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  1. #1
    New to CNCs, but I 'think' I'm heading towards purchasing an X4 from Robocutters, see bottom of page here:
    https://robocutters.co.uk/products.asp?cat=51

    But struggling a little with the dizzying range of options!



    Am 99% of the time looking to work in wood - likely softwoods also, but certainly want the flexibility to work in hardwoods. Don't plan to carve an aluminium etc Plan to mount this to my 8ft x 4 ft work table, so hopefully this'd give a pretty decent cutting area.


    Spec from the site I've selected:
    - 1500mm x 3000mm

    - 5 axis controller
    - Makita RT0700


    Questions:
    - 5 Axis controller - can I check I understand this. As I follow, this means the mill will be able to tilt to make angle cuts? Is this correct?
    - if I follow, as I've selected the 5 axis controller I don't need stepper motors?
    - Stepper cable - xlr or aviation - is there any big difference or recommendation here? Again do I need this if I'm using the 5 axis controller with motors included?
    - Pulley/Coupling - again I assume I don't need these as motor selected?
    - Ballscrew vs TR16 - no idea which is better here - any recommendations?


    Feel free to just give me a better configuration if you think there's a smarter setup - really looking for it to be as simple and robust as possible!


    Many thanks in advance for any advice!

  2. #2
    Hi and welcome to the forum.
    Not wanting to hiss on your chips. But you need to some serious research before you go wasting one's hard earned dosh. First you say that you have an 8x4 table that you are going to put a 10 x 5 machine on it !! This machine is driven by belts and just running on wheels and is very very flimsy to say the least.

    Please have a look at the build logs on here and get some idea of what is good and bad.

    Also please do not be put off but ask as many questions as you like no matter how much you think they might be dumb. It will save to loads of money in the end.
    ..Clive
    The more you know, The better you know, How little you know

  3. The Following User Says Thank You to Clive S For This Useful Post:


  4. #3
    Hi and Welcome.

    Q1 Yes and No.? It means you can have 5 axis of movement but it will use 4 axis just to move the machine. The 5 Axis will be spare or could be used for adding an extra axis like Rotary 4th axis.

    Q2 5 Axis Kit includes Steppers but doesn't mention much about the spec. I would want to know the complete spec of what makes up the kit. The electronics make huge difference to how it machine performs and often kits are consist of cheap components or badly matched components.
    I'm pretty sure you won't be getting 480 +vat worth of kit.!! Or better put the same kit will cost more like 250 inc.

    Q3 They are very similar connectors but I would go with Aviation ones has they lock better IMO. That said I woundn't pay 80 for something that can be bought for 1 each on Ebay.!!

    Q4 Yes you will need some way to connect the motors to the screws. Belts or direct coupling I presume they mean.? In which case belts are best.

    Q5 Ballscrews are far superior to Leadscrews go with ballscrews.

    Now here's my opinion of this machine. . . It's over priced and weak.!!

    The gantry connections are weak and flimsy. The Z axis which is THE most important part of any machine is very weak flimsy unit. Poor Z axis affects finish quality and cutting speeds you can achieve.
    They don't show enough of the base frame and I haven't looked else where so it's hard to say how strong that is but looking at the rest i'd say it will be on same par.!
    It does come with decent quality rails but that means nothing if the rest of the machine doesn't match and in this case with the above points it woe fully doesn't match.
    This machine is long way from being Robust which will show in performance and finished work.!

    Price wise while it's not overly expensive for machines this size. It is still however over priced for what you get and the simple weak design.
    By this I mean you could buy the profiles ready cut to size and bolt together, which is all they are selling you, for lot less money. The same rails and ballscrews are easily bought ready machined direct from china for fraction of the price. (Which is all they are doing)
    Same goes for the electronics, you'll buy much better electronics for same or less money than the cheap ones they will be selling. Or buy the same ones for half price.!

    Sorry to be negative about this machine but I see BIG potential for dissapointment and would hate to think I hadn't said anything.!
    Last edited by JAZZCNC; 09-01-2016 at 04:34 PM.

  5. The Following User Says Thank You to JAZZCNC For This Useful Post:


  6. #4
    Hi both,

    Wow - thanks both for your detailed replies - and please don't think I'll take offense, delighted to have some clear expertise on this (indeed this has been my biggest frustration thus far as it's very hard to get any statements of accuracy - ie if you imagine buying a printer, graphics card, electronics component etc, it's usually a lot much more transparent - eg they'll state dpis, range of colours, benchmark performance etc).

    I have no attachment to this CNC at all, but it seemed to be the best I could find, however maybe I should angle this question another way....

    If you had 1000-3000 to spend on a CNC, what would you get???

    Few bits of background:
    - Have a large double garage turned into a workshop, so decent amount of space - have an 8 x 4 table in there I'd be happy to convert (Clive - sorry wasn't clear, am happy to extend this table if need be, hence 3m x 1.5m!)
    - Work in computing, wife studied electrical engineering and have renovated our house completely (electrics, plumbing, woodwork etc) - ie no issues at all building, programming components, soldering etc
    - Also fluent in 3d software (3d Studio max, autocad, Maya etc) - so hopefully a fairly shallow learning curve to build models to then send to CNC
    - Looking to build lots of woodwork elements - carved signs, tables with patterns etc so larger the better, but don't want to overly compromise quality/reliability

    Stupid questions(!):
    - When people talk about 'rigidity'/accuracy of CNC, how big a deal is this? Ie what's the scales? I can't tell if this is people who are carving Swiss watch components out of steel (ie they're getting worked up over 0.000001mm variance) or if it's pretty drastic - ie 1cm off. What is the effect I would see from this?
    - How reliable is your average CNC? Assuming all configured etc, are they relatively reliable or should I be expecting every job to take several attempts? Are you able to set it running and come back and see the result in an hour or two or are you constantly nursing it through the process?

    Many, many thanks for your responses - been really useful thus far!

  7. #5
    Ok well on looking again it's actually much worse because I missed you said X4 when I was actually talking about the Rhino CNC version.
    The X4 is Total rubbish and I've just been reminded that when asked same question some time back I replyed " It's only fit for Icing cakes" and nothings changed since then. . .Lol

    Regards your questions about rigidity/accurecy then both are subjective to use. ie For Icing cakes you don't need much of either.!

    But for most other work then it's a sliding scale and balance of both along with another unmnetioned but very important area.? Repeatabilty.

    Wood's and plastics don't need the accurecy of watch making but they do need certain amount of ridgidty. Machine strength and ridgidity have big affect on the finish of work and the feeds you can cut that work at. It also affects other less thought about areas like tool wear and machine wear.
    Repeatabilty is also important in some cases, wood working however doesn't need micron level repeatabilty, but it still needs to be factored in and moderately repeatable.

    So for woods then in general accurecy of 0.01mm is more than enough. Ridgidity is hard to quantify but in general you need relatively strong machine to handle the higher cutting feeds wood requires. If the machine is weak then you'll get resonance which affects several key areas. Quality of finish is poor, tool life is shortened, machine component life is shorten and in some cases machine performance is affected badly.

    CNC reliabilty mostly depends on the quality of the components used. Esp the electronic components. This is the Single most troubles some area of a CNC machine that is fitted with cheap poor quality electronics. Unfortunately for poor unsuspecting buyers it's also the area where profit greedy builders cut corners and fit rubbish.

    In general if the machine is fitted with decent quality Components and built strong enough. Is fitted with quality electronics and correctly wired then you won't have any reliabilty issues.

    Where to buy for between 1-3K for machine 1500 x 3000 from a company then it's not possible. Not for one that's any good anyway.
    To do correctly then It would only just be about do-able if you built it your self. And I'm only talking about machine suitable for wood,plastics etc use.!

    Edit: Also picking up on the software side. You fail to mention CAM. Cad skills is only one half the process and it's not a case of creating a 3D model and sending to machine.!
    It's often made mistake to think that a 3D model is required when infact for many things you only need 2d Vector lines/arcs. Even when a 3D model is used the CAM software just uses the 2d edge geometery for anything but cutting true 3D surfaces.
    So factor into the equation/learning curve CAM software.
    Last edited by JAZZCNC; 09-01-2016 at 07:02 PM.

  8. #6
    Yeah, think this is what I've been struggling with - lots of anecdotes (eg some folk saying it's good vs some saying total rubbish) and metaphors (eg 'tough as nails' vs 'good for icing a cake') , but very little science (apols for my analytical approach!).

    Ok, so how would one go about building a plan/parts list for a 'good' CNC - are there open source plans or 'quality' components lists on this forum or folk who might share standard builds? Not wildly fussed about size either BTW, just most forums appear to be saying go as big as you can without sacrificing quality as it gives more scope.

    RE CAM software - yeah, just being lazy with full list - solidworks has various cam addons (eg HSM works, CAMworks etc), used Fusion 360 and several others. Software should be the easy bit.... ;)

  9. #7
    Ok, so how would one go about building a plan/parts list for a 'good' CNC - are there open source plans or 'quality' components lists on this forum or folk who might share standard builds? Not wildly fussed about size either BTW, just most forums appear to be saying go as big as you can without sacrificing quality as it gives more scope.
    There are plenty of build logs on this forum some with cad models and it is OK to copy anybody's plans or modify them as you wish. Remember the bigger you go the more expensive and generally harder to get accurate.

    At the end of the day the choice is yours but you will find loads of info and help here even if it might not be what you want to hear. Start by looking through the build logs and then put some plans up for others to chime in. Good luck with your build.
    edit here is a link to some logs http://www.mycncuk.com/forums/253-DIY-Router-Build-Logs
    Last edited by Clive S; 09-01-2016 at 08:15 PM.
    ..Clive
    The more you know, The better you know, How little you know

  10. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by alphabeta77 View Post
    Yeah, think this is what I've been struggling with - lots of anecdotes (eg some folk saying it's good vs some saying total rubbish) and metaphors (eg 'tough as nails' vs 'good for icing a cake') , but very little science (apols for my analytical approach!).
    Yes I know what you mean and I come across this all the time. I often clash heads with others that have built a machines or used components on there build who will jump up and down because I call or don't rate the component they have used.
    They believe it to be the Bee's knees just because they have used it, they don't consider for one minute that there's better out there for less money. This is there lack of experience showing and It's the same for those that call weak machines like these Tough.!! . . . They know no better.!!

    I have lot of experience with using many different components and will only call, comment or recommend on any I have extensively used or experience with.

    Similair thing applies to spotting flaws in machine design. My experience lets me see things less experienced don't or should say past the bull shit of smoke and mirrors like covers and fancy graphics or marketing.
    I've proved this several times on Forum's when manufactures have tried to claim there machines are high quality. When infact they are quite the opposite when looked at in more depth. These types tend to get defensive and upset very quickly, I've even been threatened with legal action in the past. To which my reply was bring it on.!!

    How to go about it is easy. Research, research, research and little more research. Then bit more for good measure.
    The build process is like eating an elephant.? One small piece at a time.!

    This forum has everything you need, all you need to know is here you just have to read the build threads and ask questions. Asking is very very important.
    Don't be afraid to ask question, no matter how stupid it may feel, it will have been asked.

    There are no plans to speak of, not any that are any good. But there's plenty of good builds that can be copied in some form or another. Look around take bit from this, bit from that and soon you'll have design that suits all your needs.

    By this time your knowledge and understanding will have increased and some of the fog will be lifting. The correct components and why will soon become apparent or present them selfs.

    Then you'll move onto the Electrical side of the build process. It's here where cutting corners is fatal so don't be tempted.
    Again research and asking questions will give you the answer.

    None of this should be rushed and you need to be very honest with your self regards your abilty and skills needed to build a machine if you under take building.
    It's not difficult but you need a certain amount of tools and need the skills to use them. Patience is big help.

    If you can't wait or feel it's beyond you or simply don't have time then I suggest you tread very carefully before buying and do some research. Again ask on here like you did this time before buying.

  11. #9
    Ok, as there doesn't appear to be any plans/direction around here, I figure I might as well do it myself as I go along, so will look to build a bit of a wiki of my research as I go to avoid anyone having to stumble around looking for stuff.

    I'll compile a list below in what I'm perceiving is the order of quality (ie top is the most basic, bottom is best). I can flesh out with prices, and more variables as I find them.

    Feel free to correct/add on etc as I update - only thing I want to avoid is sounding like a 1960s UK Car manufacturer (ie oh these Japanese cars are terrible with their low quality parts, cars are much more reliable with solid steel chassis etc etc) - cost and convenience need to be real-world balancers to cost. Of course we could get cheaper houses, cars etc if we built them ourselves, but convenience is important also.



    Shapeoko 1:
    Basic and entry level CNC for simple work. Open source plans means there have been many other designs that have used this as a starting point and forked other designs off this.
    Difficult to source now.
    Plans available - yes
    Kits available - yes
    Prebuilt - no


    Shapeoko 2:
    Upgrade to the original. Aiming to improve reliability and accuracy.
    Plans available - yes
    Kits available - yes
    Prebuilt - no

    eShapeoko:
    A fork of the Shapeoko design - designed to strengthen and improve the original design. Broadly equivalent to the Shapeoko 2. Still relatively entry level, but some reasonable wood carving achieved with it.
    Plans available - yes
    Kits available - yes
    Prebuilt - no

    Shapeoko 3:
    Much more sturdy design, but price point increased also.
    Plans available - yes
    Kits available - yes
    Prebuilt - no

    Robocutters-X4:
    Another entry level one - whilst can be bought up to several metres in size, likely to have rigidity issues at this size, so probably best kept to around 1m by 1m.
    Plans available - yes
    Kits available - yes
    Prebuilt - some

    X-Carve:
    This appears to be a reasonable entry level CNC setup - Keith Fenner appears to have had a reasonable time with it:
    http://www.mycncuk.com/threads/9217-...-2-Video/page2
    Plans available - yes
    Kits available - yes
    Prebuilt - some

    MyCNC Custom Build!
    I guess the quality and reliability of your output here depends on your skill, design and probably some luck.
    No recommended designs available, so you need to design yourself or reverse-engineer/side build from other people's designs.
    Likewise no build plans or kits, so you'll need to pick through carefully. Every chance end quality could be much better, but likewise no benefit of mass production (ie testing, iterative improvement etc)
    Plans available - No (except from picking through/hybridising multiple plans from forums)
    Kits available - No
    Prebuilt - No (unless JazzCNC is feeling bored....!)


    OxCNC:
    Appears an upgrade to the X-Carve/Shapeoko. Much more rigid build in comparison. Many folk seem to upgrade their Shapeoko 1/2 or X-carve to this.
    http://www.mycncuk.com/threads/9278-...d-please/page2
    Some decent work done with these too, see their community:
    https://plus.google.com/communities/...28951643236736

    Plans available - yes
    Kits available - yes
    Prebuilt - no
    Last edited by alphabeta77; 10-01-2016 at 10:40 AM. Reason: added link

  12. #10
    Ok, as there doesn't appear to be any plans/direction around here, I figure I might as well do it myself as I go along
    I think so far you have had plenty of direction but it appears you want to be spoon fed all the way.

    MyCNC Custom Build!
    I guess the quality and reliability of your output here depends on your skill, design and probably some luck.
    No recommended designs available, so you need to design yourself or reverse-engineer/side build from other people's designs.
    Likewise no build plans or kits, so you'll need to pick through carefully. Every chance end quality could be much better, but likewise no benefit of mass production (ie testing, iterative improvement etc)
    Plans available - No (except from picking through/hybridising multiple plans from forums)
    Kits available - No
    Prebuilt - No (unless JazzCNC is feeling bored....!)
    If you read the build logs you will see there are a great number of recommended design changes from other members whether they are taken it or not is up to the builder.
    .
    I feel insulted that you come up with this attitude. But I wish you all the best in your plight.
    Last edited by Clive S; 10-01-2016 at 12:12 PM.
    ..Clive
    The more you know, The better you know, How little you know

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