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  1. #1
    Don't own a cnc at the moment and I'm looking around to see what will suit me best.
    I build acoustic and classical guitars and I'm looking for a smallish m/c to cut inlays into the headstock and shape bridges etc. All small sized pieces working mainly in a variety of timbers but using metals (ali / brass etc) for some of the inlays.
    My initial thoughts have been towards the 3040 and 3020 cnc m/c from China but I'm not sure if that's the right path to tread?
    I design my inlays in Photoshop CS3 Extended and will use something like Inkscape to produce the vector graphics - after that I'm lost....

    So very much a newbie to cnc but I do work with hand tools, routers, saws etc (just find the very small stuff getting more awkward!)
    Thanks

  2. #2
    Hi and welcome to the forum, there is a guy on here call Wal that does similar stuff to what you are wanting to do.

    here is a link to his blog https://wrbl.tumblr.com/
    ..Clive
    The more you know, The better you know, How little you know

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Clive S View Post
    Hi and welcome to the forum, there is a guy on here call Wal that does similar stuff to what you are wanting to do.

    here is a link to his blog https://wrbl.tumblr.com/
    Thanks Clive - had a very quick look at the blog and will go back for a more detailed look later.

    Cheers Francis

  4. #4
    Wal's Avatar
    Lives in Stockport, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 06-09-2018 Has been a member for 6-7 years. Has a total post count of 387. Received thanks 41 times, giving thanks to others 18 times.
    Hi Francis,

    (Thanks for the shout out Clive)

    Yep, I've done a bit of inlay work and have a reasonably good idea of the workflow. It's not particularly complicated as the software makes it so easy - drop me a line with any questions, would be happy to give you some pointers!

    Wal.

  5. #5
    Thanks Wal,
    I've been doing a little research into a self build cnc and found this site/machine: https://solsylva.com/cnc/18x24x5.shtml There are a couple of smaller designs that would suit with 13 x 13 (inches) and 10 x 9 inch beds. The 18 x 24 inch bed though would allow me to cut full scale guitar fronts/backs which are only about 5mm thick in the rough. Maybe even hog out the front/back plates for an archtop! Not sure just what level of accuracy these would give but I suspect for inlay and body shaping tasks they would be quite suitable - welcome your thoughts on that?
    I can/would fit either a trim router (Makita/DeWalt etc) or a Dremel/Axminster mini router. But happy to go with a more purpose made spindle...
    Still looking but the self build rather than buying a Chinese m/c is definitely more appealing. If you know of other similar self build sites a link would be great.
    Many thanks for prompt response to my query.
    Francis

  6. #6
    I've purchased the plans for the 5 cnc machines at the above link really to get a better idea about how things go together and try and assess the choices made in the different designs (fixed or moving gantry's). The 18 x 24 moving gantry machine ( https://solsylva.com/cnc/18x24x5.shtml ) uses a rack-n-pinion for the long axis. I'm not sure if that has been done on a cost/availability basis or for a given accuracy - would welcome others thoughts on that. If a rack-n-pinion is a favourable option are there good/better R&P's ?
    Last edited by fwm891; 27-01-2018 at 08:59 PM.

  7. #7
    Francis I take it you just jumped in and bought the plans without doing any research or reading the build logs in this forum.
    I believe that you wanted to do intricate work I don't think you will achieve what you want to do with this machine.

    Contact Wal and he will give you some good advise on what is needed to use 0.5mm end mills. The machine has to be rock solid to do this.
    ..Clive
    The more you know, The better you know, How little you know

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  9. #8
    Neale's Avatar
    Lives in Plymouth, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 8 Hours Ago Has been a member for 5-6 years. Has a total post count of 1,166. Received thanks 212 times, giving thanks to others 5 times.
    Quote Originally Posted by fwm891 View Post
    ... uses a rack-n-pinion for the long axis. I'm not sure if that has been done on a cost/availability basis or for a given accuracy ...
    Just from a couple of things you have said - dimensions in inches, not millimetres, R&P not ballscrew - I would immediately say that this is a US design, even without knowing anything anything else about it. I have a theory that the Americans like R&P because it means that they don't have to use ballscrews, as the best price ballscrews of appropriate quality come from China. Ditto preference for Gecko drives over Leadshine - US not China. I'm not going to make any comment about the Gecko/Leadshine question as I've never used Gecko, but ballscrew for this size machine knocks spots off R&P which is really quite difficult to set up and maintain. It's not as easy as you might think when you take the necessary motor gearing, anti-backlash, etc, problems into account. None of these are insuperable, it's just that there is an obvious and easier method until you get to quite large machines.

  10. #9
    Don't waste your time with any of those designs they are Junk.

    Many better-designed machines can be seen on this forum that uses correct components for machine size. R&P is not a good choice for a small machine and really only used on much larger machines for specific reasons which won't get into now.

    Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts to a good machine. Likewise cutting corners by trying to save costs is also not recommended so be prepared to spend a reasonable amount for good machine.

    Best advise is Don't buy anything, NOTHING not even plans, until you are sure the design chosen is correct for your needs and the components are suited to the machine. So Plenty of research is the first move. Then start build thread to ask questions. Then ask some more questions. Then finaly you should end up with design and knowledge of whats required to build it.

    Good luck don't be afraid to ask.

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  12. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Clive S View Post
    Francis I take it you just jumped in and bought the plans without doing any research or reading the build logs in this forum.
    I believe that you wanted to do intricate work I don't think you will achieve what you want to do with this machine.

    Contact Wal and he will give you some good advise on what is needed to use 0.5mm end mills. The machine has to be rock solid to do this.
    Thanks Clive, Yes I bought the 'plans' (detailed descriptions really) - $39 for all 5. And I've contacted Wal. I'm also looking at build threads in MYCNCUK too. I'm not anywhere near ready to start building yet (I'm way to green ATM) just trying to soak up info from different sources on different machine configs.
    I'm beginning to look for different things as the research progress', I'm definitely still looking for something that will give me the small scale detail for the inlays and their housings (15 x 15 cm work area approx), but also looking at larger scale (for me) where something in the 60 x 45 cm size would be ideal but not require the same degree of accuracy.
    I have a Myford speed 10 lathe and quite confident in my ability to make up smaller turned parts in non ferrous metals, even using it for some basic milling ops. Given the range of ali extrusions available a solid framework for a smaller cnc 'should' be fairly straight forward. The devil is going to be in the detail to remove backlash and provide smooth, controlled traverses along all three axles.
    The more I'm looking at machine designs here the less inclined I am to just buy a ready to go jobbie.

    Many thanks for the replies - all noted. Francis

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