Thread: DIY CNC machine for steel?
I have a feeling your budget is way too low, even for decent work in aluminium, the likes of the 3040 on eBay will do very light cuts on ally, not steel, but will push your budget and fail after a short time. I had thought of getting a 6040 from eBay but after research I decided to build one better, the budget went out of the window, from £400 to over £1500 now but I am far more confident of results and life expectancy.
The Proxxon is a mini drill really, don't class it as a mill, for watchmaking maybe yes but anything bigger no. If looking at other smaller mills to convert, try not to look at those with swivel heads - these are very weak (i had one).
As said, what is your target project, if we know the subject we could guide a bit more :)
Loads of model engineers are using machines like the X1 and X2 and the WM series for doing good work in CI and MS. What you don't want for steel is a gantry style router, a standard vertical mill format is much better, but of course you pay in reduced work area. I agree about swivel heads, they are not worth it, there are very few jobs where they can be used and the reduction in rigidity for everything else is a pain. What you can do with the X Series mills is fill the column and base with epoxy/granite chips which increases the mass a lot. The Arc SX2P doesn't have any swivels.
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My budget ~£700 is for the machine prior to cnc conversion.
I'd like to be able to make aluminium parts and make some small steel cuts. The steel objects might be clamps for the mill itself or small hobby items (dice, keys little projects) I wouldn't cut deep or fast or with a large cutter in steel!
I am very tempted by the SX2. Is this likely to do the job?
I would think it would be fine, Arc have a good reputation and Ketan the owner is well respected. If you can, go along to their showroom and have a look at the machine and talk to him about what you want to do. There's a very capable engineer called John Stevenson who works with Arc and has a lot of input to the machines they sell, they have a number of improvements compared to the generic X series. As I said above, if you went for this I'd get one with R8 spindle, the collets are cheap, hold well, don't get stuck, and with the cutter in a collet direct in the spindle you get more headroom and better rigidity.
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X2 looks ok, there is even a conversion kit for it...
Indeed, but in the USA, out of stock, designed for the standard X2 rather than Arc's improved version, and using trapezoidal rather than ball screws.
The siegs from Acer etc are quite simple to convert from experience spent one day on my X1 to get it up and running from scratch, now tidying and tuning everything. The X1 is only 250w but have already cut myself some steel T nuts with a carbide bit and some patience. Cost of my unit £580 for mill and £80 BOB and motors although had a few 3d printer parts laying around shop around and have a look if you can.
Thanks for the support guys.
Obviously i'll need to upgrade the drive screws for the 3 axes.
Ballscrews are a popular opinion but i came across these:
Super cheap in comparison with ballscrews and claim to have a very similar effect.
Does anyone have any experience with anti backlash nuts. Is it worth the risk or are ballscrews THAT much better?
Who are a good supplier of well priced ballscrews in the UK?
Interesting, but personally I wouldn't touch them for a mill conversion. I'm using something similar (although home-built) on my current CNC router. They've been working reasonably well, but only because the router is an MDF structure that can't manage anything like reasonable speeds or cuts. For a mill - no way! There's a reason why people say "use ballscrews"..
To get ballscrews, look to China if you are price conscious, guy called BST Automation on Aliexpress site, will have all you need, is very helpful and prices, well, I just bought all the motion - linear rails, carriages, ballscrews, nuts, brackets etc for my mini CNC build for the price of a couple of screws alone from a UK supplier.
I usually shop UK but I could not have done this build if I had.
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