. .
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
  1. #1
    Hi All,

    I'm about to venture into the world of CNC. I run manual machines; Colchesters, Bridgeports, surface grinders, and so forth with several years experience of manual machining. I am however totally green to CNC and high speed milling. Ive been using Fusion 360 for about a year for modelling and have the full package for work. I'm now in need of a CNC Router for aluminium. Work will generally be 2D within 400x400x20mm with occasional surface topography.

    2 things really,

    Firsty if anyone who has been on the same path could recomend some advice on a detailed beginners guide to follow, be it a book, website, or indeed a series of You Tube videos on the warts and all basics of CNC Gantry Routers and all associated control software, motors etc. At the moment im standing at the bottom of what seems like a huge learning curve!

    Secondly, my budget is perhaps optimistically minimal, around 1600, ideally less!!! Ive boiled my search down to Sorotec hobbyline or Stepcraft D Series but im still fumbling around in the dark. Any advice on an affordable, user freindly, ridgid set up that will tackle Aluminium would be greatly recieved.

    Many thanks,

    Paul.

  2. #2
    DIY is best

    I would go with a second hand CNC mini mill if i were you. With your experience especially.
    project 1 , 2, Dust Shoe ...

  3. #3
    Hi Paul,

    Can't point you to a begginers one stop but you have everything you need here on this forum, you just need to spend some time reading and researching.

    Researching being the key word because I can tell you with absolute confidence that you CANNOT buy a machine with 1600 that will be any good for machining aluminium and will last for any length of time. Don't be fooled by the videos that you see of these cheap machines cutting (scratching) aluminium, because yes while they will cut aluminium they don't do a very good job and cannot handle cutting for any length of time before they start to fall apart and the spindle blows up from the stress.

    Cutting aluminium correctly requires a different level of machine build compard to a typical router that is used mainly for wood with occasional bit of aluminium work. Both those machines you mention are weak designs that come with poor components/electrics.

    With only 1600 then your best option is to self build, if you don't want to self build then be prepared to double your budget if you want anything that is sturdy and reliable, even then you'll struggle to find many off the shelf options that are any good.
    Now I know you have seen likes of Sorotec and Stepcraft machines among others and these probably look Good to you, as they do to many people, and your probably thinking "Well Sorotec sell one for under 3k" but you need to look closer and it will become apparant why they manage to offer them at the prices they do.?
    It's things like only using one carriage per rail, only one rail with one carriage on the Z axis, etc. These are the kind of corners which are cut to save money but they are disasterous ommisions for any machine which is going to be used for cutting anything harder than MDF.

    I build custom machines and I can tell you with 100% certainty that it's not possible for a business to build a Strong machine with the correct components for cutting aluminium that will be reliable and accurate an make any money for less than 2k, and that's a small machine. So this should give you some clue to the kind of machine these Sub 2k machines are going to be because they are making money at that those prices.

    My advise is to build your own, or raise the budget get intouch with me and I'll give you a fair price for machine that will do the job properly.
    -use common sense, if you lack it, there is no software to help that.

  4. Quote Originally Posted by Boyan Silyavski View Post
    DIY is best

    I would go with a second hand CNC mini mill if i were you. With your experience especially.
    Agree with the sentiment, but 400mm throat on a mini mill is optimistic.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Doddy View Post
    Agree with the sentiment, but 400mm throat on a mini mill is optimistic.
    Yes, me too Doddy and I nearly made the same suggestion as Boyan but you are lucky to find 300mm in the Y-axis of an average-sized mill so no chance on a mini mill. My Fadal VMC only as 400mm in the Y-axis.

    The Fixed Gantry machine I'm building at the minute is the perfect size and design for cutting aluminum at 500 x 500 but it's way beyond Paul's budget.
    -use common sense, if you lack it, there is no software to help that.

  6. #6
    I thought as much. Being overly optimistic, but that's often the case when you dive into a new rabbit hole.

    I'd rather not go down CNC'ing an RF45 or similar mill. I don't have the spare time and can do 90% of what I need to do Manually.

    I think I may wait for a few more paychecks, increase the budget by a grand or so, read up, look at other options, and very possibly take up JAZZCNC's offer to build something that will have a fighting chance at cutting Aluminium properly.

    In any case. Thanks all so much for the advice. Food for thought indeed.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Weston Metalwork View Post
    I think I may wait for a few more paychecks, increase the budget by a grand or so, read up, look at other options, and very possibly take up JAZZCNC's offer to build something that will have a fighting chance at cutting Aluminium properly.
    It's a wise choice to wait and save up, whether that be to DIY build something properly or have someone like me do it for you, because it's so easy to end up buying the wrong tool for the job which can't or easily and cheaply be upgraded. Also like so many times I've said this to people who have run out and bought a cheap machine you can't make a sow's ear into a silk purse no matter how much money you throw at it.!
    -use common sense, if you lack it, there is no software to help that.

  8. Quote Originally Posted by JAZZCNC View Post
    It's a wise choice to wait and save up, whether that be to DIY build something properly or have someone like me do it for you, because it's so easy to end up buying the wrong tool for the job which can't or easily and cheaply be upgraded. Also like so many times I've said this to people who have run out and bought a cheap machine you can't make a sow's ear into a silk purse no matter how much money you throw at it.!
    Love that expression!!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  9. #9
    Kitwn's Avatar
    Lives in Exmouth, Australia. Last Activity: 5 Hours Ago Has been a member for 2-3 years. Has a total post count of 676. Received thanks 87 times, giving thanks to others 19 times.
    Paul,
    My wife, who is a qualified accountant, taught me all about the cost triangle. The three sides are MONEY, TIME and QUALITY. Once you fix one parameter the other two are inversely proportional. So if you have a tight budget be prepared to put some time into making a machine capable of the quality you want. A lot of that time will be researching the best design, probably a fixed gantry as Jazz suggested, and how you will construct it which depends on the facilities and skills you already have.
    You won't be short of advice on this forum! Just keep asking the questions.
    Engineering is the art of doing for ten shillings what any fool can do for a pound.
    Wellington.

  10. Quote Originally Posted by Kitwn View Post
    Paul,
    My wife, who is a qualified accountant, taught me all about the cost triangle.The three sides are MONEY, TIME and QUALITY
    Eh!?

    My wife claims the cost triangle is an equilateral triangle. She agrees with MONEY, but the other two are chocolate and wine. This, she says, is the formula to keeping her as a wife. The only inversely-proportional coefficient is the Nag factor.

    I think your wife needs retraining.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Low resolution absolute encoder source?
    By m_c in forum General Electronics
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 13-11-2016, 01:38 PM
  2. Advice on spindle/drill bits for a beginner
    By Skydeals in forum General Discussion
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 20-10-2014, 10:25 PM
  3. Beginner needs advice
    By Gregor in forum CAD & CAM Software
    Replies: 21
    Last Post: 04-01-2014, 09:39 PM
  4. NEW MEMBER: Complete Beginner requiring advice!
    By Robduffer in forum New Member Introductions
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 07-05-2013, 04:17 PM
  5. Stepper motor advice for absolute novice
    By mbgnjdb5 in forum Stepper & Servo Motors
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 07-05-2011, 04:47 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •