Beginner in CNC trying to decide on number of axes - Router Forums
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post #1 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-15-2017, 05:50 AM Thread Starter
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Default Beginner in CNC trying to decide on number of axes

Hello, everybody.

I'm a hobbyist with a particular taste for DIY projects, customisation and general tinkering. About a year ago I bought a 3D printer and have loved it ever since - I can produce little items that I can't buy anywhere, it's cheap and pretty much imagination is the limit. I have had my taste of 3D printing and as awesome as it is it has its own limitations, mainly in the materials the process uses. I want to upgrade to a CNC router and to be able to machine items out of materials like wood and aluminium and maybe steel, but I realise that this is a whole new level.

I'm searching for a unit that will be able to machine items that I design in three dimensions. I'm willing to buy a kit but I would prefer to assemble one myself (I'm assuming it won't be too challenging for me as I have built couple of 3D printers from scratch). I did a bit of a research and found out what 3-axis routers are capable of (pretty much 2D items and quite simple 3D ones) and I don't think this will be enough for my needs. I also looked into 4-axes and 5-axes routers and I believe that this will cover what I want to do. I, however, have doubts that 4-axes will be sufficient and that 5-axes will be too elaborate of a project. I realise that a small amount of after processing will be required but this won't be a problem.

I'd appreciate if someone more knowledgeable was to clarify things a bit for me.

Best
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post #2 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-15-2017, 06:55 AM
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Welcome to the forum, Doc!

What's your budget and available space like for this machine? I'm not aware of any kits with more than 3 axes but I also haven't looked for any in this form.

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post #3 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-15-2017, 09:32 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you, for the warm welcoming, David!

I'm willing to spend no more than $10 000. I haven't thought about space restrictions but maybe 2m*1m*1m.
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post #4 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-15-2017, 09:48 AM
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Does that include space to walk around the machine or is that just for the machine itself? Our machine is a Saturn 2x4 but the footprint is about 54" x 70", so you can add at least 15" or so to that for walking around the machine.

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post #5 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-15-2017, 10:56 AM Thread Starter
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I do remember saying 2m*1m*1m but I don't think I had a clear understanding what that means until I googled it.
Thanks for mentioning the Saturn 2x4 - looks utterly beautiful!

I think it's fair to say that for my first project usable area of 0.5m*0.3m*0.3m to 1m*0.5m*0.5m will suffice.

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post #6 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-15-2017, 11:06 AM
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Your hobbyist oriented machines (under $10k) are typically going to be 3 or 4 axis, or the 4th axis is for turnings. For CNCs where they have a axis that pivot and turn the spindle, this adds considerable complexity and cost, typically seen in more industrial applications. For what you are looking for, you probably are going to need look at the bigger industrial machines.
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post #7 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-15-2017, 11:34 AM Thread Starter
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@MikeMa
If I were to hop into the industrial machines segment what price and footprint am I looking at?
@difalkner
I noticed that the Saturn is a 3-axis machine. I'm worried that a 3-axis router won't be able to machine fairly complex 3D items. I could rotate the piece of material so the spindle can access a different part but I'm worried that if I did that by hand I would mess up the orientation of the item. If another (4th) axis was to make that movement for me I would feel better but wouldn't that be more complicated in terms of software?
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post #8 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-15-2017, 11:38 AM
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Kinda small , but kind of neat at the same time . Check there video out

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects...for-your-deskt

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Ok ,I never insulate
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post #9 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-15-2017, 11:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doc7347 View Post
@MikeMa
If I were to hop into the industrial machines segment what price and footprint am I looking at?
@difalkner
I noticed that the Saturn is a 3-axis machine. I'm worried that a 3-axis router won't be able to machine fairly complex 3D items. I could rotate the piece of material so the spindle can access a different part but I'm worried that if I did that by hand I would mess up the orientation of the item. If another (4th) axis was to make that movement for me I would feel better but wouldn't that be more complicated in terms of software?
The 4th axis is generally used for turning but it can also be used for indexing. So you can mount a piece on the 4th axis, cut what you can get to with XYZ movement, then index the piece and cut some more. That movement is generated by your CAM module of whatever software you use and then the controller software, Mach3/4 for instance, interpolates that toolpath into machine movement.

So the quick answer is 'yes', it does make it more complicated but not impossible. It sounds like what you're cutting requires that sort of movement so it isn't really that complicated, just another step you learn in the process. And you won't be reinventing the wheel - this has been done thousands of times and there are probably many tutorials and videos that will show you what you want.

I intend to add a 4th axis one day soon for this very purpose - indexing, rotating 3D pieces, and turning. Don't wait on me for a video, though; I'm not in a hurry. LOL!

David
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post #10 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-15-2017, 12:03 PM Thread Starter
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@RainMan 2.0
Thanks for linking that. I did see while I was researching and is quite spot on what I need BUT it's too small for my applications. That's why I started looking towards 3/4-axis "conventional"(?) routers.

@difalkner

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Originally Posted by difalkner View Post
So the quick answer is 'yes', it does make it more complicated but not impossible. It sounds like what you're cutting requires that sort of movement so it isn't really that complicated, just another step you learn in the process. And you won't be reinventing the wheel - this has been done thousands of times and there are probably many tutorials and videos that will show you what you want.
This is exactly what I'm in the market for...or at least to the best of my knowledge at the moment, haha.
Could you tell me more about such setup? Given I'm new to this I'm not sure what questions to ask but if I had a starting point I could word a smart question.
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