View Full Version : NEW MEMBER: Introductory level signwriting (signrouting)?

18-03-2015, 11:28 AM
1stly a very good day to all forum members. And if some of you need to cast your memory back-a-ways you are probably still in front of me as far as milling/routing experience.
Ok, I'm looking to find a suitable machine that will engrave signs in both wood and slate.
Working area possibly 500 x 400 mm or somewhere close, but machine needs to be able to engrave/v-cut hard wood or slate, so will probably need a cooling system attached.
Please, any pointers in the right direction would be a huge help! You know the sort of feeling, you wanna jump in the water, but you aint got the swimming experience needed !!!

Look forward to any input or suggestions.
I currently reside in Swindon, Wiltshire, and would be happy to see any setups from other members.

Stay Happy

18-03-2015, 08:53 PM
I cut slate on my machine..... v carving that is
slate floor tiles from b&q and place mats
I have cut them dry with tct tooling and found that it works well albeit noisy
I would say that you need a very rigid machine

I find it harder to cut than ally or brass

Hope this helps somewhat

18-03-2015, 10:00 PM
thanx for taking the time Ian,
I'll expand on my hopeful intentions, as this may help to encourage more responses.
My hope is to purchase a new or 2nd hand machine that is more than fit for purpose, the purpose being to give a senior citizen something to occupy his time in retirement.
I see myself routing out the odd sign or two for family & friends rather than opening a shop in the high street lol.
But hopefully that gives this forum a clearer perspective.
Ok, you see Ian, my limited experience and foresight would have had me believing that dust & mess would have been the main annoyance, so obviously I have much to learn !
I was perhaps hoping that once I become a more entrenched member of this community there may be a machine on offer from somewhere that may suit my needs.
I know I will enjoy grappling with the intricacies of say Mach 3 or whichever software talks to my robot, and I have a passion in seeing a quality finished product, especially if I've had a small play in it.
So, a machine that's up for the job, the job being v-cut signs and some simple artwork, say 400-500 x 300-400 mm ? and I know my wife will be forever in your debt (he he)
A big thankyou again Ian. If you're prepared to talk some more . . . . . . . . . . you got an avid learner/listener.

Boyan Silyavski
19-03-2015, 08:55 AM
I have never cut slate, but from what Ian says, your best bet will be the typical machine build from forum members, recessed bed, strong gantry on none or low gantry legs. Square supported linear bearings size 20 at least and ball screws. Even better would fixed gantry machine, something like that, you missed it by a week http://www.mycncuk.com/threads/8510-fixed-gantry-router-mill-up-for-grabs

The table bed working area in both cases being low means the visible ball screws and bearings will remain more or less clean. In fact you dont need water bed, something like fogless mister should work ok without making a big mess.

Now the difficulty comes that i don't know for a commercial machine that has the qualities of a diy build at acceptable price. So your best bet will be sb to build it for you, yoiu to build it your self , plenty of info here or wait something to turn on the market, but its very rare sb to sell such good machine.

Take a look at my first build for a friend bellow, the link in the signature. The machine is 1000x400x180 working area and will do what you aim, even much more, is simple enough to build, there are free plans in sketchup somewhere inside, it could be a good starting point

The other type of machine that guys here usually make is a bit different from mine. Gantry is aluminum plates forming a beam, bed could be moved up and down for special job. At the end depends on your priorities and ability to machine aluminum.

Hope that gives you a good idea what you need.

19-03-2015, 09:55 AM
Hi Silyavski, yes, that would be about the size machine I'd like.
"fixed gantry"? I assume the platform moves, am I right?
I guess I could take on a machine build, but would need to pester the forum members for advice on all the bits that I would need to put one together! But I take your point that the more rigid the unit, the less chance of chatter/vibration etc.
Anyone have a ballpark figure on the cost of the type of machine I need, if constructed myself?
What are the likely pitfalls going down this route?
I apologise if I seem like I'm pestering, but "I realise I have much to learn Grasshopper" lol.

Boyan Silyavski
19-03-2015, 11:51 AM
Yes, fixed gantry is where the table moves. That would be a good solution for the size you aim. I would say make it a standard 600x400mm working area. I see 400mm as the width limit for 1 ballscrew moving the table .
Such a machine with quality components will cost you around 2500-3000euro for all included, meaning a working machine with spindle. That's price of parts. You cut the steel and solder.
Motion controller,supported square linear rails and carriages,ball screws, drives and motors, that are the expensive parts.

With that euro/$ relation may be all will be a bit more though, good that you have the GBP

There are some similar builds around, you should have a look. Also people here will help you a lot. There is no set of plans to follow. But you will need to learn to draw in Sketchup, which is quite easy in fact. The other way is to commission a machine to sb. I dont know of any suitable commercial solution for reasonable money.

19-03-2015, 12:54 PM
Just been admiring your handiwork my friend. Very impressive, and I'm from an engineering background!
I doubt I will be taking on such a project, however, that's not to say I'm giving in. I'm thinking for where I intend to sit my machine, a timber frame may be an alternative option. I moved from engineering to shopfitting etc in my later years, and am thinking this may be a quicker route to establish the foundation for my router setup.
I fully understand the need for stability and precision in the final build, but I'm sorry, I have to factor in my impatience to get started !!
I think I may have to buy an imported model, that I then manufacture the support, stabilise and level, before "tyin' down the guy ropes folks" ha ha !