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  1. #1
    Hi,
    I'm getting lost in the choice of machine to buy/build. I currently have built an MPCNC with a Makita router as spindle. I'm not happy with it so want to upgrade. I am however caught between two conflicting requirements:

    1. Needing something of the size of 1m square Workbee, or Lead cnc, for woodwork and arty stuff,

    2. The need to machine aluminum to a reasonable standard of accuracy (say .02mm).

    With limited funds as I'm retired, I need to be careful with choice.

    Are the machines above capable for milling aluminum (subject to correct speeds/feeds).

    As an alternative, would a chinese 6040 be better for aluminum, and I just restrict my woodwork stuff?

    Sooo many choices to make, with no ability to actually see any of these things in the flesh. Need help from people with experience.

    TIA
    Gary

  2. #2
    Kitwn's Avatar
    Lives in Exmouth, Australia. Last Activity: 8 Hours Ago Has been a member for 2-3 years. Has a total post count of 337. Received thanks 40 times, giving thanks to others 9 times.
    Gary,
    After reading this forum for a while and having experimented with wooden framed and now a steel framed router I can't help thinking that the most practical and the cheapest way to achieve what you want is to build two separate machines. Do you really need to cut 1m sq lumps of aluminium to .02mm accuracy? I assume not, but building a machine that can will cost you big time if that's what you need.

    However, a small, fixed gantry machine that can cut smaller pieces of metal with that accuracy would be way simpler and cheaper as would a wood-only moving gantry machine with the bigger footprint.

    The key piece of 'analysis' required to relieve your 'paralysis' is "What is the largest piece of aluminum I need to cut to the finest tolerance?"

    Kit
    Engineering is the art of doing for ten shillings what any fool can do for a pound.
    Wellington.

  3. #3
    Thanks Kit,

    aluminum sizes would be no more than 100 x 600mm x 10mm thick.(generally parts for telescope mounts and accessories. EDIT, maybe I could get away with 100x450x10mm.......

    2 machines would be nice but I don't have the funds for that, I was hoping that something lke a Workbee might fulfill both roles. I hoped that milling in a corner where I presume the router would be strongest, might be possible? If not, I'll have to re think things and decide on priorities.
    .
    Are there any plans around for a small fixed gantry machine that could do the sizes I mentioned above? Perhaps I could build that and save for a larger wood machine?

    cheers
    Gary


    Quote Originally Posted by Kitwn View Post
    Gary,
    After reading this forum for a while and having experimented with wooden framed and now a steel framed router I can't help thinking that the most practical and the cheapest way to achieve what you want is to build two separate machines. Do you really need to cut 1m sq lumps of aluminium to .02mm accuracy? I assume not, but building a machine that can will cost you big time if that's what you need.

    However, a small, fixed gantry machine that can cut smaller pieces of metal with that accuracy would be way simpler and cheaper as would a wood-only moving gantry machine with the bigger footprint.

    The key piece of 'analysis' required to relieve your 'paralysis' is "What is the largest piece of aluminum I need to cut to the finest tolerance?"

    Kit
    Last edited by garyrmck; 6 Days Ago at 04:58 AM.

  4. Gary first let me say forget work bee, shepoko, etc, or cheap Chinese machines because none of them can repeatably cut aluminum to the accuracy that you require.

    Like Kit says building a machine the size you want to cut with the accuracy you want is no small thing and requires a good strong design that is very well built. To build at this level you'll need other machines or have access to someone who can manufacture parts for you. It's also not something that can be done cheaply or corners cut.

    My advice is don't buy a cheap machine because you will be disappointed and will waste money long term if try to upgrade, etc. Likewise don't undertake to build a machine until you have done plenty of research into which design will suit your needs best and also exactly what's involved in building it. Also, be very honest with your self about your ability to achieve this and the true cost of building.

    Many people have achieved building machines like what you require but none are done cheaply and all of them that succeeded did so because they planned well and didn't cut corners.

    If you decide to build then start a build thread straight away and ask all your questions in that one place. This way you can go back and find any suggestions made weeks or months ago. Don't be afraid to ask what you may think are Dumb questions because we will have been asked them before and don't mind repeating our selves.

  5. #5
    Thank you for good advice. I just needed someone to honestly tell me that these machines won't cut it on aluminium consistently, despite what youtube videos seem to show. It's why I want to replace my MPCNC. It also seems that large - 1m x 1m s ok for woodworking, but small is better (and cheaper) for aluminum.
    Time for a re think.
    cheers
    Gary

  6. Quote Originally Posted by garyrmck View Post
    Thank you for good advice. I just needed someone to honestly tell me that these machines won't cut it on aluminium consistently, despite what youtube videos seem to show.
    Yes exactly, those videos really don't tell the whole truth and in some cases, I personally think they should be banned or come with a BullShit warning.!

    Building a machine to do what you want is quite do-able, even for a new builder provided they have a decent range of tools and the knowledge to use them. Or they have others that can do this for them, but this obviously increases costs.

    If you think you have the ability and patience to build then my advice is to do the research regards Design and components required, read lots of build threads etc and then DONT start the build until you have the funds or saved the funds. Even then the Golden rule is DONT BUY ANYTHING until it's required and you know 100% what your buying is correct for the machine and you fully understand why it's best.!

    Then GO FOR IT because you can build an AMAZING machine even at DIY level that will match many commercial machines for a fraction of the cost.

    Or save your money and buy a secondhand commercial machine that needs a little TLC.! . . . . Thou often these will need special or advanced knowledge a new builder will struggle massively with.!! . . . Also can eat money quickly if you buy a lemon so really need to know what you are getting into.!

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