Thread: hi all
I am looking to buy a cnc router for the purpose of cutting out shapes from mdf and plywood no thicker than 6mm . i would like a cut area of approx 800 x 1200 mm
I am totally new so would need advise on a machine of around £3000 if possible and also what other things i need like cad software etc.
If it all sounds a bit vague i do appologise but have read some of the posts on the forum and a lot of you guys seem really clued up.
any help would be much appreciated
Whats the plan regards machine to build or buy.? Does the 3K have to buy machine and software.?
If 3K has to do all then you'll get much better machine if you build.!! 2-2.2K will get you a pritty tidy bit of kit if you build it your self. Where as it don't get you nearly has much if buying.!!
Software wise then you have a few options and how you go about it will partly depend on your cutting requirements.?
Basicly you need Cad drawings or models to work from. These models or vector lines drawings from them then go into CAM software where you then set the cutting parameters and create toolpaths which then get output has G-code that the control software which runs the machine follows.
Depending on the type of work you do will largely steer you to the right CAD software, for instance if you are just cutting out flat 2D shapes, txt letters etc then nothing fancy is needed and actually there's 2D software out there for free. If 3D shapes or intricate carvings etc then a good modeling software will be needed which can be had anything from £80 to £800 and upwards for real high end software. But £100 can get you decent 3D software for most jobs.
Now if your just doing 2D or even simple 2.5/3D then there are CAM softwares that do both CAD and CAM funnly enough called CAD/CAM.
These software programs are great if you only have simple to moderate needs regards CAM because youonly need one software package but if complex 3D then dedicated CAD software is much better/easier/quicker.
These CAD/CAM programs all tend to handle the CAM side of generating run of the mill toolpaths ok for both 2D & 2.5/3D but again some CAM softwares are better suited to different types of work than others.?
For instance V carving or sign generation are best handled by software more geared round wood use that has toolpath stratgies which suit this type of machining and tend to offer features or ways of cutting to speed up or enhance the job. Equally they can be rubbish at say metal Milling type work.
So again depends on your needs and work.? . . . You'll find for most simple shape cutting and V carving/text type work the the CAD/CAM programs work out better and easier.!
The costs start about £100 and go into £1000's if you want.! Expect to pay £300-400 for half decent CAD/CAM software geared around woodworking.
Thanks jazz for reply
The time to build would be the biggest problem and the lack of a plan. Are there plans out there. Also the tooling for making some of the parts.
I am a self employed gas fitter so not a lot of spare time. What is an average build time ?
Regards plans then really there's not any of any note that I'd recommend for a first time build. Best advice would be trawl the threads looking at the various designs then ether copy one that catchs your eye or better still nick bits from several to build a machine that custom fits your own needs.
You'll find several folks (me included) on here willing to help regards making parts for you that you can't or don't have the equipment to make your self, obviously beer tokens become involved with some folks and some are bigger piss heads than others but in the main it works out cheap.!
Your location says Doncast. . . . Is that Doncaster.? If so I'm only 8-10 miles from Dony so your welcome to call and have a natter.!
I'd have thought when only looking to cut ~6mm wood materials you could buy something easily for £3k. The machine really doesn't need great strength or power to do that.
However, if you do want to start cutting any metals, even aluminium, you need a whole different quality of machine, since it needs structural strength.
No just wood tenson.
Thanks for the offer jazz may just take you up on that as i was fixing a boiler near prison last week. There seems to be a few people round about one person in sheffield has some parts coming from china by the looks of it . would not mind getting to know someone who would be willing to let me build the same as them and double the orders if that makes sense that way someone would know how to assemble. seen a few plans which look good.
As for skills i used to design and build road tankers and jetting machines. I used solid works 3d. But now my my most technical tool is a hacksaw. So you see very short of most things for manufacture although assembly wise that would not be a problem .
It's quite easy to build a low powerd, low strength machine to cut wood occasionally in your garage but completely different thing to build one that will do it 12hrs a day 6 days a week and shift meaningfull amounts of material.!! . . . Then strength and power are required even just cutting wood.
Kell, if you can build its best. There are plenty of people on the site that can advice and even make the specialist parts for you. BTW I used to be the senior designer for Harben Systems water jetters, small world.
BruceThe more I know, I know, I know the less. (John Owen)
motoxy the world is a very small place as jazzcnc and i found out the other day ? Replace quite a few diaphrams in the harbens lol nice machines. I designed a full ali tank and frame to over come overloading on vans.
Decided to build with some help (well a lot really lol ) so will have to see how it all comes together ?
Build is a great choice. Best bit of advice, once you start keep going. Delays can be fatal.
BruceThe more I know, I know, I know the less. (John Owen)