design into the machine, and that means CAD in some form or other. You could just write gcode directly - the way it used to be done - but it's easier to learn a CAD package! Plenty of choices, but don't want to make any recommendations as a lot depends on what you want to do (2D/3D) and how happy you feel with complicated-but-powerful versus easy-but-limited.

That's a very good point you won't be able to do much with an Xcarve if you can't make your cad models then generate the Gcode. Really cracking CAD before buying a machine makes the most sense as you might be able to buy a 2nd hand one cheap if you keep an eye on ebay for the next couple of months. Be it X carve, homebuilt or a Chinese 6040 machine.

I remember your first posts about getting a 3d printer before delving into CNC I think it would be a good idea coupled with Fusion you can get reasonable working Prusa for ~200 sometimes even less.

And if you spend a month with a 3d printer you'll be thinking that making a cnc router is not so hard. When I first thought about making a cnc router I thought it'd to be some weird impossible voodoo but the 3d printer demystified the process a lot. Now I'm getting close to the end of my build it really wasn't so hard if I had the cash all in one go I could have done it all in about 8 weeks in the end it will have took about 18 weeks lol.

I think the hardest part so far was driving almost 400 miles on a Sunday through hellish roadworks to buy a jig which was full of Hiwin rails and then stripping the rails out as every bolt was locktited in :( I ended up hammering oversized torque bits it to crack the locktite as every bolt rounded immediately lol. The 2nd hardest part was the CAD which got stressful.

thinfourth
03-09-2017, 01:28 PM
Ac
If you do build it yourself it's worth trying to source a local suppliers of aluminium extrusion so you can get it cut and drilled as you need it, I live next to KJN and it was invaluable being able to actually drive there to have the parts processed.


Why would i do that?

I have a big metal cutting bandsaw, a colchester student lathe and a bridgeport milling machine.

And if i make a machine it will be made from steel as it is cheap and easy to join together

Desertboy
18-09-2017, 07:24 AM
https://youtu.be/71AQBgDkAz4?t=202

shocking how fragile the gantry is, his little finger!

skip to 3:14

but watch the whole video to get an good idea of both shapeoko and xcarve.

thinfourth
18-09-2017, 11:15 AM
I have decided the X-carve is completely useless as you have pointed out it is far too weak and wobbly for the hard work of machining large lumps of aluminium or working 24/7 cutting out commercial products

Unless you have a budget of about 10K or more it is a waste of time

An X-carve is only really useful for light work like cutting out some small signs or the odd small thing

So i have upped my budget to 10K

So

Can anyone recommend a machine for 10K that can be used for light work like cutting out some small signs or the odd small thing

Desertboy
22-09-2017, 12:42 PM
A little extreme lol, if you want to get an Xcarve just get one no need to defend it but seriously check out the shapeoko 3 first as they are about the same price and the Xcarve is a shapeoko v2 check out it's history and the differences.

Version 3 is a lot more solid than the Xcarve but has minor wobble in the Z axis, Xcarve has more flex in the gantry but more solid Z axis.

Personally if I had to choose between the 2 I would go with the shapeoko v3 and remake the Z axis plate to be solid which a lot of people do. You really should check out the shapeoko forums and Xcarve forums to really get an idea of what you can do with one.

Diysurgeon
26-09-2017, 09:53 PM
Not sure what is wrong with the Xcarve shown in that video but my Xcarve certainly does not flex anything like that!