My name is Franco and I am a CNC machinist/general machinist from Lincoln, East Midlands.
The main machine I program/operate is an Maho Grazino GR400C Lathe. I also operate a Maho milling machine but the model number escapes me at the moment.
I love making and building things and I always have some kind of project on the go. I have a little workshop set up in my garage and I'm often messing around in there.
One of my hobbies is retro arcade gaming and I have a couple of Japanese 'Candy Cab' arcade machines and a small PCB library of games. I have a router table in my garage and I make a lot of plastic parts for Japanese cabinets for members of other forums.
I would love my own CNC router. There are so many things I would like to make and my own CNC machine would be amazing. I cannot build one now as we are currently saving up to buy our first house and I think it will be a couple of years before I can realistically build one.
In that time I plan on doing plenty of research and planning so that I am ready to go as soon as the time is right.
Its very early days of planning and things will most likely change but at the moment I am thinking of building a machine with a cutting area of approx 3000x1000mm. I would like to build a fairly accurate machine and I am prepared to spend a fair amount on building a decent one.
Whilst a CNC router would be great, a CNC laser would be amazing. I do a lot of acrylic work and having a CNC laser would be fantastic. Is is possible/practical to build a hybrid / dual use CNC router/laser?
Well I think that is enough waffle for now. I hope to pick your brains about many things and I hope I can also input some help and advice where I can.
Hello Franco and welcome.
Sounds like you are in a good position to get a CNC built when you are ready given you have access to machines.
I can't see any reason why a combined laser / router isn't feasible as they are basically the same machine. You might have to take into acount when designing it that you need room / mountings for the flying mirrors.
On one forum I'm on a guy is building his own laser from a kit of parts from the US. Slow going as he's pushed for time and money but he's making a nice job, only small, A3 sized but the concept could be scaled up.
You only need the laser / optics section to graft onto a larger machine.John S -
Hi John, thanks for your reply and for the welcome.
Yes, hopefully I should be able to get some parts machined at work. Currently we get a fair bit of time to do 'home orders' but in about a year we are moving to a new site where I think personal jobs will not be a possibility. With that in mind I would like to get something designed over the next 6 months or so and get what parts I can made whilst I can.
That sounds great about the combined router/laser. I was hoping to get a positive answer about that.
Do you have a link to the A3 laser project you were talking about or are outside links not allowed?
Also, from a beginners point of view would you recommend reading any particular tutorials, guides etc on the internet or are there any books worth investing in?
Thanks again for your help.
Just a though but 'a fairly accurate machine' is not (without spending a lot of money) likely to also be a fast machine. Laser cutters can run at high feed rates compared to routers ... I wouldn't be surprised if insufficient feedrate or acceleration could be an issue? The one at school is belt driven, possibly for this reason and no doubt due to cost.
I'd like to add a laser to my CNC router ... but to get even just a 60W/80W one (so enough for plastics, thin plywood) costs a huge amount. I'd prefer to spend the money on a plasma cutter (or more likely make one as where's the fun in buying it) and cut steel sheet instead.
Last edited by Jonathan; 31-07-2011 at 10:55 PM.
here is the link.
there is quite a few other links and useful information inside this post as quite a few are doing this build.John S -
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