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  1. #1
    Evening Ladies and Gents,

    I'm in need of some advice. I run a small but expanding woodworking business and have been looking at CNCs to purchase for the workshop.

    We currently carry out a lot of repetitive sign making for signage companies (1000+ units cut on the table/panel saw) and do a small amount of custom work using my home built Shapeoko2 type CNC. The shapes that we cut by hand are simple squares, rectangles, circles etc. We cut a number of rectangles with rounded corners, these suck when they are done by hand lol. I know Im pointing out the obvious but if the order is only 500 units and they all need to have the corners sanded that's 2000 turns into a long and repetitive day!

    The main purpose of the machine would be to carry out production runs of the above cut outs, to cut down timber sheet goods and with the possibility of plastic or possibly aluminium but I'm not pushing that at the moment. Also to carry out custom signage work and general CNC router work.

    I've been looking at the likes of Piranha and Stoney CNCs. They look amazing and are perfect for what I need but they also have a price tag to match.

    Realistically if I put up £2000-£3000 would I be able to match these machines if I built it myself? I know I'm not going to get a tool changer or vacuum bed but if I could come close then it would be worth the time and cost saving. I am pretty handy and can work out most things so its not the build I'm concerned about even though it is a little daunting just trying to get the right parts to match up with each other.

    Are there any build logs I should look at? I have been looking at this one recently which I think is pretty nifty Any thoughts on it?

    I'm thinking of going for 20mm hiwins, ally box frame, probably a chinese 2.2kw spindle and with a nice solid base/frame to bolt it all to. Other than that, I've not decided much.

    I have 2 options in terms of size, either 1220 x 600 or 1220 x 1220. Depending on costings I'm all ears. If things take off further we are looking to get into a bigger unit and then look towards a 2440 x 1220 but that's a while off so I need to get an idea of what we can do at the moment.

    It needs to be quick and accurate....time is money after all

    Any help, pointers, build logs, guides etc to look at would be greatly appreciated!!

    Thanks in advance!


  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by SweetAs View Post
    I've been looking at the likes of Piranha and Stoney CNCs. They look amazing and are perfect for what I need but they also have a price tag to match.

    Realistically if I put up £2000-£3000 would I be able to match these machines if I built it myself?
    Wouldn't hold either of those up as great bench marks, all is not what it appears.!! . . With carefull buying along with attention to detail you will easily match both those in performance terms.
    The build you show is something to be avoided with many design flaws.!!

    If you can work with steel it will be much cheaper. Combination of steel frame and HD Aluminium profile for gantry makes for very strong machine. Combine this with profiled rails like Hi-win with correctly sized balls screws and the accuracy/performance will match any of those machines you mention.

    The electronics are key part of good machine so no cutting corners in this department and it's here where it will make or break the machine. It's also the place that will set your machine apart from those costing 1000's more. It's here where we can help and guide you to buying the correct components.

    I suggest you go look around the forum at some of the builds to get a feel for if you really have the skills and patience to build a machine. Be honest with your self here because there is more to this than first appears. Building a good machine requires patience and eye for detail. If done in rush or corners cut it will suffer so be sure you have the time needed.
    Sometimes buying ready built works out easier and cheaper in long run because your cutting and making money sooner which pays for the machine. And you don't have the stress of building, testing, fault finding etc that does come with DIY.

    If your not put off then start a build Log. Show the design you have in mind and ask any questions you may have, no matter how daft you think they are.
    It's good idea to draw up a detailed design of the machine so there's no hidden surprises. Ideally a Cad model works best.

    Good luck.

  3. #3
    Greeny's Avatar
    Lives in North Yorkshire, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 5 Hours Ago Has been a member for 9-10 years. Has a total post count of 109. Received thanks 12 times, giving thanks to others 8 times.
    Hi SweetAs,
    The worst bit, for me, about the build you link to, is the single rail on the y-axis!!
    Practically every cnc build i have seen has two rails. One just seems daft.
    It's a bit like trying to dig a hole with a shovel using only one hand !!

    Here's a thread with a few completed builds to peruse

    Prob the best way to get advice from the wealth of experienced builders here is to research an initial design and post it up for review.

    Last edited by Greeny; 06-03-2017 at 11:52 PM.

  4. #4
    Ger21's Avatar
    Lives in Detroit, United States. Last Activity: 13 Hours Ago Has been a member for 6-7 years. Has a total post count of 604. Received thanks 83 times, giving thanks to others 0 times. Referred 1 members to the community.
    A table or panel saw is going to be a lot faster than a small, inexpensive CNC. At least for cutting lots and lots of rectangular panels.
    UCCNC 2017 Screenset

    Mach3 2010 Screenset

    JointCAM - CAM for Woodworking Joints

  5. #5
    Cheers for the replies. Its very much appreciated!!

    Jazzcnc - Could you enlighten me on the design flaws of those machines please? In terms of the build I'm not too concerned if we are being honest. I am a Surveyor by trade and build tools / renovate cars in my spare time so I have a good eye for detail. I also understand what I'm getting in terms of trade off for saving money on the machine but thanks for the advice. I will spend the next few days reading up on info and build logs to get an idea of what I am trying to achieve.

    Greeny - Cheers for that. It was a LONG day in the workshop yesterday so Im putting it down to the tiredness of not picking up on that. Good eyes lol. Thank you very much for the link, that was just what I needed.

    Gerry - Point taken. You are right and in all fairness I would complete the rectangular / square shapes on the saws as it is so quick and easy.

  6. #6
    The Stoney CNC Axiom looks right priced for what it is. Obviously an industrial sized half sheet / 4x4ft or 1250x1250/ CNC will be differently priced.

    Money wise 3000 will be price of the components for a 60x90cm machine. Not bigger for that money. My signature first build could be done for that money. Industrial grade machine with servos and so will be ~8000 in parts. And that if you are clever and dont make mistakes. But the result will be a superb machine in its class.

    The time spend though will be much more than you could imagine.

    In your scenario, i would buy one ready, or even better somebody from forum make one for you. One reason being - unfortunately no good plans on internet. My first build is open sourced so drawings a free in the Open source section. I am seriously contemplating starting to sell plans for my big machine. In fact i sold to some people redesigning it for their specific purpose. In reality the plan i could give for free, the support is what it costs.
    Last edited by Boyan Silyavski; 07-03-2017 at 10:50 AM.
    project 1 , 2, Dust Shoe ...

  7. #7
    Neale's Avatar
    Lives in Plymouth, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 4 Hours Ago Has been a member for 5-6 years. Has a total post count of 1,163. Received thanks 209 times, giving thanks to others 5 times.
    Just as another data point, a friend of mine who runs a one-man signmaking business recently bought one of these, although his had a T-slot rather than vacuum bed. He found Acctek pretty good to work with; he agreed a spec for the machine via Skype, and he received exactly what he had specified. Cast iron and steel frame, ballscrews, profile rails, water-cooled 2.2KW spindle, USB interface to Mach3. It's Chinese: there are more than a few rough edges, and it needed a little bit of work to get it set up and running (things like a limit switch trigger had come loose and needed readjustment). He used a UK-based shipping agent to handle collection and delivery, and the whole thing cost around £3K. Would have been less but the Brexit vote happened during negotiations and the pound slumped. However, from his point of view, it saved a lot of time in building his own, and to be honest did not cost that much more than buying decent components would have cost. It's not the greatest machine on the planet but it's installed, working, and easily earning its keep. It mainly does text engraving on signs, and is also used for cutting hinge and lock recesses, joints for noticeboard cabinets, things like that.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by SweetAs View Post
    Jazzcnc - Could you enlighten me on the design flaws of those machines please?
    The design flaws are with the Linked machine you showed. Single rail on gantry, Weakly supported gantry, too tall and narrow Z axis, Lack of support on bed frame. These are the main ones which are not little issues and define the machines abilty's.

    The other's I won't get into too deep because as caused me troubles in the past but what I will say to you and others "Boyan" need to Look beyond the gloss and the covers then you'll see design issues that shouldn't be there in machine costing this much money.!! . . . . To highlight my point those with experience look at this pic and tell me whats less than ideal.?
    Click image for larger version. 

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    On the panel cutting front then it wouldn't be big deal to design Z axis in such way that Saw could be fixed along side spindle so have the best of both worlds.!! .. . . . . . It's all possible with bit of thought and common sense.

  9. #9
    Oooh a where's Wally competition?

    I think Wally may have run off with the rest of the Z axis plate for the motor mount and the other set of bearing blocks that should be on it...

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Washout View Post
    Oooh a where's Wally competition?

    I think Wally may have run off with the rest of the Z axis plate for the motor mount and the other set of bearing blocks that should be on it...
    That's one but there's another thing missing.?
    Last edited by JAZZCNC; 07-03-2017 at 05:41 PM.

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