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View Full Version : Your thoughts on the AR1200 from Machinery & Electrical



Franco
11-07-2014, 02:11 PM
Hi all.

I'm looking to buy a new CNC router for home use and one of the ones I'm looking at is the [AR1200 (http://www.machineryandelectrical.com/#!product/prd12/1702298455/ar1200)] from www.machineryandelectrical.com (http://www.machineryandelectrical.com). There are some specs on the router in [this (http://media.wix.com/ugd/39e3cc_55ae53c65af945bc9d89c03b138c04e5.pdf)] PDF and there is also some more information on the machines further down [this (http://www.machineryandelectrical.com/#!about/c1enr)] page.

I emailed the company and they responded quickly. I asked them if they could provide me with some contact details of previous customers so I can ask them for feedback on the machines and they duly gave me a list of people to contact.

I was wondering what your thoughts were on the specs of the machine. I'm planning on using it for cutting mainly wood and plastics with maybe the odd piece of light aluminum here and there.

Thanks!

george uk
11-07-2014, 02:38 PM
Hi

Have seen better for the price, but its within reason.... maybe you could negoteate them down 500 to 1000, and you want at least a water cooled spindle, not air cooled... infact, i will post up some examples over the weekend, i have seen similar, with better spindles, vac beds and extras for just under 5K

Franco
11-07-2014, 02:49 PM
Hi george, many thanks for your reply.

The one I linked to above does come with a PC and vacuum bed but I will ask them about the spindle.

If you do know of other examples I really would be grateful if you could post them,. thank you. I've been searching around for other machines but they're not always the easiest thing to find. Thanks again.

JAZZCNC
11-07-2014, 06:02 PM
To be honest it's hard to say about this machine because the Spec is fague with very little info about electronics which is off putting and the electronics quality are big thing to consider and one area where short cuts are often made to save money as it's an expensive part of the machine.

Also I see a few design and component signs that throw up alarm bells.!! . . . Like ballscrew ends mounted in linear bearing housings.!! This isn't normal build practice I'd want to be seeing at this money. I've seen this type of money saving crap on other machines RE- Strike CNC and it never works out good in long run.!!

Also looks like single ballscrew down centre which at this width doesn't sit well.!!

Spindle isn't such a massive issue for most jobs unless your running it none stop for extended periods(4hrs+) then in which case I'd go with water cooled.

Franco
11-07-2014, 07:23 PM
Thanks JAZZCNC, this is exactly the type of advice I need.

I would inquire about the electronics but from what you're saying, the other parts of the design make this a no go.

It sounds like there are better machines out there for my money, what would you suggest with a budget of ~6k?

JAZZCNC
11-07-2014, 07:48 PM
Thanks JAZZCNC, this is exactly the type of advice I need.

I would inquire about the electronics but from what you're saying, the other parts of the design make this a no go.

It sounds like there are better machines out there for my money, what would you suggest with a budget of ~6k?

To be honest I can't advise anywhere to look.! . . . . To be honest I'd normaly offer to build a custom machine to someone like your self who is serious and with a realistic budget but at the moment there's no way I could this.!

Also don't get me wrong I'm not pulling this machine to pieces as that wouldn't be fair and the price is not unreasonable if things are correct. I don't know the machine and I'm only going of the visuals but experience makes some things jump out at me and when I see these along with sparse details or covers where covers are not needed I get a little twitchy.!
My way of thinking being a business man is that you make an advert of the stuff that matters and you highlight your best assets not forget to mention them unless they are not there or of a poor quality.?

george uk
11-07-2014, 09:54 PM
After looking again, 5K is a lot for that machine, even without knowing what electronics run it. You could probably build that for 2K. You would want wider rails and a few design changes. I will dig up the lists that i wnet through for that price over the weekend and post them.

How oftern will it be used, and whats the maximum size you looking for. how much space have you got to fit it in, and is it just hobby, or hobby/business, or full business use

JAZZCNC
11-07-2014, 10:21 PM
After looking again, 5K is a lot for that machine, even without knowing what electronics run it.

No sorry while I'm unsure about the machine crudentials and some aspects of the build 5K is not over the top really when have to take into consideration this is a business and he has to provide warranty and all that goes with running a business. Your 2K only reflects a small part and large cost of building these machines comes from labour and running costs.
Obviously the man is looking at buying so building isn't his first choice or a choice at all.

Also don't get why you say needs wider rails because width doesn't really come into it provided they are suitable for the job and mounted correctly, it's the load ratings that matter and these are well on top of the job in all ways. (Thou would possibly have used flanged bearings on X axis.!)

george uk
11-07-2014, 11:01 PM
No sorry while I'm unsure about the machine crudentials and some aspects of the build 5K is not over the top really when have to take into consideration this is a business and he has to provide warranty and all that goes with running a business.
Yes sorry i ment 2k for a home build of that,

Also don't get why you say needs wider rails because width doesn't really come into it provided they are suitable for the job
I just presumed, thats why i asked him what he generally wants it for, hobby or work or industrial output...

Franco
12-07-2014, 07:54 PM
Thanks for the help guys. FWIW, the machine is 5200+VAT which works out to be ~6.2k

I'm definitely serious about buying a machine. I'm a CNC programmer/machinist by trade and I've lusted after my own router for a long long time. I did want to build my own but with my work load in and outside of work I simply don't have the time, hence wanting to buy.

JAZZYCNC, it's a shame you don't have time to build one for me as you obviously know your onions. I do know what it's like to be short on time though. I would however really appreciate your input on other machines if possible though, thank you.

George, thank you for your input too. I would love to see these other machines you have seen.

I would say I'm looking for a machine for hobby/business work. I do do a lot of manual work for people and I would love to start making a lot of things of things with a CNC. I can see myself putting a lot of hours/work into products and so I want a machine that can perform a fair few hours a week. To be honest, once I get one you would struggle getting me off it! :biggrin: I would like a decent machine that will last though, I realise I'm not going to be able to get an industrial spec machine for my money but I would hope to be able to get something fairly decent.

I would love a machine that could work with full 2440x1220 sheets but I'm going to have to settle for a smaller machine for now due to space. I don't want to go too small though and limit what I can make so ideally a ~1220x1220 window would be ideal for now.

Thanks again for the help.

GEOFFREY
13-07-2014, 12:12 AM
Hi Franco, I think that you are mistaken when you say that you cannot get an industrial machine for 6K. If you can find the space and have access to a 3ph supply the older industrial machines represent fantastic value for money IMO. Chances are that if you do buy such a machine it will come with a CAD/CAM system, tool holders and probably an automatic tool changer. I bought an old (1999) SCM 120 on ebay (not-working) had to spend some time and money (still ended up within your budget) and although it is a bit old, I think it is a fantastic machine, very heavy duty and hopefully will last for many years to come. You do of course need space and a 3phase supply, but it may even be worth considering renting a small unit if it is for commercial use. Good luck with whatever you decide. G.

JAZZCNC
13-07-2014, 12:51 AM
Hi Franco, I think that you are mistaken when you say that you cannot get an industrial machine for 6K. If you can find the space and have access to a 3ph supply the older industrial machines represent fantastic value for money IMO. Chances are that if you do buy such a machine it will come with a CAD/CAM system, tool holders and probably an automatic tool changer. I bought an old (1999) SCM 120 on ebay (not-working) had to spend some time and money (still ended up within your budget) and although it is a bit old, I think it is a fantastic machine, very heavy duty and hopefully will last for many years to come. You do of course need space and a 3phase supply, but it may even be worth considering renting a small unit if it is for commercial use. Good luck with whatever you decide. G.

Agree with Geoffrey but you also have to be careful because you can easily run into trouble with machines that use dedicated bespoke software or hardware that is difficult to replace or very limiting in what can be done regards software, esp when it comes to 3D work.
In this instance then you nearly always have to convert the machine to run on modern hardware and controllers so you can use modern software and keep machine running. This does require a pretty high level of experience and intimate knowledge of control software setup, esp if the machine is equiped with numatic's and automatic tool changers etc.! . . . . . Not something I'd recommend for someone with only operating experience or newbie to CNC.

Franco
13-07-2014, 09:06 AM
Hi GEOFFREY. Oh I completely understand that you can get a used machine for under 6k but I'm a little concerned with some aspects of this such as JAZZCNC mentioned. I realise I'm going to get less for my money by buying a new machine but at least I should be able to get up and running fairly quickly with it and it will (hopefully) have some form of warranty/support. Once I have my own machine I should hopefully be able to get to grips and understand the hardware side of things more and a second larger used machine could well be an option in the future.

For now, I only have a garage to work from with a 230v supply. I'm hoping to move to a bigger place within the next three to five years and hopefully build a larger workshop but for now this is all I have. I really don't want to wait much longer though and I really would like to start developing some products this year. Just for reference, this is an (old) photo of my garage/work shop. It's not quite so tidy at the moment however :topsy_turvy:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v325/Francoberasi/garageproj3.jpg

If anyone does have any suggestions for new machines then I would love to hear them. From what I've read Marchant Dices machines are not too good and neither are Stoney CNCs. The only other ones I've really seen are the [Heiz T-1400/105 (http://www.prototools.co.uk/shop/customer/product.php?productid=18593&cat=522&page=1)] and the [EXEL CNC SL1314 Pro (http://www.exelcnc.com/index.php/cnc-machines/exel-cnc-sl1314-pro)] although I'm not sure what they are like and both are probably going to be over budget by the time everything is accounted for.

EddyCurrent
13-07-2014, 11:07 AM
Yes sorry i ment 2k for a home build of that,

I just presumed, thats why i asked him what he generally wants it for, hobby or work or industrial output...

There's no way you could build that for 2k especially when home build suggests retail prices and VAT

JAZZCNC
13-07-2014, 12:04 PM
There's no way you could build that for 2k especially when home build suggests retail prices and VAT

Agree with you Eddy to build it exactly like this with all the trimmings etc then it will be hard to do at that money and even if did it would be low spec, which this machine probably is for the base start machine. IE low spec drives, parallel port controlled etc. I suspect to get this machine with a decent spec then upgrades will be suggested and offered. This is exactly what Exel and lot of others do with there machine's they offer a base machine to attract then suggest upgrades or folks find out the hard way and buy base machine only to see it's under performing and then get stung for upgrades.!! . . (this pisses me off)

To build this machine to a decent spec and do a proper Job of it will require closer to 3K and lots of time. It's very easy for folks who have never built a machine to under estimate what's involved and I'd say 95% of builders always under estimate the TOTAL cost's and 99.9% the amount of time needed.

Franco: The excel machines are OK I've worked on one and I build a Desktop router design that is very similair(not copied I was building mine before them) so can tell you 100% the design works well for routers. But like you say you won't get much from them at this size for 6K and it will be closer to 10K with the correct spec.
The Heiz machine I don't know much about as I've never had hands on one but from what I see I'm not overly impressed and they are rediculously over priced for what you get. The desktop version you could easily build for under 2K.

Mechant dice machines I won't even waste the skin on my fingers typing about. . .Lol

cropwell
13-07-2014, 02:31 PM
I have to ask JAZZ why he lumps low-spec and parallel port together. I know I only have a hobby machine from MD and I am vastly dissatisfied with it, but parallel port works OK within the (low) capabilities of my current machine - that is if the PCF07343 controller they used hadn't gone on the fritz. Is there some magic with usb motion controllers that makes something great happen ?

BTW the MD company motto is "UNUM NATUS PERPARVIS" which translates as - one born .......

george uk
13-07-2014, 07:29 PM
Hi
I will post up this list when i put my pc on later tonight. On my phone at the mo. and i do think that one is doable for around 2k. But only if you have some experience and the right tools.

Re industrial cnc

Have looked at lots of theze over the past year. Like the otheres say. Most of them need the brains replacing . Although if you take the time to learn how they operate. They can be good. Its size that would be your problem for the cheeper industrial cncs are usualy massive. And waigh tons,

I see on bidspotter a few weeks ago a wadkin cnc that was reletivly small moving table fix head design would have fitted at the back.

But. There are some great cncs self built on here. Jonathons is a great example. Pluss many many more And would probebly fit your needs perfectly. For the budget you have. Maybe look at pricing up getting the bits made that you can not do. And do the rest of the build yourself.

Franco
14-07-2014, 09:31 AM
Hi george, I look forward to the list, thanks!

Yeah an industrial machine isn't really going to be an option at the moment. I would love to build one but I simply don't have the time and most of the tooling required to make one. I have a full time job as well as working most evenings/weekends for people and I also have a long list of projects I need to finish for myself so at the moment I can't afford to invest a lot of time into making one which is why I'm willing to pay a premium for my first machine to get me up and running.

gavztheouch
14-07-2014, 05:47 PM
I looked into buying one of these AR machine about a year ago, I have never seen one in the flesh but I though it looked like a lot of machine for the money. A simple design using decent components, the only stand out issue is the single ballscrew to move the gantry, that was alway a consern in my mind.

It just looks like a well made diy machine and something you could prob improve upon over time if need be. Worth a look, in fact if you phone them up they have customers around the country who are willing to show their machine to potential customers.

JAZZCNC
14-07-2014, 06:21 PM
I have to ask JAZZ why he lumps low-spec and parallel port together. I know I only have a hobby machine from MD and I am vastly dissatisfied with it, but parallel port works OK within the (low) capabilities of my current machine - that is if the PCF07343 controller they used hadn't gone on the fritz. Is there some magic with usb motion controllers that makes something great happen ?

Well no one with any sense would go to the expense of buying a motion control card and running nasty cheap drives or Breakout board with them.! Equaly no one would buy servo's and run them with a parallel port at 25Khz.

The parallel port does work ok within reason. But when you get to wanting higher feed rates with higher resolution to give smoother motion then it starts to struggle. 25Khz just isn't fast enough and increasing the Kernal speed to gain extra pulses is increasing the chances for error and putting strain on the already much tweaked parallel port driver. This can lead to miss steps and allsorts of weird shit happenings.!!

I realise looking at the surface it appears Motion control cards are expensive luxury's but after you have experienced the difference you never will go back to the parallel port. The difference when matched to decent BOB and drives is night and day to parallel port, Motors run smoother, performance increases and missed steps etc when pushed hard become a thing of the past. PC and Mach's workload is greatly reduced as the Motion control card now does all the number crunching, this reduces chances of Mach3 locking up which is common when pushing the Kernal speed up and high feed rates.
Gone are the restrictions on which PC is suitable and how good the Paralle port is or needs to be.! Now you can use lower spec PC Even Laptops and run them thru a network if you like when using Ethernet(wouldn't advise it thou) Plus you can safely locate the PC and control further away from machine without worrying about cable length dropping signals.!
Usb motion control cards perform just as good but they still have some cable length restrictions and some can be affected by noise more(IE: Usb Smooth stepper)

So lower spec and parallel port do go together as you wouldn't go High spec on everything else and still run Parallel port. It would be like buying a ferrari and only using half it's gears.! . . . . . . Equally you wouldn't buy a ferrari Engine and put it in a low spec Lada and expect it to beat a Porche.!

EddyCurrent
14-07-2014, 06:31 PM
Adding to what gavztheouch said, I've just realised I also contacted them before building myself and they were very willing to customize the machine for me such that if you wanted two ballscrews on X then that could be done, also if you want particular drivers etc. they would also do that. I would suggest giving them a call.

Franco
10-08-2014, 12:26 PM
Thanks for the advice all. After giving it some thought it looks like a DIY build might actually be my best option after all. It's time for some serious research!

BilboBaggins
10-08-2014, 09:44 PM
How about: http://r.ebay.com/Cu1QKV 240v, practically new, 1300x1200, vac bed, 3kw spindle!

BilboBaggins
10-08-2014, 09:46 PM
I am a little biased as I have one :) but it seems to match your needs?