I'm looking to buy a small milling machine or router at some point next year for cutting small parts (up to 180x180mm) from aluminium (up to 6mm thick). My requirements are that it must be fairly small and fully enclosed (although I could build an enclosure myself if needs be) as it is going into an electronics assembly/test environment rather than a machine shop - I cannot have aluminium chips and coolant spaying all over the place. It must not require compressed air either. Small depths of cut are not an issue, I'm not worried about jobs taking a while. A brushless spindle would be good as I don't want a horrible brushed motor screaming away when the machine is in use.
The Isel ICP 3020 + iSA 500 spindle seem to fulfil my requirements pretty well. At about £6000 though, that set-up doesn't come cheap and is right at the top end of my budget.
There are plenty of small ready built and kit CNC routers available which work out considerably cheaper than the Isel machine. Being a newbie to this kind of stuff, I'm not sure where the price/quality sweet spot is though or whether any one machine stands out from the rest. I'd also consider second-hand kit.
Any advice would be much appreciated. I'd also be interested to hear what experiences, if any, people have had using the ICP 3020 as I'm not able to find any reviews.
Hi Matt, for your requirements I think a small rigid cnc mill would best suit. If you do not intend to build your own machine I think that pre-owned will be best suited for your budget. The ex-educational machines tend to be good value for money and have usually had very little use. The DENFORD, BOXFORD, and EMCO machines may be the best candidates, but try to avoid the very lightweight (micro-mill type) machines. Most of this type of mill, whilst mechanically very sound, will probably need to be re-fitted with more modern electronics. You will often find machines that have already been up dated, but don't be too deterred if not. Modern motors, drivers and control system are improving all the time and you would get plenty o fhelp and advice on this site should you need it. Good luck. G.
Thanks for the advice.
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