Thread: What to buy when starting out
I am looking to learn cnc machining, I have engineering background but beyond that this is all new to me. Im looking from a hobyist/home point of view so 240v and tabletop size is essential.
I will be working in wood primarily but would also like the option to machine brass or aluminium - speed is not essential when cutting in metal.
Like most people I have been looking on ebay at the 3040 or 6040 machines, something with a ballscrew seems more sterdy and accurate.
Have people got any experience of these machines, I have read that the wiring is cheap so thought I would throw it over to people who have already gone down this road in a hope for their opinions
Budget is a big factor to me, I dont mind second hand but obviously it needs to be fit for purpose.
I really would appreciate some guidance, many thanks
Several problems with the chinese machines, electronics are mostly cheap rubbish and the wiring is poor quality. Depending on the which you buy the Spindles are also rubbish unless they come with the water cooled version.
Strength wise then they are Ok-ish but again they are low spec due to low price so Linear bearings are low quality so become baggy and loose over time, obviously depending on usage determines how quickly but it doesn't take long if pushed hard.
Also thou they use ballscrews most I've seen suffer from poor mounting of them and use either normal deep grove bearings for the Fixed end or very poor quality and fitting angular contact bearings.
I wouldn't recommend a second hand machine unless it's had easy life or/and is cheap and you can give it a good look over.
My honest opinion on these machines is they are Ok for learning CNC but if you want to cut accurately and with decent feeds and Depth's of cut and still have quality finish your better to spend the money on something better or building your own.
Hope this helps.!
Last edited by JAZZCNC; 07-04-2014 at 08:31 PM.
Thanks for your reply, I wouldnt have a problem with building my own but would struggle as I dont have access to a workshop to make the parts.
If the Chinese ones, arent upto scratch what other choices are there and roughly what do they cost.
I have a Chinese 3040 that I have had for about three months,I use it for about 7 hours a week and have only ever used it on hard woods like Oak and phenolic board and it seems to be ok,The spindle on mine only goes up to 8000rpm which if I was buying again I would go for a better spindle,For what I use it for it's ok and I don't push it to hard and I never used it on brass or aluminium.I have posted a few videos off it under the title Chinese 3040 Arrives in the workshop & equipment section.
how readily available are the spare parts should you need them for the Chinese machines, or is one X axis lead compatible with all machines etc. By any chance you dont live in the midlands do you ?
I think you can get parts on ebay ..I don't live near the midlands I live the other side off the irish sea.
I am only a beginner so I couldn't advise you on the machine but you might get hit for import duties so you need to add that into the price. When I bought mine it was sent from Portsmouth so I had no import duties .
Also again the ballscrews will be standard chinese units but they will be connected with same poor setup and bearings.
Really if you look close the base unit is essentially the same base as the gantry machine, probably exactly same just with a Upright coloumn replacing gantry.
While it looks strong it won't be nearly as strong as it looks in practice because the column isn't ridged or fastened to the base anything like good enough, i also suspect the column is just thin aluminium plate bolted together so will be very flexy.!!
Electrical wise then looks like it's using cheap low powered components and the fact they are using 24V and don't actually show them makes me suspect the could be the TB based units commonly found on ebay. These are to be avoided like the plague.!!
Spindle is about the only thing of any note and this is just a standard water cooled spindle.
Unfortunatly I can't point you to anything better that can be bought for same money as it's just not possible to build them for same money and make money.
That said it is possible to build your own much better version for not very much more.!!
Last edited by JAZZCNC; 09-04-2014 at 02:57 PM.
how would i go about getting plans for building my own from scratch, I presume I could buy most of the bits from ebay and cobble it together with relatively few home made parts ?
Where do I go for this king of info ?
Like I say, I really only want to be machining brass as hard as it gets
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