Thread: China or UK
I'm searching around in vain trying to find a machine that will fit my requirements, it's a right old head scratcher and just when i think i have nailed it a doubt creeps in or i find a comment that puts me back at square one.
Bit of backstory to bore you all with, i mainly work with wood and mess around building e-cigarettes for personal use, as mentioned in my intro the tools i have are pretty basic, plunge router, bandsaw, wobbly workmate, just getting a level to route on a workmate is a task in itself and i would like to work with more precision, cutting brass with a fret saw and filing it with a needle file for hours on end to fit a recess gets old pretty quickly after the fourth day
A friend told me about desktop CNC machines and i decided to have a sniff around, yeah that ended well as there are so many offering the moon and i'm a cynical bugger at the best of times so i found your forum here and read up a little.
Now if i was sticking to purely wood then the decision would be a lot simpler i believe but since i'm an awkward sod i need one that can handle aluminium as well, cue much banging of head against a wall.
Space is a big problem so i'm after a fairly compact unit, the boxes i make aren't big, height of the box is no bigger than 6" width the same and the depth of them is never over 3"
the pocket inside the boxes is roughly 25mm in depth 45mm wide and a height of about 90mm.
Here's a brass and Indian Rosewood one i did about a month ago
and there's that brass faceplate that nearly cost me my remaining follicles
So that's the dimensions of the boxes i make and hopefully i can find a desktop CNC that could handle that in both wood and aluminium, a machinist friend of mine recommended i aim for a machine that can handle a 6mm end mill when machining alu, i thought i had found the ideal machine in the 'mini muscle v2' but on reading a bit here most people are going with a 2.2kw WC spindle for anything aluminium and he doesn't offer that option.
I then looked at the Stepmores site that offered that spindle and upgrades like cast base and square rails, i know cast can vary wildly in quality so i guess it's all a gamble at the end of the day, i'm wondering if this with all the optional upgrades would be up to the job? any opinions on it?
I'll be honest i would prefer the machine to be UK sourced just for the support alone, i have looked around and the likes of Marchant Dice seem well over the knock
As for building one myself i wouldn't know where to start if i'm totally honest and i'd like to be using one sometime this decade lol
If you got through all that drivel then well done, any advice or opinion is received with thanks.
Hi and welcome.
You are right in thinking that a good spindle is essential for your work. We have a 3040 with the DC spindle and it has blown up. See if you can get a 3040 with a water cooled spindle. That will do aluminium if you take small cut at a time and go quick.
If you have the extra cash have a look at a 6040 with the larger spindles too.
Now as for UK or China, my advice is anywhere in the EU. If you import from China you will have to pay VAT + the 3-4% import duties. There are a number of German sellers as well as UK based sellers. The UK ones may be Chinese outfits that have bonded stores in Portsmouth and can ship to you in 5 day with free postage. I have 3 machines purchased this way and DHL deliver very quickly.
Best of luck.
Stocking more goodies than just Smoothsteppers
Hi komatias and thank you for the reply :)
I hear you about the EU and i'm totally open to that, the support was my main concern and the only dealings i have had with Chinese suppliers has been a case of 'don't fix it just buy another one...or ten' i wish my budget stretched to that solution but like most it doesn't
Yep the spindle, rigidity and other factors seems to be high up there for handling aluminium, the smaller spindles and kress router spindles can handle it if they make multiple passes and take .5mm cuts i've been told but it's nice to have a bit of headroom i reckon.
I'm hoping to get a shed up very soon so i can get all my woodworking gear in there, looking at this CNC business i'm going to need a 10 plug extension lead lol
You need a small cnc mill I think, not a router. How much do you want to spend? 2.2 kW is totally ott for a quarter inch endmill, half a horsepower will be fine, I have a little Denford Novamill with this and it cuts aluminium with a 10mm endmill and quite heavy cuts with no problem at all. If buying new look at a KX1 from Arc Eurotrade.
What?????? you're only vaping at 12w! You must get good battery life,hehe. ;)
Yep, agree with everyone else. Buy U.K if Support is needed, or E.U if not to fussed and want a better price. Forget about buying from china as support is limited and only slightly cheaper after customs put their hand in your pocket. Some good deals do pop up now and then though.
There's an X1 cnc for sale on this site if you look in the for sale section....
I can't offer any advice on choice of machine, but I can tell you that I've personally bought a lot of stuff, both for CNC and non-cnc from China and had no problems ever. Even once when I had a DOA they just took it back and sent another. I had to pay the return post though.
I note the bit you mentioned about almost deciding upon a machine and then finding some bad comments. If you find the best machine in the world you'll find some sod who'll thrash it. I'd look at one or two negative comments in the context of the overall impression you've gleaned from your research. Don't be afraid of aluminium, keep in mind that its a soft metal. You could cut a .25mm aluminium sheet with a scissors so imagine how easy a 1kw spindle would go through it. Long as you are realistic with your depth of cuts etc. If you are really worried about the China thing, why not look at sourcing just a frame from China and adding the electronics/spindle etc from the UK?
Go.od luck with it all.
Last edited by davegrennan; 10-07-2015 at 09:15 AM.
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