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  1. #1
    Hi all,

    I'm new on here and looking for some guidance if anyone can help point me in the right direction.

    Id like to develop my knowledge and skills and learn how to cut/make MDF crafts but don't have a clue where to start when it comes to purchasing the machinery. Can anyone suggest a good machine for beginners ??


    Ive tried attaching a image of what I'd like to be able to cut/make.


    Many thanks
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  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Crafty Angel View Post
    Hi all,

    I'm new on here and looking for some guidance if anyone can help point me in the right direction.

    Id like to develop my knowledge and skills and learn how to cut/make MDF crafts but don't have a clue where to start when it comes to purchasing the machinery. Can anyone suggest a good machine for beginners ??


    Ive tried attaching a image of what I'd like to be able to cut/make.


    Many thanks
    I would guess that almost any machine can cut similar objects, assuming the X, Y Z movement is covering the area. But the "best" CNC is the one you have, not necessarily THE best. Generally, I think any of them are good enough to learn, but it is best to aim at one which you can run "plug and play" unless you are willing to spend time and some extra money on fixing/upgrading the CNC before use. Ready made CNC which is "plug and play" can be more expensive than cheap ones which might need some fixing. MDF can be cut with almost any CNC, as long as the spindle motor can handle the bits and the working area is large enough. Remember that MDF generates a LOT of very unhealthy fine dust, so you have to consider dust extraction as well. I know many people don't bother, but it is really not recommended, not even on small jobs, to run without dust extraction.

    So, start by describing your expectations, budget and skills. The learning curve is steeper if you have no machinist, electronic or electrical skills, and you are not a DIY or professional in those fields or any other engineering areas. What do you have in mind? Have you googled for any ideas?

  3. #3
    If it is letters and 2D stuff only, you would be better served with a cheap laser cutter. CNC has a steeper learning curve and can be messier.

    have a look at the thread by "TheCEO" or something. Also go onto facebook and look up the group on laser engraving and cutting.
    www.emvioeng.com
    Machine tools and 3D printing supplies. Expanding constantly.

  4. #4
    I started with a an 2nd hand Chinese ebay CNC .. I've learned a lot and tbh I have enjoyed the learning, its frustrating sometimes ..but when u get it right (finally) it a great feeling.

    Some basic mistakes I made ..

    Set a budget
    Bought a machine the size of the work that I was going to do.. shouldn't of done that. Now I want a bigger one.
    Budget at least 25% or 400 for all the peripherals u are going to need.. clamps, water pumps + anti algae liquid + bucket , dust extractor.. stool so you can sit there staring at your masterpiece being created """Dust-Boot/Shoe"""" so you dont have to sit there and stare all day ..lol ear muffs glasses computer - monitor - keyboard -mouse operating system..
    Software.. most don't have controller software check first by email, and make sure its a legit full copy not a trial.. or that's another 150, the design software ..ArtCam etc expensive.
    And tips
    Learn how to set your work area extents and test them ..
    Do not put a bit in the spindle until you have dry run all your g-code several times or risk plunging through the bed in the first pass.
    Put all your spindle spanners on long chains or paint them bright fooking orange .. :)

    Hope this is of some help.

    Fiction is far more plausible when wrapped around a thread of truth

    Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson

  5. #5
    I started with a an 2nd hand Chinese ebay CNC .
    Welcome back long time no see etc.
    ..Clive

  6. #6
    Hi Clive .. yeah been off doing stuff lol :)

    Fiction is far more plausible when wrapped around a thread of truth

    Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by A_Camera View Post
    MDF can be cut with almost any CNC, as long as the spindle motor can handle the bits and the working area is large enough
    I see this said all the time and it really annoys me to honest. It's wrong to say any machine can cut MDF because while they can physicly cut the material that doesn't mean they do it correctly or very well.!!! . . . . I could make Sawing machine nibble away MDF but it will give shite results.

    I see all the time these cheap Slow machines being advertised for cutting MDF and the truth is they can't even reach the half the feed rates needed for cutting MDF correclty.

    MDF is very abrasive. Cutting with wrong feedrates wears tools out very quickly and leaves poor or burnt finish. The whole point of CNC is to give superior result in shorter time than manual methods. Having to spend hours cleaning up after machine defeats the whole point.!!

    Crafty: I can not answer your question correctly without knowing your budget and size requirements so won't try untill you can give this info.

    What I can say thru plenty of experience building machines for people who cut exactly the kind of Craft products your wanting to make is that buying low quality cheap chinese type machines is mistake that gets quickly realised.! . . . Simply put.!! If you have any desire to sell these products or make business from them you need machine that is of resonable build quality and can provide the correct feedrates required to cut the materials to acceptable standard which doesn't require lots of manual labour after the CNC as cut them.
    Also it needs to be reliable because nothing worse than chasing faults on machine and nothing worse for business than not being able to supply the product.!

    Unfortunalty buying machine off the shelf with the correct requirements for relaible business don't come cheap so you'll need a healthy budget.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Fivetide View Post
    Hi Clive .. yeah been off doing stuff lol :)
    Ye he's been doing Porridge . . . . . . . Welcome Home... Mean back mate. . Lol

  9. #9
    Jazz is right about MDF ..to slow and it burns.. to fast and chips or can jam ..plus u need to balance spindle speed with feed rate, tool radius increases or decreases contact speed, I found 2 flute good but I heard 1 flue maybe better.
    The way I worked out the best feed/spindle rate/speed I set up 20 8 inch parallel lines to 10% over min feed rate changing each one until you have the last one at 10% below max feed rate. Using a 2 flute 6mm end mill I set the cut depth to 50% of the diameter.. 3mm and ran the g-code. Spindle speed set at 50% max. That should give you a good indication of how well your machine copes with the MDF. If the say the middle 4 or 5 lines show no burning and u are getting a fine dust then you are heading for the right combination.. experiment.. increase spindle speeds until you reach a good balance between feed rate and cutting.
    BTW I cant emphasis how important dust extraction on MDF is, both for you health and cutter life.

    Fiction is far more plausible when wrapped around a thread of truth

    Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson

  10. #10
    Jazz always good to see you my friend.. its was an open prison with my own shower cubicle lol :P

    Fiction is far more plausible when wrapped around a thread of truth

    Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson

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