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  1. #1
    Hi there,

    I'm looking to buy a cnc router that I can cut aluminium with. At work we had a great Pacer Cadet which I would love but rarely come up for sale. Ideally I would like a desktop router maybe 300x300 or up to 400. Price range about 1000 if possible. I've currently considered a stepcraft machine but have since been put off and now I'm considering a 6040-1.5kw off Ebay (bigger bed but within my price range).

    Could anyone else recommend anything around that price range that could be more reliable than the stepcraft or the gamble of the 6040? Its mainly to cut upto maybe 12mm and I'm not too worried about speed.

    My current idea is to buy a 6040 and then upgrade it to solidify it a bit more.

    Thanks in advance.

    Tim :)

  2. #2
    JAZZCNC's Avatar
    Lives in wakefield, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 17 Hours Ago Forum Superstar, has done so much to help others, they deserve a medal. Has been a member for 8-9 years. Has a total post count of 6,270. Received thanks 1,032 times, giving thanks to others 46 times.
    Quote Originally Posted by Timatronics View Post
    Hi there,

    I'm looking to buy a cnc router that I can cut aluminium with. At work we had a great Pacer Cadet which I would love but rarely come up for sale. Ideally I would like a desktop router maybe 300x300 or up to 400. Price range about 1000 if possible. I've currently considered a stepcraft machine but have since been put off and now I'm considering a 6040-1.5kw off Ebay (bigger bed but within my price range).

    Could anyone else recommend anything around that price range that could be more reliable than the stepcraft or the gamble of the 6040? Its mainly to cut upto maybe 12mm and I'm not too worried about speed.

    My current idea is to buy a 6040 and then upgrade it to solidify it a bit more.

    Thanks in advance.

    Tim :)
    Hi Tim,

    Ok your in the catch22 price range. The machines your looking at are not really up to cutting aluminum reliably or with good results as they are weak.
    With the Chinese machines, your buying troubles as the electronics tend to be junk, the machines themselves tend to be poorly built with poor components. The design is such that it doesn't lend it's self to upgrading.! . . The saying "Can't make silk purse out sows ear" is very true with these machines.!

    The likes of Stepcraft and the kits like Ox Cnc etc are basically only really any good for cutting soft materials like woods etc and even then with limitations.
    Don't be fooled with videos showing them cutting Aluminium as they are more scratching it away than cutting and most machines can survive a few short videos cutting aluminium. But in the real world it's a very different situation and cutting aluminium takes it's strain on the machine.

    Also be aware that the speed for cutting aluminium or anything really isn't dictated by how fast you your self decide would like to cut it at.!!
    The feeds and speeds required are dictated by several parameters like Tool type, size, length, flutes etc along with spindle power, machine strength, material grade etc.

    It's here where the Weak poorly designed/built machines fall down quickly as they simply can't handle the forces or feeds involved in cutting hard materials correctly so that you get good results or tool life. Infact often they can't meet the correct feeds for soft materials as they are too slow so result in poor tool life or burnt edges etc.
    The end result is you soon get frustrated as the Finish quality is poor, tool wear and breakages are excessive.

    The Catch22 for you is that at 1k there isn't anything out there that will cut aluminium correctly and give good results or last long cutting it.
    Even at 2K to 3K you'll struggle to buy an off the shelf machine that cuts aluminium reliably for any lengthy periods. If just the odd bit of light Ali work along with woods,plastics etc then no problem but if mostly cutting Ali they will soon show there weakness and take it's toll.

    With only 1k your best option is to build your own, Even then you'll need to be very careful with what you buy regards components.
    This route obviously requires you have the abilty and tools required to build a machine. The knowledge and Design of the machine isn't much of problem because we have all the knowledge you'll require and will happily point you in the right directions. Same with Design, there are many different designs on this forum so just look around and pick one that you think will suit your needs and we'll happily advise if correct for your needs.

    My advise is that if you don't want to build is to save your money and look for secondhand machine that will suit cutting aluminium. Stay away from the Cheap routers as they will frustrate and cost more long term.

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