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  1. #1
    Hey guys,

    I'm very new to cnc but have had a passing interest since reading about them some years ago. At that time they were horrendously expensive, extremely complicated and generally impractical for all but a commercial setting. Well fast forward about 15 years and thing have improved no end for a hobbyist such as myself and I finally caved in and decided there was a better way over the old manual methods I've been accustom to.

    The problem was I had little to no information when I started looking at machines and so I didn't rush, instead I spent around 6 months just researching as much information as I could so as to be armed when it came time to pull the trigger so to speak. My budget was limited and that brought about even more complications as you always went the best for your money even when there's comparatively little of it. From this budget I set some realistic minimum specification that met my requirements. It had to be a 1250mm x 1250mm working area with a minimum of 200mm Z axis travel for the work I had in mind and to allow some growth and experimentation in the future. I was also mindful of that I'd be predominantly cutting MDF and this stuff is horrible for the lungs and makes a huge mess whenever its cut so a dust enclosure was a must as I didn't want the workshop covered in MDF 'snow'. Aside from that I was fairly flexible on the mechanical details as long as it was accurate and reliable. Speed wasn't a real concern and even if it was my budget wouldn't stretch to a fast machine that did all I wanted anyway, this was one of the main compromises.

    So armed with a set of requirements, a budget and the knowledge I'd gathered I set about looking for a supplier in the UK. I knew that it would be tough but I really had no idea how tough! There are very few cnc manufacturers in the UK who supply machines in the UK that start at less than 10k for what I wanted. Marchant Dice was one and the other I found advertising on ebay - Strike CNC. Marchant machines looked good but the price quickly rose as I inquired about the extra's I wanted for requirements and I no longer thought it was a very good deal. That's not to bad mouth Marchant, they were very helpful during all my inquiries. I didn't bother ringing Strike CNC at all because the lack of website and only an ebay presence made me suspicious when spending that amount of money(I shouldn't have been but more on that later). And that was pretty much it for UK suppliers I could afford. I did consider shipping overseas from places like K2CNC, ShopSabre, CNC-Step but the taxes and/or shipping costs quickly spiralled.
    Next up was searching ebay for a used bargain but again I found little to no machines within my budget that supported 200mm Z travel for the larger 3D work I had planned. Sure you could drop 20k and get something that had 200-300mm z travel but that was double my budget. At this point I was fed up of ringing places and staring at websites for hours. It was starting to look hopeless and maybe my expectations were unrealistic.

    I gave up the search for about a month to re-assess and when I began again I came across Strike CNC on ebay once again. I figured I had nothing to loose so sent them a message asking for them to contact me. Within about 30minutes I got a phone call from a really nice chap down there called Michael and over the course of a couple of hour conversation I'd convinced myself they were the real deal and the next day we hashed out the details for my machine and I placed an order. Thanks god for that! I was doubtful I'd ever get the machine I wanted for the budget I'd set but glad that Strike proved me wrong.

    That was back in mid December 2011. But because their machines are made to order there is a lead time which increased by me adding a lot of extra's in there too. I'm expecting delivery next week on the 8th Feb.

    For now I have attached a couple of work in progress shots as the machine neared completion that Michael kindly sent whilst I was biting my nails in anticipation of the exciting arrival of the machine but once the machine arrives I hope to post some pictures on here and hopefully give them a little exposure from a very happy customer(so far!). These guys have been nothing but helpful and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them, they're machines are well made too and the fact that you can tweak virtually any part of the order is a big bonus if your looking for something a little more tailored. The prices are better than anything I managed to find outside of DIY'ing my own machine too.

    For those interest the specs of the machine are as follows:
    • CNC router Stand mounted with full enclosure. Clear front & side for full viewing , clear double front doors & grey paneled double back doors , lexan polycarb windows used on the enclosure.

    • 1250mm X travel, 1250mm Y Travel, 200mm Z travel
    • Y axis with dual ballscrews and 4nm motors
    • X axis with 4 nm motor
    • Y axis with dual ballscrews and 4nm motors
    • Z axis 3 nm motor
    • 4 axis integrated control box with interface spindle control
    • Dual power supplies
    • 16x10mm anti backlash ball screws
    • Dual 25x10mm ball screws
    • 240v single phase operation
    • Precision Hiwin linear rail on the Y axis
    • Precision Shaft linear rail on the X axis
    • Kress spindle mount 43mm & Kress milling spindle FME 1050F
    • CNC hand controller
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  2. #2
    Machine was delayed for a week. Now due this Wednesday. Have attached a couple more images that I got from Strike to show the finished machine.
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  3. #3
    Hi Shinobiwan,

    Looks like a nice machine and I'm sure you'll have lots of fun with it! Since you're new to cnc just a few things to note:

    The Z axis uses unsupported rail which is less stiff than supported rail (as per Y axis) or profile (as per X axis). Since you are machining wood and the span of unsupport rail is a modest size it will probably be good enough. But for interest did you ask how much supported Z rail would be?

    The Kress has a good reputation, although like all routers is on the noisy side. The enclosure should help a bit but long machining jobs can get tiring for you and any neighbours. There are lots of threads on here showing the virtues of upgrading to spindles (either air or water cooled) so may be something to consider in the future. It would be a relatively easy upgrade in the future so nothing lost.

    Any details on the control box (driver makes, stepper voltage etc)? If it contains commercial bought in units there are likely to be other users on here who can share their experiences and set ups.

    Good luck with it all and welcome to CNC'ing.
    Building a CNC machine to make a better one since 2010 . . .
    MK1 (1st photo), MK2, MK3, MK4

  4. #4
    Oh Argh Oh ah self control as never been my strong point but the medication must be working because I'm resisting.!!!!! . .:whistling:

    When the urge gets too much I just think back to all those 100000's of lines the teacher gave me.??

    Casper . . Write 1000's times. . . " I Must learn to keep my mouth shut". .

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by JAZZCNC View Post
    Oh Argh Oh ah self control as never been my strong point but the medication must be working because I'm resisting.!!!!! . .:whistling:

    When the urge gets too much I just think back to all those 100000's of lines the teacher gave me.??

    Casper . . Write 1000's times. . . " I Must learn to keep my mouth shut". .
    Oh dear is it *that* bad?

    I knew there were compromises made for that price but I figured for wood it'd be fine.

    I'm a big boy and its a router not my first born so please don't feel any need to censor yourself.

  6. #6
    Unsupported rails on the Z are not as bad as other axis as gravity is helping.
    True you have sideways cutting forces but the weight of the head doesn't cause deflection like the weight on X and Y.

    Add to this they are usually short and stiff, I personally can't see a problem.
    John S -

  7. #7
    I agree, round rail for a short Z is not normally a problem especially if you are using it for soft materials?
    Looks like a Marchant Dice machine?

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by JAZZCNC View Post

    When the urge gets too much I just think back to all those 100000's of lines the teacher gave me.??

    Casper . . Write 1000's times. . . " I Must learn to keep my mouth shut". .
    That was a waste of time then:whistling:
    The more I know, I know, I know the less. (John Owen)

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Shinobiwan View Post
    Oh dear is it *that* bad?

    I knew there were compromises made for that price but I figured for wood it'd be fine.

    I'm a big boy and its a router not my first born so please don't feel any need to censor yourself.
    Ok first I appologize, I made it sound worse than was intended.! I've got a canny knack of pointing out or saying truths "some" Dont want to hear.!! (Mainly the ones selling the machine) But seen as your ok with it then I'll point out the things I think are not Ideal.
    First So to be clear for others " THIS IS JUST MY OPINION BASED ON MY KNOWLEDGE" Others will have theres' but this is mine and I've been invited to give it.!!. . .So get stuffed if you dont like it.!!:dance:

    Z Axis:. . .Yes I agree with John S, Gary unsupported round rail is ok for short Z Axis. . . But this hisn't short, It's quite long.!
    The over hang from bearings to tool tip looks to be a far bit creating a long-ish lever, also the front and rear plate don't look very thick. The other thing is the rear plate length and the amount of unsupported over hang from Y axis bearings, again too much without support IMO. Yes this will be ok for the little Kress but if you want to upgrade to water cooled or larger spindle then I think it will show it's weakness. . . It will certainly restrict the depth of cut(DOC) and feed rates (Fr), even in wood.

    Tho it's not easy to see from the pics I get the feeling the Y Axis top gantry cross brace is just a piece of Aluminium plate with the rails bolted onto to it for support.? Say this because cant see any slots that would be present if it was wide profile.!! . . . If so then with that heigh/width gantry combo at this width of machine then it needs bracing up more IMO.
    Don't like the ratio between gantry height and gantry side width, the bearing spacing hisn't very much. Yes it's driven from both sides but the height and width don't gel nice and if like I belive the gantry cross piece is just Ali plate with no bracing and just relying on the rails for support then flex will show when cutting hard or deep.!!. . Again restricting DOC & FR.

    The frame under the bed hisn't supported enough with just one central support for this wide a machine IMO.

    Not a major issue but not keen on them little nema23 motors spinning 25mm ballscrews, they are going to be working over time with the extra inertia of 25mm ballscrews.!

    Please don't get me wrong I'm not saying the machine is rubbish because it's not, but again "IMO" It does have potential for issue's in some area's.!! And even thou you are only planning on cutting wood, there's cutting wood and then theres cutting wood with correct DOC & FR's and this is when any weak area's show them selfs.!!!

    On another note I also think the bullk of the cost of this machine would have been the Cabinet enclosure.??

    Like Routercnc I would be interested to know the spec of the drives control box etc.! . . . Also the price if your up for sharing.??

    Hope you have good fun when it arrives and I'm sure you'll enjoy it..

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  11. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by JAZZCNC View Post
    Ok first I appologize, I made it sound worse than was intended.! I've got a canny knack of pointing out or saying truths "some" Dont want to hear.!! (Mainly the ones selling the machine) But seen as your ok with it then I'll point out the things I think are not Ideal.
    No problem, I wish I'd known about this place back when I first started looking around. Nothing wrong with a frank opinion, I'd rather have that than the marketing speak!

    From my limited knowledge I can see your concerns about some of the decisions taken with the construction but whether this negatively affects the parts I intend to produce will only be realised once I start cutting. I think your right that I'll have to dial back the speeds significantly. I've been told rapids of 5000mm/m are to be expected but cutting will reduce this greatly and I imagine 1500 upto possibly 2000mm/m with a 1/4" DOC in MDF will be about the limit. I'm more concerned about acceleration because I'll be doing a lot of detail work where this is more important than traverse speeds. Wondering how much things will jerk around with higher settings, probably quite a lot by the sounds of it sadly.

    Tho it's not easy to see from the pics I get the feeling the Y Axis top gantry cross brace is just a piece of Aluminium plate with the rails bolted onto to it for support.? Say this because cant see any slots that would be present if it was wide profile.!! . . . If so then with that heigh/width gantry combo at this width of machine then it needs bracing up more IMO.
    Don't like the ratio between gantry height and gantry side width, the bearing spacing hisn't very much. Yes it's driven from both sides but the height and width don't gel nice and if like I belive the gantry cross piece is just Ali plate with no bracing and just relying on the rails for support then flex will show when cutting hard or deep.!!. . Again restricting DOC & FR.
    It does look like alu plate that forms the gantry but its alu extrusion. I'm not sure about the exact dimensions but it looked like about 160mm x 30mm or possibly 160x20mm.

    The frame under the bed hisn't supported enough with just one central support for this wide a machine IMO.
    This was a concern of mine in recent days since I started looking at some of the DIY builds on here - much more substantial beds. I can't see an easy way of bracing it more thoroughly though, especially in the direction parallel to the gantry, because the ball screws are in the way make a decent and useful cross section of bracing impossible to fit in there.

    Not a major issue but not keen on them little nema23 motors spinning 25mm ballscrews, they are going to be working over time with the extra inertia of 25mm ballscrews.!
    I was led to believe these are nema28 on the x and y with 4Nm rating. However when I do a good search for nema28 I get nothing. Only nema23 and 34 return useful results. Unsure now.

    On another note I also think the bullk of the cost of this machine would have been the Cabinet enclosure.??
    The enclosure was 600 extra so nearly an 1/8th of the price.

    Like Routercnc I would be interested to know the spec of the drives control box etc.! . . . Also the price if your up for sharing.??
    I feel some what stupid because I have no idea about the electronics aside from the specs I was given(these are in the original post). The machine was the first of its kind with the enclosure so I agreed to have them take some pictures for marketing purposes and got it cheaper. They're selling the same machine with hiwin rails all around (mine is only on the Y) and possibly some more upgrades including the electronics for 6999.
    Hope you have good fun when it arrives and I'm sure you'll enjoy it..
    I'm sure I will and thanks.
    Last edited by Shinobiwan; 15-02-2012 at 03:23 PM.

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