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View Full Version : Reveiw: Stepmores SM-3040 CNC Router/Mill



craigrobbo
18-05-2012, 11:35 PM
Hey guys.

I thought i would do you guys a reveiw and my findings of the SM-3040 CNC machine.

This is going to be my first OWNED cnc (but not the first i have used).

I will do this in several steps


Pre-reveiw
Machine out of the box reveiw
First Run Reveiw
How its been in the long run Reveiw


Pre Reveiw:

I have ordered my machine it is the SM variant of the CNC 3040, which has marginally better specs than most.

It is running 20mm rails and 16mm ball screws, 2.5amp steppers and a 1.5KW spindle(watercooled)
It has an offset gantry to make full use of the bed and extra supports, it also comes with a 4axis driver board.

The machine comes powdercoated to stop oxidization from the factory.

The machine cost was a total of 880 delivered, (plus import tax)

So far customer service has been quite good via MSN & E-Mail and whats nice is the sales lady speaks very good english too! (which isn't very common for most cheap exporting chinese companies).

I will leave it at this for now and update as i need required.

Stock photo
6014

UPDATE:


http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa274/dj__kraid/IMG0529090600.jpg
http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa274/dj__kraid/IMG0529090601.jpg
http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa274/dj__kraid/IMG0529090602.jpg
http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa274/dj__kraid/IMG0529090700.jpg
http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa274/dj__kraid/IMG0529090800.jpg

craigrobbo
18-05-2012, 11:35 PM
Machine out of the box reveiw

Okay so i finally got this machine today (16/07/2012) its been a long struggle and got hit with 466 import duties, tax etc..

Here is how she stands after i got her set u and just did one quick test cut.

now i did have play in the X axis but it was nothing more than a spring loaded coupler being adjusted impropperly.

Test cut was @2.5mm deep and a feed rate of 1500mm a min with a 6mm 2 flute cutter. It cut like butter.

http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa274/dj__kraid/P1120786.jpg
http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa274/dj__kraid/P1120787.jpg
http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa274/dj__kraid/P1120788.jpg
http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa274/dj__kraid/P1120789.jpg
http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa274/dj__kraid/P1120790.jpg

craigrobbo
18-05-2012, 11:36 PM
First Run Review

Alright, so as we know CNC's can have teething problems...Nothing major but i had some issues with repositioning,I got that sorted(seemed to be software related)

Firstly just a test cut in some polystyrene just to test the repositionability and also its ability to cope with SUPER soft materials.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGeolJ0nE08" target="_blank">
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGeolJ0nE08 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGeolJ0nE08)


Secondly Aluminium, This is 6061-T6 cutting @ 1050mm/m (pretty quick for a Chinese CNC)
Clean cuts and almost perfect reposition each time, I think this is by FAR the best CNC3040 Chinese machine!

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MUCNfpt_cPQ&amp;feature=youtu.be" target="_blank">
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MUCNfpt_cPQ&amp;feature=youtu.be (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MUCNfpt_cPQ&feature=youtu.be)

Pictures are at the end of each video.

craigrobbo
18-05-2012, 11:36 PM
Reserved for

How its been in the long run Reveiw

ecat
27-05-2012, 08:53 AM
Looking forward to this :smile:

rnr107
27-05-2012, 01:16 PM
Hi,
Where did you buy it from? Have you got a link ?

RNR

craigrobbo
29-05-2012, 11:39 AM
I have added an update to this machine, please check the bottom of first post.

The factory sent me 'build' pictures of my machine.

You can already see how much better, sturdier and feature packed it is over the ebay models.

@rnr107, I got it from stepmores Google stepmores cnc

Craig

ezekiel181
09-07-2012, 12:23 PM
Hi Craig any update on how the machine is?
I`m looking at getting one if there aren`t any serious issues with the build.

Also did you buy through Alibaba or some other avenue?

craigrobbo
09-07-2012, 01:10 PM
Hi Craig any update on how the machine is?
I`m looking at getting one if there aren`t any serious issues with the build.

Also did you buy through Alibaba or some other avenue?

Hello, Well my ships docks today (if its on sscheduel).

Unfortunatly, there was a large import/duty/handeling fee of 466 so you will have to bear this price on top of the inital cost.

It would bring the cost similar to eBay machines but still a better spec.

I should have the machine in hand around mid next week provding everything goes smooth from here on and there is no hang up at customs.

Craig

craigrobbo
16-07-2012, 05:23 PM
Updateed, please see post #2

ezekiel181
17-07-2012, 10:09 AM
Glad to hear on the surface the machine appears to be sound because I couldn`t wait for your update and put my money down yesterday :nevreness:

John S
18-07-2012, 12:52 AM
880 plus 466 makes this about the same price as a 6040 with suppoted rails ?

craigrobbo
19-07-2012, 02:36 PM
Updated on post #3 First run



880 plus 466 makes this about the same price as a 6040 with suppoted rails ?


It is, However Its not quite as high spec, You only get a 0.8kw with 6040 I got a 1.5kw Also i have 20mm Rails all around the 6040 is only on the Y axis.

Another bonus is that because of the laid back gantry and the subtle modifications the actual cutting size is 450x320 So its better than most which are UNDER their stated dimension.
Remember, mine has flood cooling and tub too, even came with the pumps and everything required for the full system.

The gantry rails are mounted much more securely with large 20mm clamps which are fully adjustable vs the 6040 rails which are just drilled & tapped with an 8mm screw

Another plus is the control box is of much higher quality than the typical 'eBay' models.

So really it comes down to budget and what size bed you need?

ezekiel181
20-07-2012, 12:46 PM
880 plus 466 makes this about the same price as a 6040 with suppoted rails ?
The typical ebay 6040 was just too big for my needs. Paying about the same for higher quality but smaller machine was an easy trade off as I`ll only be producing small parts up to about A4 size.
I would have liked supported rails but I never intended to cut more than aluminium anyway.

craigrobbo
20-07-2012, 01:10 PM
Okay it would apper its limit is around 600mm/m in 4mm aluminium or 1050mm/m in 3mm aluminium. that's if i really push it hard.

I would say safely and with a nice finish you can machine around 800mm/m @ 3mm deep in aluminium for a good finish.

All with a 6mm 2 flute HSS cutter.

Craig

craigrobbo
20-07-2012, 07:25 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-UNprBEcp0U

craigrobbo
26-07-2012, 11:21 PM
Some good updates for you guys...


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmIaObhW0Xg&amp;feature=youtu.be

JAZZCNC
27-07-2012, 06:24 PM
I would play with feeds & speeds because your not cutting properly.? Your cutting and shoving.!! Look at the vid about 1:28 and you'll see the material being curled not cut.!! . . . Basicly it's being shoved out the way not cut.
Also the chatter and resonance is quite high even thou your (rightly) conventional milling, this dull tools quickly and puts extra stress's on the machine and spindle which will prematurely wear out bearings etc.!!

I can tell the cutting set-up is wrong from the sound, when it comes to cutting Aluminium then it's slightly different from other materials regards DOC etc so it's important to find the machines sweet spot regards spindle RPM and depth of cut (DOC). This you can tell from the noise and harmonics of the machine.

This is will be different for every machine or should say most machines that are not identical.? For instance no point me telling you my set-up for cutting aluminium because my machine is completely different. It also changes with cutter size and length, even the tools material makes a big difference.

Really You need to find the machines "Sweet spot" for the machines life and your pockets sake, not to mention finished quality.!! . . At the rate I'm hearing you'll wear this machine out very quickly.
It takes some trial and error but worth it if your going to cut lots of aluminium and believe it or not can result in you being able to cut deeper with less chatter by finding the natural harmonic balance of cutting tool and machine.? . . Trial and error is the only way but it can be done quickly if done in a methodical manner.

Check this out and while it's aimed at commercial machines the principles the same. It also gives a procedure to follow that will help find the sweet spot.
It works and the difference is noticeable in both sound has well has visual not to mention performance.

http://www.mmsonline.com/articles/maximum-aluminum

craigrobbo
28-07-2012, 11:55 AM
I would play with feeds & speeds because your not cutting properly.? Your cutting and shoving.!! Look at the vid about 1:28 and you'll see the material being curled not cut.!! . . . Basicly it's being shoved out the way not cut.
Also the chatter and resonance is quite high even thou your (rightly) conventional milling, this dull tools quickly and puts extra stress's on the machine and spindle which will prematurely wear out bearings etc.!!

I can tell the cutting set-up is wrong from the sound, when it comes to cutting Aluminium then it's slightly different from other materials regards DOC etc so it's important to find the machines sweet spot regards spindle RPM and depth of cut (DOC). This you can tell from the noise and harmonics of the machine.

This is will be different for every machine or should say most machines that are not identical.? For instance no point me telling you my set-up for cutting aluminium because my machine is completely different. It also changes with cutter size and length, even the tools material makes a big difference.

Really You need to find the machines "Sweet spot" for the machines life and your pockets sake, not to mention finished quality.!! . . At the rate I'm hearing you'll wear this machine out very quickly.
It takes some trial and error but worth it if your going to cut lots of aluminium and believe it or not can result in you being able to cut deeper with less chatter by finding the natural harmonic balance of cutting tool and machine.? . . Trial and error is the only way but it can be done quickly if done in a methodical manner.

Check this out and while it's aimed at commercial machines the principles the same. It also gives a procedure to follow that will help find the sweet spot.
It works and the difference is noticeable in both sound has well has visual not to mention performance.

http://www.mmsonline.com/articles/maximum-aluminum

Thanks for that, That should help me in the future.

Unsure if your aware but this is my first CNC machine so I am still quite a noobie, However i think a lot of the issue here is partly my cutter(fairly old) and also not enough HP in the spindle.

I need to reduce my feeds/get a better cutter.

Craig

Andre Germain
13-12-2012, 07:28 PM
Craig,

on the strength of your review, I've gotten a quote from Stepmores for pretty much the same machine (attached) for 1500$ US not including shipping. I think this is more than you paid (was your quote of some 866 pounds Sterling including delivery?). Can you comment?

Cheers

craigrobbo
14-12-2012, 01:18 PM
Craig,

on the strength of your review, I've gotten a quote from Stepmores for pretty much the same machine (attached) for 1500$ US not including shipping. I think this is more than you paid (was your quote of some 866 pounds Sterling including delivery?). Can you comment?

Cheers

Hi mate.

My machine was 880 yes, this was with Sea shipping (that only cost $15!) At the bottom of your quote it says 15 days delivery, Presumably yours includes air shipping (which I believe was another $350 or so but double check that one)

I have just checked on google for exchange rates and 880 is about $1420 add conversion fees on top of that and $1500 sounds about right.

Craig

Andre Germain
14-12-2012, 02:06 PM
Craig,

indeed. I got the quote for shipping by sea this morning; 115$. Surprising as many others ask 400$ or more (low balling their price and recuperating it in the shipping?). They also offered to extend the Z axis to 75mm (50$), a stainless steel sink/tub ($30). Are the latter worth it?

The controller board looks like a TB6560 (without a cooling fan!) and from what I read they're not very capable for Nema 23 steppers. Is this what you have as well? are they 23s?

Cheers & much thanks

craigrobbo
16-12-2012, 02:32 AM
Hi there.
Sorry for the late reply.

Stepmores seem quite honest in their prices, Not sure why $115 in shipping though as I was only charged $15!
Speak to a gentlman called Eric (tell him I put you onto him please)
The Steel sink/Tub if you haggle you can get for free, I did.

The Z axis I would leave be, More travel = more flex and only get the 75mm IF YOU NEED IT.

I think the weakest point of the machine is the Y rails, If you can afford the extra, upgrade to supported rails (ignore anything he pawns onto you, just get them)

As for electronics, i am not too clued up on this sorry, I have no idea if they are 23's But I do know the Y axis motor is twice the size of the other 2?

Thanks

Craig

kelvar
28-01-2013, 10:43 AM
Hi craigrobbo,I also ordered the router from Stepmores after reading your review and it's leaving China by sea soon.According to what I read online, there seems to be quite some work getting the router out of port. Did you use a customs broker? Can you describe what the customs clearance process is like?

phili76
26-02-2013, 07:42 PM
Hi craig,

thank you for your review of your stepmores cnc. Im in contact with eric about a 6040.
Are you still happy with your machine?
Do you have some pictures of the control box and did you had a look into it?
Maybe you can tell me if there is a label on the stepper motors?

Thank you for your help!
Greetings from Austria
Philipp

craigrobbo
27-02-2013, 04:09 PM
Hi there Phillipp/

The control box I can get pictures for you later on they are of a high quality compared to others.

I'v looked inside but only brief!

The steppers are blank with no labels sorry.

phili76
27-02-2013, 08:34 PM
Hi craig,

great! thank you
maybe you have also some pictures from inside the box? eric told me that they use leadshine M542 drivers, hopefully they are genuine :-)

thanks
philipp

craigrobbo
27-02-2013, 08:42 PM
No problem - I am not really comfortable opening it up too much, i only had to open it last time as my water tank shattered and I had to clean it.

Please understand.

phili76
27-02-2013, 10:13 PM
no problem, any picture from the outside will be good enough! only if its no problem for you
:-)

philipp

asdfrrr
11-09-2013, 12:36 PM
Hi, I was wondering how do you like the machine so far? any updates? would you recomend the paying the extra $ for this model?
Thanks!

stepmores
12-08-2014, 07:04 AM
hi dear friends. i am eric from stepmores cnc . very glad to be on this page. hope you are fine. our 3040 cnc machine has a lof of improvement on the structure , it become more stronger and durable. more precision than before. also more beautiful. if any friend is interested in our machine , please contact me by email sales@stepmores.com or we can have a talk on skype : stepmores these are some pictures of our 3040m machines pictures.

13191 13192

main futures:
1. mach3 controller with USB port breakoutboard can be used on laptop.
2.This is upgraded 3040 for metal engraving. Suitable for aluminum,brass engraving.
3. Aluminum casting whole body wont transform for long use.
4. variable functional parts: limited sensor, calibrator, led light.

.

stepmores
03-09-2014, 05:07 PM
hi guys. i got some inquiries for bigger machine. so i would like to show our bigger and strongger machine 600x400 600x900 version. X Y axis are both SBR25 supported rails and 25mm diameter ballscrew. whoe aluminium casting. very strong structure that some cutomers love it. we use mach3 USB port control board. yako stepper driver. see the pictures :
if any friend is interested in our machine , please contact me by email sales@stepmores.com

13271132721327013267132681326913273132741327513276

stepmores
03-09-2014, 05:08 PM
see our control box. aluminum material . good for heat dissipation.:smug:

13277 13278

jimbo_cnc
04-09-2014, 11:25 PM
How much for a 600x900 with 1.5kW spindle shipped to UK?

stepmores
05-09-2014, 01:55 AM
hi friend. our 6090 is 2300 usd including shipping fee to UK.

jimbo_cnc
05-09-2014, 11:52 AM
Hi stepmores, have you thought about eBay? I would have bought either your SM6040 or SM6090 last week if I had known about them.

What is the exact X and Y travel on the 6090? It is very close to what I will want soon.

stepmores
06-09-2014, 06:43 PM
hi sir. we dont sell on ebay. our travel of x and y are both over than the model size. its 1cm or so at least more. i checked this issue before. but i can not remmber clearly, but only know it is more than 600x900. can you tell me your email or you can send me email sales@stepmores.com . we can talk by email to smooth our communication. thanks for your attention to our product.

stepmores
30-09-2014, 05:07 AM
hi guys. we make one ATC machine 6090ATC. see our machine pictures:

http://www.mycncuk.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=13500&stc=1

jimbo_cnc
01-10-2014, 02:36 AM
Hi Eric, if you just go ahead and put the price with picture it will save me the trouble of asking :)

Maybe you could outline the shipping process, including what you know about what a UK customer has to do. I'm sure other people will be interested even if they don't want your items. I buy lots from china using airmail but never tried sea freight yet.

If my 6040 ends up being returned to the ebay seller I will buy one of your machines, and even if it doesn't get returned I might buy that 6090ATC anyway.

Could you details the electronics for us please.

stepmores
02-10-2014, 04:23 PM
hi jim , to be honest, i dont want to let everyone in the world know our price. only customers who are interested in our product will send email to me to ask. hope you can understand. for shipping process. i dont know what will happen exactly in UK sea port. but as i know, once we send machine to sea port. shipping company will contact customers and help them to slove importing issue. of course,it will be more complicated than airmail. i am glad to know you are interested in our 6090ATC, and hope we can make deal. thanks

jimbo_cnc
02-10-2014, 04:39 PM
You can run your business however you like.

But this is a discussion forum, and I may decide to discuss your prices with the people on here.

stepmores
02-10-2014, 04:44 PM
hi guys. how much do you know 4axis machine ? do you know what kind of work will this kind of machine do ? sometime. we , as maker of machine, really dont know if our machine will do this or that . we are supprise when our customers did some work with our machine. so i always keep learning how to make design and work with our machine. recently. i make one sample. it is one piece of wooden propeller. it is really fansanating and exciting. 4axis machine is really amazing. i think i can make some toys to my son when i am free. :hurt:

there is the pictures , i use powermill to do it. it is much more easy. dont know if any other good software can do it in easy way ? it will be excellent if it is free. haha, and of course, this can be done by 3axis. one axis can be replaced by rotary. but it will loose time to make rough milling.

http://www.mycncuk.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=13522&stc=1 http://www.mycncuk.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=13523&stc=1 http://www.mycncuk.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=13524&stc=1 http://www.mycncuk.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=13525&stc=1

stepmores
02-10-2014, 04:52 PM
sometime, i dont want to sell my machine like doing bussiness. mostly i want to let customer do their work with our machine, and i will be very happy to see people can make good work with our machine. it make me very satisfied. (much more than money) . of course. i will earn money, but it is not mainly focus thing, i focus on machine, money is the benifit with my focus. its a different thinking way. hehe. it can help you to avoid money blind your eyes. and dirty your heart. you can talk about my price. but i dont like to write price on forum. as i alwasy want to make update. so if i write price here now, you can see what happen when my machine improvement is done. so you can talk. i dont care. ; )

stepmores
02-10-2014, 04:58 PM
jim. do you know what other good cnc forum. i would like to see if i can learn more thing on forum

jimbo_cnc
02-10-2014, 11:28 PM
Eric, this is the forum I joined to find out about machines. The only other forum which I joined yesterday is Cambam to get advice on the software. I like your propeller, and a 4th axis gives me ideas too :) But I have lots of projects in 2.5D to occupy me for now.

jimbo_cnc
06-10-2014, 07:33 PM
Eric, How many days by sea from time of order? Also how much is air transport for a 3040? My 6040 might be going back to seller and I will need something fast to do my plastic cutting. A small 3040 that will also do aluminium might be perfect for me.

stepmores
07-10-2014, 03:50 AM
hi jim. by sea , it will be 40 days. by air, it will be 10 days or so. whats the problem of your 6040 ? not good to use ? . or it is not good to do your plastic cutting ? for our 3040, it can do aluminum. like cutting 2-3mm thickness sheet. and some thin layer milling. ; )

jimbo_cnc
07-10-2014, 11:19 AM
My 6040 is a standard eBay example with unsupported rails on the cross axis. It's quite flexible. I haven't tried aluminium yet but I'm sure I will want to in future. It is now working OK and seller has just given me a refund to buy a new spindle, but I am keeping the machine so I don't need a 3040 now. In future I think I will want a 3040 for plastic and Al, and a larger wood router.

stepmores
09-10-2014, 05:24 PM
hi guys. now we have some 3040 x3 sets , 6040 x 2 sets and 6090 x 3 sets in stock. and i would like to sell them at special price to change our workshop easily. but it is only for the friends from this forum. so once you send me email : sales@stepmores.com and tell me you are from this forum. i would like to give you our cost price to deal with these stock model 6040 and 6090. they are in stock. delivery time is right now !!

Nixie
09-10-2014, 11:30 PM
Hi guys, bit of a newb here, but would this machine be good for me? I want to work in aluminium mainly, wood and plastics also but less, to make fairly 3-dimensional parts, that is - create underhangs, hollow/2 sided works. I will be using STL files, only have a WIN 7 machine with USB, and both my space and money budget is low!

I'm pretty novice but im sure I'd be able to get along with cnc given some time and experimentation. Can I expect good quality results with this machine and am I going to need to spend more money on other hardware to bring it up to snuff or is it already good as it is?

Thanks for your help! (in advance)

Chris

DarrenGrant
09-10-2014, 11:30 PM
Hi I found stepmores via this forum and although I haven't ordered a machine yet I probably will because so far Eric has given good advice via email and skype.

Before anyone says anything, I know I am new here so it might look suspicious that one of my first few posts is to apparently praise a machine manufacturer. So I have to stress I am not linked to them in any way and so far do not have one of their machines to give an opinion on. I just wanted to share with you my good experience so far and hopefully explain a bit more about buying from China. You can see what brought me here by looking in the new member introduction section where I explain what I am trying to do.

jimbo_cnc In China there is great pressure on price with sellers all trying to outdo the others on price. If for example you went to the world’s greatest electronics market Huaqiangbei in Shenzhen you will find that every seller will charge 10c less than his competitor just to get the sale. In this kind of environment it is difficult if you are trying to sell a product that visually is very similar but you have made some effort to improve the design as the buyers will look at the price and move on. Because of this you will see that Chinese suppliers rarely publish their prices as they want to be given the opportunity to explain why their offering is better when you contact them. For us this can seem a little unusual as we are so used to having everything clearly priced to buy in an instant. I know some people may even find this a bit suspicious thinking that the seller has something to hide and may be trying to offer different prices depending on how much they think you can pay.

In my experience it isn't like that at all, first the seller wants to feel comfortable that you are not a competitor fishing for information. Then they will usually give a fair price for a one off sale.

There is something else at play when buying from Chinese people that is difficult for British people to understand unless you have spent time in China or with a Chinese person to experience their culture. We are used to business dealings being rather clinical, we see a price and we choose to pay the asking price or not. In China traditionally personal relationships are created with 关系 (guanxi) there is no direct translation into English but the essence of it is that people feel they connect or not. While the young ambitious eBay sellers who will sell you anything to earn money don't take much notice of this traditional value especially with people from outside China you will find that in many more traditional businesses that guanxi is also part of business relationships. It is not uncommon for a Chinese person to ignore you or not sell you something because they feel your enquiry appeared inconsiderate or rude. Chinese people often find Americans very difficult because their demand that the customer is always right is not part of Chinese culture. You have to think more like the traditional independent shops where you would get to know the staff and you would hopefully trust them to give you advice about what to buy, as opposed to the modern supermarket culture where you virtually go in and out without even knowing the name of the person on the checkout.

Regarding shipping from China

All shipments regardless of the method used will be subject to VAT and possibly duty depending on the product being imported.

Now you have probably bought low value items off eBay etc and they are often labelled as being $2 value even if you paid $40 for something and therefore got it delivered in the post without charge that is not going to work for a huge machine in a crate. Unlike small postal items where only a small sample of packages are inspected for collecting VAT almost all large packages will have their paperwork inspected so that VAT can be charged on the import. This applies to all services such as FedEx, UPS etc as well as sea freight. So you WILL be charged VAT without a doubt, the amount depends on the value declared on the commercial invoice.

For parcels sent via a standard courier like TNT to a domestic address you will typically be charged 15-25 admin fee for collecting the VAT from you and giving it to HMRC. You will also have to pay the VAT before the package is released to you unless you have an account with the courier where they will charge it to your account.

For sea and air freight it is a little more complicated as this is regarded as a commercial service and as a result they tend to charge the going business rates for things so you may be charged as much as 50 for handling the paperwork and collecting VAT from you. You also need to find out if the service is to the door or just the port. If it is to the port you will be responsible for paying to get it from the port to your address, you can go and collect it yourself if you have a suitable vehicle but collect immediately you get the notification it is there, leave it there and you will be charged for storage. If nothing else pay the VAT immediately or you will be charged for it being held in the HMRC controlled area and that is expensive. If it is a to the door service then you are all set as the shipper has paid to deliver it all the way but the same warning applies make sure you are able to accept the delivery immediately or you will have to pay storage charges that are expensive at a busy port.

irving2008
10-10-2014, 07:41 AM
Hi guys, bit of a newb here, but would this machine be good for me? I want to work in aluminium mainly, wood and plastics also but less, to make fairly 3-dimensional parts, that is - create underhangs, hollow/2 sided works. I will be using STL files, only have a WIN 7 machine with USB, and both my space and money budget is low!

I'm pretty novice but im sure I'd be able to get along with cnc given some time and experimentation. Can I expect good quality results with this machine and am I going to need to spend more money on other hardware to bring it up to snuff or is it already good as it is?

Thanks for your help! (in advance)

Chris
Chris

These machines are primarily 2d (cut from sheet) or 2.5d (cut varying depth/pocketing) routing. They will not do underhangs tho the 4th axis option may help if your workpiece is cylindrical. To do true 3d with underhangs you need 5 axis machine such as MINI 5 Axis CNC Machining center: http://youtu.be/NOcxwRUeh_4 but your budget won't get close I suspect.

Nixie
10-10-2014, 10:24 AM
Thanks for the response, I think i wasnt very clear before, I realise it wont cut underhangs by itself, what I meant more was say could I cut a figurine or reasonably '3d' object by cutting one side and then another? Mostly I was thinking to cut parts for my motorbike and other functional items which will be pocketed and then flipped to shape the exterior. Is this machine too weak for this kind of work?

Thanks!

Chris

DarrenGrant
10-10-2014, 12:11 PM
Chris

I have spent a fair bit of time looking into aluminium milling reading things on-line and some assistance from Eric at stepmores.

Most of the machines can be used for aluminium but to varying standards.

The common basic machines with a 230w spindle (well more of an engraving tool than a true spindle) will engrave aluminium and with a bit of effort to get the right depth of cut and feed speed you might just about cut aluminium but the results will be pretty poor and the spindle is likely to wear out quickly due to the basic bearings. To be honest I would avoid this sort of machine unless you are only working with soft plastics and wood and have modest needs.

The next step up is the 800W type spindle and realistically it would look like this is the minimum realistic option for metal work ideally coupled with ball screw feed system. You will typically get good results for engraving and it will also do some cutting jobs but one issue you have to account for is that when cutting metal you don't need high speed you need torque so that the motor does not stall. As you will be slowing the spindle speed down probably to somewhere around 8000 RPM for aluminium the motor will loose power. The cost of upgrading to a 1.5KW spindle is not huge so is probably worth it rather than having to buy one later.

With this kind of set-up you will get adequate results with aluminium as long as high precision is not essential. The aluminium framework on the machines is sturdy but there will be some vibration, you will probably have to polish surfaces to get them smooth after working.

One of the ways to reduce the vibrations is to have a moving table machine, stepmores have SM-4040 and 6060 where the gantry is securely fixed to the heavy cast base instead of moving on rails. This is perhaps the cheapest way so the best compromise for someone on a tight budget to achieve more accurate results without having to go to the expense of cast iron. If you are going to do a lot of cutting aluminium and accuracy is important then cast iron will essentially eliminate vibration because of the density/strength of the iron. Stepmores offer Iron casting option on those two models.

You can turn your object on the table to cut each side but it does take a bit more effort to do your cutting in a way that makes sure your object can lay flat when you turn it. From what I have seen the 4th axis gadgets that turn the object can easily be turned by hand so I wouldn't imagine they would do very well for metal work unless someone has one and can say otherwise. You can also cut some underhangs using an appropriately shaped tool but you are somewhat limited in what you can do.

Nixie
10-10-2014, 02:14 PM
Darren, Thanks for the detailed response! I will look into the 4040 and 6060 then, I think 4040 would be large enough for most of my needs, and I can always divide parts up. But does the moving table vs moving spindle result in less useable space?

So, things I will probably need are: good 1.5kw spindle, ball screw on all axis, potential 4th axis would be nice, at least for wood, and USB input is pretty high on my list. Is the control board from Stepmores good?

I think I'l contact them within a week or so to see what kind of price I can get, TBH i'm nervous about being slapped with huge import duties and other charges, but this is the trade off with paying less by ordering from China!

Chris

DarrenGrant
10-10-2014, 02:51 PM
Chris

A moving table doesn't result in less usable space but it does mean the machine requires more workspace as the table will extend beyond the back of the machine when moving so where as a 6040 moving gantry type machine has a set footprint the 4040 & 6060 you will need to allow extra free space at the back of the machine for the table to move into.

I believe that all the stepmores machines have a USB controller but not having one yet I am afraid I can't give any feedback on the quality. I will likely upgrade the controller to a smoothieboard board http://smoothieware.org/smoothieboard as it controls the machine directly rather than rely on a PC running a multitasking OS that is not well suited for real-time machine control.

You will be charged VAT currently 15% for Luxembourg so be quick and make sure it is delivered before January 1st 2015 or you will have to pay 17%. So on a $2500 machine you would be paying approximately €300 VAT.

Nixie
10-10-2014, 03:38 PM
If I have this correct, I would take my .stl file, run it through software to generate a Gcode, which i then place on sd or usb, which the smoothieboard feeds to the cnc? does this mean I can keep the PC and cnc separate?

Thanks for the VAT tip, Im actually British, I just live and work here for the moment, so I can have it shipped to either country.

I'll see if I can get stepmores to give me a discount to remove the controller, I guess the first Job would be a smoothieboard enclosure!

Chris

DarrenGrant
10-10-2014, 04:02 PM
Yes

The typical set-up is that the controller box that comes with a machine is just basic motor controllers it has no intelligence. The PC using something like Mach 3 software is directly controlling the machine by sending pulses over the parallel port to cause the motor to step. As you have probably read on here this can be problematic for so many reasons but mainly because a PC running a multitasking OS has issues of latency where sometimes it can miss a step because the machine is preoccupied doing something else like re-drawing the image on the screen instead of sending the pulse.

The smoothie board has its own ARM microprocessor that does all the controlling work making the PC redundant. Because the processor is dedicated to controlling the machine it doesn't suffer from the problems a PC controller would. There are 3 ways you can load the Gcode onto the smoothie board...

Save the gcode file on an SD card on your pc and then take it and slot that in the smoothie board.

Attach a USB cable and load the file onto it that way, the best thing is that you can then use the computer for other things or even shut it down as it is not needed once the file is transferred.

Alternatively if you get one with a network interface you can load the files remotely from any computer on your network.

I wouldn't bother asking for a discount from stepmores for removing the controller as the box contains a power supply to power the stepper motors and the VFD speed controller for the spindle. So the actual controller boar inside the box is probably only worth $30 or something.

Nixie
10-10-2014, 04:47 PM
Thanks again Darren,
Im gonna look through my options, it seems that Stemores is one of the better chinese manufacturers, But the potential hastle might not be worth it. Maybe a kit/second hand is also good for me so I will spend my time.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/171491316945?_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

This looks intersting, and in the EU!

Chris

DarrenGrant
10-10-2014, 05:12 PM
Personally I wouldn't go for the eBay link.

To me it looks like a DIY effort made from box section extruded aluminium and will wobble more than Jessica rabbit. My guess is that the project started off as a little project with a dremil or similar engraving tool and having realised that would them nowhere they have tried to improve the machine by getting the most powerful spindle they could find only to find that the machine shook itself to bits so they have given up and decided to sell it all.

You will notice that the support rails (those two outer bars running down the middle) look thin and have no support. This means when the machine moves to the centre the the rails will flex causing the Z axis to change depending on the positioning.

If you look at the pictures in post #32 (http://www.mycncuk.com/threads/4574-Reveiw-Stepmores-SM-3040-CNC-Router-Mill?p=61416#post61416) you will see that machine has rails that are supported, i.e they are mounted on the solid base with an upright section supporting round bar. This is the next best thing to having square rails as it reduces the deflection of the bar as the mechanism moves to the centre.

The way I see it you have three options, buy a very cheap machine and use it to experiment with machining forget about metal and use only soft materials like plastic and wood and put up with some of the problems and limitations that you will get along the way. Then if you find it is something you want to get more involved in put the machine on eBay and buy something better when you are ready.

If you are serious about making a go of it but have not got the budget to go for a real high end machine then try and get a half decent machine that is built on a sturdy cast base. This should be enough for a reasonable amount of hobby work to an acceptable standard.

Go in at the top and buy an all iron heavy duty milling machine that will do everything including steel and take out a mortgage for it.

Nixie
10-10-2014, 05:25 PM
I think you are right, perhaps milling machinist wax and doing some lost wax tests might suffice me. I think il look at some of the chinese stuff on ebay that seems to ship from the UK or Germany, aswell as contact Stepmores directly.

Thanks again, I will consider your input!

Chris

DarrenGrant
10-10-2014, 05:45 PM
One thing I would add is don't be worried about importing, I was somewhat hesitant the first time I imported something but now I do it all the time sometimes whole shipping container loads that I wonder why I ever worried about it.

The shipping agents take care of everything it is just a question of how VAT is paid. If you buy something made or sold in an EU country the price you pay will have the VAT included in the purchase price. So you are paying the VAT to the seller and they are paying the government. The only difference when importing is that no VAT is charged on the purchase price and when it lands in the country the shipping agent is legally obliged to charge you VAT on the value of the item and pass that to the government. As the shipping agents don't like being unpaid tax collectors for governments they charge you for the admin.

It is a simple process, usually someone from the local branch of the shipping company in your destination country calls you to say the parcel will land today and tell you how much you need to pay. You already know approximately what this amount will be anyway as you will need to factor it in as part of the cost of making the purchase. Simply pay the VAT immediately to avoid delays causing storage charges and make sure you can take delivery as soon as the agent is able to deliver it.

Just make sure it is a door-to-door delivery service, if it isn't just factor in an estimated €100 for the final leg of the delivery for a pallet.

Nixie
10-10-2014, 08:33 PM
I don't mind the importing so much, Eric of Stepmores promises to get back to me tomorrow with prices + delivery for the 3040/6040 by sea and air, so I'l see what this comes to. In fact, here in Lux i've imported from the us before and since the item didn't disclose a value, the tax guy just emailed me asking for an amount!

Last random question of the night: different milling bits of different sizes ect will be better suited to certain passes or materials ect, how do you change 'bits' to perform each step? does the machine prompt one a general roughing stage is completed?

Thanks :)



Did you

JAZZCNC
10-10-2014, 09:29 PM
Not commenting on the Stepmores machines as I have no experience of them but one thing I do have is experience of other chinese made machines. To me the problem comes from the very fact they have to compete on price with other Chinese manufactures. The net result is that they are built to price and the build quality suffers badly for this and the Stepmore machine IMO won't be any differant.!

They are mass produced so the attention to detail and quality control in areas that matter is just not there. The result being you have to sort it out your self.
This is ok with electronics as they can be replaced but when it comes to structure of the machine that's quite a differant story. Often they are so poorly made or weak that it's just easier to start again.!
Now often these machines are ok for cutting woods etc and get away with it because of the low accurecy and tolerences required but when it comes to aluminium they really struggle and show there poor quality.
Yes they do a stronger Cast machine but again these things will be made to the lowest possible price and when it comes to Cast iron the quality of the cast makes all the difference and IMO the Cast products I see coming out of china range from scrap to just about acceptable.!!. . . Now if you get a bad cast then your in world of even more pain as it's not easy to repair or true up.!

So what I'm saying is I wouldn't go rushing into buying any chinese machine until you can get a Solid report from someone using the machine for exactly the use you intend.
I can tell you from cutting huge amounts of aluminium that any machine mostly doing this needs to be very well made and I'm not just taking about strength. When it comes to harder materials like Ali then it very quickly shows any weak areas of a machine so build quality and attention to detail are just as important as the design strength and it's here IME that the chinese machines fail badly every time.

Regards multisided cutting then it's not just a simple case of remove and flip over if you need accurecy. For accurate turning you will need solid and accurate fixture jigs to help ensure accurate coordinates are re-established. It can be done but needs careful thought and planning.

Regards the electronics then that smoothie thing I wouldn't touch with a barge pole for creditable routing/milling machine. Ok for 3D printer etc but for routing/milling then it's just not upto the job and will give poor performance in comparison to good digital drives and PC with motion control card.
Also I don't see any way you can view the cutting path/G-code or control things like feed or spindle speed overide etc which is essential when milling.
Often you need to tweak the cutting conditions on the fly while working and this lack of interaction is unthinkable to anyone who's used to cutting materials like aluminium etc. This Ok with 3d printers or pick-place machines where you just hit start and walk away but milling then no way would I want this inflexabilty.!

Next about spindles is the 1.5Kw is just about enough for cutting aluminium but I'd recommend you go with the larger 2.2Kw for spare over head plus the larger ER20 collet system allows larger range of tooling.

DarrenGrant
10-10-2014, 09:33 PM
Last random question of the night: different milling bits of different sizes ect will be better suited to certain passes or materials ect, how do you change 'bits' to perform each step? does the machine prompt one a general roughing stage is completed?

The CAM software will have profiles for each cutting tool and generate the appropriate Gcode for each pass. The machine will return to the home position for you to change the tool.

Nixie
11-10-2014, 10:20 PM
Darren, Jazz, thanks very much for your input. I have decided to wait and buy peice by peice to DIY the machine that suits my needs. I'm not sure weather converting a milling machine to cnc or really building from scratch. The step more machines look great for the money, but I haven't seen any examples of well finished aluminium. I think for me they would just be a compromise.

Il probably start a build page soon in the diy section!

Chris

JAZZCNC
12-10-2014, 11:21 AM
Darren, Jazz, thanks very much for your input. I have decided to wait and buy peice by peice to DIY the machine that suits my needs.

Wise choice except don't buy anything yet until you have come up with a final design. Then and Only then start buying parts and even then only buy parts that relate to the build as you go along.? By that I mean don't buy electronics etc first as they are not required until the very end and your wasting warranty etc.

Start a build thread and I will give some input and suggestions for good design that suits cutting aluminium great.

Andygraphy
21-10-2014, 07:12 PM
hi,

i just buy a cnc 3040m like craig too, but in the actually version:) eric was very helpfull to ship the machine to germany and i hope that i recives it next week :)

stepmores
22-10-2014, 11:54 AM
hi thanks for your support. hope you can like our machine and service : )

Andygraphy
07-12-2014, 04:54 PM
i made with my 3040m a short clip, machining in carbon fiber with a costim made 3D printed cleaning system for the dangerous carbon dust. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FEvGbXW1wI0

Ioannis
11-12-2014, 10:56 PM
Hi there.
Sorry for the late reply.

Stepmores seem quite honest in their prices, Not sure why $115 in shipping though as I was only charged $15!
Speak to a gentlman called Eric (tell him I put you onto him please)
The Steel sink/Tub if you haggle you can get for free, I did.

The Z axis I would leave be, More travel = more flex and only get the 75mm IF YOU NEED IT.

I think the weakest point of the machine is the Y rails, If you can afford the extra, upgrade to supported rails (ignore anything he pawns onto you, just get them)

As for electronics, i am not too clued up on this sorry, I have no idea if they are 23's But I do know the Y axis motor is twice the size of the other 2?

Thanks

Craig

Craig hi

Eric said that now he puts SBR20 on Y axis in 3040m machines.
Do you still think that the 75 mm axis will be flexible anyway after this change?

I seriously want to buy one , I only need to decide about this option.
The other option I am thinking of, is the 4th axis but if I leave the Z as it is, the 4th axis becomes useless. Thank you in advance.

DarrenGrant
19-12-2014, 07:18 PM
I have decided to order a Stepmores SM-4040 http://www.stepmores.com/product-504dfe046d54611964000000.shtml as it looks like it will be better than the ones on eBay. The machine has a sturdy cast aluminium build and has a moving table and square rails However that seemed better for some soft aluminium work. I have asked for the 2.2kw spindle.

All being well when it arrives I will post some pictures and a review.

jimbo_cnc
01-03-2015, 11:45 AM
Hey Darren, thanks for your earlier reply (which I didn't see at the time). I have only bought up to 20kg before, but I just looked at a 100kg shipment and it is indeed easy, eg you can just phone DHL and they'll pick it up at the factory and bring it to your door (via ship).

Did you get your machine?

I'm back in this thread because I'm thinking of getting a 6090.