Thread: Xcarve

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  1. #21
    As I have said before I have the Xcarve which I bought a few years ago off eBay. As a starter machine for a hobbiest I have been pleased with it. If you look on the inventables forum you can see some of the impressive things people have made. Using has given me an insight to gcodes and using CNC machines. Given it is not a professional machine it has been good value for me. I also have bought recently a boxford A3HSRi. Got this second hand from a school, hardly used but a very robust semi professional machine. New cost around 12k! I got it for 600 and it was only 6 years old and had little use.

    If you are starting out and on a limited budget the Xcarve IMHO is a good starter machine. I should add that I don't use these machines professionally, only as a hobby making signs and personalised gifts.
    Last edited by Diysurgeon; 26-08-2017 at 12:26 PM.

  2. #22
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    See the little bit of 2020 extrusion on the side of my machine (I'm in the process of building her up at moment) that's what the frame of the Xcarve is made of, that and MDF.

    When people say build your own it's not because we're cocky it's because you really can get more bang for buck.

    My whole build cost less than an Xcarve but I worked hard to recover parts and buy 2nd hand it was a lot of effort. You could though build something very similar for around 2.5K using new bits and doing no manufacturing yourself (I outsourced everything) just assembly.

    I had absolutely no clue at all what I was doing when I got here 4 months ago this site has been my support and between the great members who know have forgot more than I will ever know lol and great thread content I've muddled through.

    It did help that I could CAD before I came here.

    I can point you in the right direction for getting stuff made if you fancy it.

    Also you wouldn't make the gantry the longest axis (Long story why I did it but I am going to change it)

    And in comparison to most peoples machines on here I built a toy.
    Last edited by Desertboy; 02-09-2017 at 05:00 PM.
    http://www.mycncuk.com/threads/10880...60cm-work-area My first CNC build WIP 120cm*80cm

    If you didn't buy it from China the company you bought it from did ;)

  3. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Desertboy View Post

    My whole build cost less than an Xcarve but I worked hard to recover parts and buy 2nd hand it was a lot of effort. You could though build something very similar for around 2.5K using new bits and doing no manufacturing yourself (I outsourced everything) just assembly.

    I had absolutely no clue at all what I was doing when I got here 4 months ago this site has been my support and between the great members who know have forgot more than I will ever know lol and great thread content I've muddled through.
    That is reason 1

    It is alot of effort and also time

    Due to my job and its commute i have precious little time


    Quote Originally Posted by Desertboy View Post

    It did help that I could CAD before I came here.
    I have been spending ages trying to learn CAD but the problem is most of the stuff i want to build it is just as easy to design stuff as i go.

    Yesterday while trying to fix the cement mixer i needed a coupling.

    You would probably pic up your laptop and start doing a CAD drawing

    I picked up a lump of steel and chucked it in the lathe and started making it. Designing as i went.


    yes there is loads of online tutorials for fusion 360 BUT seeing nothing comes out the end it gets boring very quickly


    Quote Originally Posted by Desertboy View Post

    I can point you in the right direction for getting stuff made if you fancy it.

    Also you wouldn't make the gantry the longest axis (Long story why I did it but I am going to change it)

    And in comparison to most peoples machines on here I built a toy.
    Which is sort of why i want an X-carve

    I want a toy before i build something larger.

    But if you can give us a rough list of parts to throw together for 2.5K i would be intrested
    Last edited by thinfourth; 03-09-2017 at 09:34 AM.

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  5. #24
    Neale's Avatar
    Lives in Plymouth, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 6 Hours Ago Has been a member for 4-5 years. Has a total post count of 1,059. Received thanks 186 times, giving thanks to others 5 times.
    Well, sticking my neck out and risking being laughed out of the forum, if you think you would be happy with a toy, why not build one? I say this in all seriousness - my first router was built in a hurry because I had promised someone that I would make a presentation plaque and then needed to make a machine to make it.

    That machine was to the JGRO design. There's plenty of information and build logs available on the internet, and the design is available free. Basic structure comes from 8x4 sheets of MDF, one 3/4 and one 1/2 (or as I had to, metric equivalents). Leadscrews and guide rails are cheap and crude but easy to make. I bought motors, drivers, and a spindle that were a bit OTT for the job but I had the intention of carrying them forwards to a later machine (which, more or less, has happened).

    The machine was crap. MDF has all the structural integrity of cold-rolled cow dung; it moves with temperature change, humidity change, if there's an R in the month, and whenever it feels like it. The guide rails needed frequent adjustment and I ended up shimming the Z plate to try to keep the spindle vertical on a warping MDF panel. On the other hand, I used that machine for a whole range of jobs for about 3 years - the original plaque, now on display in a French village, it cut 25mm teak curved profiles for some bits for my boat (slowly, but it did the job) and a heap of intersecting ply panels for my son's architecture degree project. And a bunch of other things in between. It has been replaced with a steel-frame machine of greater capacity, speed, and accuracy, but that first machine cost me relatively little and taught me a lot.

    Just a thought, and somewhat against the usual, "do it once, do it right" approach.
    Last edited by Neale; 03-09-2017 at 10:07 AM.

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  7. #25
    You first cnc sounds like my first 3d printer Neale lol.

    Thinfourth I'll finish my assembly in the next 2 days then I'll take a moment to break down the costs with links to where I got stuff.
    http://www.mycncuk.com/threads/10880...60cm-work-area My first CNC build WIP 120cm*80cm

    If you didn't buy it from China the company you bought it from did ;)

  8. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by thinfourth View Post
    Yesterday while trying to fix the cement mixer i needed a coupling.

    You would probably pic up your laptop and start doing a CAD drawing
    Actually I'd use a prop shaft repair guy I know (No lathe) but there's something to be said about the suck and see approach, was going to try and build my router without CAD but in the end I had to cad out about 80% of the router just to make sure everything fit.

    As for CAD all I can say is don't give up one day something clicks and it starts to make sense, there's an initial high learning curve but get over that curve and it gets a lot easier. It took me 3 attempts at learning before I started to get it.

    If you do build it yourself it's worth trying to source a local suppliers of aluminium extrusion so you can get it cut and drilled as you need it, I live next to KJN and it was invaluable being able to actually drive there to have the parts processed.
    Last edited by Desertboy; 03-09-2017 at 10:47 AM.
    http://www.mycncuk.com/threads/10880...60cm-work-area My first CNC build WIP 120cm*80cm

    If you didn't buy it from China the company you bought it from did ;)

  9. #27
    Neale's Avatar
    Lives in Plymouth, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 6 Hours Ago Has been a member for 4-5 years. Has a total post count of 1,059. Received thanks 186 times, giving thanks to others 5 times.
    ...and there is also the point that the first C in CNC stands for computer! To do anything with a CNC machine, you are going to have to get your design into the machine, and that means CAD in some form or other. You could just write gcode directly - the way it used to be done - but it's easier to learn a CAD package! Plenty of choices, but don't want to make any recommendations as a lot depends on what you want to do (2D/3D) and how happy you feel with complicated-but-powerful versus easy-but-limited.

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  11. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Neale View Post
    ...and there is also the point that the first C in CNC stands for computer! To do anything with a CNC machine, you are going to have to get your design into the machine, and that means CAD in some form or other. You could just write gcode directly - the way it used to be done - but it's easier to learn a CAD package! Plenty of choices, but don't want to make any recommendations as a lot depends on what you want to do (2D/3D) and how happy you feel with complicated-but-powerful versus easy-but-limited.
    That's a very good point you won't be able to do much with an Xcarve if you can't make your cad models then generate the Gcode. Really cracking CAD before buying a machine makes the most sense as you might be able to buy a 2nd hand one cheap if you keep an eye on ebay for the next couple of months. Be it X carve, homebuilt or a Chinese 6040 machine.

    I remember your first posts about getting a 3d printer before delving into CNC I think it would be a good idea coupled with Fusion you can get reasonable working Prusa for ~200 sometimes even less.

    And if you spend a month with a 3d printer you'll be thinking that making a cnc router is not so hard. When I first thought about making a cnc router I thought it'd to be some weird impossible voodoo but the 3d printer demystified the process a lot. Now I'm getting close to the end of my build it really wasn't so hard if I had the cash all in one go I could have done it all in about 8 weeks in the end it will have took about 18 weeks lol.

    I think the hardest part so far was driving almost 400 miles on a Sunday through hellish roadworks to buy a jig which was full of Hiwin rails and then stripping the rails out as every bolt was locktited in :( I ended up hammering oversized torque bits it to crack the locktite as every bolt rounded immediately lol. The 2nd hardest part was the CAD which got stressful.
    http://www.mycncuk.com/threads/10880...60cm-work-area My first CNC build WIP 120cm*80cm

    If you didn't buy it from China the company you bought it from did ;)

  12. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by Desertboy View Post
    Ac
    If you do build it yourself it's worth trying to source a local suppliers of aluminium extrusion so you can get it cut and drilled as you need it, I live next to KJN and it was invaluable being able to actually drive there to have the parts processed.

    Why would i do that?

    I have a big metal cutting bandsaw, a colchester student lathe and a bridgeport milling machine.

    And if i make a machine it will be made from steel as it is cheap and easy to join together

  13. #30


    shocking how fragile the gantry is, his little finger!

    skip to 3:14

    but watch the whole video to get an good idea of both shapeoko and xcarve.
    Last edited by Desertboy; 18-09-2017 at 06:25 AM.
    http://www.mycncuk.com/threads/10880...60cm-work-area My first CNC build WIP 120cm*80cm

    If you didn't buy it from China the company you bought it from did ;)

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