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  1. #1
    Hi guys, i am looking into building my first cnc based around a workbee

    i dont know if this is the right place to ask this but could i have some advice on my build.

    i am planning to buy a 750x1000mm mechanical kit off of ali express (https://www.aliexpress.com/item/3291...c00pATS93&mp=1) only because i think its the cheapest way to get a reasonable frame but maybe im wrong?

    i then plan to swap out the x and z axis to linear rail (off ali) for around 150

    as far as motors go i am thinking 60BYGH401-03 because they are cheap and seem to have reasonably low inductance along with this i am thinking 48v and DM542 drivers but maybe there are better available?

    for the controller i am thinking the mesa 7I96 because it seems cheap and pretty good from what i have read

    spindle. i don't really know with this one, i have read some good things about the G-Penny 2.2kw one (https://www.aliexpress.com/item/3225...c00pATS93&mp=1) it seems cheap ish and gets pretty good reviews. at the same time i don't know how good it really is so maybe someone can recommend me something better.

    ohh almost forgot. i plan to cut mostly aluminium and some occasional Delrin

    let me know if you need anymore details thanks for any advice in advance Tank!

  2. #2
    Your wasting your money buying this or any other Workbee type machine design if your wanting to cut mostly cut aluminium, it's just too weak to do any kind of decent job cutting aluminium unless you plan to scratch it away.

    The spindle and the 7I96 are ok but you do realise the 7I96 is LinuXCNC only.?
    -use common sense, if you lack it, there is no software to help that.

  3. The Following User Says Thank You to JAZZCNC For This Useful Post:


  4. #3
    ohh ok, do you have any better recommendations? the only reason for the work bee was cost, if there is a better frame for around the same price i am all ears.

    with the 7I96 i know is linuXCNC is this a bad thing? it was what i am planning to run (i know nothing about cnc soft where) as i have heard good things but am I wrong?

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by tankproof2 View Post
    ohh ok, do you have any better recommendations? the only reason for the work bee was cost, if there is a better frame for around the same price i am all ears.

    with the 7I96 i know is linuXCNC is this a bad thing? it was what i am planning to run (i know nothing about cnc soft where) as i have heard good things but am I wrong?
    The Mesa 7196 is a very nice board but it does not have 0-10v output for a vfd / spindle the 7i76e does they are both ethernet connected.

    Dean is correct have you actually calculated all the extras to get a working machine. For ali you would need 3.2Nm motors and a 2.2kw spindle and vfd.

    What is your top budget ?

    Don't buy any electrics until you know what you need.
    ..Clive
    The more you know, The better you know, How little you know

  6. #5
    so my budget is somewhere around 1200 (i know its low) at the moment what i have listed above comes to 1300 ish which is ok. i didnt know abut the 7i96 not having 0-10v and the 7i76e is quite abit more expensive maybe i will go with an Arduino based system (any recommendations)? i was thinking the 60BYGH401-03 as they have plenty of power and seem pretty cheap and the 2.2kw spindle from G-Penny

  7. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by tankproof2 View Post
    ohh ok, do you have any better recommendations? the only reason for the work bee was cost, if there is a better frame for around the same price i am all ears.

    with the 7I96 i know is linuXCNC is this a bad thing? it was what i am planning to run (i know nothing about cnc soft where) as i have heard good things but am I wrong?
    Regards an alternative kit then NO there isn't any that can do this at this money, why.? Because it's impossible for anyone(Even the Chinese) to make money and provide the correct components and a frame strong enough for cutting aluminum correctly at that money.

    To cut aluminum properly with correct feed rates, depth of cut (DOC), and give a good surface finish requires a strong machine, which uses linear rails, ideally profiled linear rails, Also ball-screws with correct end bearings. The frame and Z-axis need to be very rigid to handle the vibrations, steel or at least heavy-duty aluminum profile are required.
    The WorkBee or any of these Shapeoko type machines with their flimsy frames using narrow profile sections running on Rubber V- bearings with elastic bands for linear motion are simply a waste of time. Putting ball-screws on them is like putting lipstick on a Pig.

    Now I know you will have seen videos of them cutting Aluminium, but what they are not telling you or showing you is the effect this is having on the machine long term. Often they are also not telling you how long it takes scratching away at it with 0.25mm DOC. They are also not telling you how it hammers the machine or the shitty finishes they get if they try to take anything like correct DOC etc.

    These machines seem cheap but they nearly always end up costing you more in the long run for a number of reasons.
    #1 You'll throw money at it to upgrade the frame in an attempt to combat the weakness's but this is folly because you can't make a silk purse out of a Sow's ear. The frame is junk.!
    #2 You'll upgrade the Electrical in an attempt to give it more guts, this is pointless because the frame can't handle more power.
    #3 You'll try to upgrade to linear rails to get rid of those pain in the arse V-bearings, again pointless due to weak flimsy frame.
    #4 You'll upgrade the elastic bands to ball-screws, pointless because the frame is junk so the extra resolution and accuracy is wasted.!!

    Hopefully, a theme is appearing now..? . . .The frame is the foundation of any good machine and if it's weak then anything you upgrade or attach to it in an attempt to make it better is wasted money. These frames are Junk and all of the components are inferior or weak.

    The best advice I can give you is to save your money and build something yourself from steel/aluminum and with the correct components. Or if you haven't got the tools, time or ability to self build then wait a little longer and save up and have someone like my self build you one.

    I promise you this, if you buy one of these WorkBee's then you will regret it long term. They are great for learning on if cutting woods etc and often quickly outgrown but they are useless for cutting aluminum and will disappoint you quickly.


    Clive answered the Linux CNC questions. But again I'll warn against going the cheap route on controllers like the Arduino or GRBL setups. They will be limiting and frustrating for a first-time builder.
    End of the day if you want to do CNC successfully you can't cut corners or do it on the cheap. It's THE BIGGEST MISTAKE new builders make and ALWAYS ends up costing more long-term or worse puts people off CNC altogether.
    -use common sense, if you lack it, there is no software to help that.

  8. #7
    hmmm OK thanks, i am fine building a frame from scratch and should have most of the tools, but i just dont see how i can make it anywhere near the price of the workbee frame. i have around 1200 total budget and so far have about 600 in electronics only leaving 600 ish for the frame. is 600 doable for a diy frame or its it going to be significantly more?

  9. #8
    One route you might take is to concentrate your funds on the mechanical hardware to begin with, build a solid frame and use appropriate motors and drivers as jazz suggests, but get started using a cheap controller using Linuxcnc on an old windows XP era compute with a parallel port if you can find one gathering dust and a cheap breakout board. This arangement is cheap enough to consider it expendable and you will be able to test your machine while choosing your preferred controller and saving up the cash.

    Linuxcnc can be a bit daunting if you want to add bells and whistles but for a vanilla set-up it's very easy to get going using the included wizards.
    Engineering is the art of doing for ten shillings what any fool can do for a pound.
    Wellington.

  10. #9
    Yes ok, I can see the logic in that, but just how much do I need to make a good frame? Is 1200 even enough?

  11. #10
    I don't know the cost of steel in dear old Blighty, but you're looking for RHS (rectangular hollow steel) prices. Here in Australia you could buy an awful lot of it for the equivalent of 600 quid but we dig it out of the ground over here so it might be cheaper! Aluminium on the other hand costs an arm and both legs. I built my machine from steel scavenged off the local tip but that is not the recommended source. Other UK forum members will know more about the likely cost than me.

    There are several build logs on the forum which show good designs for welded frames (mine is NOT one of them). If you can already weld, brilliant. If you can't, it's easy enough to do an adequate job and a cheap welder is adequate. You are not building the Forth Bridge and some fairly scrappy looking results will be good enough. You can hide all sorts of sins with a grinder, car body filler and paint. have a look at the pictures in post #5 of the following thread for the proof of that!
    http://www.mycncuk.com/threads/13904-Kit-s-Machine

    With a steel frame and gantry and a low cost, if temporary, controller you should expect to have most of your immediate budget available for the mechanical components of rails, ballscrews, belts and pulleys etc. and the motors, drivers and power supply plus spindle and VFD.

    One very important way you can save money is to consider if you can reduce the cutting area you WANT to build to the cutting area you NEED to build.
    Engineering is the art of doing for ten shillings what any fool can do for a pound.
    Wellington.

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