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This is my first post in this forum and I desperately need your advice. I just bought a Bob’s CNC and I’m a complete newb. I own an old MacBook Pro but want to invest in a very inexpensive (it would be great if I could get something under $300) but capable Windows laptop to just run CNC software. The first software that I’m going to buy will be Cut2D Pro by Vetrix. I want to eventually move up to Easel. Would someone please do me a huge favor and possibly send me an Amazon link to the least expensive but perfectly capable Windows laptop that will run most CNC software but definitely the two programs I mentioned without crashing or making the process miserably slow? I haven’t touched a Windows computer in about 15 years. I don’t even remember how the file system works so just turning the laptop on is going yo be an adventure. But I’ve been contemplating the purchase of a Windows machine for a few years as many industrial software applications are Windows only and I don’t want to run a dual boot system on my Mac. I can’t wait until I can control my Bob‘s CNC with my iPad Pro.

I bought my new Bob’s CNC off of Facebook Marketplace and the seller is delivering it to me today. I’m worse than a child and want to get started using it NOW. So please please please reply to me with Amazon links. You can even send me a sponsor link so that Amazon gives you a commission for the referral.

Anyway, I truly look forward to engaging in the forum as I begin my CNC quest.

Cristina 🙏🏻❤
 

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Welcome to the forum, Cristina. First of all, we fully understand the emotional journey of a new tool !!!
Once you get it set up, send us a few photos just to get us acquainted with what you have.
2nd - we don't do Amazon commissions here. And, we don't support members that do. It is in our Terms of Service agreement and our Forum Community Rules.
Other than that, we can recommend "potential sources" for any parts that may be appropriate to your situation.
 

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The best computer I've had so far is a "refurbished" model from my local family owned computer shop. And before I picked it up, I had them put in a very high RAM just for art programs. So you might want to check that out before a "new" purchase. Plus - they may be able to load any operating programs you might need for your CNC.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Welcome to the forum, Cristina. First of all, we fully understand the emotional journey of a new tool !!!
Once you get it set up, send us a few photos just to get us aquainted with what you have.
2nd - we don't do Amazon commissions here. And, we don't support members that do. It is in our Terms of Service agreement and our Forum Community Rules.
Other than that, we can recommend "potential sources" for any parts that may be appropriate to your situation.
Thanks so much and I’m sorry about the sponsor thing. I just saw how some instructors on YouTube list those sponsor links in their tutorial videos and thought that including that suggestion would speed up the replies I am desperately hoping to get. Can I still receive a link to an Amazon recommendation or should they just tell me the name and specifications of the laptop I should order?
I have pictures of the CNC that will be arriving today as they were included in the Facebook advertisement. I even had a workshop built two months ago in my backyard in expectation of my eventual cnc machine purchase. Right now the building houses my Ender 5 Plus 3D printer, my Roland vinyl cutter and my two Lincoln welders (one fluxcore 110 mig and a 220 50 watt arc Tombstone). This workshop which features two floors has been a dream come true. I gave one floor to make a mess in (welding, metal fabrication and soon a cnc cutter) and the second floor has a gasketed trap door isolating completely from any debris that might float upwards. I build laser projectors and Eurorack synth modules as a little hobby and dust is a no no, especially when etching.

[UPDATE] the seller respectfully removed the advertisement from Facebook Marketplace because it has been sold to me so I couldn’t snag the pics. BUT I DO HAVE PUCS OF MY WORKSHOP 👇👇👇👇
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The best computer I've had so far is a "refurbished" model from my local family owned computer shop. And before I picked it up, I had them put in a very high RAM just for art programs. So you might want to check that out before a "new" purchase. Plus - they may be able to load any operating programs you might need for your CNC.
That’s a good idea. I’m trying to think if my town even has a computer repair business other than a big box store like Best Buy. When I searched our local Facebook Marketplace for the cnc machine I had to expand the search area by 100 miles as there wasn’t a single machine within 75 miles of me. I’m paying the seller $200 to deliver the CNC machine to me because I absolutely had to have it. The reason why I wanted to get a used Bob’s CNC over just getting a new one is to avoid having to build the thing. My 3D printer languished in its box for months before I finally summonsed the attention span to assemble it 😂. Plus the guy selling me the CNC machine is actually a really nice sounding guy. He owned a sign company that he recently sold and is giving me a bunch of extras that he still has laying around like bits and whatnot.

Now I need to impulsively search Marketplace for an assembled plasma cutting cnc table unit. I have great plans for that thing. I hope to show you all my art some day. I’m very proud of it.
 

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I have had really good success buying refurbished machines. The key to them is the cooling fan working properly and a decent hard drive. Hard drives and power supplies are the weak points of all computers, lap or desk top. If you buy a desk top, the chances of getting a good one for $200 are very good. Just search for refurbished computers of any brand you like. I have dells, but their power supplies are their weak spot, but adequate if you don't overload them with accessories. For mission critical work, I always have a bootable clone made of the hard drive after installing the basic software. This becomes the main drive for that computer. For intermittent use, I've had these last more than 10 years with zero failures. If you're used to apple, it may take a little effort to learn to use Windows, but since you're using the laptop for all other uses, you won't be delving much into Window's inner working.

I would also check with BOB's documentation or help desk for what operating system to buy. You can still find Win 7 machnes, but forget Windows 8. Windows 11 is the newest, but in a refurbished machine, Win 10 is most common. I don't like the interface all that well, but it is trouble free. But the software may or may not run under it. And you will need to find out the software runs under 32 bit or 64 bit versions.

Apple doesn't give you that choice (my wife is an apple fan), but Windows is used in all kinds of corporations and organizations with tens of thousands of linked machines, so they have to be more flexible about software running. Apple just says no.

So check with the manufacturer about which OS to use, then look for the refurbished machine that matches the software requirements. You will probably be using this for many years.

One of our most impressive CNC users is Oliver Henry. He's put out a couple of books you can order on Amazon that may be helpful. The Newbie's Guide to CNC Routing: Getting started with CNC machining for woodworking and other crafts: Henry, Prof.: 9781726471022: Amazon.com: Books
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You might also look to see if there are any classes you can take, videos available to help you speed up the learning process. Very happy you joined the group. We like to take good care of our members.
 

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Try searching for Discount Electronics. I've bought 3 computers from them and all refurbished computers come with a 1 yr guarantee. I'm not affilated with them, but their customer service is outstanding, which is why I continue to use them as I'm running 5 machines. And as DesetRatTom said, check the requirements for Bob's CNC.
 

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Bob's CNC uses a GRBL controller, and really any Windows laptop or computer will run the software you need for it. This is what I use for my CNC: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07Q1DL6LV/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o09_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

It comes with Windows 10 Pro pre-loaded on it. My machine uses LinuxCNC, so I wiped the SSD and put Linux on it. I have a couple more of these PCs that still have Win 10 Pro on them for dedicated tasks and they work well.
 
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