Seeking CNC router advice for beginner - Router Forums
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-23-2018, 05:13 PM Thread Starter
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Default Seeking CNC router advice for beginner

Hello,

I am a home machinist with only a manual Milling machine in my shop, and am in the process of bringing a product to market. I am currently hiring an outside company to cut my smaller pieces of 1/8" thick type 1 gray pvc from full sheets via their CNC routing machine. It will of course be much more cost effective for me to cut these myself. I have no doubt that I will be able to learn how to do this, but would like to avoid as many beginner mistakes as possible by referring to experienced users out there. I have no hands-on CNC experience other than educating myself via watching my vendor do it, and researching on the web (I am very tech savvie). Here is some information on what my needs are, and some very basic questions. Thank you

I require perimeter and plunge cuts with a 1/8" endmill
Plunge varied depths with a 3/4" endmill
Either full or half sheet pvc capability

What is a good brand of machine?
What is the best CNC software?
What material would I use on the back/underneath?
Are there any other questions I should be asking?

I appreciate any and all responses!
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-23-2018, 06:06 PM
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Hello Firewire,this is a friendly forum & we like to know a persons' first name & location.Could be one or more of our members live near you & could offer some hands-on assistance. Please fill out your profile when you get a chance,Thank you. James jj777746
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-23-2018, 06:10 PM
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Welcome to the forum! Ditto what James said - complete your profile when you get a minute. That really helps us to help you.

Are you wanting to buy a ready to use machine or do some of the build yourself? What's your budget, space available, tech savvy but have you used CAD programs before, etc.?

David
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-26-2018, 06:23 PM Thread Starter
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Hello,

Thanks to both of you for your response. I have updated my profile with my name (Paul), and my location (Phoenix, AZ).
I do have the resources to purchase a reasonably priced new or used machine, and could probably do a DIY build if that seemed more feasible. I could be comfortable spending up to 15k for a machine, but of course want to spend less. From my research, I will need a larger table to accommodate a 4x8 sheet, however, a 4x4 sheet could work. I have looked at the Shopbot, and something along those lines seem like it could do the job (not the desktop unit). Right now, I have somewhat limited space, but hope to grow. That being said, a smaller table that could accommodate a 1/2 sheet would be perfect until I grow. I created all of the vector drawings myself for my vendor using Solidworks, but he has done all of the nesting with his software. I have no experience in programming G code, but use my friend's laser cutter with his proprietary Chinese CNC software, and so am a bit familiar with the process. Any advice is much appreciated, thanks again!
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-26-2018, 08:56 PM
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Paul, if you want a rigid, heavy machine take a look at the Saturn 4x4 from Fine Line Automation. We built the prototype 2x4 and it is a pretty stout machine but has been improved over the last 15 months. I think it's called the Saturn II now. It's mainly the frame and you supply the steppers, electronics, spindle, cabling, etc. but you can also get all of that from FLA.

There's also CNC Router Parts if you want a 4x8 machine. There are probably others but I don't shop much now that ours is built and running.

David
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-26-2018, 09:43 PM
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What David said!!
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-26-2018, 10:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Firewire View Post
Hello,

Thanks to both of you for your response. I have updated my profile with my name (Paul), and my location (Phoenix, AZ).
I do have the resources to purchase a reasonably priced new or used machine, and could probably do a DIY build if that seemed more feasible. I could be comfortable spending up to 15k for a machine, but of course want to spend less. From my research, I will need a larger table to accommodate a 4x8 sheet, however, a 4x4 sheet could work. I have looked at the Shopbot, and something along those lines seem like it could do the job (not the desktop unit). Right now, I have somewhat limited space, but hope to grow. That being said, a smaller table that could accommodate a 1/2 sheet would be perfect until I grow. I created all of the vector drawings myself for my vendor using Solidworks, but he has done all of the nesting with his software. I have no experience in programming G code, but use my friend's laser cutter with his proprietary Chinese CNC software, and so am a bit familiar with the process. Any advice is much appreciated, thanks again!
Paul,

Our Saturn 2 series 4x4 is a great machine and fits well within your budget. I will put our machine up against a shopbot any day and am confident our machines will outperform theirs.

We use SolidWorks in the shop too. It plays nice with most of the CAM packages out there like Vectric's software suite. Using a CAM software will be a similar experience to the laser cutter, only you will have to set a few more parameters to define the bit and it's feedrates and the different parameters of the path. I would suggest you download a free trial of the vectric software. That URL also has some free video tutorials on how to use it.
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-27-2018, 08:20 AM
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Nate,

Has it gotten any easier to use Linux instead of Mach 4??

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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-27-2018, 09:47 AM
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Nate,



Has it gotten any easier to use Linux instead of Mach 4??


Not really. LinuxCNC supports a narrow range of IO boards. See http://wiki.linuxcnc.org/cgi-bin/wik...orted_Hardware for more info. It doesnít support any of the newer motion control interfaces like the smoothstepper or UC300 because there are no provisions in the software for offloading the motion control pulse generation to an external board. So, youíre left buying an expensive PCI card for a desktop computer or using the ancient parallel port.

There are a few decent alternatives coming online. UCCNC has a control software and itís not bad. You have to using the UC line of controllers, but itís not bad.

There is also a rise in the number of people using the GRBL interface on an ardunio for motion control processing. Itís quite capable and if open source is a driving factor for you than I would take a look.
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-27-2018, 09:03 PM
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Welcome to the forum Paul.

Ross,
Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia


Enjoy the knowledge of others that can be found within.

ĎMembers are requested to add a first name in their profile as we are a very friendly bunch here'.
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