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View Full Version : Best cnc mill for under 1500-2000



xchipx
18-01-2009, 05:20 AM
Hi all
Im fairly new to the world of cnc'ing so please forgive me!

I am just after some advice really.
I intend to cut carbon fibre sheet, and perhaps alloy 7075 sheet both no thicker than 5mm.Most of the time the max thickness will be around 2.5mm, but i just wanted to have the capability if need be.

Im going to want to make quite a few "production runs" once i get the hang of everything , the setup needs to be able to handle this without having to have me " babysit " it all the time.
I can do most things in cad/cam , i simply have not yet had the chance to work with a milling machine itself yet.

I plan on making parts for perhaps flatland BMX and RC models , perhaps some small automotive items too.
A part i'd not mind having a go at creating would be bike sprockets. <---See my avatar for something similar ! I am part of the flatland bmx community, being able to make quality parts to put back into the community would be great. Obviously i also understand the big companies put serious R&D into their products, whereas i may not. Don't shoot me for trying though !

Im obviously going to need a fairly sturdy , reliable and accurate machine for this.
Any recommendations?
I have had a look at the marchantdice and shirline milling machines, however i doubt they will be durable for this sort of app.

I hope my budget range is good enough. And yes i have already accounted for the PC and software required.

Thanks for your help !!!!

Also checkout " homepage " on my profile, there is a pic showing you what flatland bmx is. Pretty crazy eh? These aresome of the lightest, best engineered bikes you can get, most of the bike is fully cnc'd , has titanium axles , kevlar beaded tires etc !
My last setupd cost well over a grand, which lets face it, is a lot for a bike with no brakes or gears haha

Best regards
Mark

Robin Hewitt
18-01-2009, 12:30 PM
Tricky, unless you have a 6' x 5' slot and 3 phase because old Bridgeport Interacts are currently going at bargain basement prices.

If someone else takes a hobby mill, fits ball screws and stepper motors the price seems to take an unreasonable leap which is why most of us do the conversion ourselves. Basically you buy a mill then use it to cut the plates and stuff required to fit the motors. Then you start CNC'ing and soon decide to make them all again because you can now do it so much better.

How big are these sprockets? You will need to ensure you have enough movement on the Y axis to handle it. ie: Max diameter plus tool diameter plus a bit for setting up.

John S
18-01-2009, 12:49 PM
Welcome Mark.

Tricky question, at the prices you have quoted plus what you want to do it's borderline whether you waste your money or not.

Lets look at this logically and put 2k on the table and explore 3 options, what can you buy already done for 2K ?

There is the KX1 from Arc at just over that and Lester Caine does a Taig conversion for somewhere around that price.

Both may not have the Y axis travel you want for sprockets.

Second option is buy secondhand or a dead CNC.
Secondhand I can't follow thru as too many unknowns, what is it, who did it, what's inside it etc.
Dead CNC's seem to be limited to Denford Triacs and the later Supermax [ very rare ] and Bridgeport BOSS's.
The Triac is still a small mill so Y axis limitations may apply.
The BOSS is large as Robin has said but when converted they can be switched to single phase. One of these is a machine for life but remember at 21 you have probably got a bit of moving to do and that means carting this beast about.

Do a bit of homework first, plus side is many people take pity on a youngster who's interested in all this stuff and you are probably in the best city in the world for finding this gear. Is Riley's still going in the south of the city?
I have had some good deals there over the years

John S. local to you M1 J25.

xchipx
18-01-2009, 04:59 PM
Thoroughly appreciate your replies guys, thanks for the welcomes :)

Right first things first.
No 3 phase. This will be my little garage that just has a standard uk power source.
However size shouldnt matter that much as it will be the only thing in there.
The only problem with the size is that i want it to be inclosed as much as possible when its in operation , perhaps some sort of flexie plastic sheet eclosure and air pump with filters - not sure yet.
But the dust from cutting carbon fibre is lethal so its either that or wear a respirator ( but thats not ideal to do 24/7 )

The size of the sprockets would be no larger than 3" to 6" diameter. Obviously the more i could do in " one run " the better.

2 Things that scare me about an old machine :

1 : The size , having to transport and move it. I don't want someone delivering it and knowing where my " mini workshop " is going to be. At the end of the day its a garage, not secure business premises.

2: An old machine scares me, as converting/modernizing one scares the hell out of me. I wanted to see if i could get an " out of the box " ready setup.

Btw not sure if rileys is still going will have to have a look !

irving2008
18-01-2009, 05:40 PM
Thoroughly appreciate your replies guys, thanks for the welcomes :)

Right first things first.
No 3 phase. This will be my little garage that just has a standard uk power source.
However size shouldnt matter that much as it will be the only thing in there.
The only problem with the size is that i want it to be inclosed as much as possible when its in operation , perhaps some sort of flexie plastic sheet eclosure and air pump with filters - not sure yet.
But the dust from cutting carbon fibre is lethal so its either that or wear a respirator ( but thats not ideal to do 24/7 )

The size of the sprockets would be no larger than 3" to 6" diameter. Obviously the more i could do in " one run " the better.

2 Things that scare me about an old machine :

1 : The size , having to transport and move it. I don't want someone delivering it and knowing where my " mini workshop " is going to be. At the end of the day its a garage, not secure business premises.

2: An old machine scares me, as converting/modernizing one scares the hell out of me. I wanted to see if i could get an " out of the box " ready setup.

Btw not sure if rileys is still going will have to have a look !

Realistically you're going to want to mill something akin to a hard ali alloy with a working area of some 200 x 200mm minimum. The size alone rules out small mills such as the Syil X2, X3 and even an X5 as all are <160mm which is tight. An X4+ would just about do it but your budget won't (nearer 4000).

More realistically size wise you are looking at the MD25/MD30 Chester/Warco/etc series of machines with a cross travel of 200mm or more (and with 700mm of table you could be machining long parts such as forks) and an appropriate conversion kit..

The Marchant Dice series of routers are OK size wise (500 x 200mm working area) but aren't really sturdy enough and the 1kW spindle isnt up to the milling job unless you take relatively fine cuts.

A little googling shows that many of the commercially available gantry style routers surprisingly (or not) don't list Carbon Fibre as a material they work with (yet do list most plastics and woods). Whether thats an H&S issue i dont know.

m_c
19-01-2009, 01:35 AM
Y-axis travel wouldn't matter that much for sprockets if you go for 4-axis, but obviously it is another cost.

xchipx
19-01-2009, 10:53 AM
Thanks for the replies.
Further looking into it, if i want to make batches i may be better off with a decent routing machine rather than milling setup. Even if its pretty slow, i can leave it to it while it cuts many at a time. Obviously for a decent cnc router its going to be past my budget...
Opinions?

hmm update :

Found a couple of routers not far off my price range :

the rottaxx hs1
http://romaxxcnc.com/sitebuilder/images/pichs003-633x475.jpg
still trying to find more info on this
should cost around 2000 posted to the uk ( with spindle etc )
400x600 work size.

----------------------

or the german heiz s400 / s720
http://www.cnc-step.com/S-720_Fraesmaschine_CNC_STEP_1.jpg
which will work out around 2200 -2400
s400 = 400x300
s720 = 720x420
should even cut steel
still trying to decipher a lot of the german spiel
here is a vid of it cutting 10mm thick alloy ( thats the 720 ):
http://www.cnc-step.com/Zirkularfrasen_in_10mm_Aluminium_CNC_.wmv

Robin Hewitt
19-01-2009, 11:45 AM
Opinions?

I could be wrong, but I've always thought of CNC routers as tools for making pretties where a slight lack of precision is a minor problem easily fixed with sand paper.

When the tool cuts everything starts to bend. If you want to limit the bending to match your tolerance you can either make incredibly fine finishing cuts and production time goes through the roof, or, you buy a much heavier machine from the word go.

I was looking at a budget mill on ebay, the spec looked good until I noticed it only weighed 120kg :rolleyes:

No1_sonuk
19-01-2009, 11:42 PM
still trying to decipher a lot of the german spiel
here is a vid of it cutting 10mm thick alloy ( thats the 720 ):
http://www.cnc-step.com/Zirkularfrasen_in_10mm_Aluminium_CNC_.wmv
Go to the main site. There's an English version.
They're also available on ebay, and from Prototools in the UK.
http://www.prototools.co.uk

xchipx
15-02-2009, 11:14 AM
i think q76 might of got slightly the wrong thread ;)

irving2008
15-02-2009, 01:13 PM
i think q76 might of got slightly the wrong thread ;)spammer dealt with using maximum force :D

Lee Roberts
15-02-2009, 02:26 PM
Nice 1 irving.....

she cant take it captain ! The FBF6E-MACH575-992 cannot hold at maximum force for much long Sir !!!

PS: You have a new title irving !

irving2008
15-02-2009, 03:09 PM
Nice 1 irving.....

she cant take it captain ! The FBF6E-MACH575-992 cannot hold at maximum force for much long Sir !!!

PS: You have a new title irving !
:D:beer: he he he

Squeeguk
05-03-2009, 08:42 PM
Did you get a machine in the end? If so, which one?