1. #1
    DMW's Avatar
    Lives in Stevenage, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 07-10-2018 Has been a member for 4-5 years. Has a total post count of 7.

    I am looking to invest in my first CNC router, and would like some advise please.

    I am UK based and would preferably like to buy from UK distributor.
    This is a hobbyist use, mainly electronic printed circuit boards, woods (including hardwood), some plastics and I would like the option of milling aluminium, so speed is less important than accuracy.
    I would require accuracy/repeatability better than 50um as I would like to mill features of 100um.
    Size is also not super important, I expect to be doing mainly small jobs but the more room the better of course.
    I would also like a 4th axis.

    My budget is not really fixed, all in I think my limit would be up to maybe 6K (GBP) but this is somewhat flexible, I dont want to spend 4k on something rubbish if spending a bit more would get me something much better.
    I have no recent experience in CNC and so i'm starting from scratch, if you guys could help recommend what software packages I may need, as hobbyist i think I will start with cheaper/free packages and upgrade later if need be, unless you recommend starting with certain packages.

    For the PCB milling I would like to be able to do height-mapping such as shown in this video linked below, I am not sure if I need specific/additional software for this?

    In terms of machines I have only really found one machine that looks reasonable, the High-Z series from Prototools:
    These come in around the right budget with all of the add-ons including the 4th axis, however what puts me off is: I have read that they can be somewhat under-performing when cutting hard materials
    Also the Prototools website's specifications for the machines do not match the manuals which is worrying (for repeatability, accuracy and step size).

    Would I be better for looking for something second hand?

    Could you please provide me some advise of possibilities for machines, general advise and links to useful reading about first machine.

    Many thanks!

  2. #2
    Personally I am always wary of any business that does not have enough confidence to supply a physical street address for the business.

    And I actually thought that in the UK it was a legal requirement to specify a physical address on business websites? Which would be a far better practice than what is normally practiced down under!

    Maybe I'm just a paranoid Aussie, but that's my tuppence worth . . . . .

  3. #3
    Doddy's Avatar
    Lives in Preston, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 17 Hours Ago Has been a member for 5-6 years. Has a total post count of 306. Received thanks 35 times, giving thanks to others 10 times.
    There's a Bungard on eBay at the moment - don't know anything about it but it's on a Buy-Out for less than the last one that I bid a 1k on (though that one had a ATC).

    PCBs give a bunch of problems - high speed spindles with little run-out, high rigidity (but coupled with no requirement for large Z-travel), high accuracy, high precision. some of these are incompatible with your other goals, so whatever machine you go for you might have to compromise.

    Can you not consider perhaps two machines?

  4. #4
    Surface mapping is a chumps game, surface following engraving spindle noses are available, used with a sprung spindle and chip wash/air there is no reason to know where a surface is within a couple of mm in order to achieve an exact cutting depth across a large area,
    You think that's too expensive? You're not a Model Engineer are you? :D

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  6. #5
    DMW's Avatar
    Lives in Stevenage, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 07-10-2018 Has been a member for 4-5 years. Has a total post count of 7.
    Thank you for the replies!

    I will seriously look at that Bungard Doddy - thanks for the tip! It sounds like 2 machines is the way to go for me.


  7. #6
    Hi DMV i have a prototools Heiz S720 really love the machine and did some mods on it too, really nice machine but you may be looking for something with a proper sprung spindle nose to control depth of cut. Have a look at BZT.de too they are really good machines. The controller can be a problem with these machines, particularly driving them from the parallel port, and a great bit of hardware is the UC100 from cnc drive which does a great job! All the best Nick. Dual drive on Y axis is great, i machine aluminium with mine, and if you take the time and skim your scarf board you can get 0.1 mm accuracy over a large area without spindle nose.

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