Do you have any links to the laser cutter. What are the limitations of laser if any ? I could of course end up cutting metal too. With plastic I am hoping that a nice sharp cutter not too much speed will prevent melthing. I've not had any problems hand milling with melting, just the positional accuracy that take so long to get right that it would not work for repeats.
I have a bandsaw that's just 24" tall with an 18" x 12" footprint that can be used on a Machine Mart bench grinder stand, it has a plethora of uses, all of which save time and some of which save material ;-)If you will not be swayed by logic or experience simply pick the idea you
like best, but ask yourself why you sought advice in the first place and,
for a simple life, perhaps consider not doing so in future
Well here and now I need to be able to first cut holes and slots and other shapes in the side of cast aluminium and ABS boxes. As I would not be able to afford any further machinery after that I'll have to use the mill for the box cutting down. Of course large quantities can be done by the box manufacrurer if I am not equiped.
I would suggest that you try and contact some one in your area to see a mill working so you will have some idea as to what is involved before you start spending the hard earned dosh.
I for one would be more than happy to show you if you are ever up here (Stockport)..Clive
Well I also have a full time job where large CNC machinery is used. I'm not sure how specific the workflow is to various machines and how much is a standard process. I do 3D CAD with no problem as that is the day job, it's really a case of how I take that data and get it into a program that controls the machine.
I know the proxxon software allows you to import a DXF, that is something I can generate with no problems.
This will give you more scope than mill and will easily handle plastics and aluminium. You'll get much more productivity because will be able to mount several boxes at time on fixture jig and cut quicker.
The faster spindle speed of router suits cutting aluminium better than slow spindle you'll get on small Mill (4000rpm). Cycle times will be much faster and will allow for other jobs like engraving etc where higher spindle speeds are more desirable.
Custom built router will knock the spots off Small mill for this type of work. The extra cutting area is always welcome and if done correctly will give much more scope in cutting anything upto aluminium.
Honestly think you'll regret buying that Proxon CNC and will soon outgrow it or find it's limits.
oh, so do you build such routers ? what happens about software in this case ?
I have to admit that I'm still taken with the idea of a good general purpose machine. steel machining is not totally out but not a priority at the moment.
Regards cutting steel then I'll always advise you go with Mill but if your talking general purpose cutting of all materials then the size type of mills your looking at will struggle more than well built router.! . . . Hence why I said think you'll regret buying Proxon Mill
IMO if you want to cut Aluminium and harder then buy Mill. However be aware that for aluminium because of slower spindle rpm's it will require HSS tooling and will take much longer than it would good strong router with Carbide tooling.
For softer materials upto Aluminium/Brass and 3D type work then Good Router will always win by the fact it allows more scope and faster feedrates.
Don't get too hungup on software or be fooled by Bull company's like Proxon peddle. Most of the software provided is basic in what it can do. So what happens is you still end up buying third party Cam software which then spits out G-code you load back into the control software which runs machine.
To run CNC machine you basicly have Control software which does what it says on the tin.? It controls the machine and tells it where to go by processing G-code file which is loaded into it.
The G-code file is created by External CAM program which takes either 2D Vector Graphics(dxf etc) or 3D models and using options provided you create cutting toolpaths which then get processed into G-code file.
The DXF's or 3D models can come from CAD or if using CAD/CAM software created directly inside same software.
So to answer your Q's about what happens with software on machines built by me.
I provide the Control software which in most case is Mach3 which will be all setup and ready to run the G-code file. The CAD/CAM side I leave to the customer to buy/decide because depends greatly on what type of work your going to do to which suits best.
I'll gladly advise and often I'll spend time helping new users with the software. Because I've got lots of experience I've used most software and it's little like CAD in they all work in very similair ways so often can get people confidently producing G-code quickly.
If you are used to CAD then you won't have any trouble with CAM. It's basicly chosing the type of cutting stratergy ie: Drilling, profile,pocket etc then selecting lines/arcs or Surfaces for path you want cutting then selecting tool and filling in few parameters.
When all toolpaths are created you then output them via Post processing file which creates G-file which suits the machine control your using.
This Post processing stage is seamless inside Cam software but very important part and often over looked. Without correct post processor you'll get G-file that is garbage to Control software.
Last edited by JAZZCNC; 24-12-2016 at 10:26 PM.
OK well might be worth having a chat with you. Essentially I design the eclosure cuts in 3D CAD (solid edge). My circuit board design software will spit out a 3D model of my board loaded with models of connectors etc that I put in. I assemble the circuit board model into the box in solid efge and can therefore make the holes in the box model with reference to the circuit board components. So from that I can produce a drawing and save that as a DXF. From that I need to get onto a machine that can cut the holes.
With making fixtures it's a toss up with fixture cost. I'd need to hold boxes up on their sides in two positions regarness of the draft angle they sit on, for 50 boxes that I can get machined for £95 tooling + £0.80 per box spending pounds on fixtures soon becomes pointless. I take it a router has a similar bed to a mill so that stuff can be bolted down ?
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