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d4cnc
04-11-2015, 06:10 PM
How plausible is it to make a machine better than a chinese 6040 for a beginner? At around the same budget. Not including my time..


My CNC 6040 is taking an age to arrive and the seller has been messing me about with incorrect tracking numbers and generally being useless..


So now I can't get the thought out of my head of wanting to cancel the order and build a better machine myself. Rather than ordering it again from someone else on ebay.


However, at this stage, is it out of my reach do you think? With a budget of 1k (not including electronics)


My main usage would be 3mm aluminium & PCBs.. Work dimensions around the 600mm x 400mm mark. Machine size no bigger than 900mm x 670mm.
Speed isn't a huge concern for me as it's mostly prototyping and one off projects rather than long production runs.


If my budget is too tight, then I'd rather spend it all on the mechanical stuff and use a cheap spindle to just engrave the marks, which I'll then cut by hand.. and then I can upgrade to a better spindle in the future..


And I think I know the answer, but I'll ask anyway.. is there any way at all, I could build a machine that could cut stainless steel 1.5mm say.. ? Or any type of steel?


Any guidance greatly appreciated!

JAZZCNC
04-11-2015, 06:36 PM
How plausible is it to make a machine better than a chinese 6040 for a beginner? At around the same budget. Not including my time..


Yes it's plausible without electrics to build a router style machine but will depend on your skills and how tooled up you are. You'll also need to spend wisely.

Steel is by far the cheapest option but requires more skills,tools and time to get accurecy.

Regards cutting steels then it's mostly down to the spindle speed and strength of machine. Forget router style spindles for steel work they are just too fast. Also Router style moving Gantry is in general without massive over engineering too weak for steels so best going with fixed gantry style machine.
This comes with cost of machine size and in general Fixed gantrys are often used with smaller cutting area.

But in all honesty you should forget cutting steels and woods with same machine has it's much more difficult to cut both correctly and certainly not do-able with 1k.

If you build a Strong router style machine you will however be able to scratch steel away but it won't be cutting really and take much longer and more stressful on machine and tooling than it's often worth.!

d4cnc
04-11-2015, 07:24 PM
When you say steel requires more skills etc.. you mean the frame of the machine? Or everything?


I wouldn't be able to get it right with a mitre saw, a little welding & filing I presume?
Would I need to outsource to a metal worker to cut and weld for me? Or is trusting that to a stranger not good enough perhaps.. Is the problem not so much the cutting but the aligning everything square and level?


Or are the big problems after the basic frame is built? attachments for motors/spindle etc. etc.

If I change my goals somewhat to just building the strongest most rigid frame I can for 1k..
Using moving gantry as space is at a premium.

JAZZCNC
04-11-2015, 09:53 PM
When you say steel requires more skills etc.. you mean the frame of the machine? Or everything?


I wouldn't be able to get it right with a mitre saw, a little welding & filing I presume?
Would I need to outsource to a metal worker to cut and weld for me? Or is trusting that to a stranger not good enough perhaps.. Is the problem not so much the cutting but the aligning everything square and level?

By skills I meant the skills to use the tools you have. Just because someone has the correct or best tools doesn't mean they can use them better than a skilled man with basic hand tools.!! . . . . IME Often they can't.

I can't answer your question whether you could get it right with basic tools has I don't know your skill level.? Only you know that.

What I'm saying is that to build a machine that is accurate, and lets face it whats the point if not, or strong enough to cut steels CORRECTLY needs certain amount of skills/tools and abilty. This is in both construction and fine setup has they go hand in hand.

My experience with out sourcing steel work is that while often they are very fine welders or fabricators they don't fully get what your trying to achieve when it comes to a CNC frame so they will weld it like any other structure unless instructed otherwise. While strong this often leads to higher distortion of metal and more work for you down the line when trying to get level or planer surfaces.

If you do the welding your self you fully control the heat and to some degree the distortion of the frame so saving or lowering work.
It's wrongly assumed that you need perfect looking runs of weld beads and the frame needs the bejesus welding out of it for strength. It's perfectly possible to build a nice strong frame if you have never welded before with just a little practice.
Grinder is your best friend when welding skills are low and resemble pigeon shit.! The fact that heat needs to be kept to a minimum is also an advantage to inexperienced welder because all you need is short welds or lots of tack welds spread heat out over time.

If you cock up whip off the welds with the grinder and start again.!!

The accurecy is partly down to how you approach the build and what tools/machines you have available. I won't blow smoke up your jacksy and say it's easy because without machines and know how to use them it's not easy achieving accurecy required for good machine. Strength comes from design and materials along with Fab skills but no point having one without the other so you need to either account for this and get the machinery and skills to use it or again out source. Which doesn't sit well with a low budget.!!

Cutting hard materials really and quickly shows any weak spots on a machine and why I say cutting metals requires whole different approach and to some degree skill set. Do-able yes and has been done many times, easy NO NOT AT ALL.!!!

Routers cutting softer materials are much more forgiving with higher tolerence for error or lower skills of the builder.!! . . . . Hell even I can build a good one so anybody can. . Lol

With only 1k forget steels is my advise.!

d4cnc
05-11-2015, 12:48 AM
Ah well skillwise I'm very basic.. but with a mountain of patience.. so that normally gets me out of trouble.. However I've never built anything that needed μm of precision before and think I'd struggle sqauring and aligning everything.


So my pipe dream of building a machine strong enough that someday I can change the spindle, add a flood system and be able to cut 1.5mm steel is not happening you think?


If that's the case, I wonder if I'd be better buying a 6040 (from a different seller) for my first machine and as you say, forget steel. Just wondering if there's any advantage to me trying to better a machine that seems to be capable of doing everything I need as is. (3mm aluminium & PCBs) Apart from the fact I'd absolutely love doing it.

JAZZCNC
05-11-2015, 01:19 AM
So my pipe dream of building a machine strong enough that someday I can change the spindle, add a flood system and be able to cut 1.5mm steel is not happening you think?

No not at all and like I say it's very do-able but not for 1k.!



Just wondering if there's any advantage to me trying to better a machine that seems to be capable of doing everything I need as is. (3mm aluminium & PCBs) Apart from the fact I'd absolutely love doing it.

Yes because while they may well do it that doesn't mean they do it well.!! . . . . They are very easily bettered by just using a different design or even similair design just done better and use higher spec components which you can just about do with 1K(no electrics as per your first post)

If your just wanting a cheap entry level machine to learn with then I'd say buy the cheapest chinese machine you can find and run it until you pops.!! Don't waste a penny on trying to improve it. This is were they shine IMO has a learning machine so long has it's realised can't make silk purse out of sows ear and don't waste penny tring to do so.

Then build your own machine when you have a much better idea of what you require and have saved up some funds for your dream machine.!

d4cnc
05-11-2015, 01:42 AM
Ah I see.. I had in my mind that I could plan out a machine that one day could be upgraded bit by bit to a machine that could cut stainless.. Basically, building as much as my 1k would take me.. to get a working machine for my needs now. But with an upgrade path.


In my mind I was thinking that I could do the basic structure of the machine say.. without the really good quality bearings/spindle/holder/motors.. but that can easily be exchanged down the line.
However, is this flawed thinking? ie. is the needs for PCB (accuracy), stainless (strength), wood / aluminium (speed?) just too different that switching between the materials is not feasable.


How much more than 1k would I need to say, get me the strong steel frame/rails.. but with basic motors/spindles etc for cutting aluminium at the moment..


The plan B of learning on the 6040 is definitely something I'm leaning towards, but thought I'd just sound out the idea of building the dream machine right of the bat.. !

JAZZCNC
05-11-2015, 02:08 AM
In my mind I was thinking that I could do the basic structure of the machine say.. without the really good quality bearings/spindle/holder/motors.. but that can easily be exchanged down the line.

Unfortunatly Not.!! . . . . Like any good high quality structure it all starts at the foundation. Start off with the wrong design or build with the wrong or lower quality building blocks is just a recipey for disaster or expensive future upgrades. Often with CNC machine this isn't viable has the work involved is more than starting over again.
Much better to aim lower and build the best structure with what you have available now, making it the best it can be. Then Use it and make small improvements along the way. When it becomes no longer full filling your needs or limiting you then sell it on and build another with the knowledge you learnt from the first.
Many many first time builders have failed by aiming too high but equally many many builders have gone on to build great machines by aiming low and then working up.!! . . . It's easy to turn 1k into 3k then into 6k etc but it's just has easy to turn it into rotting pile of scrap thrown in the corner so aim low and work up.:thumsup:

d4cnc
05-11-2015, 05:41 AM
Ok.. so at this stage then I think I'm better off going with the 6040 (if I can ever get my hands on one) and learning.. then when I have a better understanding of things, go and build something more sturdy..
Thanks for the words of experience!

CommanderKenyon
05-11-2015, 11:13 AM
If you get a 6040 make sure you get a good one , I got one 8 months back and Ive had nothing but problems , bearing holder on x axis was machined not square and there was so much slop in the bearings it was rediculous after shiming x axis and replacing bearings in y with good jap bearings I cut few things out of plywood and now there is play in z, I've had to replace all wiring to motors and get new driver to get motion reliable , I would not go down the same route again , the holes that are drilled in the parts are huge and when measuring look like they have been done with a hand drill

i can say it's made me learn something but prolly mostly how not to do something, maybe I got a bad one but who knows

before going with a router I've made a few scratch build 3d printers for myself and friends that work fantastic and am a good modeller , I just lacked the machines to do the job right so started with 6040 , the structure you get with a 6040 is only very basic and could be recreated with getting 4 pieces of 20mm alloy machined by somebody else and some lengths of extrusion

sinnsvak
05-11-2015, 01:16 PM
Its easy to say now, that I'd wish I built one from scratch instead of getting a 6040 from china, but I am not sure I would have learnt so much without it. It has plenty of faults, but at least it gets you started, and the real information-dive starts when you have something to machine with.

For a while I was trying to figure out how I could improve my 6040, but its easier to design a new machine with the materials available to you, in my opinion. And since I dont know anyone with a CNC, I have at least the opportunity to make many of the parts I need for my new one.


I would tell my self to wait and get a used one, or convert a mill, if I were able to jump back in time, but tbh they are pretty much nonexistent where I live.

CommanderKenyon
06-11-2015, 01:55 AM
I do agree here with sinnsvak , maybe best advice here for newcomers would be buy a 3040 cnc you would learn same for less money , a small Chinese cnc is half the price but same principles

on the other hand can we come up with some plans for parts for newbies to have parts cut , and buy some off shelf materials to come up with basic cnc that users can make there own and learn more for less

d4cnc
06-11-2015, 02:27 AM
Thanks for the advice everyone. Really appreciated.
Yes I agree, it's almost like a necessary evil to get me started on my cnc journey.. don't run before I can walk I guess..


Something I've always wondered actually.. when people use a cnc to make a better cnc, which bits are they making? Because presumably the existing cnc isn't strong enough to cut the material that the better machine will be made out of.. ? Or am I too fixated on steel being the material of the machine, and great machines can be made from aluminium..?


Having said that.. CommanderKenyon brings up a tempting point.. would it be viable to buy say some extrusions, and spindle mount / brackets / bearings.. all off the shelf and build essentially the 6040? Or are there some bits that just have to be custom / precision drilled that wouldn't make it viable for someone without a cnc already.


(PS. CommanderKenyon, I noticed on another thread, your CNC took an age to arrive too.. Which seller did you buy from? How long did it take? And was the seller as unhelpful with tracking numbers as mine? ie. a tracking number that shows up nothing on DHL's website)

CommanderKenyon
06-11-2015, 03:29 AM
Quick reply ..

my my cnc came from ebay seller that said he was in Portsmouth but was not o was pondering over a 6040 for ages and my partner thought she would surprise me . Did she .. Bless her cotton socks .

wheni say extrusion I don't don't mean a ox type route , these designs although maybe great for 3d printers and laser cutters , are not great for much past light wood , but the 6040 would be better with a structure make of thicker Ali plate 20mm + for ends with maxhined out holes for bearings for 2 x 1605 ballscrew sand 20mm rails and hiwin carriages and 80x40 extrusions for longer lengths , this would be of the starting point for a 6040 machine , I am planning on stripping mine down over weekend if I get chance I will take some pics of its construction but it's a joke without washers the bolt heads would almost pull through the holes for the most part

im very new to this also and am not professing to know anything realy , my dad was a sheet metal worker and machinest for years , I'm not too bad but have very little machining anything other than few basic tasks I've needed over the years , I'll try and add more to this over weekend. Late just now and getting kicked by missus lol

Up early...

Earle
06-11-2015, 10:59 AM
Jazz is definitely right, if you go for a Chinese 6040 make sure its a good one!

I bought a 6040z a year ago 1.5Kw water cooled spindle and the black box controller, I knew that I just wanted to carve Oak etc (no Metals). Following advice on here I immediately changed all of the wiring and added a UC100 USB interface to get as far away from the parallel port as I could for minimum money! I also changed the BOB for a cheap one off eBay (to allow control over the spindle speed and turning on and off) I had a random problem for a while where it would look like one of the axis was losing position! Fortunately I was advised on this forum to adjust the driver current and bingo the machine works really well!

Part time I have knocked 6k worth of signage business through it in just under 12 months - so I am a happy bunny!

Would I change anything, Yes if I had the time and space I might build a more custom machine that was faster and enabled me to carve tall projects at the end of the bed, but apart from that it does what it says on the tin.

Earle

Jon J
06-11-2015, 12:35 PM
Hi Jazz, completely unrelated to this specific thread but you seemed to be the man to ask. In short I need to source some low profile machine bed extrusion ideally the same stuff as used by Hobgoblin (http://www.mycncuk.com/members/8714-Hobgoblin) on his 3 axis CNC mill Project: http://www.mycncuk.com/threads/4992-3-Axis-CNC-Mill-Project

1646716468

I presume this is stuff is from China? I really need to source some ASAP for a rush prototype project. This stuff would be almost Ideal unless something thinner is available. Is there a manufacturer, or website you could give me a link to?

many thanks

Lee Roberts
06-11-2015, 03:12 PM
If you have a look on aliexpress there are sellers with 20x20 and so on available :).

.Me

JAZZCNC
06-11-2015, 04:42 PM
Hi Jazz, completely unrelated to this specific thread but you seemed to be the man to ask. In short I need to source some low profile machine bed extrusion ideally the same stuff as used by

Try this company they sell 160x16 which is nice sive for bed. Thou I see it's saying Sold out but will probably re-stock soon.!
http://www.motedis.co.uk/shop/Slot-profiles/Profile-40-I-Type-slot-8:::999991_999993.html

Jon J
06-11-2015, 06:31 PM
thanks for the responses guys but as well as the relatively flat slim profile its the nature of the circular voids in this particular exrtusion that I'm most interested in
16473

I have to produce a prototype of some high voltage electronics which will eventually have 4 off 1750mm long bespoke extruded ally cooling units. but before committing to those manufacturing costs we need to prove and test the theory with something similar in ally, and this extrusion with its circular voids would really work well. So do you know the specific supplier of this stuff or does anyone have contact details for Hobgoblin as he doesn't seem to be active on the forum at the moment. You can Email me externally at wdandd@aol.com or alternatively pass that address onto Hobgoblin and ask him to get in contact

thanks again guys

Loving that you're up to on this forum by the way. :rapture:

Lee Roberts
06-11-2015, 06:42 PM
thanks for the responses guys but as well as the relatively flat slim profile its the nature of the circular voids in this particular exrtusion that I'm most interested in
16473

I have to produce a prototype of some high voltage electronics which will eventually have 4 off 1750mm long bespoke extruded ally cooling units. but before committing to those manufacturing costs we need to prove and test the theory with something similar in ally, and this extrusion with its circular voids would really work well. So do you know the specific supplier of this stuff or does anyone have contact details for Hobgoblin as he doesn't seem to be active on the forum at the moment. You can Email me externally at wdandd@aol.com or alternatively pass that address onto Hobgoblin and ask him to get in contact

thanks again guys

Loving that you're up to on this forum by the way. :rapture:
Ah ok np, I can't give you his email address but I can forward yours onto him and link to here, you should also be able to send him a PM or use the option to email him instead, that's a web based email sending form but once sent it's no different to any other client and should end up in his local inbox [emoji481].

.Me

JAZZCNC
06-11-2015, 08:33 PM
thanks for the responses guys but as well as the relatively flat slim profile its the nature of the circular voids in this particular exrtusion that I'm most interested in
16473

I have to produce a prototype of some high voltage electronics which will eventually have 4 off 1750mm long bespoke extruded ally cooling units. but before committing to those manufacturing costs we need to prove and test the theory with something similar in ally, and this extrusion with its circular voids would really work well. So do you know the specific supplier of this stuff or does anyone have contact details for Hobgoblin as he doesn't seem to be active on the forum at the moment. You can Email me externally at wdandd@aol.com or alternatively pass that address onto Hobgoblin and ask him to get in contact

thanks again guys

Loving that you're up to on this forum by the way. :rapture:

Ok I see.! Well looking closer at the profile and the shape of the slots I would say that it's from a company Called ITEM if you do a search you will find them.
KJN Also sell ITEM profile I believe give them a call. http://www.aluminium-profile.co.uk/

The Link I gave to earlier is for ITEM compatible profile, basicly a copy.

Jon J
09-11-2015, 12:47 PM
Thanks guys but I found it eventually its a German company called Paletti.de

thanks again

16501