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  1. #1
    Hey everyone, I am not sure if this question was asked on this forum before but if it wasn't I believe this post will be beneficial to the noobs like me who are trying to get into the CNC world in the future. I am looking to buy or build a small scale CNC milling machine which is stable and durable enough to cut steel,stainless steel, titanium etc. I am a bicycle frame builder by trade and I am looking to up my game by manufacturing unique and custom bike parts for my frames. This means having the ability to build bikes from ground up and bring back the bike building industry back to the UK. The price is not the issue as long as the machine doesn't resemble something like a small spaceship. Something like a desktop version will be so ideal for my workshop but the sad thing is I can't seem to find anything online that will fit this criteria. Milling machines/engravers are only good for wood and plastics so they are not good for me. The only steel/stainless steel cutting machines I have seen are like industrial scale, which honestly is very impractical for what I need it to od. So this is why I am on this forum to ask for your help and see if someone amongst you have a solution? Thanks

  2. There are lots of CNC milling machines that could meet your needs but you need to clarify what parts you need to machine. Are you talking about small items such as stems, gear hangers, headset recesses or larger items such as the ends of tubes or maybe jig parts?

    What's your budget?
    Last edited by irving2008; 02-02-2014 at 01:25 AM.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by irving2008 View Post
    There are lots of CNC milling machines that could meet your needs but you need to clarify what parts you need to machine. Are you talking about small items such as stems, gear hangers, headset recesses or larger items such as the ends of tubes or maybe jig parts?

    What's your budget?
    The price is not an issue in this case. What I don't want is water cutting or plasma router as it is not practical for something like my workshop. Small scale yet powerful is something I am ready to invest in. The sort of parts I will be building will include dropouts, braze ons, sprockets, gear hangers out of materials like titanium, chromoly and stainless steel. So yeah small parts but I would like the machine to mill a surface area of 0.5m x 0.5m allowing me to make jig parts if necessary. For a jig I currently own something called a jiggernaut The Jiggernaut Frame Jig. Now I would like the machine to replicate this jig in the future. So still small scale and not something that weighs a couple of tons. Cheers

  4. #4
    Hi there

    I usedto have a carting track so i get some of your needs, we used to pay a local firm to make the parts we wanted.

    To save you a bit of reading and headscratching. direct your reading to the following directions.

    1. Your spindle needs to be powerful enough to cut them materials at low speed but high torque. ( just meens matching your spindle to your needs when you purchase ). You will probebly find most ebay spindles to fast

    2. You should be able to easly beat the resolution your looking for ( accuracy ) with a basic machine.

    Some other point to consider.

    You can build the cnc parts you need, on top an old machine, if you can find a good old fixed router machine that will run the router at the speeds and power you need, you can fit the XYZ to that. But, building your own new is relatively easy.

    Depending on your table design, you could add a cheep plasma cutting head to it for the few times that it would be usfull, then have a spindle head for cutting/milling or other needs.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by george uk View Post
    Hi there

    I usedto have a carting track so i get some of your needs, we used to pay a local firm to make the parts we wanted.

    To save you a bit of reading and headscratching. direct your reading to the following directions.

    1. Your spindle needs to be powerful enough to cut them materials at low speed but high torque. ( just meens matching your spindle to your needs when you purchase ). You will probebly find most ebay spindles to fast

    2. You should be able to easly beat the resolution your looking for ( accuracy ) with a basic machine.

    Some other point to consider.

    You can build the cnc parts you need, on top an old machine, if you can find a good old fixed router machine that will run the router at the speeds and power you need, you can fit the XYZ to that. But, building your own new is relatively easy.

    Depending on your table design, you could add a cheep plasma cutting head to it for the few times that it would be usfull, then have a spindle head for cutting/milling or other needs.
    Thanks for a detailed reply George. I believe something with high torque, low speed and deep cutting will be an ideal cutter for my purpose. One thing that I do lack expertise in is designing something of this scale. For example I have never worked with any CNC device before but I ready to learn. So say if I had the parts and plans to build one then it will be relatively simple for me to assemble but to design the parts and then getting the parts made would be something I cannot do and I don't think I have the time and resources to learn at this stage. The best thing would be for me to ask you guys as what small scale machines do you guys have and what will you guys do to improve it? Thanks

  6. #6
    if it were me depending on the size of the parts and given the material you want to cut (you say small scale machine)id be looking at mill conversions to cnc ,theres a few conversion threads on here to give you some insight on whats involved.
    by all means look at building one, if you can weld, something fixed gantry would be favourite with a proper spindle.

  7. #7
    hi

    For example I have never worked with any CNC device before but I ready to learn
    , a lot of the knowledge you have for your current job fit in quite well. maybe a good idea to register for the meshcam email lessons in cnc, it gives you a good all round understanding from the machine to the bits,

    So say if I had the parts and plans to build one then it will be relatively simple for me to assemble
    this is a good place to start, http://www.mycncuk.com/forums/gantry...g-machine.html

    The best thing would be for me to ask you guys as what small scale machines do you guys have and what will you guys do to improve it
    .

    perhaps you will get the best advise if you describe or show examples of the parts you want to cut. the angles you require on some of the parts may make a difference to what advice you get.

    If you have an example of a complex part you wish to be able to machine, post it, it will give the more experienced machinest on here an idea of what you will need.

    as well as above, i would consider thinking about it in the following order

    1. machine cutting area, what is the maximum travel you need in XYZ ( largest part you will build )
    2. whats the toughest material you think you may use

    understanding the above, will allow people to give you advice on the parts like motors, drivers, screws and pitches, electronics and general design.

    on the more compex side, will any of your parts require a turret ( side spinning spindle for milling or threads ect ), or a 4th axis. If you not sure about this, post examples of the parts

  8. #8
    maybe a good idea to register for the meshcam email lessons in cnc, it gives you a good all round understanding from the machine to the bits
    I will. Thanks

    this is a good place to start, A sufficiently strong machine
    I believe these guys made all the parts from scratch. Not sure if I have the resources or the background to be able to design my own parts but will keep reading

    If you have an example of a complex part you wish to be able to machine, post it, it will give the more experienced machinest on here an idea of what you will need.
    The things that I am most interested in making are these DROPOUTS :: Nova Cycles Supply Inc., BMX Sprockets | BMX Sprocket | Sprocket Sizes | Evans Cycles, maybe Road Cranksets | Chain Reaction Cycles etc.

    The emphasis is on making these parts custom to each bikes. Making original parts and choosing the best material for it.

    1. machine cutting area, what is the maximum travel you need in XYZ ( largest part you will build )
    2. whats the toughest material you think you may use
    1. x-axis = 500mm y-axis 500mm z-axis= 150mm
    2. Stainless steel and titanium

    on the more compex side, will any of your parts require a turret ( side spinning spindle for milling or threads ect ), or a 4th axis. If you not sure about this, post examples of the parts
    Not sure yet but i think it won't be necessary for the part I will be producing

  9. #9
    all good

    2. Stainless steel and titanium
    That shows you will need a decent water capacity for cooling ( or cooling liquid ), and run offs for the cooling in the bed, a pump, and probably a card that can controll the pump.

    the standard sprockets should not be a problem, the more complex one, you would be better asking one of the more experiences users if they can achieve them required angles using bits, or if considerations for a B/C head strapped to the table would be the way forward from the start

  10. #10
    That shows you will need a decent water capacity for cooling ( or cooling liquid ), and run offs for the cooling in the bed, a pump, and probably a card that can controll the pump.
    If I add all these components up will I still be able to achieve something of a reasonable size+weight that I could fit in my 12x8 shed? Or do I have to find an industrial unit to run this sort of machine? I know I am asking for a lot here but if you think I am being impractical then I guess I will have to leave this bizarre obsession of mine lo.

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