I'm a sheet metal worker by trade looking to get into CNC. I've used manual bridge ports and lathes in my time and have had an interest in the CNC side of things. I was made redundant last year and have spent my spare time teaching myself solidworks CAD. I have designed a few projects, which comprises of Perspex components and PCB circuit boards and now need a way of making them in Quantity. I am looking to build my own CNC mill so I thought it would be a good idea to join a club and get some advice before I start.
I am a complete beginner so any advice or suggestions on plans, materials and parts to build a CNC mill would be great.
Welcome Zed, why don't you add a name and location, there is often local knowlege from members wiling to share if we know where you are based.
.John S -
ok John will do
Is anyone there?
is anybody willing to help?
Wot with ??
Gizza clue what you want to do / cut / make etc.
Are you looking for a router or a cnc mill ?John S -
There are a few clues in my first post to what i wanted to cut like 'Perspex' ever heard of it? A bit like glass but not. And 'PCB circuit boards' speaks for its self dont it?
Also i was asking about plans you know as in 'construction plans' i.e DIY, build it yourself, home built, dont buy one make one that sort of thing.
Am i looking for a router of a cnc mill? I dont know i'd thought i'd ask you guys!!
I was just looking for some advice on plans that are avalible on the internet or ebay or whereever so i can build a low cost cnc to cut out Perspex designs and PCB circuit boards.
OK, sarcasm aside, more information needed...
- Whats your likely work-piece size and what sort of machining do you need to do on it?
- I know you said 'quantity' but are you aiming for speedy large scale production (=£££) or is a leisurely pace OK?
- Whats your budget?
- What skills/tools/aptitude for construction do you have?
- You make PCBs so I'll hazard a guess you have some working knowledge of electronics, so would you want to build or buy the controllers?
If you've got about 3 - 6mo to spare I'd say build it yourself. IMHO, quantity PCBs are best farmed out to a offshore supplier...
Thanks for the reply irving2008 (sorry about the sarcasm couldnt resist) no harm meant.
1, The peices i need to make are roughly 4" dia and have a number of 5 mm holes drilled in a pattern and made out of A4 size Perspex sheet in a range of thicknesses (2mm to 10mm). The circuit board is the same size but i would like to engrave it rather than ecthing and drill the holes at the same time if possible.
2, I'm only talking about small quantities to start with. something i can set up and leave running and only have to change the cutters for profile/holes.
3, My budget is mostly set by the wife, when she starts noticing things turning up in the post is when i usely stop lol. As long as its not thousands its ok as i plan on doing the work myself so just parts and a plan.
4, I've spent the last 20 years making/Assy aircraft i.e VC10's, nimrod, Bae 146 etc. I also have a workshop i rent out that is fairly well equipped even has an english wheel which i built from plans.
5, I have some knowledge of electronics but not an expert by any means but i can put together most things so yes i would rather build the controller if plans are avalible to cut costs but i wouldnt want to design and build for scratch if that makes sence.
I would also like to cut sheet metal brackets out on it out of ali up to say 16g.
At first glance it all seems so easy, you put together some slides, add screws to move them, motors to turn the screws, something to turn the tool and away you go.
Unfortunately home CNC is rather in it's infancy. Everyone has different requirements, there is no set formula for success on a budget.
You rather have to build a disaster to find out what the problems are. The only real alternative is to read lots of threads on a CNC forum like this and learn by other peoples mistakes. That's why you are getting flak, impatience will get you nowhere in this game. Appreciate that you are not the first to ask a question and that it would take someone hours to help you through the maze, humble is the best approach. We don't get paid for this you know.
There are two basic options, build a router or buy a mill then convert it. Either way there are pitfalls. The routers are flimsy things that depend on enormous spindle speeds to make the cut effortless so it doesn't bend out of shape. The mills try to overcome the bending by sheer weight of iron, but everything will bend, it's just a matter of degree. You quickly become a tolerance junkie.
Perspex has a bad habit of melting. you will need some way to get the heat out of the tool tip.
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