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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have recently started working with composites (Fiberglass, Carbon Fibre, Industrial Design clay and so on) and I am looking to add a CNC to my workshop to work faster, more efficient and most importantly, more precisely. However, I am completely new to this world, so I would be extremely grateful if anyone could point me to where I should start, such as what program I should use, what is an affordable but good CNC and whatever could help me on this journey.

I would be using CNC to produce smaller parts made out of clay, cut carbon fibre plates and so on, nothing bigger than your day-to-day chair.


Thanks in advance.

Raf
 

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David - Machinist in wood
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Welcome to the forum, Raf! Add your first name to your profile to clear the N/a in the side panel. Add your location to your profile, as well.

What's your budget for the CNC? How much space do you have available? What power sources do you have for this, specifically?

These factors will help get some good recommendations.

David
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the warm welcoming!

My budget is not high at the moment, I was hoping to find a machine under CAD $1500 if possible. However, I am not sure what's best. I am starting my Industrial Design program soon, regardless I wanted to jump into the CNC/ composites world a little earlier.

Space is also not an issue. What is recommended as a power source when it comes to a CNC that would possibly fit my budget?

Thanks for the help,

Raf
 

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A lot has been written about this. There are a number of decisions to make early - size, type of materials, cutting speed (aka feed rate). You are there with two though probably should spend a bit more time understanding what you really need. Speed is the biggest factor in price though CNC machines aren't listed by speed. The more rigid the structure, the more powerful motors can be use and the speed will be faster. If the machine flexes much, it is still usable but just a lower speeds and multiple shallow cuts. A high end machine will blaze through a job fast and a low end one will take a lot longer. I have a lower end extruded aluminum machine that forces me to make relatively shallow cuts so cutting though 1/2" birch plywood takes takes maybe 6 passes. Some of the guys here have machines that could make that cut in one pass. So be aware of that when looking at various candidates. Also, be aware that most over promise what you can cut. I see the little genmitsu chinese machine sellers way over promising.

I don't know much about carbon fiber but one thing that springs to mind is you will need very good dust extraction so budget for that. Not super expensive if you make your own but an additional cost item.

Given your budget, you will probably be looking at Chinese machines. While they do work, be aware that there are several drawbacks that spring from being built to a price point - "consumer" quality components, poor/nonexistent customer support and they often have very poor/unreliable electronics. Especially at the sub-1000$ category. If you read through the posts in this forum you will see that theme pretty much constantly. If you go that route, you will need to have access to people that understand this stuff and you will wind up being your own repair/upgrade guy.

Budget for tooling. It can be a significant part of your costs.

220VAC is better but most of the ones in your price range run on 110VAC
 

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Mike
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Rafael welcome to the Router Forums.

As others stated, with the budget you have you will be limited to a small slow CNC. This will give you some insight into what it takes to design projects and run a CNC to cut the project. Most of these smaller machines will have free or low-cost design software but might not be very user friendly or too limiting for intermediate and advanced projects. The control software will probably be GBRL based and open-sourced so it would be free but again it will be limited because there are some codes that will not be supported. There are some of the small CNC's that will have their own version of control software so you will be limited for answers to questions to people that have their machines.

As far as the carbon fiber cutting is concerned you want very good dust collection (micron size particle filtration or better) because it is a carcinogen. The last place I worked made us ware full-body suit protection and required us to have a respirator as well when we cut carbon fiber. Then we had to do a complete cleaning of all the equipment and tools used while cutting it.
 
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