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  1. #1
    Hi folks,

    We're in the process of looking at a decent quality CNC machine for a project and will be spending circa 10k. I won't go into all the reasons why we need this particular machine but it has me wondering.

    We have one project we are looking to work on. We will be repeatedly cutting small rectangles from 500mm square sheets. We know this is a challenge and have worked out how to hold the sheets, parts etc. in place. Our material is similar to acrylic/plastic but is a little brittle, it's just 2mm thick.

    I don't know much about the 'hobby' end of the CNC market, circa 1k machines but wonder if this part of the project may be feasable on a much cheaper/smaller machine. If we can hold the part in place securely with a vaccum table/jig etc. and the machine is fast enough, surely it comes down to ensuring nothing moves whilst cutting and the spindle is quick enough and we have the right tooling? Not wishing to simplify the operation so quite happy to be corrected :-)

    I will of course scour the internet for videos of such machines but would appreciate any input anyone using smaller machines can offer please.

  2. #2
    m_c's Avatar
    Lives in East Lothian, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 17 Hours Ago Forum Superstar, has done so much to help others, they deserve a medal. Has been a member for 9-10 years. Has a total post count of 2,908. Received thanks 360 times, giving thanks to others 8 times.
    Generally the more hobby orientated machines are quite compromised design wise.

    The biggest factor is probably how much accuracy you need?
    Generally they're quite a flexi design (unsupported rails), single ball screw on the long axis, and cheap ball screw retention (usually a couple standard bearings preloaded, or two basic thrust bearings. Some even just rely on being rigidly coupled to the stepper motor).

    Then there's the electronics. Often cheap drives, cheap controller (if USB, probably with non-existent support).

    They can be made to work reasonably well as long you're not expecting micron accuracy, perfect finishes, and don't push them that hard, but long term reliability can be challenging.
    Avoiding the rubbish customer service from AluminiumWarehouse since July '13.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Justin View Post
    Hi folks,

    We're in the process of looking at a decent quality CNC machine for a project and will be spending circa 10k. I won't go into all the reasons why we need this particular machine but it has me wondering.

    We have one project we are looking to work on. We will be repeatedly cutting small rectangles from 500mm square sheets. We know this is a challenge and have worked out how to hold the sheets, parts etc. in place. Our material is similar to acrylic/plastic but is a little brittle, it's just 2mm thick.

    I don't know much about the 'hobby' end of the CNC market, circa 1k machines but wonder if this part of the project may be feasable on a much cheaper/smaller machine. If we can hold the part in place securely with a vaccum table/jig etc. and the machine is fast enough, surely it comes down to ensuring nothing moves whilst cutting and the spindle is quick enough and we have the right tooling? Not wishing to simplify the operation so quite happy to be corrected :-)

    I will of course scour the internet for videos of such machines but would appreciate any input anyone using smaller machines can offer please.
    Justin.
    Welcome to the forum. There is a machine builder on here that you might want to look up ( [email protected]) He might have a secondhand hand machine.

    Best of luck. Clive
    ..Clive
    The more you know, The better you know, How little you know

  4. #4
    AndyUK's Avatar
    Lives in Southampton, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 2 Weeks Ago Has been a member for 6-7 years. Has a total post count of 469. Received thanks 100 times, giving thanks to others 43 times. Referred 1 members to the community.
    Quote Originally Posted by Justin View Post
    We have one project we are looking to work on. We will be repeatedly cutting small rectangles from 500mm square sheets. We know this is a challenge and have worked out how to hold the sheets, parts etc. in place. Our material is similar to acrylic/plastic but is a little brittle, it's just 2mm thick.
    If the material is suitable for laser cutting, it would simplify your workholding and potentially negate the issues with brittleness. In which case, a cheaper machine is certainly on the cards as you're no longer dealing with the cutting forces.

  5. Quote Originally Posted by AndyUK View Post
    If the material is suitable for laser cutting, it would simplify your work holding and potentially negate the issues with brittleness. In which case, a cheaper machine is certainly on the cards as you're no longer dealing with the cutting forces.
    I agree completely with Andy. IF and it is a BIG IF, your material can safely cut wit a laser (not all plastics can be), that would be the direction that I would suggest to go as it removes the a lot of issues. You will need to account for good equipment that can control air flow and cooling on the laser but there are "hobby" machines in the prosumer ranges that can do what you are looking for and be a good bit under the 10K range.

    Good Luck
    Software SolidWorks 2024, Onshape, Aspire v9.5, Blender
    CNC Machine: http://www.mycncuk.com/threads/3661-...Second-machine
    3D printers both FDM/FFD and MSLA resin
    CSWA &CSWA-AM certified
    www.marino-customs.com

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