My name is Graham, I currently make bespoke furniture and frames but I was hoping to stretch out into cnc for various jobs ... and a bit of boys fun :D
I do have a question which is ,What is the biggest MDF router that could be made realistically i.e not 20ft x 20ft ,something with some accuracy - I'm really looking for a router that will process 4ft x 4ft. Would that be possible in MDF?
What sort of running gear would be recommended.
Sorry if those sorts of questions have been asked before ,I will be trawling the forum soon for info.
Hi Graham and Welcome.
First let me say would forget using MDF to build from you'll be wasting your time. It's not really suitable material for building any decent machine from and esp a larger machine.
You'll see there's recently been some debate on forum about using wood to build machines from and while it's possible it's not easy and very few succeed to build a good machine.
Most nearly always end up building another machine using better suited materials like aluminium profile or steel.
If your uncomfrtable using or working with steel which is by far the cheapist and strongest material then perfectly good machines can be made using aluminium profile which mostly bolts together.!. . It just costs much more money.
Best advise is do plenty of research and ask questions until you are satisfied you have a full understanding of what your about to take on.!
Thanks for the reply.
I can understand that MDF or birch ply might not be the most ideal material to use but from reading quite a few build logs - it seems as if a lot of people build a cheap router out of stuff they can gather together - it works albeit a bit roughly - then use that to make new parts for an upgrade :)
You're right about steel but I don't have the gear for welding or the money for aluminium at the minute.
I do have the facilities for machining timber however! and thought that making a timber one would highlight the problems etc. that can arise on a build.
The running gear can always be swapped to a shiny metal new one after I would hope :)
I'm only looking for a machine to rout ply's and mdf anyway with not a great deal of accuracy .1mm would probably be fine,although I would like to do some 3d carving so I expect I'd need it better for that.
Yes they do but in the end they spend much more time and money building and if you spoke to most they would probably say if they could start over they wouldn't take that route again.!!
Originally Posted by GrahamWhite
Not saying building from Wood isn't possible but it will almost certainly end up costing more money and time to build a machine frame that is capable of cutting to decent standard and do it repeatedly and reliably.
If you want to work with wood then my advise is build a substantial base frame from wood and then use either steel or aluminium profile for gantry and rails to run on.
IME the trouble with builds that use MDF/Wood is not soley the material but the fact they try to do it too cheaply and skimp on the components that matter most. IE: linear rails, ballscrews and electronics etc.
If the wooden frame is engineered correctly from decent materials then it's very possible to have perfectly fine machine that will last years but NOT if the linear motion are inferior and bodged.!!
Also don't think that just because your only cutting ply/MDF the machine can be built to a lesser standard becasue you'd be wrong and dissapointed.
MDF and PLY both need relatively high feed rates to cut correctly and give decent finish quality and tool life.! Skimp on the linear/electrical components or poorly/weakly design the machine and you won't achieve these feed rates so will be dissapointed or frustrated with the out come.
It takes very little more effort and money to avoid this and correctly do it one time only!!. . . . . . People are just blinded by what they know and closed to learning new skills which is sad really as these new skills are easy learnt with a rewarding outcome. IMO.!
Last edited by JAZZCNC; 20-11-2014 at 03:14 PM.
Many thanks again, I'm always up for learning new skills.... Maybe Santa might bring me a welding kit for Xmas :D. If I did go the wood route and never finished it, I'd end up with a nice sturdy workbench anyway!