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  1. #1
    Hello,

    I am looking to buy a 3-axis CNC router with the main purpose of milling PCBs but also more general purpose - small wood, plastic, foam, thin aluminium control panels.

    Looking at all the Chinese 3020 / 3040 routers on ebay, they all seem slightly different, from the pictures but very little way of distinguishing between them by specification or quality. How can I distinguish between them?

    Being able to repair and upgrade the machine is important to me and I like the idea of buying from the UK manufacturer/supplier, so that I know exactly what I am getting and be able to buy replacement parts - and Marchant Dice Ltd. / Worldofcnc.com was looking promising. But having emailed them a couple of times and received no reply, so I don't fancy my chances of getting support.

    Does anybody have any suggestions as to what I should buy? My price bracket is 500 - 1500 and hoping to run LinuxCNC with it. I am more confident about the electronics and computer side of things, than metal working...


    Thanks!

    nick.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by njh View Post
    I am looking to buy a 3-axis CNC router with the main purpose of milling PCBs but also more general purpose - small wood, plastic, foam, thin aluminium control panels.

    Looking at all the Chinese 3020 / 3040 routers on ebay
    The machines you refer to would be acceptable for everything you listed, except maybe the aluminium, so long as they come with ballscrews. You need ballscrews to get the required accuracy for engraving PCBs. I'd be very concerned if you're planning on using one of those machines to cut aluminium regularly, or are expecting it to do it accurately and quickly.

    Quote Originally Posted by njh View Post
    Marchant Dice Ltd. / Worldofcnc.com was looking promising.
    Old router build log here. New router build log here. Lathe build log here.
    Electric motorbike project here.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan View Post
    I'd be very concerned if you're planning on using one of those machines to cut aluminium regularly, or are expecting it to do it accurately and quickly.
    Ok. Maybe I don't care about aluminium then :)


    Quote Originally Posted by JAZZCNC View Post
    ***POST REMOVED ***
    Wow, glad I didn't get any closer to buying from them then!
    Last edited by Lee Roberts; 20-09-2013 at 06:15 AM. Reason: Quote Edited

  4. #4
    I bought a 3020 off ebay about a year ago for exactly the same things as you. Mine has leadscrews not ballscrews, and while I understand Jonathan knows a lot more about these things than I do, it seems fine for me. I'm not doing ultra fine pitch SMT on big boards though.

  5. #5
    Thanks richie00boy, that is really good to know - how did you choose an eBay seller to buy from?

  6. #6
    Just seen that there's a complete setup in the for sale section, only a couple of hundred more than a new eBay machine and you get a ready to run system with PC and Mach 3. Would get you started cutting PCBs straight away and because you like upgrading would be (by all accounts!!) perfect
    Neil...

    Build log...here

  7. #7
    My first machine was self built from scrap printer parts (& thin scaffolding type piping would you believe!) - unsurprisingly, it sucked, but it could at least do simple through hole pcbs.

    my next machine was imported from Taiwan....surprisingly solidly built but didn't have ballscrews (just simple M10 rod)....a lot better, but nesting (many copies of the same pcb) was not possible ....backlash issues meant that if you cut all the tracks for say 3 pcbs first, when you came to drilling run, the holes wouldn't align with the tracks!)

    If you're serious about accuracy & want to be able to do many copies of the same PCB in one session, then I'd strongly suggest that you buy a machine with ballscrews .....the Z suffix on the chinese cnc machines are normally the ones that have ballscrews (therefore 3040Z etc, for example - 2013 Updated CNC 3040Z-DQ 3-Axis Engraving Machine Router Set Mill Device cmh | eBay ...though be aware that the stepper driver boards on these chinese machines are awful & prone to very early problems/failure). I'd be inclined to instantly sell the control box (to someone who no doubt has one that blew up) & put the money towards some m542 drivers...http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/CNC-Micro-...item27c7454753

    For milling PCBs (& all the other materials you mention) I personally have a strong preference for fixed gantry CNC machine (of which there are zilch in the 3040 sizes available on Ebay) & would look at importing one.... http://cnredsail.en.alibaba.com/prod..._aluminum.html - that one is about $1200 delivered + taxes (which would probably result in a final 'to your door price' of 1100)
    Last edited by HankMcSpank; 19-09-2013 at 10:54 AM.

  8. The Following User Says Thank You to HankMcSpank For This Useful Post:

    njh

  9. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by njh View Post
    Thanks richie00boy, that is really good to know - how did you choose an eBay seller to buy from?
    It's easier than you think. There were basically two machines, the 3020 type with moving gantry and the sable type with moving table. I chose the 3020 type as it took up less desk space and a recommendation for this type came from a mate who worked with very high end CNC machines, can't remember now what his reason was though. Then I just chose the cheapest seller who shipped from the Portsmouth warehouse. There is no difference between sellers, they are all just drop shippers for the Portsmouth warehouse.

    Quote Originally Posted by HankMcSpank View Post
    backlash issues meant that if you cut all the tracks for say 3 pcbs first, when you came to drilling run, the holes wouldn't align with the tracks!)
    I'll have to see if that becomes an issue when I use the machine for bigger jobs. I priced up ballscrews recently and I think I could convert the X and Y axis for about 50 quid.

    I do hear a lot of people saying the controller you get is rubbish, but touch wood mine seems OK despite some errors on my behalf not setting it up correctly, which may have stressed it more than normal. That is the one thing I was lucky with, got a mate to help me set it up as settings provided by the seller were not right.

    I can let you have the settings file if you need it, should you buy the same machine.
    Last edited by richie00boy; 21-09-2013 at 06:34 AM.

  10. The Following User Says Thank You to richie00boy For This Useful Post:

    njh

  11. #9
    Thanks for the advice HankMcSpank and richie00boy

    Searching for ball screw in the title/description or 3040Z really reduces the result set. Think I will probably go for a ballscrew from the start.

    It looks like the newer/'updated' models have a black control box, like the ones on Yoocnc 3020 3040 6040 series - carving-cnc.com. Some even have YOOCNC written on them in the pictures.

    Good to know that I should expect to want to / need to replace the stepper driver boards at some point.

  12. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by njh View Post
    Wow, glad I didn't get any closer to buying from them then!
    Here we go More BULLSHIT SENSOR SHIP the machines are pile of over priced rubbish and that is my opinion based on experience with working on one of them and I've right to express it whether they like it or NOT.!! . . . . . . . .Even your Own Moderator made derogatory symbols he just hasn't got the Boll##ks to put it in words.
    Don't see you going round deleting all the post's where he's putting folks off buying from Zapp in favour of buying from China and Gary happens to frequent and support this site.?? . . . . Don't see Mr MD around here much do ya.!!. . .. . . . DELETING POSTS IS WRONG. . . . . . Also You don't delete all the Bast@~d ones where I'm helping people folks do ya . . . . Well let me say any more of my legit post's get deleted and I'm done with this site.!

    EDIT: Sorry NJH for this rant on your Thread but SENSOR SHIP really PISSES ME OFF.!!!
    Last edited by JAZZCNC; 24-09-2013 at 12:04 AM.

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