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  1. #1
    GoBo's Avatar
    Lives in Leicester, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 27-10-2016 Has been a member for 1-2 years. Has a total post count of 19.
    Good afternoon all.

    Quick question that I'm sure I know the answer too really but probably dont want to crush my own dream, but its ok if you guys do.

    I require a CNC machine because;
    1) I have a practical use for it, making small signs and letters etc...
    2) Because they are cool. ( probably more important than the first point )

    I will need it to cut up to around 500mm x 700mm

    Here’s the kicker : Can, at all, it be made from wood/mdf?

    I have seen plans and kits etc that are made from MDF, but is it a reality? The reason I question it is that I nor any of my family are metal workers or have access to metal work equipment. Everyone I know are chippies. Also the cost, I am on a very tight budget, as this is for hobby only.


    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Hi Gobo

    once you have read a few posts on here you will appreciate how many times the same thing gets asked....

    My first machine was made out of mdf, Drawer runners for linear motion; a dremmel for cutting and old printer stepper motors for drive...

    There are many many videos on the web of people who have made wooden machines; thing is, most of these people end up starting again once they realise the draw backs to making machine out of these materials.

    in answer to your question. Yes; it can be made out of MDF; dont let anybody tell you otherwise. but it does very much depend on what you are cutting out; how often the machine is going to be used; where is it going to be stored (MDF cant be kept in a damp garage)

    If you are making a machine; as a proof of concept in a warm bedroom for cutting small signs; then I would encourage you to try... because you will learn so much along the way and id always encourage people to get into the hobby. if your anything like me, you'll learn a hole lot along the way.

    Only thing I would say (before everybody jumps in) I would encourage to get the electronics right from the start even if you cant afford "proper" materials right now. DO NOT BUY anything before reading up on here first.

    the TB650 driver on ebay is a classic example.

    Matt

  3. #3
    GoBo's Avatar
    Lives in Leicester, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 27-10-2016 Has been a member for 1-2 years. Has a total post count of 19.
    Hi Matt.

    Thanks for the helpfull reply.

    That's the kind of post I was hoping for. In my eyes this machine will be just a prototype for something a little more substantial.

    Currently it's going to be used a few times a week. But if it actually works well then more and more hopefully. I want it as a tool to assist my wife in her craft business.

    I work full time as an It manager but my dad who has his own wood working shop has offered floor space for it to go. He's offered to go "in" with me on the project too. Yes - I'm sure he wants to use it afterwards too.

    I really want to keep the build to a few hundred pounds. But realise that there is goin to be a minimum that's going to need to be spent.

    So hopefully a lot of advice and second hand components will be found here.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by GoBo View Post
    I really want to keep the build to a few hundred pounds.
    You may be overlooking the cost of electrics ?
    Spelling mistakes are not intentional, I only seem to see them some time after I've posted

  5. Although wood is no substitute for a stable material such as aluminium profile which can be worked with simple tools (invest in a few sizes of decent drill bits) don't go down the mdf route. If you must use wood, use a decent quality ply and engineered wood techniques.

  6. #6
    If you really want to take the wood route then i would recommend 'bamboo ply', about the strongest stable wood you will ever use.
    If the nagging gets really bad......Get a bigger shed:naughty:

  7. #7
    GoBo's Avatar
    Lives in Leicester, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 27-10-2016 Has been a member for 1-2 years. Has a total post count of 19.
    Hi guys thanks for your input. Seemingly one of the friendliest forums I have been on.

    I know it's not going to be high end but I really do want to go down the wood route. As mentioned my dad has a wood shop so tools are at the ready.

    Lol yes my costings a probably a joke at the minute.

  8. #8
    you can buy ali extrusion cut to length at no extra cost or cut it on a normal wood chop saw with a tct blade. Good quality wood/ply or mdf is not cheap ether and far harder to get accurate or make adjustments. From just completing my first built I could not see the point in trying wood when the aluminum extrusion to makes life so much easier during the build at very little extra cost on a small build and you will end up with a far better product. like said if you choose the right parts you do not need any metal work experience and can probably do it with just a nice set of drills and a drill press and possibly a chop saw with tct blade and get far more acuracey and easier to upgrade when you want to.

  9. #9
    Perfectly feasible to build a good machine from wood but not cheaply.! Or easily.

    For a Good wood based machine the design needs to be very well engineered and the materials of high quality. MDF just doesn't isn't good enough for this country.

    Electronics are the same wood or metal so don't scrimp here.

    To be honest if you haven't got metal working tools or skills to weld the frame then I'd encourage you to pay someone to weld it up because it will work out cheaper in the end. Metal is relatively cheap and will cost less than high quality ply woods or man made boards which will be required for any decent machine worth the effort.

    Regards the costs, wood or metal then unless your prepared to throw minimum £1000 at it then I'd suggest you leave it alone and save your money. Even at £1k it will be a challenge to build a machine worth the considerable effort required for any decent machine.! . . . . To try and build for less only leads to dissapointment in the end.!

  10. #10
    GoBo's Avatar
    Lives in Leicester, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 27-10-2016 Has been a member for 1-2 years. Has a total post count of 19.
    Quote Originally Posted by kingcreaky View Post
    Hi Gobo
    My first machine was made out of mdf, Drawer runners for linear motion; a dremmel for cutting and old printer stepper motors for drive...
    I would like to aim for somthing like this, but maybe using components that could go into the next version of the machine.

    Quote Originally Posted by kingcreaky View Post
    Hi Gobo
    the TB650 driver on ebay is a classic example.
    Im still in the process of haveing to google everything people mention at the moment. I amm assuming that these drivers are the main control for the motors, which recieve instruction from the PC/Software.

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