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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have spent (wasted) a couple of years trying to decide which CNC Router would give me the best bang-or-the-buck and narrowed it down to four choices:

1. Laguna (IQ CNC Router with HHCS - 24" x 36") 3 axis controller- $5,988 ($6,452)
Laguna is probably the best machine for me and V-Carve Pro is included. They are about 150 miles from me so I can pick it up and save on the $200 shipping charge but I can't get around the $464 sales tax.

2. AXIOM (AR6 PRO V5 - 24" x 36") 4 axis controller - $6,999.00 ($7,298)
Mail order from Ohio so no sales tax but $299 shipping. The V-Carve Pro software is $699 extra.

3. Powermatic PM-2X4SP 3 axis controller - $8,750 ($9,668)
Mail order but $678 sales tax and $240 shipping required. The V-Carve Pro software is $699 extra.

4. AVID (CNC Router Parts) Benchtop PRO 2436 2' x 3' CNC Machine Kit 4 axis controller but uses all 4 - $4,100 plus
My neighbor bought this unit with Aspire and says he is into it for around $10K. The V-Carve Pro software is $699 extra.

Laguna will include a free copy of V-Carve Pro or sell an upgrade to Aspire for $1,500 more. Everyone else sells V-Carve Pro for $699 and Aspire for $1,995. Their customer support is rated excellent and the company has been around for years. The only negative is the controller is only a 3 axis but maybe I will never need a 4th axis for rotary work. Who knows?

So here is my question for you:
1. Do you agree the Laguna is my best choice?
2. Will V-Carve Pro be adequate for my needs or should I spend the extra $1,500 for Aspire. I'm not really seeing the need right now for me as I am not planning on doing any 3D work.

Thanks for taking the time to read my post. I appreciate all your input.
 

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It's hard to say yes or no to your question. Three are "benchtop" machines and the powermatic is larger. To be honest, the distinction of benchtop is kind of silly because they all will take a fair amount of dedicated space. Whether you buy the base from the company, somewhere else or build it yourself, your CNC Router will be a dedicated "floor" machine. I'm in the process of selecting my next CNC router and am looking closely at the Avid Pro4824 which is more comparable with the powermatic. The foremost lesson from my first cnc router is that you should get the largest possible machine you can afford and space you have to put it. I haven't pulled the trigger because I have to free up the space which requires a fair amount of work.

On the Avid cost. Your neighbor is probably including tooling and add ons. The cost you state is just for the mechanicals - their plug and play electronics and spindle packages are another 3300. However, you can get a decent chinese spindle and VFD for less than $400 (saving $1300). Also, you might look at the Avid Pro4824 - 3700 base cost - and you get the extra foot of workspace. With the leg kit, it's only 150 more than the Pro2436. I priced out the Pro4824 at about 6100 - doing my own base, using their PnP electronics and chinese spindle. I have a bunch of tooling but expect to spend at least $1000 on that over the next couple of years.

As to CAD/CAM. A lot depends on what you are going to be doing. A lot of people are using Fusion 360 which can be free if you are a hobbyist. VCarve/Aspire is pretty easy to use but you can certainly get by with free or less expensive offerings. There are a lot of options out there. I can't imagine using just one CAD/CAM tool.

And by the way, a lot of companies are collecting California sales tax even for out of state purchases. It's the new normal. If that is a large factor in your decision process, you should check beforehand.
 

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David - Machinist in wood
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Aren't the Laguna and Powermatic just rebranded Chinese machines? I know I read that somewhere but I read a lot and may have it confused with other info. Before I built our CNC I had the opportunity to buy a slightly used Laguna - like less than 30 hours - but I really don't like the idea of the handheld controller. I know some like it but I wouldn't so I passed.

I hear really good things about the Avid products, fwiw.

David
 

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I have a Probotix Nebula and a Avid 48x48 Pro. The Probotix is a serious hobby machine run with lead screws. But it is Plug and Play and gave me an isight and understanding how his CNC thing works. Remember - I was a trucker.....a computer illiterate trucker.

Fast forward a couple years and I built the Avid machine. And it actually worked!!! No comparison in machines. This thing carves about 4 times faster than the Probotix. Can't turn your back doing text signs cause it's done before you know it. This thing will put out the dust and chips. I got their whole kit including stand and spindle. It's tough and strong and have support, which is very important. Got about 10k in it total.

Depends what your needs are.

You can get Vcarve Pro to start out. If you want to upgrade to Aspire later on (and you will) they will give you full credit for the Vcarve outlay.

Just my experience.
 

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Need more info on the Avid, but that might be my choice. Does it have the CNCRP plug and play spindle?
Laguna's are hit and miss. Some love their stuff, others have nothing but problems.

As for V Carve, always buy V Carve if you're unsure. There's no additional cost to upgrade to Aspire down the road. Vectric gives full purchase price credit on upgrades.

And pretty soon, everyone will be paying sales tax on everything, unless you buy from very small companies. Thank the people you vote for.
 

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Gary, after a couple of years of juggling those same machines, I finally went with the Avid Pro4824. I may be wrong (and probably am) but my conclusion was the Laguna is just a rebranded Chinese machine. The Axiom is really nice other than the hand held controller and the Powermatic is an Axiom with yellow paint. (They must get their expensive paint from Camaster) 🙂
The main reason for going with Avid is I can have my cnc pay for it's own upgrade from a 4x2 to a 4x8.
I got the Chinese 2.2kw and vfd for under $400 and it's been running great for 2 years. It's about halfway through a 4 hour bronze job right now. 👍
Whichever you decide on, I'm pretty sure you're going to be happy with it. I think all of them are really nice machines. Good luck and send us some unboxing pictures!!
 

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Rick
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Gary, after a couple of years of juggling those same machines, I finally went with the Avid Pro4824. I may be wrong (and probably am) but my conclusion was the Laguna is just a rebranded Chinese machine. The Axiom is really nice other than the hand held controller and the Powermatic is an Axiom with yellow paint. (They must get their expensive paint from Camaster) 🙂
The main reason for going with Avid is I can have my cnc pay for it's own upgrade from a 4x2 to a 4x8.
I got the Chinese 2.2kw and vfd for under $400 and it's been running great for 2 years. It's about halfway through a 4 hour bronze job right now. 👍
Whichever you decide on, I'm pretty sure you're going to be happy with it. I think all of them are really nice machines. Good luck and send us some unboxing pictures!!
I bought the Avid Pro but it’s not assembled yet . But some of my reasoning for purchasing the Avid was that it could easily be expanded in size if I wanted to in the future .
I bought cabling long enough to do an 8’ Y axis if I ever get the extra room .
The gantry looks pretty darn sturdy compared to most of the competition,plus I haven’t heard of any complaints with the Pro series
 

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Mike
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Gary I've also heard good and bad things about the Laguna.

The Powermatic as mentioned is basically an Axiom with different paint but it does include the base cabinet so that is part of the cost. I do have several customers and friends that have the Axiom and all of them like their machines.

My choice would be an Avid but I would go with the regular Pro series CNC's and not the Desktop. You can upgrade to a larger size later if you find you want a bigger workspace, what a lot of people say later is "I wish I got a bigger machine to begin with". The price is for the basic machine and does not include the leg set, electronics, spindle or router but they are a good tight machines and will take almost anything you through at it.

This is just my opinion, I'm saving for an Avid on steroids.
 

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i am likely the oddball here, but, i would also recommend that you consider a good used machine (like a camaster). they are pricey new, but used machines show up often in your price range. i think some folks buy them without realizing the learning curve required to use a cnc, store paint cans on them for a spell, then sell them.
 

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David - Machinist in wood
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i am likely the oddball here, but, i would also recommend that you consider a good used machine (like a camaster). they are pricey new, but used machines show up often in your price range. i think some folks buy them without realizing the learning curve required to use a cnc, store paint cans on them for a spell, then sell them.
If I had not decided to build our CNC I would have gone with CAMaster. And from what I understand, they treat you like the original owner even if you buy a used machine. And their customer support is second to none, again from what I have read.

David
 

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Hi Gary,
I went through the same search for the right CNC machine I finally decided on the Laguna IQ, but I opted for a 10" gantry. I have the Aspire software also. My machine is la year old, has less than 30 hour use time, and those hours were spent engraving plaques and urns.
I am putting my Laguna IQ , Aspire software and a wide range of bits etc. on the market for sale, due to my wife's illness.
If you are interested in my Aspire drop me a line and we can chat.
Good luck in your search
if you’re interested in this product PM me
Dave
 

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David - Machinist in wood
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Dave - I removed your personal email address from the post above; not a good idea to post that in the event someone picks it up and uses it for spam purposes. Please use PM for contacting Gary about your CNC. Sorry to hear about your wife's illness.

David
 

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Wow CNC router parts changed their name and doubled their GREED. You can buy all of the aluminum to build a similar machine for a lot less. Use ball screws with pulleys if you want increased accuracy and still only spend about 60% of what they are retailing for. They are really proud of their electronics!! If you don't mind doing the wiring and connections yourself you can buy the equivalent components for a lot less like $600.00 on ebay for nema 34 1600 oz/in steppers. Add another $180.00 for a warp 9 ESS to run Mach 3/4 and your in business. I am currently building my 2nd and last CNC machine. It's 50"X50" small enough to fit in my shop door and big enough to do 4' X ??' cuts using indexing in the Vectrics software. If I win the lotto I will buy clearpath steppers (see the youtube video) and up my game!!!
 

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AVID CNC is in business to make money.
1) They provide unlimited free support, which is not cheap.
2) One can easily spend 50 hours or more sourcing components, and assembling an electronics box. Avid has to charge for their time.
3) A cheap 1600 oz stepper kit from Ebay will likely have 1/3 the performance of the AVID motors. Bigger is NOT better with steppers. And almo0st all the cheap chinese packages are configured to be inexpensive, rather than high performance.

Yes, anyone can build their own machine for considerably less money. But a business has a LOT of unseen costs that have to be accounted for.

Using your logic, every business is greedy, because you can do it yourself for less.
 

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With over 10 years in I.T. I've built countless PCs, Network configurations.....
It was so great unboxing my (plug and play) electronics, hooking up a few cables and watching my machine come to life with zero issues.
I wouldn't call it greed, just getting paid for something they're really good at.

And "costumer service", Cory spent at least an hour on the phone with me discussing which Ebay spindle to get and how to hook it up, because I thought theirs was too expensive.

I really don't see anything that as a company they could improve on.
 

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Wow CNC router parts changed their name and doubled their GREED. You can buy all of the aluminum to build a similar machine for a lot less. Use ball screws with pulleys if you want increased accuracy and still only spend about 60% of what they are retailing for. They are really proud of their electronics!! If you don't mind doing the wiring and connections yourself you can buy the equivalent components for a lot less like $600.00 on ebay for nema 34 1600 oz/in steppers. Add another $180.00 for a warp 9 ESS to run Mach 3/4 and your in business. I am currently building my 2nd and last CNC machine. It's 50"X50" small enough to fit in my shop door and big enough to do 4' X ??' cuts using indexing in the Vectrics software. If I win the lotto I will buy clearpath steppers (see the youtube video) and up my game!!!
I think you should definitely build your own. Make sure you get the cheapest possible prices. But why are you tossing the grenade on Avid when you ought to be casting a jaundiced eye at some of the those rebagged Chinese routers carried by mainstream tool companies? They make the Avid products look like downright bargains.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
OK, it has now been almost a month since I posted this so I thought I should give you an update.

I wound up getting a used Laguna IQ (with a 10" gantry & Aspire software) from one of the forum members here. It is now sitting on the floor of my shop while I decide where I should put it. The previous owner had it sitting on two Harbor Freight work benches but I wanted to up my game here so I am planning on putting it on a metal base with a granite top that I already have. (see picture below.) I hate to lose the workspace but I think this would be a good choice. The controller could sit on a shelf that I will build under the table however, I don't know if vibration would be a problem here or not. Comments?

Also, I look at it sitting on my shop floor, I find myself wondering why there is no accessory outlet for the spindle water pump? The wiring diagram says the Laguna IQ requires a single phase 220-30 amp service. (30 amps? Really?) It currently has a 3 wire power cable (L1 & L2 & ground.) In order to put a 120vac outlet on the back of the controller, I would need to convert it over to a 4 wire cable (L1 & L2, Neutral, & ground). I also want to add gantry LED lighting so the accessory outlet would serve dual purposes. Does anyone have any experience or advise with this?

My ultimate goal is to teach Wounded Warriors woodworking as part of their rehab process and this would be one of the machine I teach but I am a long way from that class as I learn myself. Since we are now under house arrest from from the COVID-19 pandemic, this will be a good opportunity to learn.

I will continue to post progress as I go along, if anyone is interested.
.
 

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Nice find.

Having it sit on a table of any kind will just build up chips and debris (amongst other things) underneath the machine. (how do I know?). Having it on corner posts of some kind allows for vacuuming and is a lot more convenient. That table would make a good work table for things - and you will need some of that.

Good luck!!! Make sure you update Aspire if you can.
 
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David - Machinist in wood
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Can't wait to see what you make with this, Gary. And I agree with HJ - use the table for a table and build a stand for the CNC.

Our CNC has a 3.0kW spindle and I have it on a 220-20amp circuit. I don't recall what it pulls but I checked the spindle current a few days ago and on a full depth, 175 ipm cut of 1/2" BB the spindle shows to be pulling 5 amps (at idle it pulls 4 amps). I can't get much more of a load than a full depth cut at speed so my best guess with all the rest of the electronics in the box is that I am probably still under 10 amps total.

What is the spindle size on your new CNC - 2.2kW, 3.0kW, etc.?

David
 
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