1. #1
    Hello All,

    Whilst browsing the web for some time and many hours spent researching I stumbled upon this forum, so first of all I'd like to say what a great site. It's been incredibly helpful and interesting just browsing through the various forum threads.

    But more to the point, I'm seeking advice and knowledge as I'm shortly to be starting up a new project which will be heavily dependent on CNC machining and various other manufacturing process's.

    I'm planning to machine a variety of different materials including hard wood, metals such as stainless steel and a variety of different plastics. Ideally all on the same machine, however at this stage my lack of experience shows as I don't know if this is possible.. So my first question is, is this possible.

    The pieces will be no larger than 200mm (l) x 200mm (w) & 60mm (d)

    However there will be certain areas of very fine detail and precision, predominantly on the stainless steel, such as a pair of very small hinges.

    Would really like some advice on the following:

    Can a wide variety of materials be machined on one machine such as metal, wood and plastic?

    Are their certain limitations on purchasing a machine that does a variety of materials?

    Which manufacturers would be recommended to purchase a good reliable machine from? The budget can range from 5k - 20k but the cheaper the better, however I wouldn't want to compromise on quality. Second hand or used is also an option.

    I really value the answers from you all and hope someone can help.

    J

  2. #2
    ill have a go at explaining what i think the issues may be...
    stainless is a bit of a bast**d to machine and needs a good solid heavy machine (slow and cumbersome as you would imagine)

    wood needs speed (high spinlde speeds and feed) and requires much less cutting force so a less sturdy and lighter machine

    to some degree you can take very light cuts on a light machine to cut harder materials however i dont think a typical cnc router will manage stainless because to have your cuts light enough not to cause resonance problems the tool probably wouldnt be cutting at all and would be just rubbing the tool to a very early death
    (if it was cutting you would be there all day making a small part)

    inversly, cutting wood on a slow cumbersome mill would not feed into the wood fast enough to get a good chipload and would rub/heat the tool... again, an early death for your tool

    soooooo.... its either a very heavy built router or a mill with massive motors

    hope this gives you an idea of the problem... its not impossible to solve the one size fits all but it sails pretty close to the "two machines is cheaper" solution

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by blackburn mark View Post
    ill have a go at explaining what i think the issues may be...
    stainless is a bit of a bast**d to machine and needs a good solid heavy machine (slow and cumbersome as you would imagine)

    wood needs speed (high spinlde speeds and feed) and requires much less cutting force so a less sturdy and lighter machine

    to some degree you can take very light cuts on a light machine to cut harder materials however i dont think a typical cnc router will manage stainless because to have your cuts light enough not to cause resonance problems the tool probably wouldnt be cutting at all and would be just rubbing the tool to a very early death
    (if it was cutting you would be there all day making a small part)

    inversly, cutting wood on a slow cumbersome mill would not feed into the wood fast enough to get a good chipload and would rub/heat the tool... again, an early death for your tool

    soooooo.... its either a very heavy built router or a mill with massive motors

    hope this gives you an idea of the problem... its not impossible to solve the one size fits all but it sails pretty close to the "two machines is cheaper" solution
    Hi Mark,

    Thanks for the reply, made things MUCH clearer!

    Will a wood router be able to deal with plastics? If so I'll look to invest in a wood router and a seperate machine for stainless.

    Is there anything I really need to look out for when purchasing the right machinery?

    Also, do you have any suggetions RE manufacturers/sellers? I'd like to buy from the UK ideally, cheaper the better, but still not compromising on build quality and durability.

    Thanks again :)

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by julian View Post
    Hi Mark,

    Thanks for the reply, made things MUCH clearer!

    Will a wood router be able to deal with plastics? If so I'll look to invest in a wood router and a seperate machine for stainless.

    Is there anything I really need to look out for when purchasing the right machinery?

    Also, do you have any suggetions RE manufacturers/sellers? I'd like to buy from the UK ideally, cheaper the better, but still not compromising on build quality and durability.

    Thanks again :)
    i cut mostly plastics on my machine (acetal/delrin) some abs type plastics
    and some alluminium
    my machine is a small heavy built router (500mm x 400mm ish)

    if you have the time it makes sense to build your own machine and spindles... (if not, look for a small machine with ballscrews and profile rails all round)

    there are enough people on this forum to help you through the pitfalls of building your own machine... its not rocket science, if you have the will power you will manage it
    it will cost you a fraction of the cost and will be made to fit your spec (and you will know how to fix it when it breaks)

    you could browse the build logs and copy someone elses machine, im sure most would give you any drawings they have and talk you through the hardships of that perticular design

    designs based on aluminium extrusions are reasonably simple to build and dont require much fancy footwork :)

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