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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I am in the market to get a cnc router. I used the shopbot in college so I'm familiar with that brand, but I'm not as versed in the many different brands out there. I am a small business owner who is interested in getting small sized cnc router. I will use this machine to cut out images in wood, nothing to technical. Do you all have any suggestions for me?
 

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Probotix.com makes several sized models that come ready to run other than the need to plug all the cables in. I like their design as it has an open frame design that permits clamping large projects for CNC work or any project at any angle beneath the router. Any design with a solid base will not easily be capable of doing what the creative can do with an open frame design.

4D
 

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I have the Probotix Asteroid. I has a 24x36 working area. I just replaced my spoil board with one that is 22x36 inches.

And if you are familiar with the Vectric software, you can use the "tiling" feature to cut larger projects that are longer than the machine max in "Y".

And yes, that is some cabinet parts I am cutting the dadoes for. :grin:

Good luck. Less that 4K (not counting software).
 

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The value of CNC equipment is far more than just the assembled parts and software. What has been the most valuable part of my investment in Probotix CNCs for both myself and the university I work at is the support. I've lost track of how many times the owner of that company has personally helped me get back in business when either a small limit switch or a $700 controller has failed. All at no cost to me beyond an email or phone call. BTW, I know of no CNC that will not have some sort of breakdown over its lifetime.

We have an industrial grade Multicam CNC ($90,000 new) that has required service vi$it$ roughly every 2 months to get it running again when some system of its complex design failed. The grace of a CNC made from commonly available extrusions, bearings, switches, etc., is that you can easily amend or repair them yourself.

4D.
 

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Before you decide all you need is a small CNC you need to decide where you want to take you small company. If you want to stay small then maybe a small CNC is all you need. If you want your company to grow larger then maybe you should be looking for a little larger machine.

I know some people will tell you that all you need is a small desk top but I don't recommend them because they are very limiting and you can get very frustrated because of their limited capacity. I would say 24x24 to be a minimum size and if you have the room and budget permits I suggest going bigger but only if you will be doing larger projects.

Like Mike pointed out earlier if you use Vectric software the tiling feature allows you to larger projects so a smaller machine might do for your purposes. Just remember if you plan on doing large jobs all the time then you are better off with the larger machine.

4D also makes a good point for a open framed machine so you can add fixtures to hold parts on end or angles or clamp your whole project inside the frame.

Big question here is how much you want to use you CNC and what type of projects do you see your company producing in a couple of years.
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you all for the information and the images! I am going to do my best to stay under 7K out the door. I'd like to go with a medium sized machine. I agree that going with the smallest size might get frustrating after a while bc of limitations. You can view some of my work on my website one-nationunderGod.com - everything is done by hand with a drimmel tool.

The jobs that I want the machine for are, in my mind, very simple to start off, but I am excited to see where I can go and what I can learn. It has always been a dream of mine to own my own cnc router.

Another factor that I am concerned with is noise. I currently work out of my garage. I'm considering adding sound proofing walls to keep some of the noise down, but I'm interested to know if anyone else has some insight regarding noise.

I have been looking into the probotix brand and have recently spoken to Leo (owner?). He seems very nice and really helpful.

Aside from ordering the CNC machine, what other expenses can I expect?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I know I replied to this earlier, but doesn't look like it saved. Thank you all for the tips and good information. I agree that I shouldn't go with the smallest size, so I'm thinking a medium range. I'd like to be out the door at or under 7K. I have been researching a lot about probotix. I actually spoke with Leo (owner?) yesterday. They seem very quick to respond to inquiries and phone calls, which is really important to me! The work I do is going to be a piece of cake for these machines and I am excited to see what I can learn and how I can push the cnc to the limits. If interested, you can view some of my work on fb @onenationunderGodflags. I can't post my website address bc of the restrictions regarding site addresses.

Thank you MT Stringer for the pictures! This helps out a lot as I can get a better understanding on how much space I need.


A few items I'd like some input on: 1. I'm interested in what items are necessary to purchase with the cnc router. What things can I live without? What things can I live without, but would be best if I went ahead and purchased them? 2. I'm working in my garage, so I'm concerned about the noise level. Does anyone have any tips or input regarding noise? TIA
 

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Check my Albums for a sample of some things that can be done, even by an old illiterate dummy.

With a Probotix all you will need is a software program (most of us use Vectric Aspire or Vcarve) - Everything else is included, even the computer already set up with Linux. I would get the air cooled spindle -- much quieter and will outlive 10 routers. A dustshoe and a dust collection of some sort. A Shop Vac will do to start. The vacuum is louder than the spindle. Don't go getting a whole lot of bits and accessories to start. Get Len's starter set and add as needed. You will find that you will use the same few bits 90% of the time. Get that stuff on a "as needed" basis.

Also, you can save a lot of time getting started reaching out to those who have been there. So be nice to us!! lol

You're on the way.
 
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There a several advantages to purchasing the Vectric software.

1) If you decide to upgrade to a more advance version of the software, all you pay is the difference between the two versions currently listed. There is no upcharge, penalty or discount, just straight exchange. I started with Cut2D, but later upgraded to VCarve Pro. That may be all I need for some time. Aspire is the cats meow but a little too expensive for me.

2) There are a tone of videos on You Tube demonstrating how to design and cut various projects.

3) You can download their software and play with it at no charge. You don't even need a CNC. I went for a couple of months just learning the software and creating a few projects before buying the machine!
 

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Beyond the price of the machine itself:
- you'll need a router unless you bought their spindle when you bought the cnc.
- you'll need some CAD/CAM software to turn drawings into toolpaths that the CNC can run to cut your parts.
- you'll need bits for that router/spindle. End mills and V-bits and ball nosed bits and cove and roundover and ...
- you'll need some form of dust collection. A good shop vac, and potentially an air cleaner.
- hearing protection, safety glasses, dust mask, etc.. Not only for you but also for anyone else who visits your shop to see the CNC running.
- scraps of material to practice on.
- some form of hold-down/clamping strategy.

I'm sure I've missed a few things.

4D
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
spindles

Hi friends, I've been trying to do some research on spindles. I can purchase an 80mm air cooled spindle with VFD as an add-on from Len's site for $800. When I do a quick search online everything I see is half the price... I know there is a reason behind it but can someone enlighten me?.? :) TYIA
 

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Probotix upcharges to cover handling, testing (to make sure the spindle works with their CNCs), service, and a reasonable profit margin. They have to pay their staff.

You are generally on your own for solving any problem with a spindle from a cheaper source. If time is money for you then I'd go with Probotix. They've repeatedly gotten my CNCs running again for me when a control box failed or a limit switch wore out.

JMHO.
4D
 
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