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View Full Version : What machine is required please



Arzo10
27-11-2015, 09:44 PM
Hello folks,I am posting on behalf of my wife.

she has recently started up a wooden craft/letter company hand painting etc.. Thickest wood being 18mm most popular height 400mm x 300mm.

I am the one suggesting she buys a machine thus I am the one to do the research.

budget say 500 maybe? I know I'm expecting a lot possibly?

basically I want all the info I can get.

software cost?
shapes?
fonts?
also when buying a machine surely the router is included?

tia

Aaron

njhussey
28-11-2015, 08:51 AM
Hi Aaron,

Welcome to the Forum!! For 500 all you're going to get is a Chinese 3020 from eBay which has an area of 300mm x 200mm. It will cut wood 18mm deep but taking lots of light cuts as it uses unsupported rails which flex if you try to do too much. If it's a company she's setting up then you'll need a sturdy machine (and I'll bet once you've researched it a larger machine as you'll think of more and more things to cut on it!!) and 500 will not buy you much. As a miniumu for a good solid DIY machine you build for her I'd suggest a minimum of 1500....sorry!

It's hard to say what software you'll need but as a minimum a program that can take pictures/drawings and convert them to DXF files for cutting, then a cam package to convert the DXF files into machine code. There are free programs out there such as Inkscape (for drawing and exporting as DXF's) and CAD/CAM packages such as Fusion 360. If you're cutting out letters then I'm sure engraving/V carving etc will be on the cards and a program that will do that will also be needed such as Cut 2D, Vetric and the like.

Have a look on the forum, all these questions have been asked before so the answers are out there, there are loads of build logs you can see what's involved and if you ask and listen then the people on here are really knowledgeable and helpful :thumsup:

uli12us
28-11-2015, 11:05 AM
Its about double your budget but I recommend a machine like this:
http://www.gandmtools.co.uk/shop/boxford-500hsr-high-speed-router-1ph-80202339/
Its much more rigid, than any cheap chinese parts. But you must add an easy BOB and make the wiring, because these machines run only with a special SW from Boxford and they don't give it to others than schools. I think the machine is in the range of 200kgs, the chinese machine will have something in the range of 30kgs. And the electronics in the chinese parts is famous for its low quality. Read about the TB6560 quality issues.

JAZZCNC
28-11-2015, 01:46 PM
Hi Aaron,

Occasionaly build machines for people and I've built several now for others doing exactly what your wifes doing and I can tell you confidently that 500 won't cover the software you'll need to do this properly and be worth the time.
Yes there are Free or Cheap software out there but they are either hard to use or Limited or unsuitable in there CAM capabilty's. Often not very Newbie friendly.!!

The CAM software is what makes turning your ideas into reality and code the machine needs. Think of it has toolbox.?
Free or Basic Cam packages come with limited tools in the box, better known as tool path types or cutting stratergies. So if limited then it makes achieving your goals harder or impossible. Can also make a huge difference in the time it takes just to produce the code, not to mention actual cutting time.

Free or Cheap has it's place when first learning but it soon becomes limiting when the Artistic creative juices flow and reality of what these machines can allow kicks in.!! . . . Esp in Arts & Craft enviroment where 3D or V-carving is often desired.

Unfortunatly reality is that 2000 is more like realistic figure for small/med size machine with everything you'll need if you want to do this properly and be worth the trouble. . . . That figure is also on the low side and if you DIY build.!!

My strong suggestion is Don't bother unless you can do it properly as you'll only lose time and money which NO business needs. . Esp a new one.!!
If you need CNC capabilty's then Farm work out untill you can afford or drop across a good suitable machine.

Arzo10
28-11-2015, 03:01 PM
Thanks guys,

I had looked on ebay at the Chinese 3040 machines, I assume they are not good enough?

I am not talking major scale here to begin with, the like of this letter? It is 12mm thick by 250mm 16651

I dont think at the minute vcarving etc is what she is looking at? Just cutting out this type of font and triangle shapes and hearts etc at 6mm thick.

JAZZCNC
28-11-2015, 04:58 PM
Thanks guys,

I had looked on ebay at the Chinese 3040 machines, I assume they are not good enough?

I am not talking major scale here to begin with, the like of this letter? It is 12mm thick by 250mm
I dont think at the minute vcarving etc is what she is looking at? Just cutting out this type of font and triangle shapes and hearts etc at 6mm thick.

I get asked this all the time and it's often discussed and argued on Forums. These Chinese Machines IME are GREAT.!! . . . But only for learning the Basics of CNC.
If you want to do any serious work they quickly become more trouble than they are worth. They are unreliable at best and at the really cheap end very unreliable to the point of breaking within weeks or days if pushed remotely serious.

The problem comes from several issues all related to there cheapness.! At the Lower price range the Spindle is by far the weakist link and often blows up within weeks due to it's low power and poor quality. This mostly happens because folks try to cut too deep or for too long and it overheats and dies.

Next is the Main electronics which are basicly low powered junk all-in-one boards which when dead take the whole machine down.
General wiring is low quality so often cause troubles with strange happenings like false E-stops or missed steps etc and all sorts of other weird head banging happenings

Then you have the fact the machine isn't actually fast enough to cut most materials correctly. Esp MDF. This means while it does cut these materials it's taking much longer than it should, Is wearing cutters out much quicker and worse still giving a poor finish.

It gets worse because when trying to cut materials like MDF etc that need higher feedrates the machine is constantly working at it's Max capabiltys 100% of the time which further add's to the problem because the Cheap electronics can't handle this High duty cycle so die even faster.!! . .

Honestly for anything other than Learning then they are best avoided.

Chaz
29-11-2015, 05:11 PM
It might be worth looking at Fusion 360. Its free until you earn over 100K per annum from it. Its very powerful and whilst it doenst do 4th axis CAM yet, it is very powerful (for no money).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-GBpUZ3piY this is worth a look to show the very basics.

In this thread Ive just started, the drawings are renders from within Fusion 360. http://www.mycncuk.com/threads/9283-Hybrid-Mill-Design?p=74268#post74268

amd7000
04-12-2015, 05:18 PM
Yea. I've started with that and it seems it would be everything i'll ever need.

Chaz
04-12-2015, 05:34 PM
Yea. I've started with that and it seems it would be everything i'll ever need.

I happened to buy Cambam and its now not being used. Pity, nice product for quick things though but once you get used to Fusion .... dont need much else.

Neale
04-12-2015, 07:16 PM
I've also been using Fusion 360 but so far, only for the CAD side of it, not CAM. I did want to try it out on a couple of little MDF components that I wanted to cut as profiles (nothing fancy) but I went back to vCarve once I'd produced a DXF file as I couldn't find any way in F360 to automatically generate holding tabs. In vCarve, this is trivially easy and there are plenty of options about how/where/what shape. Maybe this is the difference between an aimed-at-woodworkers and an aimed-at-engineers product? Anyway, it's the silly little kind of thing that might be relevant to the OP, given the kinds of work his wife wants to do.

Unless anyone can tell us how to easily generate holding tabs in F360? I'd really like to know!

Chaz
04-12-2015, 07:22 PM
I've also been using Fusion 360 but so far, only for the CAD side of it, not CAM. I did want to try it out on a couple of little MDF components that I wanted to cut as profiles (nothing fancy) but I went back to vCarve once I'd produced a DXF file as I couldn't find any way in F360 to automatically generate holding tabs. In vCarve, this is trivially easy and there are plenty of options about how/where/what shape. Maybe this is the difference between an aimed-at-woodworkers and an aimed-at-engineers product? Anyway, it's the silly little kind of thing that might be relevant to the OP, given the kinds of work his wife wants to do.

Unless anyone can tell us how to easily generate holding tabs in F360? I'd really like to know!

I found it by mistake previously.

2D Contour Operation > Geometry > TABS

Neale
04-12-2015, 11:30 PM
Sometimes this forum is worth its weight in gold! Many thanks for that. I spent quite a bit of time searching the help files and never found mention. I suspect that if I try the same search again, I'll be drowning in references - now I know it's there!

Arzo10
14-12-2015, 06:42 PM
OK guys I have been doing a lot of looking still nchpurchase but have upped the budget to about 1k I have looked at stepcraft v2 s600.

Put a package together consisting of it a kress spindle and vcarve and cut2d together with their USB controller and card.

Can someone advise me if this is a good idea?
At just over a grand am I getting hoodwinked?

Tia

komatias
14-12-2015, 07:57 PM
I would not say hoodwinked. You will be under powered if you think the stepper motors on the 600 are what we use on 3d printers. So it is basically a sign engraving machine for use with plastics. The Kress is good an the USB board is good.

Personal opinion though is that you would be better suited with something else. Unfortunately your budget is your limitation so you may be better buying something used.

Arzo10
14-12-2015, 10:25 PM
I would not say hoodwinked. You will be under powered if you think the stepper motors on the 600 are what we use on 3d printers. So it is basically a sign engraving machine for use with plastics. The Kress is good an the USB board is good.

Personal opinion though is that you would be better suited with something else. Unfortunately your budget is your limitation so you may be better buying something used.


You dont think this machine will do the job? Too slow or just not good enough quality?

Do you know of places selling pre owned?

Also i dont have a clue to be honest, Can any machine be set up via usb? Laptop is just handier with limited space.

Thanks

komatias
15-12-2015, 10:38 AM
If you are looking for a business machine then you will need to pay business pricing unfortunately and of course there is a steep learning curve.

For preowned stuff, keep an eye on the classifieds in this forum. People usually sell good stuff, if they don't they get shot down in short order. The next would be ebay. It is variable in terms of quality but good machines usually have good descriptions. We all do our ebay searches now and then so if something the community feels would suit you, I am sure we will let you know

Traditionally, DIY CNC machines worked off parallel ports or serial ports depending on the manufacturer. Things have evolved though so you cannot find parallel or serial ports on laptops. The motion control would be done by the computer and it would send pulses to the stepper drivers. Depending on the make of the machine and if it comes with its own control software, your USB dongle or motion controller, effectively does the same thing. It receives data packages from the software that it converts to pulses that in turn tell the drivers to rotate the motors in this direction for so many steps.
In theory, any machine can work with USB if you add the required electronics.

Now regarding the Stepcraft: I looked at the videos and they all look good but the machine seems distinctly hobby. The stepper motors are smaller than the ones you get on the basic chinese ones (which does not fill me with confidence), the rolling elements are wheels on special aluminium extrusion and it has trapezoidal lead screws. It works and I am sure the support will be good (do your own research on this) but it will not be churning out the letters at any decent rate. I think 18mm py would really push the limits of this machine in terms of longevity.

Are you planning on small quantity production? I am thinking that it may be worth asking some waterjet cutters for a quotation. Unfortunately professional routing companies charge quite a bit, waterjet is faster, requires minimal setup and is so quick you can cut paper without it getting wet. Otherwise, laser, but laser on thick ply will leave charring.

Regards
George

uli12us
15-12-2015, 11:07 AM
These austrian machines look the same as the cheap chinese parts. No good guides, maybe acme screws. All in all the same weak thing. Maybe the electronics are good, but the rest isn't. On their website, they have a small proxxon with 25W Motor on it. If you want engraving with 0,2mm doc that is enough, but for a real work, no way.
For small hobby use, you can buy such a machine, but if you want really produce parts on it, you need a much more capable machine, similiar to the machine I have recommended it before.

mturneruk
16-12-2015, 09:31 PM
What about an openbuilds OX kit ?
http://ooznest.co.uk/OX-CNC-Machine

It was my first machine and was great for the money.

Will cost you about 1000 by the time you've finished it, but its a great little hobby machine.
You will be able to cut about 1 to 3mm at a time depending on bit size and material.

You have to build it though...

Cheers
Martin

crazynight
05-03-2016, 03:18 PM
mturneruk (http://www.mycncuk.com/threads/9278-What-machine-is-required-please/members/21200-mturneruk) how did you get on with the OX Kit am looking at buying one and can't seem to find any reviews.
Cheers
John

mturneruk
06-03-2016, 12:01 AM
You need to check out the Open builds forums.
http://www.openbuilds.com/

That is the home of the OX.
oozenest is a UK reseller of the OX kits and parts in the UK.