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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I'm a hobbyist looking to get a small 3018 CNC router which I plan to use mainly for PCB milling and small wood and aluminum jobs. I was wondering whether I ought to get a shop vac along with the machine to clean up dust, or whether putting a bit of cutting oil on the part will be sufficient to prevent chips from flying everywhere?

Thanks,
Sparrowhawk
 

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Oil on wood will mess with your finish.

I don't have a CNC, but I know that most users here have shop vacs. It you get one, get the biggest you can find, and also get a "Dust Deputy," and put in in line on top of a bucket. It will separate the chips and most of the sawdust out. Don't rely on the shop vac's built in filter because it will quickly fill with sawdust and chips. Very little sawdust or chips will make it past the Dust Deputy into the vac. The third picture below is of the typical setup. The clear tubing goes to the collection source, the black hose goes to the shop vac. Add about $125 or so for hoses, Dust Deputy and bucket. These are extremely effective at removing sawdust. You can put the Dust Deputy on a larger receptacle but you must seal the rim or it won't work right.

You will also run across larger dust collection setups, such as the one shown in the first pix (Harbor Freight), but these work differently and rely on ample air flow to carry off dust rather than suction. They are made for saws and other tools. They also work best with a larger size Super Dust Deputy to separate chips and sawdust before the filter.

The second picture is a budget item from Home Depot, the orange top goes on a 5 gallon bucket and the cost is about a quarter the price of the Dust Deputy. It has gotten reviews nearly as good as the dust deputy, but limits your collection capacity to a couple of gallons and will fill up fast (you need some space at the top).

Sorry about the picture order, the Forum system for posting is screwball and a serious frustration. The sequence is almost always screwed up and I wish someone would fix this feature, or at least explain how to work it--sorry for the complaint.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
You mention that I should get the largest shop vac I can find, but do you know what is out there at a good, reasonable price? I'm only 15 and I don't want to break the bank with a super expensive vac, the CNC is already $200! Also, if I do go for a shop vac, how should I go about mounting it to the CNC? Specifically the Sainsmart Genmitsu 3018 DIY kit (i can't post a link I don't have enough points)
 

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David - Machinist in wood
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Welcome to the forum! Add your first name to your signature line so we'll know what to call you.

I don't think you're going to be very successful at pulling chips out if there's oil involved. At the very least I think your hose will begin stopping up with oiled pieces and performance will drop drastically. You may have better luck with compressed air blowing at the bit although you'll still have a mess to clean up around the table.

Oh, and we do like photos so show us your setup when you're able. You can post photos now if they're on your computer.

David
 

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Hi, a little more. I have seen shop vacs at second hand and thrift stores. But your setup is small and you probably could get by with a 4 gallon unit. With that you could get by just fine with the Home Deput orange top model. You need to be careful to make sure the hose fits the separator lid. You can use some aluminum duct tape to seal any small difference between out vs in hoses and ports. Check the sizes, open the boxes and bring the orange lid to the shop vac section to make sure hoses fit. The Bucket is a standard 5 gallon HD bucket, often on sale.

Really glad you're on here. We could use some young blood around here, and everyone here is very happy to be helpful. At age 15 you are getting an early start in a new technology, one that could easily provide you with a great living over the years.

I've attached a short article on making a living with a CNC. Yours is a little undersized for some things, but you could probably use some of the ideas to fatten up your wallet. it's a pdf so you can save it for later if you want.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Welcome to the forum! Add your first name to your signature line so we'll know what to call you.

I don't think you're going to be very successful at pulling chips out if there's oil involved. At the very least I think your hose will begin stopping up with oiled pieces and performance will drop drastically. You may have better luck with compressed air blowing at the bit although you'll still have a mess to clean up around the table.

Oh, and we do like photos so show us your setup when you're able. You can post photos now if they're on your computer.

David
Hello thanks for replying! I have done the signature thing. Hmm, I hadn't thought about that. I guess I could try setting up an acrylic barrier of some kind around the machine to catch a mess from errant chips, although I don't think getting a vac, air compressor, and oil is in my parent's pockets best interest lol. And I don't have the machine just yet, I was planning to buy it during a Black Friday sale so no photos, sorry!



Hi, a little more. I have seen shop vacs at second hand and thrift stores. But your setup is small and you probably could get by with a 4 gallon unit. With that you could get by just fine with the Home Deput orange top model. You need to be careful to make sure the hose fits the separator lid. You can use some aluminum duct tape to seal any small difference between out vs in hoses and ports. Check the sizes, open the boxes and bring the orange lid to the shop vac section to make sure hoses fit. The Bucket is a standard 5 gallon HD bucket, often on sale.

Really glad you're on here. We could use some young blood around here, and everyone here is very happy to be helpful. At age 15 you are getting an early start in a new technology, one that could easily provide you with a great living over the years.

I've attached a short article on making a living with a CNC. Yours is a little undersized for some things, but you could probably use some of the ideas to fatten up your wallet. it's a pdf so you can save it for later if you want.
So I'm guessing it wouldn't be practical to just have the vac, I would need a dust separator as well? Are these something that can be 3D-printed? Also for now earning money isn't my main priority, I just want something that can support my extensive projects and to compliment my 3D printer. I'll take a look at that PDF though!
 

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Given your situation, you might be very happy with a smaller Shop Vac, 4gallon is about the smallest, but you want to get one with a hose that matches the opening of the dust collector. In your case go for the Home Depot model with a Home Depot 5 gallon bucket. Take the lid to the dust vacs to make sure the hoses fit OK. If they're a little loose, you can use some aluminum duct tape (NOT DUCK tape) to seal them up.

If you find a used dust vac, take the hoses to HD to trial fit them.

Dust collection on CNCs generally starts with some kind of brush that surrounds the bit and just ligtly touches the surface you're cutting. The suction will pull most sawdust directly into your dust collection system. How you attach it to your CNC router so they move together is a matter of figuring something out that works. If the hose is heavy or stiff, you will need to hang it so it doesn't pull on the machine.

I've attached a pdf on making money with the CNC, and although your system is small, you may still be able to earn enough with it to upgrade over time. Take a moment to read this post onb tiny wood boxes, https://www.routerforums.com/kp91s-gallery/140379-tiny-wood-boxes.html. You might get some ideas from that string. I'd love to have pill boxes like the ones shown.

I posted this because I was a business consultant for nearly 4 decades and I love seeing someone ambitious thriving. I also recall that at 15, I was learning skills that have stuck with me and empowered me for the past 60 years. David, by the way, is one of our resident CNC experts and over time you might ask your parents to surprise you with a couple of books by our most artistic and commercial CNC guys, who goes by @Gaffboat around here, but Oliver is his name and his company is Prof. Henry. I posted pictures of his books, available on Amazon.

I'd show this post to my parents if I were you, so they can do whatever is necessary to help you succeed at this CNC thing. Most people are not familiar with it, but is opens a world of opportunity to anyone who is good at it. Eventually you will outgrow the amateur machines, an their support and understanding is likely to help you advance your skills and tools.

I know that our local community college has classes on CNC and maybe you could register in one of the evening classes. I am fascinated by what the CNC machines can do the opportunities they open up for users. Even if you're college bound, you could make enough with CNC to pay tuition with incurring debt.

One last thing, your parents will appreciate it that your dust collection system reduces the amount of sawdust that leaks into the house.
 

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David - Machinist in wood
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Hello thanks for replying! I have done the signature thing.
I forgot which forum I was in... sorry. You can add your first name to your profile and it will clear the N/a in the side panel, Arjun.

Keep us posted on your progress.

David
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
@DesertRatTom please note making money is not my intention, I want the machine so I can work on projects I am interested in such as custom-milled PCBs, and any other things I can't print or need specifically in wood or metal. Making money would be a nice thing to accomplish, but I'm not the most entrepreneurial of people, and don't come up with original ideas often lol. I suppose custom-made PCBs are a market, but it's not something I can do cheaply enough to make an effective profit.

Aside from that, thanks for all the feedback! I'll look into a shop-vac/dust collection combination.
 

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A couple of things. Any vac will have plenty of suction, you just have to direct it to where it will pick up chips. A shoe like was shown above helps a lot. One of the first projects I did when I got my little CNC machine going was to make a dust shoe. It's a fun project and is very practical. See the photo of mine below. If you have something like a crevice tool for your vac you can just follow the router bit with it and get most of the benefit.

But, I feel remiss to not say this: the machine you are considering is very small. My CBeam CNC machine has a working footprint of about 300mm X 300mm and I find it quite limiting. Not just because I want to make bigger parts but when you add hold-downs you often loose space. Also, I seriously doubt that machine will handle aluminum. It makes my machine look positively beefy and I can't use a depth of cut in AL more than 1/4 mm. Lots of passes! Even then the machine flexes too much. Note in the description it says "soft aluminum" - it's clear they know it really isn't a metal machine. It will probably be ok for wood and plastic but you will need to make pretty shallow cuts. I understand your situation but, honestly, you might be better off waiting to get more money to buy a better machine. Or maybe get a parental or grandparental person excited about the possibilities and help fund more machine. Definitely stretch as far as you can.
 

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